Thursday, April 17, 2014

Local Construction Update

SPOKANE VALLEY
Mirabeau Parkway between Pinecroft and Mansfield - Expect 2- to 3-minute closures of the southbound lane Mondays through Thursdays from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for utility work until Thursday, April 24. 
Park Rd. at Sprague Ave. Intersection - Expect closures north of Sprague and south of Sprague at times until early May for resurfacing, depending on weather.  Signs will redirect traffic to detours via Vista/Broadway or Thierman/Appleway as appropriate.
The eastbound lane of Sharp Ave. from Seehorn to Lake Rd.- Closed from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. through Saturday, April 26 for utility work. Flaggers will direct traffic through the work area.

Sprague Ave. from Vista to Park - Reduced to two lanes westbound around the clock through early May for resurfacing, depending on weather.  Signs will redirect traffic to detours via Vista/Broadway or Thierman/Appleway as appropriate.

WSDOT
North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- The dedicated right turn lane for southbound traffic on Freya Street is closed to construct new roadway at the northwest corner.  All traffic movements will still be allowed, but the right turn onto westbound Francis Avenue will need to be done from the through lane so some additional traffic congestion is anticipated.  This traffic configuration will remain in place through late April, and will be restored once the asphalt paving is completed at this location. 

Market Street has single lanes in each direction through the Market/Francis intersection on the west half of Market Street.  Francis Avenue is operating as single lanes in each direction on the new bridge.  The south side of the bridge along the traffic barrier is designated for the movement of bicycles and pedestrians.  No left turns are allowed at the intersection from Market Street to Francis Avenue, but are allowed from Francis Avenue to Market Street, and right turns are allowed on all approaches.  

US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange- Work resumes Monday, April 21.  Northbound US 195 drivers need to be alert for slow traffic entering the highway left lane from Cheney-Spokane Road.  The dedicated northbound acceleration lane has been removed.  The northbound left turn lane remains closed and is signed for no left turns.  US 195 northbound drivers must use Qualchan Road to access Cheney-Spokane Road.  The southbound off ramp to Cheney-Spokane Road is open to traffic. Vehicles must use this off ramp as no right turns are allowed from southbound US 195 to Cheney-Spokane Road.  

SPOKANE CITY
Francis Ave. from Division to Crestline- This project will rehabilitate Francis Avenue from Division to Crestline Streets. The work is curb to curb and includes installation of ADA curb ramps, where needed.
Traffic is open on the south side of Francis with one lane in each direction. Underground catch basins are being installed on the north side of the street. An Avista gas line is requiring some unanticipated extra treatment which is currently causing some delay on the project.  

Regal Street and Palouse Hwy. Project- The construction of Privately Driven Improvements at Regal and Palouse Intersection is in full swing. A temporary roadway is in place for Regal Street for northbound and southbound traffic. There is no direct access to Palouse Highway. This temporary roadway has curves with an advisory speed of 20 MPH for the construction zone.
 Palouse Highway is closed to traffic just east of Regal Street and will have no direct access to Regal Street.  All local businesses are open. The contractor will maintain existing access to Palouse Highway between Regal and Freya Street. All Palouse thru traffic will be re-routed using established marked detours starting at the intersection of Palouse Highway and Freya Street. The City has a commitment from the Private Contractor to have access to re-open the Palouse Highway by May 28.

Francis and Freya Signal Work- A signal removal and replacement will occur at the Francis/Freya intersection with construction continuing for approximately one month. Flagging at the intersection will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  The dedicated right turn lane is closed for southbound traffic on Freya Street in order to construct the new roadway at the northwest corner. All traffic movements will still be allowed. The right turn onto westbound Francis Avenue will be routed from the through lane.  Additional traffic congestion is anticipated. This traffic configuration will remain in place for approximately 1 month or until HMA paving is completed at this location. Traffic is encouraged to find alternate routes. PCMS boards are running to alert motorists of this upcoming work.

Chandler Water Main Project- Construction of a new 42 inch diameter water main begins on Chandler from 8th to 7th Avenue, on 8th from Chandler to Cowley, and on Cowley from 7th to 8th Avenue.

Liberty St. Construction- Construction to rehabilitate Liberty from Oak Street to Ash Place and Ash Place from Liberty to Dalton is on winter shutdown.  Most of the underground work has been completed, with surface improvements planned for 2014.  Liberty is closed with local access only.

SRTC Committees Meet In Upcoming Weeks

The April meetings of both the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) are coming right up. The TTC meets next Wednesday, April 23. The TAC meets the following Monday, April 28. The agenda and packet for the TAC meeting is here.

The TTC agenda and packet is here. Members of the public are welcome at both meetings, so feel free to attend if something on the agenda catches your interest.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spokane To Apply For TIGER Funds For U-District Bike/Ped Bridge

If you read our April newsletter that is posted a few posts down from this one, you know that the federal
government is doing another round of "TIGER" funding this year, an acronym for "Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery." Our area has been very successful in past years with the competitive grant process, being awarded TIGER funds twice to fund portions of the North Spokane Corridor.

Several local jurisdictions have indicated this time around that they will apply for funds for their projects. The City of Spokane made it official on Monday when the City Council passed a resolution in support of seeking a TIGER grant for the construction of the University District Bike/Ped bridge. The resolution passed on a 6-1 vote with Councilman Fagan voting against.

We'll keep you updated on TIGER funding as news becomes available. Applications are due at the end of May. 

Domino's Franchise Turns to Delivery By Bike

A Dominos francise in Portland is delivering pizza by bike. Photo: Bike PortlandJimmy John's delivers by bike in Spokane and I saw someone taking a really good smelling pizza home on the bus the other night, so why shouldn't food be delivered in different ways than a guy in a car?

One Portland Domino's franchise is getting in on the act, delivering pizzas by three wheel bike (also known as a tricycle for those of you who will call me out on this) with a special warming box mounted on the back.

Managers there say, depending on who the rider is, delivery by bicycle can be quicker than a car, maintenance is low, and delivery "drivers" don't have to worry about wear and tear to their own vehicle or parking tickets. StreetsBlog has more on this story.

SRTC April Newsletter Available Now

Road construction season is here. How are you going to avoid being delayed in construction zones? We have a map for that.

Approximately $18 million will be distributed to local projects soon through SRTC and the Surface Transportation Program.

Some local jurisdictions are also applying for federal "TIGER" funds for their major projects.

The SRTC April newsletter has all the details on what we've been working on, and what we'll be working on for the next few months. Read it here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spokane City Councilman Interviewed by Smart Growth For America

Well this is certainly an honor- Smart Growth for America just posted an interview they did with Councilman Jon Snyder last week regarding complete streets in Spokane.

The article talks about how Snyder spent two years getting the Complete Streets ordinance (PDF) passed, with the help of stakeholders, including SRTC.

It also mentions how the process of creating something like the ordinance gives neighborhoods a voice and a reason to participate in local government decisions besides when there's a crisis.

You can read the entire interview here.


Bankrupt Highway Trust Fund Could Put Hundreds of Thousands Out of Work

Ouch, this is NOT what our economy needs. U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says if the Highway Trust Fund goes belly-up, 700,000 Americans could soon be out of work. The Trust Fund is expected to run out of funds by August or September of 2014 at the rate it's going. That's because it's dependent on the gas tax, but revenue from the tax is going down because cars are more fuel-efficient than when the tax was passed and more people are using alternatives to driving alone.

Glow-in-the-Dark Road Makes Debut in Netherlands

There's an entire stretch of highway in the Netherlands with no streetlights. That's because the 500 meters of roadway is lit entirely by glow-in-the-dark markers, created using a photo-luminescent powder integrated into the road paint, developed in conjunction with road construction company Heijmans.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Traffic Count Data Show Seattle Traffic Declining

Seattle is a city/region known for it's traffic. In fact, INRIX, a traffic information and services group, considers it the 8th worst U.S. city for traffic congestion.

Traffic count data claims that traffic fell by a huge percentage between 2003 and 2012 though, the population grew by another large percent, and transit ridership increased as well. 

Letter Says Spokane Streets are Dirty

Spokesman-Review Letter to the Editor
Spokane Friendly, but Dirty


I wish the mayor would walk around the city and see how dirty the streets are.

In the neighborhoods, there are cigarette butts, rocks and garbage on the sidewalks in practically every single area. It is so embarrassing. The downtown sidewalks are as bad as the neighborhoods, with thousands of cigarette butts all over the place. What a mess! Does anybody care?
This might be the friendly city, but it’s not the clean one.

Emilee Langford
Spokane

What are your thoughts? Is Spokane really that dirty? And if so, what can be done about it? There's not even money to fix our streets, so how would we pay to keep them clean? Ideas?

A Little of This and That; All Transportation-Related

A paving project gets underway on Sprague from Park to Vista today in Spokane Valley, lanes are closing on I90 over Snoqualmie Pass, Spokane Community College is holding free car care inspection event and a handful of other local transportation-related bits and pieces. You can find it all in today's Spokesman-Review "Getting There" column.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spokane Bike Swap This Saturday & Sunday

Don't forget- tomorrow is the 3rd Annual Spokane Bike Swap! Start your spring off right by buying a new bike or selling your old one. The Swap is 
Saturday and Sunday April 12 & 13 at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center from 9am – 3pm

Peruse through the used bikes in the bike corral, visit local bike shops including Wheel Sport, North Division Bicycle Shop, Fitness Fanatics, Northwest Recumbent Cycles, Bicycle Butler and Terra Sports, learn how to put your bike on a STA bus, chat with bike clubs and much more! With over 2,500 attendees last year and over 450 used bikes sold, this is the place you want to be if you are selling or buying a bike.

New this year! Hourly prizes given away, bike tire repair races, bike maintenance classes and kids 14 and under that buy a bike in the bike corral will receive a free helmet while supplies last.

Proceeds from the Spokane Bike Swap go to the Friends of the Centennial Trail. For additional information, go to www.SpokaneBikeSwap.com


Delays on Snoqualmie Pass Start Tomorrow

Prepare for a wait if you're headed over Snoqualmie Pass in the next two weeks. Major lane restrictions start tomorrow, with a single lane open in each direction.

If you don't plan ahead, you could be delayed for up to two hours, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Officials suggest traveling in the morning or late evening, finding an alternate route or postponing trips.

From 10 p.m. Saturday, April 12, until 9 a.m. Saturday, April 26, a 4-mile stretch of I-90 between milepost 56 and milepost 60 will be congested as crews remove the old snowshed near milepost 58.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sprague Resurfacing Project Starts Monday

Sprague Avenue between Vista Road and Park Road will get a facelift over the next couple of weeks as a project to resurface the roadway begins on April 14.

Crews will place a two-inch asphalt overlay. Improvements to stormwater drainage were made last fall as well as updates to sidewalks and curbs to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Brief driveway closures may occur in the project area. Construction crews will notify those affected. Access to businesses will remain available.

During construction, Sprague between Vista Road and Park Road will be reduced to two lanes westbound. 

 Expect closures of Park Road just north of Sprague and Park Road just south of Sprague at varying times during the project. At those times, signs will redirect traffic to detours along Vista/Broadway or Thierman/Appleway as appropriate.

Road Construction Update

WSDOT
North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection ImprovementsThe right turn lane for southbound traffic on Freya Street is closed to construct the new roadway at the northwest corner.  All traffic movements are still be allowed, but the right turn onto westbound Francis Avenue will need to be done from the through lane.  This traffic configuration will remain in place through late April, and will be restored once the asphalt paving is completed at this location. 

Market Street has single lanes in each direction through the Market/Francis intersection on the west half of Market Street.  Francis Avenue is operating as single lanes in each direction on the new bridge.  The south side of the bridge along the traffic barrier is designated for the movement of bicycles and pedestrians.  No left turns are allowed at the intersection from Market Street to Francis Avenue, but are allowed from Francis Avenue to Market Street, and right turns are allowed on all approaches.

SPOKANE VALLEY
Mirabeau Parkway between Pinecroft and Mansfield - Short closures of the southbound lane on Mondays through Thursdays from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for utility work continuing through Thursday, April 24.

Park Road at Sprague Intersection - Expect closures north of Sprague and south of Sprague at times from Monday, April 14 through early May for resurfacing, depending on weather. Signs will redirect traffic to detours via Vista/Broadway or Thierman/Appleway as appropriate.


Sprague Avenue from Vista to Park - Reduced to two lanes westbound around the clock from 7 a.m. on Monday, April 14 through early May for resurfacing, depending on weather. Signs will redirect traffic to detours via Vista/Broadway or Thierman/Appleway as appropriate. 

SPOKANE CITY
Regal and Palouse Hwy Work Starts- Work started this week at the Regal Street and Palouse Highway Intersection to install a new traffic signal. Next Monday, April 14, includes minor traffic impacts for the construction of a temporary detour to the west for Regal Street traffic.  This work will require sidewalk closures, lane closures, and other minor temporary traffic revisions.  This will also include at times, no direct access to the existing parking lot for the Park on the Westside of this intersection. 

o   Starting Sunday Night, April 13, 7 p.m. the contractor will start the second phase which will include major traffic impacts at this intersection.  Regal Street traffic will be re-routed to the new temporary roadway alignment to the west.   This new temporary roadway will allow for northbound and southbound thru movement at Palouse Hwy and access to the existing parking lot on the Westside to southbound traffic only.  This new alignment will include curves with an advisory speed of 20 MPH in the construction zone.  Traffic using the new temporary roadway will have no direct access to Palouse Hwy. 

o   The Palouse Hwy will be closed to all traffic just east of Regal Street and will have no direct access to Regal Street. The traffic control will maintain local driveway access to all businesses that use Palouse Hwy between Regal Street and Freya Street.  All Palouse thru traffic will be re-routed using established marked detours starting at the intersection of Palouse Hwy and Freya Street.
Francis Ave. Construction- Work started this week to rehabilitate Francis Avenue from Division to Crestline Streets.  The work is curb to curb and includes installation of ADA curb ramps, where needed.

Cedar Rd. Lane Reduction-   Flagging of both directions of traffic will occur on 5555 South Cedar Road , through Monday April 14.  The one lane, two way traffic control is for onsite work installing electric services.

Cedar Rd. Grind and OverlayA grind and overlay will begin on North Cedar road April 14. There will be flagging and road closures as needed. 

·       Wall Street Closure- Wall street will be closed the afternoon of Saturday, April 12 for an after party to thank volunteers who participate in Cleaning from the Core. Over 400 volunteers will be in the downtown area painting, planting, and various other activities to clean up and freshen the downtown from the long winter.







Corvette Lovers- Do NOT Read This!

Not sure how I missed this one, but apparently a while back a giant sinkhole opened under the National

Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. The last of the Corvettes that fell through the hole was pulled out this week. The 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette was originally valued at $125,000 but looked like a crunched up Matchbox car when it came out of the hole. Seven other Corvettes, with a combined total value of over $1 million dollars, also ended up in the mess.

The story, and a slideshow of pictures of sad, crunched up expensive cars, is on the KBOI website.

Four New Live Traffic Cameras Being Installed on Highway 195

Four new traffic cameras are being installed along U.S. Highway 195 in southwest Spokane that will be monitored in the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center (SRTMC) that's located inside the SRTC office.

The new cameras join a network of almost 100 cameras already being watched across the county. It's not just SRTMC operators who watch the cameras though. You can too on your computer or smartphone, to check traffic conditions.

The new cameras will be at Qualchan Drive, south of Meadowlane Road, at the Spokane city limits near Hatch Road and at White Road. In addition to providing video images, the equipment includes traffic data monitors that can read traffic flow and alert crews when backups occur.

Here's a link to a Spokesman-Review article on the cameras, and here is a link to the SRTMC website where you can watch traffic cameras from all over the area.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

10 Crazy Commutes From Around The World

I've got a friend who regularly tells me about his adventures riding Spokane Transit's east Sprague bus route. Normally it's things like colorful characters on the bus or people/things he encounters on his way to the bus stop. His commute is tame though compared to these pictures from The Guardian of the 10 weirdest forms of urban transportation. I wish I could ride a toboggan to work!

Will The Highway Trust Fund Go Bankrupt?

Well, this isn't reassuring. Especially when your job is in the transportation sector. Washington State's on Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) says the “threat is growing” of a bankruptcy in the Department of Transportation’s Highway Trust Fund.

Murray took the Senate floor yesterday to warn lawmakers of the consequences of allowing the fund, used to pay for road and transit projects, to run out of money this year.

Murray pointed out that the fund pays for projects that create jobs and keep our economy moving. It could reach critically low levels by July though. What happens if that's the case? And what could be done to prevent it? And how are the effects already being felt? "The Hill" looks at the situation.

Who Will Be Commute Centurion??

The City of Spokane is getting in on the Bike to Work Week fun! Along with sponsors Eye Consultants Northwest, the City is sponsoring "Commute of the Century" (I always hear that in my head as read by the "Come on Down!" guy from the Price is Right) this year, a bicycle tour of Spokane.

For you hardcore riders, you have the chance to cover 100 miles of Spokane in one week. For you casual riders, this is a group ride and/or a self-guided tour, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.

The group rides will take place during the lunch hour each day, covering six different routes. In addition to being a cool community event, Commute of the Century will also help to gather public opinion on the quality of services provided by the City's bicycle infrastructure and unite the local cycling community to celebrate the advancement of bicycling in Spokane.

Interested? Of course you are. Here's the link to get more info or to sign up.

Those impressive men and women who ride each route AND complete a survey for each route will be honored with a special title: "Commute Centurion" (also read in the "Come on down!" voice). Don't think you have it in you to be a "Centurion?" That's alright- just do what you can. I just got a new Hello Kitty beach cruiser bike and, while this is probably not the most appropriate event to debut it, I'd like to get it out and show it off so I probably won't be able to complete 100 miles myself  (Do you like how I blame that on the bike and not my fitness level?)

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.