“Low bridge” rush-hour restrictions? Comment time’s running out

July 16, 2008 1:41 pm
|    Comments Off on “Low bridge” rush-hour restrictions? Comment time’s running out
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news


(photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli)
Time is running out if you want to have a say on the proposal to ban most rush-hour openings of the “low bridge.” We told you May 22nd about its publication in the Federal Register, which kicked off the official 2-month comment period; thanks to Scott J for the reminder that those two months are almost up (next Monday is the last day). The heart of the proposal, as published, is as follows:

The proposed rule would enable the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the owner of the Spokane Street Bridge, to keep the draws of that bridge in the closed position in order to help alleviate roadway traffic Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with the proviso that openings shall be provided at any time for vessels of 5000 gross tons or more.

So far, the number of comments received hasn’t even hit triple digits, so your comment will carry a lot of weight. The bridge proposal has been championed by West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who tells WSB today, “I urge everyone who travels this corridor to write in now to let the Coast Guard know that they need reliable commuting routes as the city grows in population and especially when the viaduct replacement construction projects commence. People traveling to and from West Seattle are especially vulnerable as commuting route options are limited.” The easiest way to submit a comment is to do it online; here’s a direct link to the form you need, prelabeled with the official “docket number,” and including a chance to re-read the proposal if you want to. If you’d rather postal-mail or fax your comment(s), here’s how to do that (plus info on what happens next):

OFFICIAL DOCKET NUMBER: Comments and other communication on this must carry the official docket number to receive formal consideration. That docket number is USCG-2008-0256.

WHERE TO SEND COMMENTS: The Docket Management Facility at the U.S. Department of Transportation. We can’t stress enough – because authorities have repeated this point to us – if you don’t submit your comments this way, they don’t count.

Online (as mentioned above): Click here

Fax: 202-493-2251

Postal mail:
Docket Management Facility (M30)
U.S. Department of Transportation
West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, DC 20590-0001

TO REQUEST A PUBLIC MEETING: Use the same methods above (and again, include that docket number), and include your reason for wanting one to be held.

WHEN TO SEND COMMENTS: They must be received by July 21st.

WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR COMMENT: Besides the “docket number” above and of course the comment itself, the Federal Register item also says:

We recommend that you include your name and a mailing address, an e-mail address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that we can contact
you if we have questions regarding your submission … but please submit your comments and material by only one means. If you submit them by mail or delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8 1⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. We may change this proposed rule in view of them.

One more item of interest in the publication:

Viewing Comments and Documents
To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Enter the docket number for this
rulemaking (USCG-2008-0256) in the search box, and click Go.

Again – Monday is the deadline for your comment(s).

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: After the 60-day comment period ends next Monday, there will be a 30-day review period before a final ruling on whether the bridge-opening restrictions will take effect or not – so nothing will change any sooner than late August.

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