Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Do Walkable Communities Attract Smart People

Do you prefer walking or driving? Your answer may suggest something about your education level, according to results from a study just released by Smart Growth America. The BBC reports that study results say metropolitan areas in the United States that were found to be more pedestrian-friendly also often had higher levels of Gross Domestic Product — and their citizens were better educated.

The Smart Growth America study looked at the 30 biggest metro zones in the US, and ranked them by how much office, retail, and residential area was conducive to walking.

Christopher Leinberger, study author and professor at the George Washington University School of Business, says that walkable urban places "have a much higher propensity to have highly educated people — about one third higher than drivable metro areas, like Orlando, Tampa, and Phoenix."

The question is though, do walkable places attract educated people, or do educated people move to certain places that then become more walkable?

The top three cities in the study with the highest percentages of office, retail, and residential spots in walkable areas — New York, Washington, and Boston — had a lot of citizens age 25 and up who hold a least a bachelor’s degree. Washington had the most of those citizens in the entire study (51%), and Boston had third most (42%).

To date, there’s not enough data to definitively say why these urban areas are filled with educated people but the article has some interesting ideas. Click the "BBC" link above to read the full article.




City Council Asks Voters to Determine if Coal and Oil Trains Should Be Banned

A coal train travels through downtown Spokane. Photo
courtesy Spokesman-Review archives.
Spokane's City Council last night voted 6-0 to ask voters if they want to fine railroads for running
coal and oil trains through the city.

According to the Spokesman-Review, the November ballot initiative would impose a $261 fine for each rail car of crude oil and uncovered coal that passes through downtown.

Opponents say passing the ordinance would snarl the city in unnecessary lawsuits but supporters believe it will protect the aquifer from coal dust or oil that could seep into the water supply in the event of a spill.

Is this move even legal? The Spokesman-Review reports that the Federal Railway Safety Act, first passed by Congress in 1970, permits local governments to adopt rules to “eliminate or reduce an essentially local safety or security hazard” if the Department of Transportation has not taken action.

City Councilmember Breean Beggs, also an attorney, said Spokane’s unique aquifer would likely withstand a legal challenge as an “essentially local” hazard, though the courts have struck down local regulations pertaining to rivers because they are more prevalent near railroad tracks than aquifers.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tuning A Car Radio Was Considered Distracted Driving in the 1930s

Speaking of distracted driving, according to Mental Floss, in 1930, laws were proposed in Massachusetts and St. Louis to ban radios while driving. Opponents of car radios apparently argued that they distracted drivers and caused accidents by taking the driver's attention away from the road.

The first car radio was introduced in 1922 by Chevrolet. It cost $200 and had an antenna that covered the car’s entire roof, batteries that fit under the front seat and two huge speakers attached behind the seat.

By the early 1930s, the more streamlined built-in Motorola radios were standard features in cars.  By 1946, 9 million cars had radios. By 1963, 50 million cars – over 60 percent – were outfitted with radios. By then, over one third of America’s radio listening occurred in the car.

Anti-radio laws were signed in small municipalities but were mostly ignored. In 2002, the NHTSA blamed 66% of the 43,000 fatal car crashes on “Playing with the radio or CD.”Conversely, here are some statistics from Mental Floss on another distracted driving practice; texting and driving:

  • According to tests conducted by the University of Utah, a driver is four times more likely to cause an accident while driving drunk or talking on a cell phone and eight times more likely to cause an accident while texting. 

  • A 2009 study by Car and Driver magazine measured two drivers’ reaction times to the onset of a simulated brake light on their front windshields. The unimpaired driver took .45 seconds to brake and traveled 4 feet before stopping. The texting driver took .57 seconds to brake and traveled 41 feet before stopping. 

  • According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,870 people died in texting-related car crashes in 2008 and 515,000 people were injured in various car crashes in the United States. Around 28 percent of all crashes in 2008 were caused by drivers in the age group of 18 and 29, who admitted to texting while driving.

Local Construction Update

WSDOT
US 2/Sunset Blvd. to I-90- Weekday evenings from about 7 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, be alert for possible lane restrictions as crews are upgrading guardrails.

US 2-Division Street/Curb and Sidewalk- Northbound Division Street is reduced to two lanes for curb and sidewalk improvements. You may experience congestion and some delays.

I-90 Eastbound/Hamilton Street Ramp- Monday through Wednesday, July 25-27, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the eastbound I-90 off ramp to northbound Hamilton Street will be reduced to one lane for pavement repairs.

I-90 Eastbound/US 195 Off Ramp- On Wednesday, July 27, beginning at about 5 a.m. for up to 24 hours, the eastbound I-90 to southbound US 195 ramp will be closed with a signed detour in place for guardrail upgrades.

I-90/Westbound Freya Off-Ramp- On Friday, July 22, beginning at 7 p.m. until Monday, July 25 at 6 a.m., westbound I-90 will be reduced to two lanes. Westbound drivers should be alert for slow traffic, congestion, and some delays. The westbound Sprague Avenue on ramp and westbound Freya off ramp will remain open. The Fancher Road westbound on-ramp will be closed with a detour in place.  In addition, from 11 p.m. Friday, July 22 until 3 a.m. Saturday, July 23, westbound I-90 will be reduced to one lane for setup of temporary concrete barrier.  This will be repeated for temporary barrier removal on Sunday evening, July 24, into Monday morning at 3 a.m. Second Avenue is now closed between Havana Street and Freya Street.  A signed detour will be in place.  Also, westbound I-90 may have intermittent nightly  lane restrictions during the week. Crews are constructing a new westbound Freya Street off-ramp approximately ¼ mile to the east of the current one.

US 195/Hatch Road Intersection Vicinity- Beginning Monday, July 25 through Friday, July 29, northbound US 195 at Hatch Road may be reduced to one lane at times for paving.  In addition, Hatch road will be closed.

US 395-Division Street/Hawthorne Rd. Intersection- Hawthorne Road is closed east and west of Division for intersection improvements and a new signal system.  Division Street turn lanes are closed.  All mainline lanes of Division are open.

SPOKANE VALLEY
32nd Avenue from Dishman-Mica Road to University Road- Closed through mid-August for street preservation work. Signs detour traffic via Dishman-Mica Road and University Road.

32nd Avenue from University Road to Pines Road- Reduced to one lane in each direction through mid-August. The south sidewalk is closed. Anticipate brief interruptions to side streets and driveways from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

32nd Avenue at the 13800 Block- Reduced to a single lane for utility work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, July 25. Flaggers will direct traffic through the work area.

Broadway Avenue between Sullivan Road and Conklin Road- Reduced to a single lane in each direction through the end of July. At least one lane in each direction will remain open except during possible overnight closures July 25-29 from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Signs detour traffic via Conklin Road and Sprague Avenue. Expect additional overnight closures to be announced. 

Indiana Avenue and Evergreen Road Intersection- Effective through July 29, Indiana westbound will be reduced to one through lane and one left turn lane, with Indiana eastbound reduced to two lanes with right turns permitted from the curb lane.  Evergreen northbound will be reduced to a single lane with turns permitted in both directions.

Southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River- Traffic is reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. Turns from Indiana Avenue onto northbound Sullivan Road are reduced to one lane. Southbound Sullivan Road at Flora Pit Road will be reduced to one lane July 25-29, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Centennial Trail below the bridge is open.

SPOKANE COUNTY

      Market Street (Parksmith to Farwell)- Finishing up project, shoulder work, clean up. Road Open to traffic, Watch for flaggers and possible lane restrictions.

      Seven Mile Bridge & Seven Mile Road- Bridge deck work. Bypass Road in Place, Speed Limit 25mph.

      Hawthorne Road West (Waikiki to US 395)- Road reconstruction, stormwater drainage swales, trees, irrigation, curb, signal improvement, bike lane, striping. Full Road closure until 8/30. Whitworth University remains open.
     Hawthorne Road East (US 395 to US 2)- Road reconstruction, stormwater sand filters, curb, signal, bike, striping. On Street Parking Prohibited.

     SPOKANE CITY
     1st Avenue Et Al, Erie to Helena- Work on the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Ivory Street has startedThis project will provide storm water conveyance to the Pacific and Perry Infiltration Facility and replace old water distribution lines. It also includes associated street construction. The streets impacted include 1st Avenue from Erie Street to Helena Street,   Perry Street from 1st Avenue to Sprague Avenue, Ivory Street from 2nd Avenue to Sprague Avenue, Helena Street from 1st Avenue to Sprague Avenue, and Perry Street from 2nd Avenue to Hogan Street.

      37th Avenue, Regal Street to Custer Street- 37th Avenue from Freya to Custer Street is closed. The detour route is Glenrose to Palouse Highway to Regal Street. This work is to reconstruct the road, include pavement replacement, curbs, sidewalk, bike lanes, stormwater piping, and a 36 inch water main.

       Ben Burr Trail and Connection to the Centennial Trail- Work continues along the trail at 3rd Avenue and Arthur and 2nd Avenue and Perry. This project will design and construct a shared use paved trail connection for bicyclists and pedestrian as well as security lighting installation. The project will be from the Centennial Trail at the Gonzaga Bridge southeast of Erie Street and continuing to Liberty Park where a connection will be made to the existing Ben Burr Trail.  The trail will then continue on the existing Ben Burr Trail to the trailhead immediately south of Underhill Park.

      Bridge Avenue and Monroe Street CSO Work- Summit Blvd/Bridge Avenue is closed to traffic for construction of a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) tank and pipingLincoln has one northbound lane open.  Lincoln southbound is closed at Broadway with local access maintained to Anthony’s restaurant and parking lots.

Hatch Road Grind and Overlay Work- Hatch Road will be closed from Hangman to Hwy 195 beginning the week of July 25 – 29 for work between Hangman and on Hatch Bridge.  Hangman will remain open. Crews are grinding Hatch Rd. working downhill from 57th Avenue to Hwy 195.  The top of Hatch Road has been completed.  Crews are working on the mid-section currently with the section nearest Hwy 195 being the last segment to be completed. 

Hazel's Creek Stormwater Treatment Project- Work continues on Freya south of 37th Avenue.  Construction of a stormwater treatment system with disposal ponds and stormwater piping is beginning.  This system will be an extension of the existing Hazel’s Creek Facility on 42nd Avenue.

Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry Street- Work continues along Indiana Ave., beginning at Perry St. and proceeding from East to West.  Indiana Ave. from Ruby St. to Perry St. is closed with East-West traffic detoured to Mission Ave., Montgomery Ave. and Illinois Ave. North-South arterials within the construction zone at Hamilton Ave. and Perry St. are open. This project includes curb ramps, storm swales, new curb, waterline replacement, signal installation work and some parking removal.

Main Avenue and Division Street Intersection Improvements- Work continues on the southwest corner of the intersection of Division and Main on sidewalk removal and excavation for underground storm water improvements. Work on this project involves curb bumpouts at all four corners of Division Street and Main Avenue, the removal and replacement of existing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, ADA upgrades, installation of planter boxes and planting.

Martin Luther King Jr. Way Phase 2A Sherman to Erie StreetWork on the Martin Luther King Jr. Way extension has begun. Phase 2A is an extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Sherman to Erie Street. This is a continuation of the Riverside Extension Phase 1 project. This project includes a new asphalt pavement street, utility infrastructure, storm drainage improvements, street lighting, street trees, and re-vegetation with native species. In lieu of sidewalks, the project proposes to construct a section of the Ben Burr trail to provide pedestrian circulation. The trail will be separated from the roadway traffic and aligned parallel to the Spokane River, allowing pedestrians through access with greater aesthetic experience. The right-of-way area for the sidewalk will be used to provide bike lanes and planting/storm water treatment areas.

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 8th Avenue to 2nd AvenueWork on Monroe Street from 4th Ave south to 8th Ave continues. Landscape and sprinkler work continues on Monroe Street and in the swale pond along 4th Avenue5th Avenue is open to local and business access between Lincoln and Monroe. Monroe and Lincoln are closed completely to through traffic. The detour is along 14th Avenue and Bernard/Washington/Stevens and 2nd and 3rd Avenue. When complete, this project will reconstruct the roadway from 8th to 2nd Avenue and install storm water and water facilities.  

Monroe and Lincoln Street, Main Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Traffic control is in place to minimize the effects of backups during peak traffic hours.  Drivers are asked to be patient and exercise caution when in the construction zone. Both Monroe and Lincoln have lane restrictions with four way stop signs located at the intersections of 1st, Sprague, and Riverside Avenues. This is a full depth roadway replacement and full depth replacement between curbs on Lincoln Street and Monroe Street; Main Avenue from Monroe Street to Lincoln Street; and Monroe Street from Spokane Falls Boulevard to Main Avenue. Some minor curbing and ADA curb ramps will be installed where necessary.

Pettet Drive/TJ Meenach Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO 12) ProjectPettet Drive is closed to traffic until November. The clover leaf that services TJ Meenach, Down River and Pettit Drive (three out of the four legs) is in service. The leg that comes off of Pettit north re-directs citizens to Northwest Blvd. Vehicles traveling southbound on Down River Drive have two options; enter onto TJ Meenach or continue under the bridge and turn uphill to Northwest Blvd. This project will build a 690,000 gallon storage facility and connections to existing CSO Basin 10 outfall.  Work also includes repaving of Pettet Drive and pedestrian/bike trail construction.

      Residential Grind and Overlay Project- The following Grind and Overlay residential pavement preservation projects have begun.  This work includes minor subgrade repair, crack sealing, modifying ADA ramps, and adding striping.  The roads will be completely closed:

o   Garfield Street from 26th Avenue to Rockwood Boulevard.
o   Madison Street from Boone to Sinto, Sharp from Madison to Jefferson and Cedar Street from Boone to Sharp
o   Lee Street from Mission to Nora, Nora from Lee to Crestline, Crestline from Mission to Nora.
o   Cannon Street from Kieran to Garland.
o   Arthur Street from 37th to 39th Avenue



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Spokane Reduced Carbon Monoxide Pollution

The Spokane Clean Air Agency has recently gotten federal approval for a limited plan to keep the air clean when it comes to carbon monoxide (CO) emissions, due to work done here to reduce CO pollution. Spokane has not violated federal standards for CO pollution since 1996, but at one time, the area had hundreds of violations a year.

Carbon monoxide in concentrated amounts is lethal. But it is also harmful in smaller amounts because it reduces the flow of oxygen to the body’s vital organs and tissues, according to the regional clean air agency.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the new plan may end mandatory vehicle emission testing by the end of 2019 at the earliest.

In 1976, Spokane saw 404 violations of the standard that limits CO to no more than 9 parts per million over eight hours. It was declared a “non-attainment” area and had to undertake a strict program to get the problem under control. Since then, CO levels have dropped steadily since; Spokane hasn’t seen a reading of 3 parts per million or higher since 2009.

Most of that reduction is due to improved fuel mileage, new vehicle pollution technology and blended fuels that reduce emissions.

The city of Spokane also synchronized stoplights and installed one-way streets to reduce vehicles idling at stoplights downtown. SRTC conducts air quality modeling that simulates the impact transportation projects and programs will have on air quality before they are constructed or implemented.

Spokane County was deemed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to have attained the carbon monoxide standard in 2005, and was required to develop two 10-year maintenance plans. The second of those two plans was approved recently.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hazardous Materials Consultant Says Oil Train Derailment Could Be Extremely Challenging

Photo courtesy the Spokesman-Review
Two to three oil trains a day travel through the area on over a mile of elevated train tracks that run right through downtown Spokane. An article in today's Spokesman-Review says the proximity of the tracks to Spokane’s most densely populated area makes downtown particularly vulnerable in the event of an oil train derailment.

A hazardous materials and emergency planning consultant for the city of Spokane testified last week before the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which is reviewing a proposed oil terminal in Vancouver, Washington. If built, the terminal could mean up to four additional oil trains daily through Spokane.

The Spokane Fire Department and mutual aid crews might be able to control a derailment in sparsely populated areas of the city but a downtown derailment would pose “extreme challenges. There is a lot more to this story at the link above.

Summer Committee Meeting Schedule

Summer at SRTC always means changes to our schedule of committee meetings. We like to give committee members a break when we can so here is what the schedule looks like for the next couple months. Everything gets back to normal in September:

  • There WILL be a Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting on Monday, July 25. The agenda can be found here. This could be a really interesting one if you are interested in how construction projects happen, from beginning to end. Guest speakers from partner agencies will explain the process, and the timeline.
  • TTC meeting scheduled for July 27 has been canceled
  • The Board meeting scheduled for August 11 has been cancelled

Friday, July 15, 2016

Workshop Ideas Include Changes to North Spokane Corridor

A workshop on ways to make the area transportation system friendlier to neighborhoods came up
with an interesting idea on changing the design of the southern part of the North Spokane Corridor into a boulevard rather than a freeway.

The freeway, currently under construction, is designed to be a high-speed, multilane freeway with elevated sections south of the Spokane River, with a connection to I-90.

According to the Spokesman-Review, participants at a workshop funded by an Every Place Counts Design Challenge grant (a special program of the U.S. Department of Transportation) were charged with finding ways to  “reconnect neighborhoods and improve community health, mobility and opportunity.”

Spokane was one of four cities selected to participate in the program with workshops led by the federal engineers and consultants. About 60 local officials and neighborhood leaders attended.

Besides changing the scope of the new freeway, there was also the suggestion of building a land bridge over I-90 at Liberty Park to connect the two sides of the freeway and create new recreation and opportunities linked to a trail network.Another idea was to start construction of the Children of the Sun trail planned for the North Spokane Corridor as soon as possible and use it to create small parks.

A final report from the workshop is expected in a couple weeks.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Alarm Clock App Wakes You Earlier When Traffic Is Bad

I hate those days I get up at normal time, leave the house on time but still end up getting to work late. Issues with the time-space continuum? No, just traffic problems. But that's a thing of the past (supposedly).

new iOS-only app called Snorelax will automatically wake you earlier if traffic problems along your daily route could cause you to be late.

The $2 app monitors real-time traffic conditions, including accidents and construction projects and factors in historical traffic data to help predict how long it might take you to get to work on a given day. You just enter your daily route and go to sleep knowing that you'll make it to work on time—unless you hit that snooze button.

Some Crazy Pictures Caught By Google Street View

Scuba divers in full gear on a city street. A guy getting out of the trunk of a car. A guy in a horse
mask eating a banana at a table near the road. A prison break. And kids threatening Gumby. What do all these things have in common? They, and some other
really strange stuff, all images caught by Google Street View in their quest to document pretty much every street in the
country.

Your Daily Dish has some pretty crazy stuff you're going to want to check out. If we could just hear from the people caught in these photos. They would have some 'splainin' to do.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Avista to Install Electric Vehicle Chargers in Homes and Workplaces

Are you driving an electric vehicle yet? Yeah, me neither. But within a couple decades, we all could be. At least that's what the Northwest Power and Conservation Council suggests, according to the Spokesman-Review- that 25 percent of passenger vehicles in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana could be electric by 2035. In preparation, area power company Avista Corp. will start installing 272 charging connections in region workplaces, homes and public areas this month.

Currently, about 350-400 of Avista's Washington customers own electric vehicles or electric-gas hybrids. Even so, Avista will install 120 charging stations in homes over a two-year period. Another 80 charging systems will be installed in workplaces and public areas.

If you own an electric vehicle, you can apply to have a charging station installed at your home for no cost.  Plugging an electric vehicle into a 110-volt outlet provides about 5 miles of driving distance per hour of charging, compared to about 25 miles per hour of charging with an AC Level 2 charging system.

The ideal candidate for the program is an electric car owner whose employer also is willing to have a workplace charger installed.

Transit Users Want System Improvements, Not Perks

WiFi- Not as important to transit
users as originally though.
Perks are nice but it turns out that what people really want on public transit is better service. According to Wired, a new report from research group TransitCenter says bonuses like power outlets, wifi and better shelters aren't really all that important to transit users. More than 3,000 respondents to a survey from 17 regions across the country ranked outlets and wifi dead last in what they would like to see on their commutes. What they did request though was more reliable service and spending funding for things like more plush seats and wifi on system improvements instead. Very interesting; there is more info here.





Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Local Road Construction Update

WSDOT
US 2/Sunset Blvd. to I-90- Weekday evenings from about 7 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, be alert for possible lane restrictions as crews upgrade guardrails.

US 2/Airport Interchange to I-90; I-90/Geiger to Argonne- Beginning Monday, July 11, weekdays at various locations on these sections there could be delays for bridge inspections for up to 30 minutes per location.  Possible shoulder or lane restrictions.

US 2-Division Street/Curb and Sidewalk- Northbound Division Street is reduced to two lanes.  There may be congestion and delays. Curb and sidewalk improvements.  

I-90/Westbound Freya Off-Ramp- Westbound drivers should be alert for narrow shoulder as crews construct a new westbound Freya Street off-ramp about 1/4 miles to the east of the current ramp. Expect lane restrictions on 2nd Avenue.

US 395-Division Street/Hawthorne Rd. Intersection- Hawthorne road closed east and west of Division for intersection improvements and a new signal system.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Market Street (Parksmith to Farwell)- Sewer and fiber optic installation and rehabilitation of the roadway.  

Seven Mile Bridge and Seven Mile Road- A detour is in place with the speed limit reduced to 25 mph wile the bridge is demolished and rebuilt.

Hawthorne Road West (Waikiki to US395)- Roadway rehabilitation, including stormwater drainage swales, trees, irrigation, new curbing, traffic signal improvement, bike lanes, and striping. Full Road closure until 8/30.

Hawthorne Road East (US395 to US2)- Roadway rehabilitation including stormwater sand filters, curbing, a traffic signal, bike lane, and striping.  

Houston Road from Colville Road to Grove Road- Crews will be working on ditching, culvert and shoulder work during day hours only. Road is open to local traffic, bus traffic and emergency vehicles around the clock. For all other traffic, the road is closed from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

SPOKANE VALLEY
32nd Avenue from Dishman-Mica Road to University Road - Closed through mid-August for street preservation work. Signs detour traffic via Dishman-Mica Road and University Road.

32nd Avenue from University Road to Pines Road - Reduced to one lane in each direction through mid-August. The north sidewalk is closed. 

Broadway Avenue between Sullivan Road and Conklin Road-Reduced to a single lane in each direction through the end of July. At least one lane in each direction will remain open except during overnight closures on July 11-15 from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Signs detour traffic via Conklin Road and Sprague Avenue. Expect additional overnight closures to be announced.

Fancher Road between Trent Avenue and Sharp Avenue- Traffic reduced to one lane in each direction through early July.

Indiana Avenue and Evergreen Road Intersection- Indiana westbound reduced to one lane and one left turn lane through July 29, with Indiana eastbound reduced to two lanes with right turns permitted from the curb lane.  Evergreen northbound is reduced to a single lane with turns permitted in both directions.
 
Southbound Sullivan Road Bridge- 
Traffic is reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. Turns from Indiana Avenue onto northbound Sullivan Road are reduced to one lane. Southbound Sullivan Road at Flora Pit Road is reduced to one lane July 11-15, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Centennial Trail below the bridge is open.

SPOKANE CITY
2016 Residental Chip Seal Project- The Residential Chip seal pavement preservation projects will be Fog Sealing next week.  Chip Seal projects include minor pavement repair, crack sealing, sweeping and ¼ inch chip and fog seal. Fog Sealing will be at Rebecca and Upriver Drive on Tuesday, July 12. The road will be closed to all traffic during the Fog Seal process. Traffic may resume on these streets 2 to 4 hours after the Fog seal has been applied.
2016 Grind and Overlay Project- The following 2016 Grind and Overlay residential pavement preservation projects have begun. This work is to include minor subgrade repair, crack sealing, modify ADA ramps, and also add in striping.  These projects require a full closure during the work.
o   Garfield Street from Rockwood Blvd. To 25th to 26th Avenue.
o   Madison Street from Boone to Sinto, Sharp from Madison to Jefferson and Cedar Street from Boone to Sharp
o   Lee Street from Mission to Nora, Nora from Lee to Crestline, Crestline from Mission to Nora.
o   Cannon Street from Kieran to Garland.
o   Arthur Street from 37th to 39th Avenue


37th Avenue, Regal Street to Custer Street- 37th Avenue from Freya to Custer Street is closed. Freya is the detour route. This work is to reconstruct the road, include pavement replacement, curbs, sidewalk, bike lanes, stormwater piping, and a water main.
2016 Street Maintenance Curb Ramp Project-  Work continues on Lyons Avenue from Perry to Pittsburg. Work is currently in the area of 7th Avenue from Browne to Division Street to install ADA compliant curb ramps at each corner intersection:
Ben Burr Trail and Connection to the Centennial Trail-  Work continues along the trail at 3rd Avenue and Arthur and 2nd Avenue and Perry. This project will design and construct a shared use paved trail connection for bicyclists and pedestrian as well as security lighting installation.  The project will be from the Centennial Trail at the Gonzaga Bridge southeast of Erie Street and continuing to Liberty Park where a connection will be made to the existing Ben Burr Trail.  The trail will then continue on the existing Ben Burr Trail to the trailhead immediately south of Underhill Park.

Bridge Avenue and Monroe Street CSO Work- Summit Blvd./Bridge Avenue is closed to traffic. 
Lincoln has one northbound lane open.  Lincoln southbound is closed at Broadway. This project will construct a Combined Sewer Overflow Tank (CSO) tank and piping.

Cochran Street Sewer Work- The Sewer department will be working in Cochran Street between Dalton and Courtland Avenues.  A detour route is in place. 

Freya and Thor Paving-  Skin Patch work on Freya and Thor at the intersections of 3rd Avenue begins Thursday, July 7 after 9 a.m. There will be lane closures with flaggers in place. Skin Patching adds 1-2 inches of asphalt on top of existing pavement. It is a temporary way to improve the surface of an extremely deteriorated street when there is not funding for a complete repair. Skin Patching will last about 2 to 3 years before the cracks in the original pavement propagate back to the surface.

Hatch Road Grind and Overlay Work- Crews are grinding Hatch Rd. working downhill from 57th Avenue to Hwy 195.  Flaggers are directing traffic with one lane open at a time.  Crews are working on the mid-section currently with the section nearest Hwy 195 being the last segment to be completed.  The work near 195 that includes the bridge will require a full closure.  The detour route will include Hwy 195 with local access located east of Hwy 195 on Hatch Road using the completed section of Hatch Road east to 57th Avenue as the detour route.

Hazels Creek Stormwater Treatment Project-Freya Street is anticipated to open between 37th Avenue to Palouse Highway the week of July 11 after construction of a stormwater treatment system with disposal ponds and stormwater piping is beginning.  

Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry Street- Full construction starts Monday, July 11, proceeding from East to West.  Indiana Ave. from Dakota St. to Perry St. is closed with East-West traffic detoured to Mission Ave., Montgomery Ave. and Illinois Ave.  North-South arterials within the construction zone at Hamilton Ave. and Perry St. will remain open. This project includes curb ramps, storm swales, new curb, waterline replacement, signal installation work and some parking removal

Main Avenue and Division Street Intersection Improvements-  Work continues on the southwest corner of the intersection of Division and Main on sidewalk removal and excavation for underground storm water improvements.  Pedestrian detours are in place. There are lane restrictions on both Main and Division.  Work on this project involves curb bumpouts at all four corners of Division Street and Main Avenue, the removal and replacement of existing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, ADA upgrades, installation of planter boxes and planting.

Martin Luther King Jr. Way Phase 2A; Sherman to Erie Street- Phase 2A is an extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Sherman to Erie Street. This is a continuation of the Riverside Extension Phase 1 project. This project will provide vehicular and truck traffic an efficient route that eliminates several safety issues and increases capacity into and out of the downtown area while passing along the south edge of the University District. These improvements include a new asphalt street, utility infrastructure, storm drainage improvements, street lighting, street trees, and re-vegetation with native species. In lieu of sidewalks, the project proposes to construct a section of the Ben Burr trail to provide pedestrian circulation. The trail will be separated from roadway traffic and aligned parallel to the Spokane River, allowing pedestrians access with greater aesthetic experience. 
Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 8th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Work on Monroe Street from 4th Ave south to 8th Ave continues. Curb installation will occur between 7th and 8th Avenues on Monroe Street beginning Monday, July 11Landscape and sprinkler work also begins taht day on Monroe and in the swale pond along 4th AvenuePaving begins on Monroe Street the week of July 18. Monroe and Lincoln are closed with a detour along 14th Avenue and Bernard/Washington/Stevens and 2nd and 3rd Avenue. The on ramp for eastbound traffic at Monroe is open. Traffic exiting Maple Street eastbound is detoured off of 4th at Jefferson Street. This project reconstructs the roadway from 8th to 2nd Avenue and installs storm water and water facilities.  

Monroe and Lincoln Street, Main Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Starting Monday, July 11 Lincoln Street will have four way stop signs located at the intersections of 1st, Sprague and Riverside. Water work will require the closure of westbound traffic on Riverside from Post to Monroe Street. Traffic control is in place to minimize the effects of backups during peak traffic hours. Monroe has two open lanes of traffic on the west side of the street. This is a full depth roadway replacement and full depth replacement between curbs on Lincoln Street and Monroe Street; Main Avenue from Monroe Street to Lincoln Street; and Monroe Street from Spokane Falls Boulevard to Main Avenue. Some minor curbing and ADA curb ramps will be installed where necessary.

Pettet Drive/TJ Meenach Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO 12) Project- Pettet Drive is closed to traffic. The clover leaf that services TJ Meenach, Down River and Pettit Drive (three out of the four legs) will be in service. The leg that comes off of Pettit north bound will re-direct citizens to Northwest Blvd. Vehicles traveling southbound on Down River Drive have two options; enter onto TJ Meenach or continue under the bridge and turn uphill to Northwest Blvd. This project will build a 690,000 gallon storage facility and connections to existing CSO Basin 10 outfall.  Work also includes repaving of Pettet Drive and pedestrian/bike trail construction.

Rowan Avenue Improvemetns from Driscoll Boulevard to Monroe Street- Rowan Avenue from Alberta to Ash Street is closed.  The intersection of Albert and Ash is open to north and southbound traffic. The intersection of Belt and Rowan is closed. Ash Street from Nebraska to Everett Avenues is reduced to one lane through Friday, July 15 for paving of Rowan Avenue. This project is for reconstruction work from Driscoll Blvd. to Monroe Street. The project also includes installation of bike lanes, filling sidewalk gaps and replacing water lines.

Street Maintenance Residential Crack Sealing- Work is finishing on C St. bounded by Wellesley to Heroy and A Street to G Street. Work will begin in Wedgewood bounded by Weile to Woodside and Five Mile Rd. to east end of the City Limits

Wall Street, Main Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard- Wall Street from Main to Spokane Falls will close Monday, July 11. Work will start at Main and Wall heading north toward Spokane Falls. This work is to construct storm water improvements, sidewalks, new asphalt pavement, traffic signal revisions, an irrigation system, and add lighting.
Wellesley Freya Utility Work for Future WSDOT Roundabout- This work is in preparation for a future roundabout being installed by WSDOT. Wellesley is closed from Market to Rebecca. Freya is closed from Broad to Longfellow.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Liberty, The Lyft for Rural America

One of the most common needs I hear from people when out in the public is that they need
transportation to services such as medical appointments and shopping from rural areas. Because outlying areas often have less expensive housing, many people choose to live outside the urban area. This is fine except that many start to experience mobility issues as they get older. The distance to the nearest city or a lack of public transit in rural areas can make getting around a challenge.

According to Silicon Prairie News, a new service could be the Uber or Lyft for rural dwellers. Liberty offers an Uber-like app people can use to get rides to the nearest urban area.

Besides getting people where they need to go, Liberty creators say the service will add jobs (drivers for the service) in rural communities where they are often needed.

So far, Liberty is only available in Texas and Nebraska and there is no word when, or if, it will be expanding.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Drone Video From Inside SR 99 Tunnel

This is kind of old but really cool. In early May, the Washington State Department of Transportation flew a drone through the SR 99 tunnel with a camera to show the progress made on drilling the tunnel.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Local Road Construction Update

SPOKANE CITY
Chip Seal Work (Residential)- The residential chip seal work around Comstock Park was not 100% completed due to a machinery breakdown so work starts again today, Wednesday, July 6th, in the afternoon to complete the other streets. Howard St. was completed and parking by the pool should not be a problem on Wednesday the 6th. 

Other chip seal work started on Kathleen Avenue (Indian Trail) yesterday. The road is completely closed to ALL traffic from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.   No Parking signs are in place. 


Northwest Boulevard and Columbia Circle (CSO 6)- This project is substantially complete. It included the installation of a 900,000 gallon tank. New water mains will be added at H Street, Glass Avenue and Columbia Circle these lines will be connected to the new main along Columbia Circle. Columbia Circle, H Street and Glass Avenue will be repaved and sidewalk repairs will happen in select areas. Many driveways will be replaced to match the new street grade.

Wall Street, Main Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard- Wall Street from Main to Spokane Falls will close Monday, July 11. Work will start at Main and Wall heading north toward Spokane Falls. This work is to construct storm water improvements, sidewalks, new asphalt pavement, traffic signal revisions, an irrigation system, and add lighting.
Rowan Avenue Improvements from Driscoll Boulevard to Monroe Street- Ash Street from Nebraska to Everett Avenues will be reduced to one lane from Monday, July 11 to Friday, July 15 for paving of Rowan Avenue. This project is for reconstruction work from Driscoll Blvd. to Monroe Street. The project also includes installation of bike lanes, filling sidewalk gaps and replacing water lines.

37th Avenue, Regal Street to Custer Street- 37th Avenue from Freya to Custer Street will be closed starting Tuesday, July 5. 37th will be closed at Havana Street. The detour route is Glenrose to Palouse Highway to Regal Street.  Freya is currently closed from 37th Avenue to the Palouse Highway for work on Hazel’s Creek.  When this work completes Freya will be the detour route for the 37th Avenue closure. This work is to reconstruct the road, including pavement replacement, curbs, sidewalk, bike lanes, stormwater piping, and adding a water main.
Ben Burr Trail and Connection to the Centennial Trail-  Work continues along the trail at 3rd Avenue and Arthur and 2nd Avenue and Perry. This project will design and construct a shared use paved trail connection for bicyclists and pedestrian as well as security lighting installation.  The project will be from the Centennial Trail at the Gonzaga Bridge southeast of Erie Street and continuing to Liberty Park where a connection will be made to the existing Ben Burr Trail.  The trail will then continue on the existing Ben Burr Trail to the trailhead immediately south of Underhill Park.

Bridge Avenue and Monroe Street CSO Work-  Summit Blvd./Bridge Ave. is closed to traffic. Lincoln has one northbound lane open.  Lincoln southbound is closed at Broadway with local access maintained to Anthony’s restaurant and parking lots. This project will construct a Combined Sewer Overflow Tank (CSO) tank and the necessary piping for our Cleaner River Faster Program.

Hatch Road Grind and Overlay Work- Streets Crews are grinding Hatch Rd. working downhill from 57th Avenue. There will be lane restrictions and some delays at times.

Hazels Creek Stormwater Treatment Project- Freya Street is closed from 37th Avenue to Palouse Highway until mid-July. Work continues on Freya south of 37th Avenue. Paving is scheduled early in the week. Construction of a stormwater treatment system with disposal ponds and stormwater piping is beginning. 

High Drive Phase II, Bernard to Grand Street Repair Work- Repairs to the storm sewer will go to Thursday, July 7. Lane restrictions will be in place at High Drive and Lamonte and High Drive and Manito. Flaggers are on site to direct traffic.

Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry Street- Limited construction activities will begin Tuesday, July 5. Full construction should be underway Monday, July 11, proceeding from East to West. Indiana Ave. from Dakota St. to Perry St. will be closed with East-West traffic detoured to Mission Ave., Montgomery Ave. and Illinois Ave.  North-South arterials within the construction zone at Hamilton Ave. and Perry St. will remain open. This project includes curb ramps, storm swales, new curb, waterline replacement, signal installation work and some parking removal.

Main Avenue and Division Street Intersection Improvements- Work continues on sidewalk removal and excavation for underground storm water improvements.  Pedestrian detours will be in place. Work on this project involves curb bumpouts at all four corners of Division Street and Main Avenue, the removal and replacement of existing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, ADA upgrades, installation of planter boxes and planting. 

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 8th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Work on Monroe Street from 4th Ave. south to 8th Ave. continues. Monroe and Lincoln are closed completely to traffic. Detours are in place. The current two way traffic on Lincoln will remain open between 4th Avenue and 6th Avenue to provide access.  Access along 7th will be provided through the work zone, but will be on unpaved surfaces.  There may be times when access along 7th Avenue will be restricted to limited hours during the day.  Monroe between 14th and 8th Avenue will remain open for local traffic to serve the businesses and residents in that area.   

The detour for through traffic is along 14th Avenue and Bernard/Washington/Stevens and 2nd and 3rd Avenue. This phase of construction is expected to last 3 to 4 weeks.  Once this phase is complete, Monroe will be opened to traffic southbound.  Northbound traffic will continue to be detoured until the project is complete.

This project reconstructs the roadway from 8th to 2nd Avenue and installs storm water and water facilities.  

Monroe and Lincoln Street, Main Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Work is underway.  Monroe has two open lanes of traffic on the west side of the street. Four way stop signs are located at the intersections of 1st, Sprague, and Riverside Avenues. This is a full depth roadway replacement and full depth replacement between curbs on Lincoln Street and Monroe Street; Main Avenue from Monroe Street to Lincoln Street; and Monroe Street from Spokane Falls Boulevard to Main Avenue. Some minor curbing and ADA curb ramps will be installed where necessary.

Northwest Boulevard and Columbia Circle (CSO 6)- Construction of catch basins and drywells in the following intersections has begun:  Wellington and Cora (both Coras), Park Blvd. and Cora, Sheridan Court and Cora. This project includes the installation of a 900,000 gallon tank. New water mains will be added at H Street, Glass Avenue and Columbia Circle these lines will be connected to the new main along Columbia Circle. Columbia Circle, H Street and Glass Avenue will be repaved and sidewalk repairs will happen in select areas. 

Pettet Drive/TJ Meenach Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO 12) Project- Work is underway and Pettet Drive is closed to traffic until November. The clover leaf that services TJ Meenach, Down River and Pettit Drive (three out of the four legs) is open. The leg that comes off of Pettit northbound re-directs citizens to Northwest Blvd.  Vehicles traveling southbound on Down River Drive have two options; enter onto TJ Meenach or continue under the bridge and turn uphill to Northwest Blvd. This project will build a 690,000 gallon storage facility and connections to existing CSO Basin 10 outfall.  Work also includes repaving of Pettet Drive and pedestrian/bike trail construction.

Rowan Avenue Improvements from Driscoll Boulevard to Monroe Street- Phase II of Rowan from Alberta to Monroe Street is underway. Rowan Avenue from Alberta to Ash Street is closed. The intersection of Albert and Ash is open to north and southbound traffic. The intersection of Belt and Rowan is closed to traffic for the duration of the project. This project is for reconstruction work from Driscoll Blvd. to Monroe Street. The project also includes installation of bike lanes, filling sidewalk gaps and replacing water lines.

Wall Street, Main Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard- Wall Street from Main to Spokane Falls is closed. Work will start at Main and Wall heading north toward Spokane Falls. This work is to construct over 100 feet of storm sewer, five drainage structures, sidewalks, new asphalt pavement, traffic signal revisions, an irrigation system, and ten luminaires.
SPOKANE COUNTY
Market Street (Parksmith to Farwell)-Rehabilitating the roadway after installing sewer and fiber optics. The road is open to traffic but there are possible lane restrictions.

Seven Mile Bridge & Seven Mile Road- A detour is in place while this bridge is being demolished and rebuilt. The temporary speed limit is 25 mph.

Hawthorne Road West (Waikiki to US395)- The road is closed until late August for road rehabilitation, stormwater drainage swales, tree planting, signal improvement, bike lane installation and striping.

Hawthorne Road East (US395 to US2)- The road is closed to traffic, with street parking prohibited, for roadway rehabilitation, installation of stormwater sand filters, curbing, a traffic signal, bike lane and striping.

Houston Road from Colville Road to Grove Road- Crews will be working on ditching, culvert and shoulder work during day hours only. No detours in place and road will remain open to local traffic, bus traffic and emergency vehicles around the clock. For all other traffic, the road will be closed from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  

SPOKANE VALLEY32nd Avenue from Dishman-Mica Road to University Road- Closed through mid-August for street preservation work. Signs detour traffic via Dishman-Mica Road and University Road.

32nd Avenue from University Road to Pines Road- Reduced to one lane in each direction through mid-August. The north sidewalk is closed. 

Fancher Road between Trent Avenue and Sharp Avenue- Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction through early July.

Indiana Avenue and Evergreen Road Intersection- Through July 29, Indiana westbound is reduced to one lane and one left turn lane, with Indiana eastbound reduced to two lanes with right turns permitted from the curb lane. Evergreen northbound is reduced to a single lane with turns permitted in both directions.

Southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River- Traffic is reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. Turns from Indiana Avenue onto northbound Sullivan Road are reduced to one lane. Southbound Sullivan Road at Flora Pit Road is reduced to one lane, July 5-July 8, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WSDOT
US 2/Sunset Blvd. to I-90- Weekday evenings from about 7 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, drivers should be alert for lane restrictions as crews upgrade guardrails.

US 2-Division Street/Curb and Sidewalk- Northbound Division Street is reduced to two lanes.  Drivers may experience congestion and some delays as crews improve sidewalks and curbs.

I-90/Westbound Freya Off-Ramp- Westbound drivers should be alert for narrow shoulders.  All ramps open.  Expect lane restrictions on 2nd Avenue as crews construct a new westbound Freya Street off-ramp approximately ¼ mile to the east of the current ramp.

US 395-Division Street/Hawthorne Rd. Intersection-Wednesday through Friday, July 6-8, from about 6 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m., Division Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction with some slow traffic and congestion.  Following that work, Hawthorne road will be closed east and west of Division. Crews are making intersection improvements and installing a new signal system.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.