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Originally published Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 10:02 PM

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Bumper to Bumper

Bumpy sections to be repaved soon/What happens when drivers report HOV violators?

Q: "Enough is enough," says Brock Reed, of Seattle. He's hoping for an explanation about the sad shape of both directions of travel on Beacon...

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Q: "Enough is enough," says Brock Reed, of Seattle. He's hoping for an explanation about the sad shape of both directions of travel on Beacon Avenue South, just outside Sound Transit's Beacon Hill light-rail station.

"I've reported the several areas of bumpy and lumpy asphalt to the pothole rangers, and nothing, short of shoddy patchwork, seems to get done," said Reed, who lives in the Mount Baker neighborhood. "These bumps, lumps and holes in the asphalt have been there since construction of the station," which started in March 2005 and was opened with the rest of the Central Link line last July.

"Why can't the city get their teams together to repave the street, rather than just plopping some patch asphalt?"

A: Seattle transportation-department spokeswoman Peg Nielsen says 15th Avenue South between Beacon Avenue and South McClellan Street is scheduled to be repaved this summer, but Sound Transit is taking the lead on Beacon outside the tunnel station. Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray says that stretch is scheduled to be repaved in the next couple months.

Q: What happens when a carpool-lane violator is reported to the state Department of Transportation's "HERO" Web site or the toll-free number for reporting violators? Joanne Watanabe, of Seattle, probably isn't the only one who's curious.

A: WSDOT spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler says drivers can report carpool-lane violators or state ferry-line cutters online or by calling 877-764-HERO. The state will start out by mailing educational materials about carpool lanes and ferry-line usage to the registered owner of the vehicle spotted violating the rules.

Violators reported a second time are sent a letter from WSDOT. Third-time violators are sent a letter from the Washington State Patrol.

The state started its HERO program in 1984 as a way to encourage drivers to self-enforce carpool-lane rules. WSDOT says the program is now nationally recognized, and has become a model for similar programs in other states. The program was expanded this year to report those who cut in line at ferry terminals.

According to WSDOT, the HERO program takes up the slack from limited law-enforcement resources. Reports help the State Patrol target enforcement emphasis.

WSDOT's Web site with information about the state's HOV "HERO" program is at www.wsdot.wa.gov/hov/hero.htm.

By the way, drivers who feel they have been mistakenly reported have a right to dispute the report.

Bumper note

If studded tires are still on your vehicle, you're flirting with a $124 ticket. This state's most recent deadline for removing studded tires was 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

The original deadline was April 1, but the deadline was twice extended this month because of nasty weather and dubious driving conditions across the mountains and in much of Eastern Washington.

Should bad weather call for traction devices later in the season, all-weather tires, for instance, are traction tires, too. And those are still legal.

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