Thursday, May 29, 2008

SR 206 Update

SR 206 has been restored to all traffic. The roadway has a gravel surface and is slightly narrowed at the new culvert. Full roadway reconstruction and paving will take place later this summer.

About 1,000 feet of SR 206 was washed out when snow runoff water overwhelmed culverts under the State Park equipment shed and the state highway and undermined the roadway.

SR 27 Traffic Safety Project

Drivers along State Route 27 from the town of Rockford to Trent Avenue in the City of Spokane Valley will see more law enforcement patrols, some engineering improvements, and a public information/education campaign this summer as part of the SR 27 Traffic Safety Project. The project is a joint venture of the WSDOT, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and representatives from engineering, enforcement and education agencies, as well as local citizens.

The project’s goal is to reduce the number of fatalities, serious injuries and collisions on the roadway. 486 collisions occurred on this section of SR 27 from February '04 through January '07. Ten involved fatal or disabling injuries.

The Washington State Patrol, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and the Spokane Valley Police Department will increase patrols in this area, focusing on traffic light runners, following too close, speeding, and right-of-way violations. There will also be increased DUI patrols.

Engineering activities include signal retiming, modifying some signage on the roadway, removing vegetation that restricts sight distance, etc.

If you drive this stretch on a regular basis, let us know, do you think this effort will help?

2008 Road Construction Map Now Available At Area Government Offices

We've been telling you it's on it's way, now the 2008 Road Construction Map is hot off the presses! The map is provided free of charge as an annual joint publication of Spokane County and the City of Spokane. You can find the map at City or County offices, the SRTC office and many other locations around the area, so keep your eyes open, or click here for an electronic version of the map.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

South Riverton Reopens, Upriver Still Closed

Hot off the press! Here's the latest from the City of Spokane regarding areas closed due to water on the roadway:

South Riverton at Greene St. has reopened to traffic. Upriver Dr. from Mission Ave. to Greene St. remains closed because of water on the roadway. Motorists traveling east can take Mission Ave. to Greene St. and then to Upriver Dr., and those traveling west can take Upriver Dr. to Greene St. and then to Mission Ave. Additionally, barricades are in still place.

Article: Transportation Future Rides On Highway Bill

Thanks to citizen Paul Kropp for bringing to our attention an Op-Ed piece by Judith Rodin reprinted in today's Spokesman-Review. The article calls for charting a new course by rebuilding America's overburdened and, in many cases, obsolete, transportation infrastructure.

In the short term, Rodin suggests strategies that can repair existing infrastructure rather than new construction, thus containing our carbon footprint. For the long term, she suggests a 'national infrastructure vision.'

Here's the article, which suggests several reasons why policies need to be changed, including safety, preserving the environment, preserving the economy, and preserving the American Dream.

Wall Street Journal Article On World Oil Supplies

Want to scare yourself? Here's a Wall Street Journal article about world oil supplies that should do the trick.

As Carole Richardson in our office pointed out, there are some interesting items in this article:

- Just a few years ago, the “Peak Oil” concept was dismissed by the oil industry as a wing-nut theory, but there are a growing number of people in the industry who are embracing the theory now.

- The US Energy Department is doing their own study of world oil supply. The article says they should be done this summer. I'm curious to see if their study will corroborate what this article says.

So what's your opinion? Is this a scare tactic on the part of the International Energy Agency or do you believe it's true, Future crude supplies could be far tighter than previously thought? Or, is the truth somewhere in the middle?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2008 Spokane Regional Road Construction Maps Available Soon

The 2008 Spokane Regional Road Construction Maps are at the printer and will be available soon. The maps are published by the County each year, and show all construction projects scheduled for the year for all the regional government agencies. The map also includes descriptions of all the projects. You don't have to wait though, you can start avoiding construction backups and delays today by viewing the map here, and read the project descriptions here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Park Walkers Need To Find Another Way Through Riverfront

The City of Spokane has just sent out a release that they are closing the south half of the pedestrian suspension bridge (seen above in less wet days) in Riverfront Park near the YMCA because of very strong spray from the waves hitting the pinnacle rock near the bridge.

The spray is sporadic and unpredictable, and City Parks & Recreation Department officials believe it could pose a public safety hazard. The bridge will remain closed until officials determine it is safe.

Riverfront Park has some flooding of it's own, in the Red Wagon Meadow, on the Carrousel steps, and under the Washington Street Bridge by the Clocktower. Flooded areas are barricaded, and the public is asked to stay out of these areas.

City/County Closures For Monday

Here's what will be open/closed on Monday for the City and County in observance of Memorial Day:

County offices will be closed, as well as the the County Courthouse, Public Safety Building and Veterans Services. The Sheriff's Office will be open.

Spokane City Hall will be closed, along with the garbage transfer stations and the waste-to-energy plant. Parking meters don’t have to be plugged on Monday, and garbage pickup and curbside recycling will be a day late all week.

All Spokane Public Library branches will be closed Monday, and the Downtown, East Side, Hillyard, and Indian Trail branches also will be closed on Tuesday. Since those branches are normally closed on Mondays, the holiday is observed on Tuesday.

The Spokane City Council briefing session and legislative meeting will be held on Tuesday.

City golf courses also are open.

WSDOT Has A Sense Of Humor!

Get 'em while they're hot! The WSDOT announces their free state map is now available, and they're doing it with the very humorous news release below. Good for you WSDOT, thanks for letting us know you're not all typing monkeys. Oh wait, I think we just hired a couple of typing monkeys because that work cheaper than their human counterparts. Disregard that last comment.

And did you know that WSDOT has a 'nationally recognized cartographer?' Sweet! How do we get one of those?

May 23, 2008

Contacts: Al Gilson, WSDOT Communications (509) 324-6015

Tank of gas: $75; Knowing where you’re going: priceless

WSDOT releases the wildly popular, free, 2008 state map in time for Memorial Day travel

SEATTLE – While it’s not like waiting in line all night for the latest version of Grand Theft Auto, people do get excited about the biennial release of the WSDOT state map.

This year, WSDOT printed 800,000 maps. Anyone can get a free Washington State map by visiting the WSDOT Web site,, or by calling the map line at 360-705-7279.

The Washington State map, produced by WSDOT’s nationally recognized cartographer Mark Bozanich, is unlike any map you can get anywhere.

“We produce the only map that is all Washington. Other maps link us with Oregon and therefore have smaller print, fewer icons, less detailed city information,” said Bozanich.

What can you find on the WSDOT map that you can’t find on any other map? Here’s a look:

Larger print for baby boomers
Interesting location nuggets like Ranald McDonald’s grave in Ferry County
Amtrak routes
All 281 cities and their populations
Twelve city insets
Hill shading from the USGS
The new HOT lanes
The new South Lake Union Streetcar in Seattle

Commercial map publishers AAA and McGraw-Hill fact check their maps against ours because our cartographers and researchers have driven every inch of Washington State highways and stake their reputation on 100 percent accuracy. WSDOT has produced the maps every two years since 1931.

Having the map in your car allows you to travel our beautiful state and not worry about sketchy cell phone reception or going off the beaten path, unable to get back. It’s your guide to adventure, well-loved and used just like that old t-shirt you’ll be wearing this summer as you crisscross the state.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Construction To Wrap Up Early On Friday

If you're trying to get out of town early tomorrow to beat the rush, here's some good news; most area construction work will be suspended by noon on Friday in anticipation of increased holiday traffic. Area agencies plan to have crews off the roads in order to make traffic flow easier.

If you can't decide when to travel though, the Washington State Department of Transportation has some 'travel graphs' that can help you decide the best times to travel highways around the state.

Latest From WSDOT On SR 206

SR 206 is open to limited traffic-washout repair work continues

SPOKANE – As of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, SR 206 has been restored and emergency or residential traffic is being escorted through the site. The gravel surface is narrow with steep slopes. The culvert installation is complete and stable. Roadway reconstruction and slope protection will continue tomorrow.

Lat Sunday, snow runoff water overwhelmed culverts under the State Park equipment shed and the state highway and undermined the roadway, subsequently destroying about 1,000 feet of the route. An emergency contract was set up to perform temporary repairs to open the roadway for limited traffic. A project to fully rebuild the highway will be under construction and completed later this summer.

Gov, Brown, Marr to secure funding for Mt. Spokane washout

-- Photo courtesy of WashDOT

The Governor visited Spokane on Wednesday to survey flood damage among other other things. She has declared an emergency which qualifies our region for federal money to repair some of the flood damage. Eye on Olympia reported the story here.

AAA: Fewer People Will Travel This Holiday Weekend

Fewer Americans than last year are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA.

With record high gasoline prices and the slowing economy, AAA expects 360,000 fewer travelers this year.

Here's the details from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

So what are your weekend plans?

Water Main Break

You'll want to avoid driving in the area of Regal at Third Avenue this morning. A 10-inch, cast-iron water main broke at about 6 a.m. today there. Three homes are without water as Water Department crews work to repair the problem. The water is expected to be back on at about noon.

Also, because of the topography of the area, water from the break has collected at the intersections from Third to Fifth avenues, Regal to Altamont. Drivers should use caution through these intersections.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

STA Sales Tax Passing

As of last night, the vote on the 0.3 percent sales tax for the Spokane Transit Authority is passing.

When ballot counting wrapped up last night, the measure had approval from 65 percent of the ballots. More ballots will be counted in the next few days.

The vote allows STA to maintain about the same level of service and move forward with proposals to increase frequency of routes to the Spokane International Airport and Liberty Lake.

Here's the details and numbers from the Spokesman-Review.

Upriver Drive Closed By Flooding

The city of Spokane has closed East Upriver Drive from North Center Street to Regal Street because of flooding from the Spokane River. Traffic is being detoured to North Cresent Ave. because of water over the roadway. The river is now about six inches over flood stage.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

City Of Spokane Closures For Memorial Day

In observance of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 26, Spokane City Hall will be closed along with other City facilities, including the garbage transfer stations and the waste-to-energy plant. Parking meters don’t have to be plugged on Monday, and garbage pickup and curbside recycling will be a day late all week.

All Spokane Public Library branches will be closed on Monday, May 26, and the Downtown, East Side, Hillyard, and Indian Trail branches also will be closed on Tuesday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day. Since those branch libraries are normally closed on Mondays, the holiday is observed on Tuesday.

The Spokane City Council briefing session and legislative meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 27, at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. respectively in the City Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Meanwhile, the Riverfront Park attractions, including the Imax Theater, Spokane Falls Skyride, Pavilion rides, and Carousel, are open on Memorial Day and throughout the weekend. Go to for information on hours of operation. And the most important part, City golf courses also are open.

'Boing Boing' Bounces Back At SRTC

Interesting enough, the Washington State Patrol called me today, in a follow up to a thread we posted last week and asked me to do an update. Last Wednesday, I reported how I was contacted by the WSP, on my personal cell phone, just minutes after taking a picture of the weigh station out near Stateline.

In my original thread, I blogged about how I found it kind of scary that they could get my cell phone number that fast, but on the other hand, that it was kind of reassuring to know that someone is watching our transportation facilities. And that was it. I never said I was beat down by the po-po, or harassed, or anything further. The initial trooper who contacted me was very polite and after I explained that I was taking the photo for a power point presentation of projects scheduled for the next 20 years (the weigh station is scheduled to be moved within the next couple years), he was very cordial and simply asked me to alert him ahead of time the next time I need to take pictures of WSP property.

That thread was picked up by the national blog ‘Boing Boing’ then by others in turn, including one in Germany and several blogs devoted to photography, and in some cases, blown out of proportion.

So today my phone rings and it’s Bob Caulkins from the WSP out of Olympia. He asked me clear up how they got my phone number so quickly because he’s getting calls from the Spokesman-Review asking the same thing. The Spokesman even posted a thread on their own blog yesterday explaining what happened. So here goes: apparently, anytime you get in a traffic accident, get a ticket of any kind, or contact law enforcement for any other reason, they ask your personal information. The info you provide is put into a database that ALL the law enforcement agencies can access. So, they see me take pictures, they pull up my license number, and wa-la, there’s my phone number.

Mr. Caulkins said that they do have the ability to get your cell phone number from your provider if they need to, without a warrant, but they can’t do it as quickly as getting it out of their own database.

So in addition to that explanation, I would like to emphasize that all interaction I have had with the WSP to date has been very pleasant and cordial, including when I received the speeding ticket that landed my number in their data base in the first place.

So thanks for the call Mr. Caulkins, and here’s my tribute to you, all in fun of course. I’ll leave you with this classic from John Cougar Mellencamp where he combines two of my favorite songs.

Shout Out To The People Out There In The Weather

Spokesman-Review Letters to the editor

Re: "Street department courts chaos," May 14:

Obviously, Mr. Brown, you haven't worked on the streets and roads of a major city, county or state. What may look like chaos to you is usually the coordinated effort of a group of highly skilled individuals defying death or serious injury at the hands of a few frustrated drivers while attempting to repair or improve a damaged roadway. Perhaps the street department could be persuaded to let you put on a yellow hard hat and spend a few exciting hours repairing potholes, sweeping up or paving. A little hot asphalt on your shoes might improve your oversight.

Don't disparage the efforts of hard-working individuals in the street department through a juvenile comparison with the antics of comic characters. These men and women are out there in all kinds of conditions, rain, snow and heat, doing their job. They would be able to do a safer and better job with the knowledgeable support of the driving public in cutting them a little slack by obeying the signs and traffic directors provided for our mutual protection.

Bob Costigan
Spirit Lake, Idaho

Monday, May 19, 2008

We're Gonna Roll This Convoy Across The U.S.A

Our discussion of the weigh station last week somehow got Jeff and I onto the topic of the old song 'Convoy' by CW McCall (I know, a loose connection at best). I couldn't remember exactly how the reference to 'the 11 friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus' was worded, so Jeff was kind enough to look up the lyrics. While at it, he found this 'tribute' to the classic. Here is a pretty good cover of the original song. Looks like we got us a convoy...

Transportation Roundup For Week Of May 19

Wow, we're busy around here! Here's what you have to look forward to this week: seatbelt checks, construction on US 195, and a break from construction for the holiday weekend.

Here's the roundup for the week of May 19 from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' column.

News Release from the WSDOT

Washout on SR 206 closes highway to Mt. Spokane

SPOKANE –Water cascading through small creek tributaries blocked culverts and washed out a section of State Route 206 on Mt. Spokane late Sunday, May 18th

State Route 206 is now closed from just below the State Park gates to the summit.

In addition, high water in Deadman Creek has overflowed several of the County road approaches and private bridges that cross the stream.

WSDOT maintenance personnel are on site and engineering staff will be assessing the roadway later today. With temperatures reaching into the 80’s today, water will continue to flow and repairs will not be possible until the water recedes. There is no estimated time for reopening.

Residents who live above the closure will not be able to cross the damaged area on SR 206 or the adjacent approaches.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spokane makes national news #2

Good Morning America featured Eric Farmer of Spokane in new segment this morning about how gas prices are encouraging more and more people to bike to work. Check it out Here

Question: Did you participate in "Bike to Work Week?"

Spokane makes national news #1

So, Staci Lehman in our office blogged earlier this week about her escapades at the stateline weigh station (see her post a few threads below), and it was linked by a national civil liberties blog called Boing Boing. Apparently, Boing Boing is the equivalent of the Drudge Report in the national blogosphere. Our post on this blog generated at least 27 comments, and the post on Boing Boing got another 22 comments. You can check it out Here

Hat Tip: Rich Roesler, Spokesman Review, who discovered and blogged about our national exposure Here

Thanks to Cycle Sport and Great Harvest Bakery

A big thanks to Theo from Cycle Sport and Great Harvest Bakery in Liberty Lake. They took it upon themselves to provide 'Breakfast on the Bridge' for people taking part in Bike to Work Day today. Starting at 6 a.m., Cycle Sports and Great Harvest set up a table on the pedestrian overpass at Liberty Lake and provided breakfast to all the bicyclists who came by.

What I thought was really cool about this was that it wasn't part of a community effort, Theo said there was nothing in particular planned in Liberty Lake for Bike To Work Week, so he decided to do his own thing and recruited Great Harvest to help. Thanks Theo and Great Harvest! That's what we need in our community, more people taking initiative and recognizing the people who take steps to improve things!

Street Closures For Parade Night

Here are the streets that will be closed Saturday for the Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade (closures are from 4:15 to 11 p.m.):

· Boone Ave. will be closed from Howard to Division streets
· Washington St. will be closed from Maxwell to First avenues
· Sharp and Boone avenues will be closed to west bound traffic at Division St.
· Lincoln St. will be closed to southbound traffic at Boone Ave.
· Spokane Falls Blvd. will be closed from Browne to Lincoln streets

The remaining streets on the parade route will be closed from 5:30 to 11 p.m. or so:

· Main, Riverside, Sprague, First, and Second avenues from Browne to Lincoln streets

Motorists should anticipate delays. Division, Monroe, and Hamilton streets will remain open, and the Maple St. Bridge will remain open northbound only.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Keep Construction Crews Safe

News release from the City of Spokane Engineering Department:


The City of Spokane needs the help of citizens to have a safe, successful, and efficient construction season.

This year, the City is planning more than $18 million worth of construction projects. These projects are designed to maintain and enhance public infrastructure for the benefit of all, but they also can be frustrating for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

As you move about through the City this summer, Spokane Police and engineers request the following assistance:

Obey construction speed limits. The speed limits are set to help ensure the safety of construction workers and limit damage to vehicles driving through construction zones.
Follow marked detours. Using neighborhood streets to avoid traffic backups on a detour route can lead to safety risks for children and others living in our neighborhoods.
Don’t drive past construction barricades. Barricades are put up to protect the public. Hazards in a construction zone may not be obvious, and crews driving loud, heavy equipment can’t hear approaching vehicles, let alone cyclists or pedestrians.
Report vandalism, speeding or reckless driving at construction sites. Call the Police Traffic Hotline at 625-4150 or 9-1-1 in emergencies.

“Working together, we can improve safety for citizens and construction workers while delivering a product that everyone can be proud of,” says Eldon Brown, the City’s Acting Director of Engineering Services.

How To Alienate A Pedestrian?

Pedestrians and pedestrian facilities have been on my mind lately. That's because we're partnering with the Spokane County Health District, the City of Spokane, and the Active Living Task Force (ALTF) to develop a Regional Pedestrian Plan.

Coincidentally, just after leaving a Ped Plan meeting this morning, I logged onto MetroSpokane just to see what's new, and there it was, an article on 'How To Alienate A Pedestrian.'

Check it out As a 'man (or woman) on the street,' do the items they mention bother you?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Try Your Hand At Balancing A City Budget

I hear it all the time; people complaining that their city's budget is out of whack and they could do a much better job keeping it balanced. Well here's your chance. The City of Spokane Valley is offering you a chance to try your hand at balancing their budget.

The Valley's six year forecast shows a gap between revenues and expenditures in the long term. So they're asking for your input and how to solve that problem.

Go to the Valley's website to make your own budget, then let us know how you allocated funds. More street projects? Less street projects? Bike and pedestrian facilities. Give us your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our Transportation Facilities Are Being Watched

I don't know if this will make you feel better or scare the hell out of you. I'm on the fence about it.

I was out taking pictures this morning of sites of transportation projects to be completed over the next twenty years. One of those projects is to move of the weigh station near Stateline further east along I-90. I stopped at the pretty much deserted weigh station and took a couple pictures, then drove off. About 10 minutes later I received a call on my cell phone from Washington State Patrol asking why I had been taking pictures of the weigh station!

It took just minutes for them to run my license plate and track down my cell phone number! Everything was fine after I explained why I was taking pictures and I guess it makes me feel a little better to know that someone is watching the people who are watching our infrastructure. On the other hand, it kind of scares me that they could track me down that fast.

Fix The Streets For Ice Skating Fans??

I've heard them all; the cries to fix the streets for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. But now someone wants the streets fixed for ice skating fans!

Letters to the editor
Fix streets for skating visitors

What a wonderful thing it is to get the skating championships here in Spokane. Yes, we did a great job the last time, but our streets were certainly in much better condition than they are now – or will be in another year and a half!

No matter what is done to "polish" up the city for all of the out-of-town and out-of-country visitors, one ride on one of our many deplorable streets will undo everything good that's been done and leave a negative impression. They'll be so busy dodging potholes that they'll miss everything that's so good about our city. That's not the kind of international attention that we want – or need.

So, Mayor Verner, what is going to be your priority? Take a trip up Maple/Cedar to High Drive (or down), South Monroe, even Market Street, and see what out-of-towners will be forced to deal with as we residents do. I'm not talking about side streets, but almost every arterial in this fine city of ours. Where will our priorities be?

K. J. Merritt

Monday, May 12, 2008

How Not To Ride Your Bike To Work This Week

In honor of the first day of Bike To Work Week, we bring you this montage of bike crashes, because nothing's funnier than watching someone else wipe out (and not get seriously hurt). Hope your week goes better than this.

Roundup For The Week of May 12

Division Street lane reductions, Bike to Work week and Spokane Valley road construction. Just a few of the things going on in the transportation world in our area. Here's the roundup for this week from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' column.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Statistics Show Decline In Driving Miles

For the first three months of 2008, highway travel has declined by 2.3% nationwide and 5.6% in Idaho, relative to the same three months in 2007. That's according to a 'Traffic Volume Trends' report put out by the Federal Highway Administration.

Travel on all roads and streets dropped by 4.3% for March '08 compared to March of the previous year. Travel for the month is an estimated 246 billion miles. In Washington, people drove 781 million vehicle miles in March. Across the border in Idaho, it was 418 million. That's a drop of 6.2% in Washington and 6.3% in Idaho.

The report doesn't address why the drop in driving but I know I've been riding the bus much more frequently due to gas prices.

Bike Commuter Clinic

Kudos to Huckleberry's and Wheelsport for teaming up to conduct a 'Commuter Clinic' on May 15 to recognize Bike To Work Week.

Parade Street Closures

Some streets in downtown Spokane will be closed Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until noon for the annual Junior Lilac Parade. Here's the roundup:

· Washington St. between Main and Boone avenues
· Dean Ave. between Washington and Howard streets
· Cataldo Ave. between Washington and Howard streets
· Spokane Falls Blvd. between Bernard and Post streets
· Post St. between Spokane Falls Blvd. and Bridge Ave.
· Main St. between Bernard and Stevens streets
· Stevens St. between Main Ave. and Spokane Falls Blvd.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Division Street Delay From the WSDOT

Be prepared to slow down on Division Street, between Foothills Drive and Houston Avenue. Weekdays between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., that section of roadway will be reduced to just two lanes. Then, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., it will be reduced even further to one lane. There will be some sidewalk restrictions as well.

Crews will be installing a fiber optics communication system. The fiber optic line will complete a link between two existing fiber lines that are part of the transportation communications network.

Check out this progress on the North Spokane Corridor

The North Spokane Corridor gets a bad rap from some folks in our community who feel that planners should not be focused on roads. But as you will see in this video, the corridor project is truly multi modal. It includes separated bike and pedestrian trails for the entire length on the freeway, as well as right-of-way for a north/south light rail link.

What do you think? Do you support our region's investment in the North Spokane Corridor?

Gas Tax Holiday: Good or Bad Idea?

I grumble about high gas prices just as much as the next guy (or gal in this case), but when a friend asked me about the 'Gas Tax Holiday' proposed by Hillary Clinton and John McCain, I told her it was a bad idea. Here's why:

- The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents a gallon. Clinton and McCain would like to suspend that tax for the summer months. That money funds the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which finances road projects nationwide. The HTF already faces a $3.4 billion shortfall, which is why our roads are in bad shape and we hear constant complaining about them.

- The federal transportation department says every $1 billion in highway spending creates 34,779 jobs, which means the a gas tax holiday could cost 300,000 construction jobs.

- Economists say the average driver will only save about $30 over the summer, or 33 cents a day, because oil companies will most likely push up the price of gas by almost the size of the tax cut if there is a gas tax holiday.

- Eliminating the tax will lead to increased consumption.

So that's my reasoning. Anyone have anything to add or a differing opinion?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Construction Zone Therapy

Rebecca Nappi, of the Spokesman's 'A Matter of Opinion' blog is asking people today if they have any "secret" ways to avoid the insanity on Ash/Maple or any construction zone?

What's your secret route or coping method?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jaywalking: Bain of Mankind Or The Quickest Way To Get Somewhere?

Do you jaywalk? Do you believe that if you get caught jaywalking you should get a $56 ticket? That's what the Spokesman's 'Huckleberries' blog is asking readers today, in response to an article by Doug Clark that says he believes emphasis patrols to bust jaywalkers shouldn't be a priority.

Here's your chance to voice your opinion. Is jaywalking really the scourge of downtown transportation modes or simply a harmless way to get where you're going faster?

Trip Back In Time Courtesy Of MetroSpokane

Our blogging buddies over at MetroSpokane have a contest they hold occasionally where they ask readers to identify local streets or intersections based on old photos. This week, they have a really cool picture of the intersection of Main and Post as it was in 1953. The cool thing about the picture though is the background, you can see things that are still there 55 years later! Take a look

Monday, May 5, 2008

He Looks Like Everyone Else, But He's Got A Secret

Because May is National Bike To Work Month and a mechanical breakdown can happen to anyone, we offer this 'Bicycle Repairman' piece from Monty Python's Flying Circus. And if you can't comprehend it in English, it's even got Spanish subtitles!

WSDOT Way Over Budget For Winter Costs

Keeping state highways clear of snow and ice during the winter is an expensive job - a $35 million job, to be exact. And that’s if there's a “normal” amount of precipitation.

The heavy snowfall and cold temperatures this winter Washington State Department of Transportation more than $8 million over budget for snow and ice removal. Here’s a look at the cost breakdown (and this is only through March, it actually snowed all the way into April):

Avalanche Control:
97 missions
221 detonations
99 recoilless rifle rounds
8560 pounds of explosives

Cost: $150 per ton
Planned use: 55,000 tons
Currently used: 85,000 tons
Difference: 30,000 tons at an extra cost of $4.5 million

$2.2 million extra in regular time
$1.6 million extra in overtime
Total over budget: $8.3 million

The 2008 Legislature provided an extra $5.25 million to help balance the costs of winter cleanup efforts, but WSDOT anticipates carrying at least a $3 million deficit into next winter. If the 2008-09 winter is milder, they could recoup some of the costs.

Move Your Car For Street Sweeping

City of Spokane crews will sweep area streets this week from 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Residents are asked to move vehicles from the street during sweeping. Sweeping will continue citywide until it is complete in July. You can also get updates by calling the City’s street maintenance hotline at
456-2666. This week, crews will sweep the areas bounded by these streets:

Northwest: Monroe St. to Ash St. and Wellesley Ave. to Francis Ave.
Lincoln Rd. to Francis Ave. and Ash St. to A St.

Northeast: Wellesley Ave. to Euclid and Nevada St. to Division St.
Wellesley Ave. to Illinois Ave. and Crestline to Hamilton/Nevada St.

South: 29th Ave. to Hartson Ave. and Havana St. to Ray/Thor St.
14th Ave. to 29th Ave. and Lincoln Rd. to Grand Blvd.

Transportation Roundup

Expect some delays on I90 if you cross the border, a local bridge is out of commission and you can't put that campaign sign just anywhere. Here's the wrapup for this week from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' column.

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.