Road fees

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Governments and their fees.

I realize that being part of a society requires some assent to a certain level of fees for the common good. That’s part of the social contract we make for living in a society.

I don’t mind paying some taxes and fees because I know that it provides for the common good. It makes life better for more people than just me. I’m someone what reasonable.

However, there comes a time when those fees become unnecessary and overbearing. Sound familiar? You might look back to one such fee that helped lead up the the American Revolution. What really gets me is that fees are being charged and collected and the government is rarely held accountable for the way the money is spent or mismanaged. That part irritates me to no end and isn’t part of the social contract. I don’t like waste. Big government wastes money. Big government isn’t accountable. Big government perpetuates bad government and bad spending.

So, to say I was shocked when I got my vehicle registration renewal yesterday might be an understatement. I have had the car for almost 2 years now and suddenly there was a new fee that wasn’t there before – a “hybrid vehicle transportation fee”. That one fee was $75! That one fee doubled the cost of the vehicle registration all by itself!

Ridiculous.

How about we stop using state funds to pay for heroin injections sites? How about we stop using state funds to pay for an idiot governor? How about we stop using state funds for things that don’t benefit the greater good? How about we stop using state funds to pay for unnecessary art in public spaces? Get the idea? There are lots of places where money is spent that it shouldn’t be.

I pay the gas tax every time I fill up. They already collect the “Vehicle Weight” fee to fund the highway on top of all the other fees.

I’ve had it.

I am going to drive on both sides of the road whenever I feel like it. I paid for it, therefore I am going to use as much of it as possible!

Self important?

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I keep seeing these videos on social media and its getting rather irritating because everyone knows they shouldn’t do it, but they do it anyway. What videos am I talking about?

I keep seeing videos of people driving. They are holding their phone (you can tell because the image “floats” and you can see the dashboard) while they drive and showing you the road, road conditions, night sky, etc. There may be music in the background or they are narrating something that happened. Whatever.

In a day and age where it is illegal (at least in my state) to have a phone in your hand while driving, you would think that people would not put themselves or others in danger by holding a phone while they drive.

It leads me to believe that they believe they are more important than everyone else. “I’m going to disregard the law and safe driving habits so that I can post a video of me driving on the road. Because, after all, everyone is interested in what I am doing and they should probably know the road conditions.”

Guess what? You ain’t that important!

I don’t care that you are on an open road, in the middle of the night, with no other traffic around you. I don’t care what the road conditions are. I don’t care that you need to tell your followers something. I don’t care that you have a song you want us all to hear.

I don’t care.

Get over yourself and drive safely. Period.

Two Thursdays

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My regular telecommute days are Wednesday and Thursday. However, that last two Thursdays have had meetings in the office that I have had to attend, so I telecommuted on Tuesday instead.

As such, this is the second Thursday in a row that I have made the hour (+/-) trek to the office. And this is the second Thursday in a row that the traffic has been less that tolerable. More than an hour to work, again.

Seriously, what is with Thursdays?? Why can’t people drive on this day of the week?

I am seriously starting to contemplate calling in sick on Thursdays if I have to go to the office and can’t telecommute. Think they would notice?

 

Road trip

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I’ve got a half day of work today and then I am taking a road trip across the state. It’s for pleasure, but I am starting to wonder why I did this to myself.

This will be the third weekend in a row where I hit the road and cross the mountains to the other side of the state. If you have have been following along, the state of our roads is constant road construction right now…so I just know I am asking for more abuse on the road with traffic and travel time.

Thus, I will try to put on my “patience pants” and not get road rage.

OK, I probably won’t and you’ll be subjected to yet another blog about the perils of travel on the road and the stupidity of Washingtonian drivers.

Sorry, not sorry.

Lane closure

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I have said it in the past but I am going to say it again. Sorry if it sounds like I am a broken record, but WADOT (Washington State Department of Transportation) seriously has to do a better job – not just them, but the contractors they hire as well.

It was another painful travel weekend. It think it was three weeks ago I mentioned the reduction of lanes on a major interstate highway (it’s actually I-5, a federal highway) and how badly it affected the traffic on a Friday night. Well, this last Friday was no different. Miles and miles and miles of lane closures and not a soul in sight doing any work! While progress may be getting done, it surely doesn’t appear like it and they are in no hurry to get it done. It’s kind of ridiculous really.

So, yesterday (Sunday for those of you keeping track), a major north/south highway had ALL of the northbound lanes closed. That’s right, I-405 was closed with only one lane (a collector/distributor lane) getting by. That means five lanes diverted to one. To top it off, they didn’t close on-ramps that directly affected that one diverted lane, so merging traffic and diverted traffic had to fight for the same space. Ultimately, that mean five lanes got bottle-necked and didn’t have a steady flow. Kind of a CF if you ask me!

Look, I get that construction needs to get done. I am fully aware of the condition of the roadways. But, let’s be honest here. These days, there is never a good time to close highways and there is never a good time to avoid the hassle.

BUT, what doesn’t appear to be happening is that WADOT isn’t requiring construction crews to complete the work in the fastest time possible (overnight work, 24/7, until it is done). Traffic volumes are much lower at night and it affects for fewer people/travelers when work is done then. And, let’s face it, with the technology that is available these days there is no reason work can’t be done at night.

Get it together WADOT! You are costing people money and time.

Delayed

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This post is officially brought to you by road construction delays.

It isn’t a sponsored post, but should be.

Road construction on my commute route that was supposed to completed by 5am this morning wasn’t done at the appointed time. This is on a major North/South interstate highway, mind you. Three lanes reduced to one. When I finally went past the choke point, the newly laid asphalt was still steaming. So, the delay was going to be at least another hour.

So, you know, just by that description, that you are going to get thousands of commuters and travelers who are going to get stuck in that backup. It took me 45 minutes to get through a section of roadway that normally takes less than a minute at highway speed.

I knew about the construction, but figured I would be going through the area almost two hours after the supposed wrap-up. No problem, right? Not so much.

So, my question is…do these construction companies get fined for not getting things done at the appointed and planned times? I mean this delay caused me (and I am sure thousands more) late for work. That’s lost time, lost production. So who pays for that?

Who answers and how for these sorts of things?

Where ya’ll going?

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It seems more of you, many more than usual, are going somewhere today.

It’s a Tuesday. Where could you possibly be going? I mean, yes, I have gotten to know those of you who take the route daily…I mean, I see you every day but I don’t really know you.

However, today, there were a bunch of people I didn’t know and you were all in the way. Traffic kept moving, which is good, but it was way slower than usual because there were so many of you.

If ya’ll could stay off my roads, especially my commute route, that would be great…

Moving and grooving

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It’s that time of year again folks. What time you ask, there are lots of those “that time of the year”s you could be referring to? After a winter like this last one, I am sure you are familiar with following description.

You’re like a race car on the track before the race. You are getting your motor warmed up and you weave back and forth quickly, getting the tires warm too. You haven’t seen the green flag to start the race yet, but you are hoping eventually to get one and all these people will get left in the dust as you speed away.

Ok, so hopefully that painted a relatively vivid picture for you. Now, imagine you are that car, weaving back and forth…

…around potholes.

After a winter like the last one, the dang roadway is filled with potholes. I swear I have to weave back and forth like that race car sometimes. It’s ridiculous that you have to weave so much while doing 75mph on the highway. The roads up here in the NW are full of potholes.

My car is in gonna crack an axle or for certain I am gonna need an alignment after this spring driving.

What out for those potholes, folks! There are a few that might even swallow a small car.


How are the roads looking in your neck of the woods? I guess this is really for the readers in the northern states, since the southern states just don’t have the severe winter weather like the north.

Snow day telecommute

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Well, the snow came just as they predicted and it hasn’t let up yet. This is somewhat unusual for the Pacific Northwest and there was a collective “YES!” across the region as schools are mostly closed today.

As you may recall from earlier posts, I drive about an hour to work every day. Weather like this makes it a challenge, to say the least, so I have decided to telecommute today. That makes work much easier and less stressful that trying to battle the roads and elements.

Quite frankly, I didn’t want to drive today. NOT because of the weather. I can handle that and have enough experience to handle what the roads may throw at me.

However, what I can’t account for are the other idiots on the road! I gotta tell ya, for a region that does a lot of driving in less than ideal weather, people are freaking stupid when it comes to this stuff. I see more four-wheel drive vehicles on the side of the road, in the ditch, upside down than I see any other vehicles. Guys (and I do mean that literally), just because you have a four-wheeled vehicle doesn’t mean you are invincible. You still need to use your brain, and a little less of that lead foot.

So, playing it safe from the other drivers today. And, if you live in the NW like I do, take it easy if you have to go out. The object is to get there. It isn’t about how fast you got there.

 

Noisy road

brown asphalt road beside lake

                                 If only my commute was this nice to look at.                                         Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

You probably don’t think about it much because you are driving and paying attention to the other drivers around you, which you should be. However, there is probably one thing you don’t notice you’re doing as a result of a noisy road.

The surface of the roadway is kind of an important thing when it comes to highways. I mean, it gets thousands and thousands of cars driving over it every day/week/month/year. It has to be durable, but also something that withstands heat, cold, weight, collisions, rain, etc. So, I am sure there is science behind why they do what they do when they make roads. But, really, I don’t care.

I just want a road that is smooth and quiet. Road noise should be a low hum that you really don’t notice unless something is wrong with the car. Instead, half of half of my commute is across 40+ year old concrete that has been worn down to the pebbles used to make it and it sounds like a jet engine starting up as you drive over it as high speeds.

Thus, I have to listen to the radio really loud. All to hear the traffic report. And if there is another person in the car, well, you just have to yell, even if they are just sitting right next to you. That is annoying.

What small things do you notice as you drive the same route and sit in the car for hours each day? Anything only you would notice and have to point out to others when they ride along with you?