Off the Record
June 25, 2008 · Updated 1:38 PM
"I don't know what goes on down at the Washington State Department of Transportation in Oly-Land, but apparently they have plenty of people who spend lots of time doing crossword puzzles. Talk about a bunch of word freaks. Their May 2001 communiqué is a real doozy. The elongated back to back blue bulletin was inserted into The South Whidbey Record a few issues ago with the snappy heading, Attention: Mukilteo and Clinton Ferry Customers. After trying to decipher the verbiage and accompanying maps on both sides, I'm totally confused.Fortunately, most of us have mastered the Mukilteo Ferry Dance...it's pretty much a no-brainer unless you've never been there before. But the Clinton Ferry Fiasco? That's a whole different tango. Thanks to strange signage, nonsensical nouns and verbs, plus loony lane markings ... this so-called safety and efficiency upgrade has people scratchin' their heads and e-mailing letters to the guy in the big chair.Everybody onto the boat!Here's part of the Clinton Ferry Traffic flyer issued by the folks who get paid to churn out this stuff (WSDOT). Along with my translation (MYDOT). Don't forget to buckle up!WSDOT: The Washington State Department of Transportation recently completed signing and striping changes on State Route 525 to help you safely and efficiently approach the ferry terminals in Mukilteo and Clinton. This plan was developed in response to feedback from ferry customers and local residents. Our goal in revising the signs and lane markings is to help drivers understand how ferry-bound traffic should use the highway and its shoulders.MYDOT: The Washington State Department of Transportation got sick and tired of all the flak they were receiving from South Whidbey ferry users and all you other local yokels. So we came up with yet another plan that will eventually cost you thousands of dollars. But we're hopeful that our new plan, which we've named Yikes! Stripes! WSDOT's Got 'Em!, will make things safer and more efficient. Well, it seemed to work on paper. Whatever, we'll keep you posted. After all, we're not going anywhere. WSDOT: Campbell Road to Humphrey Road - DO NOT DRIVE ON THE SHOULDER. The new signing identifies this shoulder (right lane) as the Ferry Waiting Area and is ONLY FOR USE WHEN A FERRY BACKUP IS PRESENT. New pavement markings are used to distinguish the Ferry Waiting Area from a general-purpose lane by use of white diagonal markings placed at 100-foot intervals within the shoulder. ALL drivers should travel in the general-purpose (left) lane. If you are going to the ferry, drive in the general-purpose lane until you see the ferry backup, then ease onto the shoulder and wait in line. A ferry wait that is one boat or longer will extend into this section. IF NO BACKUP IS PRESENT, continue in the general-purpose lane until you are past Humphrey Road. MYDOT: Campbell Road to Humphrey Road - Figure out where you're going before you leave home. If you're headed for Dairy Queen, Chevron, Subway, Whidbey CyberC@fe, Clinton Food-Mart, Simmons Garage or any other Clinton destination, STAY IN THE LEFT HAND LANE! If you're defecting and heading for America to shop at Nordstrom, Fred Meyer or Costco, drive in the left hand lane (visa not required). If you see a ferry backup, use your favorite four-letter word, pound on the steering wheel, crank up the radio and jam your car into the vehicle directly ahead of you in the right hand lane. If there's no backup, stay in the left-hand lane, assume you'll make the next boat and gloat.WSDOT: Humphrey Road to Ferry Ticket Booth - The Humphrey Road intersection is a transition point into the lower section. If you are not going to the ferry, you should continue in the general-purpose lane. If you are going to the ferry, you should move into the right lane after you have passed Humphrey Road. Between Humphrey Road and the ferry ticket booth, all ferry-bound drivers are expected to travel in the two right lanes that begin just south of Humphrey Road. These two ferry lanes are meant for both driving and waiting. MYDOT: Humphrey Road to Ferry Ticket Booth - This is where all heck can break loose, so know where you're headed. If you're driving down the hill to park your car and walk on the boat to Mukilteo for a quick cup of chowder at Ivar's, or you're picking up a raft of relatives who are spending the long weekend with you, stay in the left hand lane and proceed down the hill to the light. Smile, wave and gleefully honk at all the poor people stuck in line. Sue Frause can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org "