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Road Services - Traffic engineering services

Traffic services

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Frequently-asked questions

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Where do I find answers to my questions about abandoned vehicles?
Visit our abandoned vehicles webpage.
I abandoned my vehicle on the roadside and now it is gone. Who do I call to get it back?
During weather-related incidents, such as snow and ice, flooding, or trees down, any vehicles found blocking the roadway, are subject to impound. In unincorporated King County or in a city which contracts with the King County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement, contact the King County Sheriff's Communication Center (non-emergency number) at 206-296-3311. For the list of those cities, go to the King County Sheriff's Web site.

Your vehicle is very likely to be towed away if it is abandoned on a snow route or "lifeline" route which must be kept open for emergency response.

Learn more about abandoned vehicles.
How can I find out about pedestrian walkway and safety information?
Call 206-296-6596 if you are concerned about pedestrian safety, the safety of youngsters walking to school, or for information on the county's Pedestrian Walkway Program.
How can I report a pothole that needs to be repaired?
Please contact the Road Services Division's Traffic and Road Maintenance Section with the street name, nearby cross streets, and the location of the pothole.
What can I do to reduce traffic accidents and save lives?
Drive slower and observe the rules of the road. If you want to make a difference in peoples lives, remember that you are setting an example. Teach others, supervise carefully and get involved in your neighborhood's safety. Learn more about how the County can help you in your efforts at making lives safer through neighborhood traffic safety.
What is the Radar Readerboard Project?
A County vehicle is equipped with an electronic readerboard sign connected to a speed radar unit. The equipment is loaned to a neighborhood after its representative receives brief, special training on its use and a police records check. The equipment is taken to the neighborhood, set up safely along the residential street, and shows passing drivers their speeds as they drive by.

Through use of the radar/readerboard equipment, local residents themselves monitor and record the speed of cars, trucks and other vehicles that drive through their neighborhoods. Learn more.
If I'm hauling debris in my vehicle or trailer, is it required that I tie the material down?
Yes, it's the law. Learn more by reading the Washington State Department of Ecology Secure Your Load brochure. (88KB .pdf)
How do I get speed humps and bumps in my neighborhood?
Please call Traffic Maintenance and Engineering at 206-263-6132.
How can I help solve speeding problems in my neighborhood?
Check out the Road Service Division's Radar Readerboard Project. Through minimal training and cooperation among citizens, the King County Sherrif's Office and the King County Road Services Division, neighborhood speeding problems can be addressed through this inexpensive educational progam.
Who do I contact about trucks that are speeding up and down our road?
Please contact the Road Services Division at 206-296-8100 or toll-free at 1-800-KCROADS. A Citizen Action Request (CAR) form will be written up for a roads use investigation.
How can I report traffic problems?
Call 206-296-6596 for traffic-related safety problems including signs, paint striping and safety markings, traffic signal malfunction, parking problems on the right-of-way and on paved pathways, or sight distance problems.
How can I get faded lines or other street markings repainted?
In traffic engineer lingo, those "painted lines" are pavement markings. To request that pavement marking be repainted or new ones painted where none exist now, contact the Pavement Marking group at 206-296-6596.
How do I get a new crosswalk or other pavement markings on my street?

As with many aspects of safety on our roadways, research and statistics suggest that installing pedestrian crosswalks may not do much for pedestrian safety. A Washington State Department of Transportation "Pedestrian Collision Report" of pedestrain/vehicle accidents found that most occured during daylight hours between April through September on dry pavement. The leading driver contribution to the accident was failure to yield, inattention and alcohol in that order. The leading pedestrian contribution was inattention, failure to yield, and alcohol in that order. Failure to the use the crosswalk was fourth. The Arizona State Department of Transportation used that study for it own crosswalk policy and describes covers the advantages and disadvantages of crosswalks in "Pedestrian Crosswalks - How Safe Are They?" Note that this material is based on reseach conducted in the City of San Diego, now one of the safest pedestrian cities in the country. This study found that the ratio of pedestrian accidents in marked crosswalks to those in unmarked crosswalks was 6 to 1 and even after some adjustments to the data, the ratio was 2 to 1.

Traffic engineers install crosswalks sparingly because we do not want to foster a false sense of security in people crossing the street. There may be other more effective measures that can be taken to address your pedestrian safety concerns. If you have a question about crosswalks or other pedestrian safety measures, contact the Pavement Marking group at 206-296-6596.

Who do I contact about malfunctioning traffic signals?
During normal working hours, please contact the Road Services Division's Roads Maintenance Section at 206-296-8100
or 1-800-527-6237 toll-free. After hours, please contact our 24/7 Road Helpline number at 206-296-8100 or 1-800-527-6237 toll-free. Please be prepared to provide the intersection street names, direction of travel, and any other specifics that will assist Roads Maintenance staff in responding directly.
Who do I contact about a posted detour route sign that I don't find acceptable?
Please contact the Road Services Division's Traffic Engineering Section at 260-263-6144.
What is the Memorial Sign Program?
The King County Memorial Sign program was borne from requests received from people who had lost family members to automobile crashes caused by drunk drivers. The King County Roads and Engineering Division embraces the program as a way to help reduce fatalities caused by drunk drivers. Learn more.
How do I report a missing, downed or vandalized sign?
Please contact the Road Services Division at 206-296-8100 or toll-free at 1-800-KCROADS or 1-800-527-6237.
How do I get a "no dumping" sign?
Please contact Traffic Engineering at 206-296-6596.
Why can't I communicate about signs by e-mail?
There are several reasons why many questions about signs are best handled by a phone call. Follow-up is almost always needed. In some areas, it can be difficult to accurately describe the location where the traffic problem occurs. In many cases, a traffic engineer needs to go out to the location to properly access the circumstances and make a determination about traffic problems and possible improvements. With a phone conversation, the traffic engineer can get a better sense of what the problem is from the citizen's perspective and sometimes arrange for a site visit when the citizen can be available. If you do send an e-mail about a sign question, please include a day-time telephone number.

For more information and assistance, contact the Road Services Division Traffic Engineering Section.
How do I get a "no parking" sign?
Please contact the Road Services Division's Sign Shop at 206-263-6125. For more information about signs, please visit our website.
Where can I learn more about political signs in the right-of-way?
Visit the political campaign signs website to learn about King County's policy on political campaign signs in the right-of-way.
Who do I contact about a road closure sign that's posted without any detour information?
Please contact the Road Services Division's Traffic Engineering Section at 260-263-6144.
How do I request a traffic signal?
Contact the Road Services Division's Traffic Engineering Section with specific information regarding the intersection or crosswalk of interest. King County maintains a list of locations that are being monitored for traffic signalization. Your location may be on the list and a quick answer readily available. If not, county staff will request average daily traffic volume counts and accident data, and complete an evaluation. The evaluation is based on the criteria set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
What types of signs are there and how do I get a sign installed on my street?
Adopt-A-Road Signs
Adopt-A-Road signs are installed on road segments to honor the volunteer groups who clean the road segment two times per year for 2 years. Learn more about King County's Adopt-A-Road Program. To adopt a road, contact the Adopt-A-Road Coordinator at 206-296-3807.

Alley Signs
King County does not install signs for alleys. These are generally considered private roadways.

Arterial Signs
To request a sign on an Arterial street, call 206-296-6596, and ask to speak with an engineer in the Safety Investigations group.

Blind Child/Person Area Signs
"Blind Child Area" or "Blind Person Area" signs can be installed on streets or in neighborhoods where a blind person lives. These signs are meant to alert drivers that a visually impaired child or adult lives in the area and may be walking in the neighborhood. The engineer with whom you speak will ask you to send documentation of the impairment. To request a "Blind Child Area" or "Blind Person Area" sign, call 206-296-6596, and ask to speak with an engineer in the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program if you live on a residential street, or an engineer in the Safety Investigations group if you live on an arterial street.

Block Watch/Helping Hand Signs
The Block Watch Program is administered through the King County Sheriff's Office. The "Crime Prevention Handbook" from the King County Sheriff's Office has a chapter about Block Watch.

Children at Play Signs
King County does not install "Children At Play" signs on county roads. This type of sign may give children a false impression that it is safe to play in the road. It is never safe for children to play in or near the edge of the road.

Dead End Signs
"Dead End" signs can be installed on public streets that do not connect through to any other streets; the signs alert motorists that the road is not a through-route. King County also has smaller "Dead End" pointers that can be installed underneath a street name sign to indicate to drivers that the road does not go through. The pointers have proven to be effective because motorists can see the pointer without having to make the turn to find out the road is a dead end. To request a "Dead End" sign or pointer, call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in the Safety Investigations group.

Deaf Child/Person Area Signs
"Deaf Child Area" or "Deaf Person Area" signs can be installed on streets or in neighborhoods where a deaf person lives. These signs are meant to alert drivers that a hearing impaired child or adult lives in the area and may be walking in the neighborhood. The engineer with whom you speak will ask you to send documentation of the impairment. To request a "Deaf Child Area" or "Deaf Person Area" sign, call 206-296-6596, and ask to speak with an engineer in the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program if you live on a residential street, or an engineer in the Safety Investigations group if you live on an arterial street.

Deer Crossing Signs
King County uses "Deer Crossing" signs to alert motorists of a deer crossing location or corridor. Because deer can cross the road in multiple locations (especially in wooded areas), King County will often place the Deer Crossing signs on either end of a road segment, rather than at one spot. To request a Deer Crossing sign at a location or on a corridor, call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in the Safety Investigations group.

Directional Signs (e.g. signs pointing to a church, hospital, cemetery, etc.)
Directional signs can be helpful to motorists, and King County does provide up to two (2) directional signs for non-profit/non-commercial organizations that are difficult to find. These signs are generally the size of a street name sign and are installed on the same post as a street name sign. Examples of organizations which have had directional signs installed in King County include churches, a cemetery, an historical museum, schools, and a grange which serves as a polling place.
To request a directional sign, call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in the Safety Investigations group.

Drug-Free Zone Signs
Drug-Free Zones can be established within a 1,000 foot radius from the boundary of a school. Signs are installed by King County's School Pathway Program, at the direction of a school district, to indicate that the area is a Drug Free Zone. To learn more about these zones, contact your local school district. If you have further questions, you may call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in the School Pathways Program.

Horse and Rider/Horse Trail Crossing Signs
The yellow warning signs with horse and rider can be installed to warn drivers that horses and their riders use the shoulder on the road and may be crossing the road. To request such a sign, call 206-296-6596 and ask for an engineer in the Safety Investigations group.

No Outlet Signs
"No Outlet" signs can be installed on public streets that do not provide a through-route, but that may connect to other streets, which are dead end streets. The signs alert motorists that these roads do not constitute a through-route. King County also has smaller "No Outlet" pointers that can be installed underneath a street name sign. The pointers have proven to be effective because motorists can see the pointer without having to make the turn to find out the road does not have an outlet. To request a "No Outlet" sign or pointer, call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in the Safety Investigations group.

No Parking Signs
"No Parking" signs can be useful safety tools. In some cases, parked cars near a driveway or intersection might obstruct a driver's line of sight. In other cases, parked cars might make the roadway width too narrow for emergency vehicles to travel. Generally, an ordinance approved by the King County Council is required to limit parking on a street for a length of greater than 100 feet, but if safety concerns such as emergency vehicle access come into play, the county traffic engineer has authority to approve distances for a length of greater than 100 feet as "No Parking" areas.
To request "No Parking" signs, call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in Safety Investigations if you are concerned about an arterial, or with an engineer in the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program if you are concerned about a residential road.

Private Road Signs
A street name sign (designating the street name with the words "private road") can be installed for a private road where it intersects with a public road. However, King County does not install street name signs at the intersection of two private roads. To request a private road sign, call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in the Safety Investigations group.

School Crossing Signs
School Crosswalk signs are installed at crosswalks that are designated by a school district as a crossing point for school children. To request a school crosswalk sign, contact your local school district. If you have further questions, you may call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in the School Pathways group.

Speed Limit Signs
Speed limit signs are generally posted between one and two miles apart on a road, or closer when the speed limit changes. Also, speed limit signs are posted on a road when it intersects with a road posted at a higher speed limit so that drivers coming off of the higher-speed road know to lower their speed. To request a speed limit sign, call 206 296-6596. For a sign on an arterial road, ask for an engineer in Safety Investigations; for a sign on a residential road, ask for an engineer in the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program.

Stop Signs
Stop signs can be beneficial traffic control devices at locations experiencing a high frequency of right-angle accidents. However, stop signs, and especially four-way stop intersections, cannot ensure a safe intersetion. There are often other factors which are contributing to the traffic safety problem. To request a stop sign, call 206 296-6596. For a sign on an arterial road, ask for an engineer in Safety Investigations; for a sign on a residential road, ask for an engineer in the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program. The number to call is 206-296-6596.

Street Name Signs
To request a street name sign for a public road, or for a private road at the intersection with a public road, call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in the Safety Investigations group.

Learn more about traffic signs.
How do I report street lights that are out?
For Puget Sound Energy-maintained street lights please contact the Street Light Division at 1-888-225-5773.

For City of Seattle-maintained street lights please contact Seattle City Light at 206-684-7056 or by e-mail at respond.scl@ci.seattle.wa.us

For King County-maintained street lights please contact Linda Mott at 206-477-3669.
How do I request street lighting?
To request street lighting, please contact the Road Services Division's Traffic Engineering with the roadway(s) and intersection(s) of interest. If possible, provide information regarding existing pole location(s) and identification numbers on the pole(s). Include any information you have regarding adjacent users such as schools, Metro bus stops, parks and regional trails. Traffic Engineering will complete an investigation to determine if the roadway is classified as an arterial and/or the adjacent uses meet the criteria for County-provided street lighting.
Who maintains streetlights in King County?
The Road Services Division's Traffic Engineering group maintains streetlights in unincorporated areas of King County.
What road conditions necessitate road closures and detour routes?
For information on the road conditions that necessitate road closures and detour routes, please contact Traffic Engineering at 206-296-6596 or 1-800-527-6237 (toll-free).
How can I get a guardrail or barricade installed?
To request the installation of a guardrail or barricade, please contact Traffic Engineering at 206-296-6596 or 1-800-527-6237 (toll-free) with the location, nearby cross streets and any identifying landmarks.
I want to host a bike-a-thon, block party or a fun run. Who do I contact about a street or road use permit?
For information about road use permits, please contact Real Estate Services.
Why would I need a street use permit?
Uses which may require a street use permit include parades, block parties, or any other event which requires the closure of a road. For more information, please contact Real Estate Services.
How do I find out about existing, increasing, or reducing the speed limits on a road?
Posted speed limits are not the only answer for controlling travel speed. There is a common belief that posting a lower speed limit will influence drivers to drive at that speed. The facts indicate otherwise. National research shows that drivers are more influenced by the appearance of roads and the prevailing traffic conditions than by the posted speed limit. If speed limit signs are posted for a lower limit than is needed to safely meet roadway conditions, many drivers will simply ignore the signs while other drivers will operate their vehicle near the posted speed. This increases conflicts between faster and slower vehicles, reduces gaps in traffic through which pedestrian and vehicle crossings could be made safely, and adds difficulty for pedestrians to judge the speed of approaching vehicles. Studies show that where uniformity of speeds are not maintained, accidents generally increase.

Whatever the reason for unsafe traffic speeds, there are often actions that can be taken to improve the situation. If you are aware of roads in unincorporated King County where drivers are traveling at unsafe speeds, please contact us.

To find out what the existing speed limit is on a roadway, call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an Engineering Technician in the Records group. To request a SPEED LIMIT REDUCTION OR INCREASE on an arterial road (30-50 MPH), call 206-296-6596 and ask to speak with an engineer in the Safety Investigations group. To request a SPEED LIMIT REDUCTION OR INCREASE on a residential road, call 206-296-6596, and ask to speak with an engineer in the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program.
Can you tell me if there have been previous traffic accidents at a given location?
For questions pertaining to accident statistics on King County roads, roads that are not inside a city jurisdiction or along a state route, please contact Traffic Engineering at 206-296-6596 or 1-800-527-6237 (toll-free). Be sure to include your name and phone number along with the intersecting cross street names and road location.
Does King County use web-based traffic cameras to manage traffic?
Yes. King County's web-based cameras are a traffic management tool that provide real-time traffic information to traffic operators, the media, and the traveling public. The cameras are designed to increase the safety and efficiency of roadways and to inform drivers of adverse conditions such as accidents or congestion. Motorists can visit King County's My Commute Map and view video images of traffic conditions.

Pre-trip Internet traveler information assists travelers in making mode choices, travel time estimates, and route decisions prior to trip departure. The Traffic Control Center staff monitor the real-time traffic conditions and can intervene quickly to deal with emerging problems. They adjust traffic signal timings, dispatch enforcement personnel and advise motorists. Upon detection of an incident or other disruption to the flow of traffic, the operators in the Traffic Control Center can notify the appropriate authorities to clear the incident.

Visit the My Commute Map to learn more.
How can I have a traffic circle installed in my neighborhood?
If you have any traffic safety concerns with regard to your neighborhood intersection, contact Traffic Engineering at 206-296-6596 or 1-800-527-6237 (toll-free) and provide the intersecting street names. Traffic engineers will conduct a field investigation and collect traffic data. This information will be reviewed and used to determine next steps, such as whether or not the use of a traffic calming device, such as a traffic circle, would be appropriate.
What is a modern roundabout?
A modern roundabout is a type of intersection control that features a raised central median and does not use traffic signals. The modern roundabout requires vehicles to yield at each entry point, has a diameter from 100 to 200 feet (which distinguishes it from a traffic circle, rotary or great circle), and has raised (splitter) islands at each entry that deflect the flow of traffic into the roundabout in the proper direction of travel. To learn more about modern roundabouts, please contact Traffic Engineering at 206-296-6596 or 1-800-527-6237 (toll-free).
What is a traffic circle?
A traffic circle is a small raised island most often associated with traffic calming within residential neighborhoods. Unlike the modern roundabout, traffic circles are used primarily to address traffic speed and volume concerns. Also, while entering vehicles yield to vehicles in a modern roundabout, the right-of-way rule applies when two vehicles simultaneously approach a traffic circle. For more information about traffic circles, please contact Traffic Engineering at 206-296-6596 or 1-800-527-6237 (toll-free).
How do I request traffic count information for my road?
First check our GIS Traffic Count website. If there isn't a count location on the map for the road you need data, please call 206-263-6127 or e-mail us to request a search of our count database.
Can you tell me how many cars pass in front of my business?
If a traffic study has been performed on the road in front of your business we can break down the data, lane by lane, utilizing our traffic count software report. You can go to our GIS Traffic Count website to see the count data that we have posted. For more specific information about our Traffic Count Program please contact Traffic Engineering via e-mail or by phone at 206-296-6596 or 1-800-527-6237 toll-free.
Do you have a traffic count for the road in front of my house?
If the road is an arterial in our coverage count or key count program, or if a special request for a study was made recently by a county engineer to evaluate the road, we will have that information. You can go to our GIS Traffic Count website to see the count data that we have posted. For more specific information about our Traffic Count Program please contact Traffic Engineering via e-mail or by phone at 206-296-6596 or 1-800-527-6237 toll-free.
How many more cars will use the road in 10 years?
We are not able to predict the traffic volume for future years with past years' data. Population changes, economic conditions, planning and development, and zoning all impact traffic volume growth. Population has increased in many areas where traffic volumes decreased due to the increase in the price of gasoline. For more information please contact Traffic Engineering via e-mail or by phone at 206-296-6596 or 1-800-527-6237 toll-free.

Contact us

King County Road Services Division
Traffic Maintenance and Engineering
201 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104
206-477-3612
1-800-527-6237 toll-free
traffic.roads@kingcounty.gov
206-296-0176 fax
TTY: 711 Relay Service


Information from the Road Services Division's website is available to people with disabilities in alternate formats upon request by calling 206-263-6482 or 711 for the TTY relay service.

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