1:18 PM: If you haven’t already seen this via The Seattle Times or via Reddit … someone at SDOT thought it was funny that the eastbound bridge was backed up this morning while the westbound bridge was closed for a rollover/spinout crash (as reported here), and proclaimed drivers on the eastbound side to be rubberneckers. If you use social media, you may know it’s considered cool for government agencies to use humor (major case in point, SPD/pot/Doritos). What do you think?
P.S. We have a question out to SDOT’s communications director for his thoughts. The West Seattle Transportation Coalition has already had something to say.
P.P.S. The “scumbag hat” reference is to this meme.
(You might also recall it was just a few months ago SDOT said it only had interns to staff the Transportation Management Center during peak hours – see this December story).
2:42 PM UPDATE: We contacted both SDOT communications director Rick Sheridan and Mayor Murray’s commmunications director Jeff Reading. Their responses both just came in. From SDOT’s Sheridan:
The use of the hat meme was not intended to insult drivers but to highlight a roadway problem and help drivers make decisions about their trips. We apologize to anyone that was offended by the tweet.
Our traffic management center personnel typically use humorous memes to highlight problematic situations for drivers. The staff member was trying to note that rubbernecking near a collision site was creating delays.
We have removed the tweet from our Twitter feed. The staff member’s supervisor will also reinforce the department’s standards for social media. Again, we apologize if anyone was offended.
And from Reading in the mayor’s office:
It’s never acceptable for a city employee to ridicule members of the public. I understand the tweet in question was meant humorously, but many — myself included — took it quite differently. Mayor Murray holds a high standard of respect for communications with the public across all city departments. We will ensure that this type of offending humor is not repeated in communications to the public by City of Seattle employees.
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