Friday, September 23, 2016

Local Road Construction Update

WSDOT
US 2/Spotted Road to I-90 Intelligent Transportation Systems- Fiber optic cable installation. Possible shoulder and/or lane restrictions.  Most work scheduled during evening and overnight hours.

US 395-NSC/Freya & Wellesley Intersection Roundabout- Roundabout construction. The Wellesley/Freya intersection is closed to traffic. A signed detour is in place. Planned completion is late Monday, Oct. 10.


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


SPOKANE VALLEY

44th from Locust to Ponderosa - Reduced to a two lane gravel roadway with speeds reduced to 15 mph through October 7.

44th from Schafer Branch to Ponderosa- Reduced to one lane from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays through October 7.

Appleway from Park to Dishman-Mica- Reduced to two lanes through the end of October for street improvement work with sidewalk, lane, and temporary side street closures.

Bates, Rego and Wilbur- Bates from Boone to Rego will be narrowed with flaggers directing traffic from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.  As part of the same project, Wilbur between Boone to Broadway and Rego from Bates to Wilbur will be closed through October 3 for stormwater improvements.

McDonald northbound from Mission to Broadway- Will be open Sunday, September 25 through Wednesday, September 28. Otherwise it remains reduced to one lane around the clock.

McDonald southbound from Mission to Sprague- Remains reduced to one lane around the clock.

McDonald from Sprague to Mission - Closed to all but local traffic from Thursday, September 29 until Wednesday, October 12. This closure includes the Broadway/McDonald intersection. A detour will be posted.


Montgomery between Argonne and Hutchinson - Closed to all but local traffic from 7 a.m. on Monday, September 26 through 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28  for paving. Detour via Marguerite and Knox will be posted. Please remember to use extra caution when driving through the residential detour, observe the speed limit, and watch for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles backing from driveways.

Sprague between University and Pines- Rolling full closure along the Valleyfest Parade route on Friday, September 23 starting at 5:45 p.m. between University and Bowdish, and extending eastward at 7 p.m. from Bowdish to Pines until the end of the parade. Expect side streets closures as well. Signs will redirect traffic via Valleyway and 4th

Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Project- Northbound traffic is reduced to one lane with vehicles restricted to ten feet wide or less. Oversized vehicles should use Barker or Pines as alternatives. Turns from Indiana onto northbound Sullivan are reduced to one lane. One southbound lane will be closed at Flora Pit Rd during working hours.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Seven Mile Bridge & Seven Mile Road- Bridge approach work with road work tie ins. Watch for loose gravel. A bypass road is in place with a reduced speed limit of 25 mph.

Hawthorne Road West (Waikiki to US 395)- Completion of road, stormwater reconstruction, signal improvement, bike lane, and striping. Open with temporary lane restrictions during completion of landscaping. Use alternate route to avoid delays. 

Hawthorne Road East (US 395 to US 2)Road reconstruction, stormwater upgrades, curb, signal, bike, striping; paving operations. Road closed to traffic.

Argonne Road (Spokane River to Wellesley)- Road reconstruction, stormwater retrofit, paving. Argonne is reduced to one lane in each direction, expect long delays, use alternate route, right turns only at Maringo Dr (no cross traffic movements).

Country Homes (Wall to SR 395)- Stormwater work in the raised islands. Traffic is one lane in each direction on the North side of the islands, side road access to and from Country Homes is restricted, expect delays, and on street parking is limited.

61st (Palouse Highway to Yale) and Ben Burr Road (from 57th to 65th)- Road Reconstruction & Waterline installation. Road Closure, detour in place.
  
Ben Burr Road (57th Ave. to 61st Ave.)- Road ReconstructionRoad Closure, detour in place.

SPOKANE CITY
1st Avenue Et Al, Erie to Helena- Water Main installation work is ongoing: Watermain installation in Perry Street is complete.  Perry remains closed for Concrete and roadway rebuilding which begins Monday, September 26. This project will provide storm water conveyance to Pacific and Perry Infiltration Facility and replace old water distribution lines. The project also includes associated street construction.

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. Crews are currently grading from Freya to Myrtle. Installation will be completed the week of Monday, September 26. This work is to reconstruct the road, including pavement replacement, curbs, sidewalk, bike lanes, stormwater piping, and a 36 inch water main.


Ben Burr Trail and Connection to the Centennial Trail- Crews are installing new storm crossing and new ADA ramps on 2nd Avenue, closing the street from Napa to Arthur Street. Lane restrictions are in pace on 2nd Avenue between Altamont and Napa. The freeway on ramp remains open and exit 282B has been reduced to one lane.

·     Third Avenue has lane restrictions from Arthur to Altamont Street.  The crossing at Perry Street under the I-90 freeway is closed. Crews are installing new ADA ramp in these locations.

This project will design and construct a paved trail connection for bicyclists and pedestrians 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. This project will construct a Combined Sewer Overflow Tank (CSO) tank and the necessary piping.

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

Indiana Avnue from Dakota to Perry Street- Paving of Indiana Ave. is scheduled to begin Tuesday, September 27th and continue through the week. Hamilton Street will have lane closures as crews do curb and signal work on each corner from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the week of Oct. 3.

Perry St. will continue to be reduced to one travel lane in each direction for work within and near the Perry/Indiana intersection.  Crescent Ave. east of the Perry/Indiana intersection will be closed at the intersection and railroad crossing.  Crescent Ave. east and north of the railroad tracks will remain open. This project will include curb ramps, storm swales, new curb, waterline replacement, signal installation work and some parking removal.

Main Avenue Restriping Project-
 The south lane of Main is closed from Browne to Division.  Roadwork from Washington to Division will be complete by the end of next week.  The project calls for the restriping of Main Ave between Washington St and Pine St. and adding entry features, a flexible multi-purpose space in the center of the street that can be used for parking or events, mid-block crossing with curb extensions and planting, mid-block planters and benches and a kiosk parking system.

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 a route that eliminates several safety issues and increases capacity into and out of the downtown area. Improvements include a new asphalt pavement street, utility infrastructure, storm drainage improvements, street lighting, street trees, and re-vegetation with native species. In lieu of sidewalks, a section of the Ben Burr trail will be constructed separated from the roadway.

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 8th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Crews are finishing the base paving on Lincoln and 7th Ave. Friday, September 23.  Top lift begins the week of October 8. Striping and cleanup follows the week of October 10 – 14.  Lincoln is scheduled to open late day Friday, October 14. Monroe is expected to be fully open by late day Friday, October 4. 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-  Crews are working in the intersection of Lincoln and Sprague and Riverside and Lincoln for storm pipe connection. They will be working on Lincoln and Monroe Saturday, September 24.  

Monday, September 26, crews will move traffic on Monroe from 2nd to Sprague Avenue onto the paved east side lanes.  Work will begin in the west lane section. Crews will move traffic on Lincoln from 2nd to 1st Avenue onto the paved east side lanes. Work will begin in the west lane section.
Tuesday, September 27, the eastbound lanes of Riverside from Madison to Monroe will be closed for hydrant installation work.

Storm and sewer work continues with 4 way stops 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 Overlow (CSO 12) Project- Pettet Drive is closed to traffic. The intersection of Pettet Drive and Nora Avenue is scheduled for paving on Monday, October 3. 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 Pettit, north bound, re-directs citizens to Northwest Blvd. Vehicles that 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.

Wall Street, Main Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard- Sidewalk and curb installation is complete.  Roadwork on Wall Street is anticipated to be completed by September 30. Wall Street from Main to Spokane Falls is closed. This work is to construct storm water improvements, sidewalks, new asphalt pavement, traffic signal revisions, an irrigation system, and add lighting. 

Is The 85 and Over Crowd Taking Over the Roads?

Me in the not-so-distant future.
Here's an eye opener: drivers over the age of 85 are now the fastest-growing segment of American drivers. According to the Orlando Sentinel, their numbers doubled between 1998 and 2013- to amost 3.5 million. Kind of concerning when you consider that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that, per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 70 and are highest for driver over the age of 85. The CDC says this isn't because they are more likely to collide with something, but because they are more likely to succumb to injuries when involved in crashes.

Drivers over the age of 50 are increasing too, with 93.5 million in 2013, making up 44% of all drivers. Conversely, there are fewer 16-year-old on the road now than at any times since the 1960s. In 2014, there were 1.08 million drivers aged 16. Five years earlier, in 2009, there were 1.72 million, so a big drop. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute says only 24% of eligible U.S. 16-year-olds have a driver's license. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Transportation Technical Committee Meeting Next Wednesday

Next week is going to be a busy week around SRTC; we have multiple meetings/workshops scheduled, including the monthly meeting of the Transportation Technical Committee (TTC), SRTC's professional committee of area engineers and planners.

The meeting agenda is here.  Of particular interest is the Spokane Tribe of Indians presentation on the Promise Zone grant the Tribe recently received that will create jobs, improve educational opportunities, increase economic activity, reduce crime, and increase access to affordable housing. Planner Mike Tedesco will talk about how the money will help to accomplish this.

All SRTC committee meetings are open to the public, so if something on the agenda catches your interest, feel free to attend. The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m. next Wednesday, September 28 at the SRTC office, 421 W. Riverside, Suite 500.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Netherlands Wins Again- This Time for Being the Best Place to Drive

Bike parking in Amsterdam.
I feel like the U.S. is developing an inferiority complex when it comes to the Netherlands. Those everything. Everyone knows that the Netherlands are the best place to commute by bike, where virtually everyone does, but now a new report by Waze says it's also the best place to be a driver. Yes, a driver!
folks win

According to Daily Hive, the country has 18 million bicycles and 16 million residents. With over a quarter of daily trips made by bike, you would think it would be a nightmare for drivers. Not so, says Waze. The company's Driver Satisfaction Index – which analyzes the driving experiences of 65 million monthly users in 38 countries and 235 cities nationally – named The Netherlands the most satisfying place in the world to drive due to its “smooth traffic conditions” and “solid road quality.”

With most people using alternatives to driving, the country's roadways are uncrowded, which also decreases the wear and tear on them.  

Oh Deer! How Likely You Are to Hit A Deer Depends on the State You Live In

Perhaps training deer to use crosswalks could help?
Live in West Virginia? Then you have a greater chance of hitting a deer than drivers in other states.

KCRA News reports that the odds for such an accident in WV are an estimated 1 of 41 drivers, according to a report from State Farm Insurance.

Hawaiians, on the other hand, have the lowest risk in the U.S. of colliding with a deer with 1 in 10,281 chance.

Surprisingly, Washington ranks 41, with a 1 in 372 likelihood of hitting a deer. Oregon is 37 and Idaho 28. Nationally, the odds of a driver hitting a deer are 1 in 169.

Nationally, 191 people were killed in 2013 (the most recent year with available data) as a result of collisions with animals, according to the Insurance Information Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Deer were the most common animal to be struck.
These accidents tend to happen most frequently at dusk and dawn and in the fall. November is the month that drivers in Ohio are mostly likely to hit a deer, followed by October and December.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Proposal Calls For Limiting I-5 to Self-Driving Cars

I've been stuck on I-5 in Western Washington several times lately, but I'm not sure this is how to fix Kuow.com reports that a proposal to ban human drivers from the freeway is being discussed at a technology conference in Vancouver, B.C., that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are all expected to attend today.

the congestion problem.
Seattle's Madrona Venture Group suggests that a 150-mile stretch of the freeway between Seattle and Vancouver be occupied only by driverless cars — except for quiet times at nights and weekends.

Under the idea, robot-cars would just get to share the HOV lanes on I-5 to start. Over time, the driverless cars would get their own lanes, then eventually all the lanes 10 to 15 years from now, allowing human drivers on I-5 only during non-congested times such as weekends and 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. on weekdays.

The brains behind this suggestion say a driverless I-5 would boost business and tourism between the two cities. Some critics disagree though. University of Washington civil engineering professor Don MacKenzie said social equity must be considered and that a huge number of families with older vehicles would be out of luck. MacKenzie says that, with 60 percent of cars in the U.S. lasting 15 years or more, about 1.5 million cars will still be on the road in Washington in 15 years that were manufactured this year or earlier.

Transportation Advisory Committee Meeting Next Monday

The next meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), SRTC's citizen's group) is next Monday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. at the SRTC office at 421 W. Riverside, Suite 500. The meeting agenda is here. The meetings are open to everyone, so if you are interested in an of the agenda items, feel free to attend. Of particular interest is the STA presentation on Proposition One. If you have had questions about the ballot measure that would expand STA service, come watch.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Local Road Construction Update

SPOKANE COUNTY
Seven Mile Bridge & Seven Mile Road- Work is underway on the bridge approach. Watch for loose gravel and a reduced speed limit of 25 mph. A bypass road is in place. 

Hawthorne Road East (US 395 to US 2)- Road reconstruction, stormwater upgrades, curb, signal, bike, striping; paving operations have begun look for additional road access restrictions.The road is closed.

Argonne Road (Spokane River to Wellesley)- Argonne is reduced to one lane in each direction for road reconstruction and stormwater retrofitting. Expect long delays. Right turns only at Maringo Dr. (no cross traffic movements).

Country Homes (Wall to SR 395)- Stormwater work in the raised islands. Traffic is one lane in each direction on the north side of the islands. Side road access to and from Country Homes Blvd. is restricted.

SPOKANE VALLEY
44th from Locust to Ponderosa- Reduced to a two lane gravel roadway with speeds reduced to 15 mph through October 7. 

44th from Schafer Branch to Ponderosa-
Reduced to one lane from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays through October 7.

Appleway from Park to Dishman-Mica-
Reduced to two lanes through October for street improvement work with sidewalk, lane, and temporary side street closures. Local access and access to businesses will remain available.

Bates, Rego and Wilbur-
Bates from Boone to Rego will be narrowed with flaggers directing traffic from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. As part of the same project, Wilbur between Boone to Broadway and Rego from Bates to Wilbur will be closed to all but local traffic through October 3 for stormwater improvements. 
Desmet from Thierman to Bradley- Will be closed to all but local traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, September 19 for paving.

McDonald northbound from Mission to Broadway
and McDonald southbound from Mission to Sprague - Reduced to one lane.

Sprague from University to Bowdish-
Closed to all traffic on Friday, September 23 from 5:45 p.m. until the end of the Valleyfest parade.

Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Project- 
Northbound traffic is reduced to one lane. Turns from Indiana onto northbound Sullivan are reduced to one lane.  One southbound lane is closed at Flora Pit Rd. during working hours.

      WSDOT
US 2/Spotted Road to I-90 Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)- Installation of fiber optic cable along US 2 from mile post 281 to 283. Possible shoulder and/or night lane restrictions.

US 395-NSC/Freya & Wellesley Intersection Roundabout- Roundabout construction. The Wellesley/Freya intersection is closed to traffic. A signed detour is in place. This is a long-term closure that is in place 24 hours a day, seven days per week, for the duration of the project.  Planned completion is late Monday, Oct. 10.

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

SPOKANE CITY
25th Avenue, Southeast Boulevard to Lacey Court- 
25th Avenue is scheduled to reopen Monday, September 19 or Tuesday, September 20. This project reconstructed 25th Avenue.  


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

Ben Burr Trail and Connection to the Centennial Trail- Crews are installing new crossing and ADA ramps on 2nd Avenue, closing the street from Napa to Arthur Street. Lane restrictions are in pace on 2nd Avenue between Altamont and Napa. Freeway exit 282B has been reduced to one lane.  Third Avenue has lane restrictions from Arthur to Altamont Street.  The crossing at Perry Street under the I-90 freeway is closed. Crews are installing new ADA ramp in these locations.

This project will design and construct a shared use paved trail connection for bicyclists and pedestrian as well as security lighting.  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 WorkSummit Boulevard/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.

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

Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry Street- Electrical, water and storm work is underway. Hamilton Street will have lane closures as crews do curb and signal work on each corner from Monday, September 19 to Monday, September 26 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Perry St. is reduced to one lane in each direction for work in the Perry/Indiana intersection.  Crescent Ave. east of the Perry/Indiana intersection will be closed at the intersection and railroad crossing.  Crescent Ave. east and north of the railroad tracks will remain open and provide access to Avista’s campus.  

This project includes curb ramps, storm swales, new curb, waterline replacement, signal installation work and some parking removal.

Main Avenue Restriping Project- The north two lanes of Main Avenue from Washington to Pine Street are closed.  Restriping of the area will limit parking access for short durations. The project calls for restriping, an entry feature, a flexible multi-purpose space in the center of the street that can be used for different purposes during different times, mid-block crossing with curb extensions and planting, mid-block planters and benches and a parking system with kiosks.

Martin Luther King Jr. Way Phase 2A, Sherman to Erie Street- 
Rock excavation is in progress. This is a continuation of the Riverside Extension Phase 1 project. This project will provide an efficient route that eliminates several safety issues and increases capacity into and out of the downtown area. 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 will construct a section of the Ben Burr trail.

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 8th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Paving is scheduled Tuesday, September 20 from the north side of 4th Avenue to the south side of 5th Avenue. The intersection of 5th Avenue and Lincoln will close during paving. Lincoln paving from 5th to 8th Avenue will take place Thursday, September 22 – Saturday, September 25.

This project reconstructs the roadway and installs storm water and water facilities.  

Pettet Drive/TJ Meenach Combined 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 storage facility and connections to existing CSO Basin 10 outfall.  Work also includes repaving of Pettet Drive and pedestrian/bike trail construction.

Wall Street, Main Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard- Sidewalk and curb installation is in progress.  Wall Street is anticipated to be completed by September 30. This work is to construct storm water improvements, sidewalks, new asphalt pavement, traffic signal revisions, an irrigation system, and add lighting.


1st Avenue Et Al, Erie to Helena- Water Main installation work is ongoing at the following locations. This project will provide storm water conveyance to Pacific and Perry Infiltration Facility and replace old water distribution lines. The project also includes associated street construction.

  • 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
  • Perry Street from 2nd Avenue to Hogan Street



Will Self-Driving Cars Put Us All Out of Work?

We've discussed some of the impacts that self-driving cars could have when the concept of them is fully realized- senior citizens and disabled people being able to "drive," how well-rested we will all be because we can take a nap in the car instead of driving, an increase in miles driven because many people will send their car home after arriving at work rather than pay to park it- but one aspect we haven't addressed at SRTC yet is that the autonomous car revolution could take American jobs.

According to MarketWatch, 4.1 million jobs could disapear, including chauffeurs and drivers of trucks, cabs and ride-share vehicles.

The potential savings are predicted to outweigh the human cost, as drivers are one of the biggest expenses for transportation companies. And they have to sleep and take vacation, which isn't necessary for their self-driving replacements.

Some disagree though. Uber, expected to benefit hugely from autonomous cars, says it won't completely phase out drivers. Uber started a self-driving pilot program in Pittsburgh recently, although the car arrives with a human sitting in the front seat to take over if something goes wrong.
Still, the naysayers — and there are plenty — just aren’t buying it.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

When To Cross? When the Car Smiles At You

How do you know when it's safe to cross the street? When the car approaching you smiles at you. A new self-driving car, called the Smiling Car, lights up with a smile to show that it has detected you and isn't going to run you over.

According to Fastcoexist.com, when you're standing on a street corner waiting to cross, you usually make eye contact with the driver of the car in your path to create some sort of understanding that they won't drive into you. With self-driving cars, that doesn't work. So the Sweden-based engineering firm Semcon had a little fun with technology in order to let the car "communicate" with others.

Eventually, designers say that eye-tracking and laser technology will be able to not only detect a pedestrian waiting to cross the road, but also small head or eye movements.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cats Take Over London Subway Station

The Clapham Common subway station in London is overrun with cats. They are everywhere- staring at you from giant posters on the wall and from stick-ons on turnstiles.
According to CNN, the cats are part of a crowdfunded campaign to replace all ads. The campaign raised more than $26,000 to make 68 ads at the station disappear. Their replacement are photos of stray cats from two area rescue groups.

The idea came from a group called Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (or CATS). Instead of asking you to buy something, CATS wants you to think about what's really valuable.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

City Staff Report to City Council on Possible Downtown Construction Delays

It's a race to finish an overhaul of Lincoln and Monroe streets downtown before cold weather gets here, which could put the project on hold until spring. According to the Spokesman-Review, City Council members yesterday were told there are few options to speed up the remaining 40 to 50 days of the reconstruction project, which has gotten lots of complaints from drivers through the area and even more from area businesses.

Public Works Director Scott Simmons, construction supervisors and utilities department representatives appeared before the City Council last night to see what can be done to ensure work isn't held over until next year. Some of the possibilities included closing the streets entirely or extending overtime hours.

It was pointed out though that workers already had one thousand hours of overtime due to a mess of underground pipes. The project also got started later than originally planned due to a delay in the bidding process on the project.

Simmons said the city will look at paying additional overtime, but can't force utility companies and contractors to work extra hours if conditions are unsafe. Crews are also losing much-needed hours as it starts to get dark earlier.

Fully closing the streets wouldn't pay off at this time either, according to officials, because most of the utility work was needed on only one side of the street.

Twohig is expected to brief the City Council next week on potential options for speeding construction.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Looking for Input on Transportation Improvement Program

We are looking for some input from you. The annual update of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) has recently been completed and is available for public review and comment.

The TIP lists transportation projects and programs that jurisdictions within Spokane County plan to build or implement during the upcoming four years. All projects receiving federal funds are required to be included in the TIP. It is updated with new projects annually and includes project names and descriptions, jurisdictions sponsoring them, funding attached to each project, and where the funding came from (local, state or federal). The 2017-2020 TIP has 120 projects, totaling $563.4 million in local transportation investments to be spent between 2017 and 2020.

Each of those projects has a page devoted to it in the TIP that explains the scope of the project, the price tag, construction and other pertinent dates, a map of the location and more.

The 2017-2020 TIP can be viewed at http://www.srtc.org/tip.html. There is also an interactive map at that page that shows how the projects are distributed throughout Spokane County.

A public comment period on the TIP runs through Sunday, October 2, 2016. Comments can be emailed to contact.srtc@srtc.org, mailed to SRTC at the address below, or phoned in to (509) 343-6370.

For those who would like to review the TIP in person and ask questions of staff from SRTC, Spokane Transit and the Washington State Department of Transportation, a public open house is scheduled for Tuesday, September 20 from 4-6 p.m. at SRTC, 421 W. Riverside Ave., Suite 500, Spokane, WA 99201. 

"International Roundabout of the Year" Named

Village of West Clay RoundaboutIf you had to name your favorite roundabout, which would it be? Perhaps one of the two-in-a-row you go through when exiting the North Spokane Corridor near Freya Street when heading south? Or maybe the roundabout at "A" Street in northwest Spokane? Well, doesn't matter, because the "International Roundabout of the Year" has already been named for this year and it wasn't in Spokane.

According to Fox 59, one of Carmel, Indiana's very scenic roundabouts was awarded that title a few weeks ago by the United Kingdom Roundabout Appreciation Society. And they should know, Europe has had roundabouts for a lot longer than the U.S.

The roundabout was the winner for it's beautiful landscaping, which even includes a fountain in the center and hedges with flowers planted in the middle. So what does it win? Well, the roundabout will be featured on the cover of a roundabout calendar.

Carmel has a whopping 97 roundabouts, more than any other city in the U.S. There are more under construction.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Local Road Construction Update

WSDOT
North Spokane Corridor/Wellesley & Freya Roundabout- The Wellesley/Freya intersection IS closed to traffic for roundabout construction.  A signed detour is in place.  

US 2/Spotted Road to I-90 ITS- Possible evening and overnight shoulder and/or lane restrictions.
Fiber optic cable installation.

US 2-Division Street/Curb and Sidewalk- Northbound Division Street is reduced to one or two lanes for curb and sidewalk improvements.  

SR 27-Pines Road/UPRR Crossing- On Friday, September 9, drivers should anticipate congestion and delays on Pines Road, Indiana, and the westbound I-90 Pines off ramp for railroad crossing maintenance.  During some periods, flaggers will be directing traffic. This is a Union Pacific Railroad project.

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

SPOKANE COUNTY
Seven Mile Bridge & Seven Mile Road- Bridge approach work with a bypass road in place and a lowered speed limit of 25 mph. Watch for loose gravel.

Hawthorne Road West (Waikiki to US395)- Completion of road, stormwater reconstruction, signal improvement, bike lane, striping. Open with lane restrictions.

Hawthorne Road East (US395 to US2)- Road reconstruction, stormwater upgrades, curb, signal, bike, striping; paving operations have begun look for additional road access restrictions. Road closed.

Highway 2 and Hawthorne Road Intersection- Paving work on Monday and Tuesday, 9/12 and 9/13. Lane restrictions, expect delays.  

Argonne Road (Spokane River to Wellesley)- Road reconstruction, stormwater retrofit.
Argonne is reduced to one lane in each direction. Expect long delays. Right turns only at Maringo Dr (no cross traffic movements).

Upriver Intersection and Centennial Trail at Upriver- Closed 9/10-9/11 and 9/17-18. Detour in Place.

Country Homes (Wall to SR395)-
Stormwater work in the raised islands
Lane restriction, use alternate route, road will remain open, on street parking is limited.

Hatch Road (Colbert to Burk) and Burk Road (Hatch to Perry)- Road reconstruction.
Intermittent work through 9/16, Watch for traffic restrictions.

SPOKANE VALLEY
Appleway from Park to Dishman-Mica- Reduced to two lanes through the end of October for street improvement work. Expect temporary closures of side streets.  Local access and access to businesses will remain available.

Pines at Indiana UPRR Railroad Crossing
- Traffic signals will be off on all legs of the intersection with flaggers directing traffic from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Friday, September 9 for Union Pacific Railroad work.
McDonald northbound from Mission to Broadway - Reduced to one lane around the clock. 

McDonald southbound from Mission to Sprague - Reduced to one lane. 

44th from Locust to Ponderosa -
Reduced to a two lane gravel roadway with speeds reduced to 15 mph through October 7. 


44th from Schafer Branch to Ponderosa
- Reduced to one lane from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays from September 15 through October 7.

SPOKANE CITY
·         1ST Avenue Et Al, Erie to Helena- Water Main installation work is ongoing. 1st Ave. Storm main installations begins Tuesday Sept. 6 on Perry from 2nd to Sprague.  Perry will be closed. Other work areas include 1st Ave. from Erie St. to Helena St., Perry Street from 1st Ave. to Sprague Ave., Ivory St. from 2nd Ave. to Sprague Ave., Helena St. from 1st Ave. to Sprague Ave., Perry St. from 2nd Ave. to Hogan St. This project will provide storm water conveyance to Pacific and Perry Infiltration Facility and replace old water distribution lines. The project also includes associated street construction.

25th Avenue, Southeast Boulevard to Lacey Court- 25th Avenue is closed at Southeast Blvd. until approximately Sept. 17. Paving on 25th Avenue takes place Saturday, Sept. 10. Final paving is      Saturday, Sept. 17.  This project will reconstruct 25th Avenue.

Ben Burr Trail- Lane restrictions are in place on 2nd and 3rd Avenues from Arthur to Altamont Street. 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. The project will be from the Centennial Trail at the Gonzaga Bridge southeast of Erie Street 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.
Hazels Creek Stormwater Treatment Project- Work continues on Freya south of 37th Avenue on construction of a stormwater treatment system with disposal ponds and stormwater piping.

Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry Streets- 
Perry St. is reduced to one lane in each direction to perform work within and near the Perry/Indiana intersection.  Crescent Ave. east of the Perry/Indiana intersection is closed at the intersection and railroad crossing.  Crescent Ave. east and north of the railroad tracks is open.  The Hamilton St. and Indiana intersection will be closed starting Friday, Sept. 16th at 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. Monday, Sept, 19thThe detour routes will be Division/Ruby and/or Perry St. via Mission Ave. and Illinois/Montgomery Ave.

This project will include curb ramps, storm swales, new curb, waterline replacement, signal installation work and some parking removal.

Martin Luther King Jr. Way Phase 2A Sherman to Erie Street-
 Rock excavation is in progress.  
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 a 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 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. 
Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 8th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Work on Monroe Street from 4th Ave south to 8th Ave continues. Fourth is open with one lane access eastbound from Jefferson to Lincoln.  The new traffic signal at fourth and Monroe is now working. Monroe Street is open with one lane southbound.  Northbound traffic will continue to be detoured until the project is complete. Lincoln Street is closed through Friday, September 23. 5th Avenue is open to east and west traffic. There will be intermittent closures at the intersection of Lincoln and 5th Avenue as the City works on curb and road grade. The detour for traffic is along 14th Avenue and Bernard/Washington/Stevens and 2nd and 3rd Avenue. The on ramp for eastbound traffic at Monroe is open.
This project reconstructs the roadway from 8
th to 2nd Avenue and installs storm water and water facilities. The portion of this project that reconstructed the street from 2nd to 4th Avenues is substantially complete.

     Wall Street, Main Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard- Sidewalk and curb installation is in progress. Wall Street is anticipated to be completed by September 30. Wall Street from Main to Spokane Falls is closed. This work is to construct storm water improvements, sidewalks, new asphalt pavement, traffic signal revisions, an irrigation system, and add lighting.
     Pettet Drive/TJ Meenach Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO 12) Project- Pettet Drive is closed. The clover leaf that services TJ Meenach, Down River and Pettit Drive (three out of the four legs) are in service. The leg that comes off of Pettet, 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.

Monroe and Lincoln Street, Main Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Monroe Street between 2nd Ave. and Riverside will be closed from 6 p.m. Friday, September 9 until 7 a.m. Saturday, September 10 for Avista to install gas service.  Storm and sewer work continues with 4 way stops at the intersections of 1st, Sprague, and Riverside Avenues.  Crews are also working on road excavation in preparation for paving of the east side of both Lincoln and Monroe beginning Saturday, September 17th and Saturday, September 28th. Sprague Avenue will have a closure between Lincoln and Monroe, Wednesday, September 14 – Friday September 16 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.  

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.

       Main Avenue Restriping Project- This project begins Monday, Sept. 12.  The north two lanes on Main Avenue from Washington to Pine Street will be closed.  Restriping of the area will limit parking access for short durations. Business access will be maintained. This project will restripe Main between Washington and Pine as well as restriping the following amenities:
o   Planted entry feature
o   A flexible multi-purpose space in the center of the street. During the weekday it will be a space for diagonal car parking. During special events, it can serve as a gathering area for people as well as parking.
o   Mid-block crossing with curb extensions and planting
o   Mid-block planters and benches
o   Pay-by-Plate parking system with four kiosks


Thursday, September 8, 2016

MD Driver's Ed to Include Info on Traffic Stops

In addition to parallel parking, using your turn signals and other driving basics, the state of Maryland is adding something new to their driver's education curriculum. Starting in 2017, driver's ed in the state will include information on how to interact with police during a traffic stop, according to Patch.com.

The Harford County Sheriff's Office produced four videos: what to do during a traffic stop; what to do if you are driving a vehicle stopped with multiple passengers inside; what to do at a DUI checkpoint; and how to go through a traffic stop when you are asked to get outside your vehicle.

The reasoning behind adding the information is that it may be commonplace for police to deal with pulling people over but it's not for everyday people and it can be stressful for them.

Here are some tips from the sheriff's office on making a traffic stop go smoothly:
  • Wait for the deputy to ask for license and registration before looking for the documents.
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel so the officer sees there are no weapons, nothing hidden.
  • Being asked to get out of a vehicle isn't necessarily a bad thing, For example, an officer might want to speak with the driver away from his/her children.
Officials say traffic stops lead to arrests of more drug dealers, robbers and murderers than any other officer-initiated interaction.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Future Cars Will Update Like Smartphones

Like your smartphone, your car may soon get regular software updates. According to the Detroit Free Press, by 2022, more than 200 million vehicles world-wide will get over-the-air software updates according.

Nearly a third of the defects that lead to recalls might be fixed with these updates, resolving problems without a trip to the dealership. Many updates that now require a trip to the dealer will be handled by beaming new software to the vehicle. Software-only recalls affected 3.3 million vehicles in the U.S. last year.

Updates will include fixes, new security to keep up with would-be hackers, and adding features. Examples include new transmission programming to increase fuel economy, updated navigation information, and new infotainment apps.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

SRTC Board Meeting This Thursday

The monthly meeting of the SRTC Board is this Thursday, Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. at 421 W. Riverside, Suite 500. The agenda is here. All SRTC Board meetings are open to the public so if something on the agenda is interesting to you, feel free to attend. Items for discussion this month include updates to the regional travel model and regional population and employment forecasts.

Friday, September 2, 2016

SRTC Proposes $563 Million in Local Transportation Projects and Programs for 2017 to 2020

We need your input. We've just finished the annual update of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and are asking members of the public to look it over and give us some feedback on the projects included in it. We're also holding an open house so you can do this face to face with us.

The TIP lists transportation projects and programs that jurisdictions within Spokane County plan to build or implement during the upcoming four years. All projects receiving federal funds are required to be included in the TIP. It is updated with new projects annually and includes project names and descriptions, jurisdictions sponsoring them, funding attached to each project, and where the funding came from (local, state or federal). The 2017-2020 TIP contains:
  • ·         One hundred and twenty projects, with 24 projects new to the TIP this year (a table of the new projects is below);
  •       A total of $563.4 million in local transportation investments to be spent between 2017 and 2020.

Projects in the TIP vary from those that maintain and preserve roads to construction of new facilities like the North Spokane Corridor and projects that encourage economic development. There is also bridge replacement projects, public transit improvements and new bicycle and pedestrian facilities included in the document.

The 2017-2020 TIP can be viewed at http://www.srtc.org/tip.html. There is also an interactive map at that page that shows how the projects are distributed throughout Spokane County.

A public comment period on the TIP runs through Sunday, October 2, 2016. Comments can be emailed to contact.srtc@srtc.org, mailed to SRTC at the address below, or phoned in to (509) 343-6370.

For those who would like to review the TIP in person and ask questions of staff from SRTC, Spokane Transit and the Washington State Department of Transportation, a public open house is scheduled for Tuesday, September 20 from 4-6 p.m. at SRTC, 421 W. Riverside Ave., Suite 500, Spokane, WA 99201. 



Table 2. New Projects in the 2017-2020 TIP
Agency
Project Name
TIP ID
Page
Spokane
Sprague Ave at Sherman St. Pedestrian Plaza
SP051
X
Spokane County
Harvard Road
CO043
X
Spokane County
Bigelow Gulch/Forker Road Connector Project #6
CO044
X
WSDOT
Eastern Region BST Rumble Strips E - Install Rumble Strip
WS099
X
WSDOT
Eastern Region Guardrail Installation and Retrofit 2021-23
WS100
X
WSDOT
Eastern Region Safety Improvements - Install Rumble Strip
WS101
X
WSDOT
I-90/Geiger I/C to Latah Creek - Illumination Rebuild
WS102
X
WSDOT
I-90/Lincoln Co Line to Geiger Rd - Roadside Safety Improvements
WS103
X
WSDOT
US 2/Fairchild AFB - Signal Replacement
WS104
X
WSDOT
US 2/Garfield Rd - Signal Rehabilitation
WS105
X
WSDOT
US 2/Lawson Rd - Signal Rehabilitation
WS106
X
WSDOT
US 395/NSC Columbia to Freya
WS107
X
WSDOT
US 395/NSC Spokane River Crossing
WS109
X
WSDOT
US 395/NSC Spokane River to Wellesley
WS110
X
WSDOT
US 395/NSC Sprague Ave to Spokane River
WS111
X
WSDOT
US 395/NSC Wellesley to Columbia
WS112
X
WSDOT
2021-23 ER Region Wide Basic Safety - Signing
WS113
X
WSDOT
2021-23 ER Region Wide Safety - Guardrail
WS114
X
WSDOT
I-90/Barker Rd Intersection Improvements
WS115
X
WSDOT
I-90/ER Illumination Rehab Phase 2 - Retrofit Luminaires
WS116
X
WSDOT
US 2/ER Illumination Rehab Phase 2 - Retrofit Luminaires
WS117
X
WSDOT
US 395/Deer Park Corridor Safety Improvements
WS118
X
WSDOT
US 395/Illumination Rehab Phase 2 - Retrofit Luminaires
WS119
X
WSDOT
US 2/N Fork Deep Creek Bridge - Replace Rail
WS120
X

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.