Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Latest Update From City Of Spokane

City of Spokane snow removal crews are moving along with work in the residential areas today and will continue that work overnight. In addition, they are scraping off slush on some arterials as they work to keep the main streets in good condition.

Sign Up If You Need Weather-Related Help

KXLY TV wants to connect people who need help with snow-related problems to people who can do something about them. KXLY has created a database of people requesting assitance with plowing, shoveling snow off roofs, or other emergency assistance. Volunteers can then contact those people to offer help. Here's a link to register on for that database.

In Spokane County, for non-emergency requests such as medical concerns, medication, food, water and heat you are asked to call 2-1-1.

SRTC Holiday Hours

SRTC will be closed starting at noon today through Thursday. We'll be back Friday morning though and ready to actually do some work (that will be a novel feeling after the past few weeks of spending 8 hours a day gorging ourselves on baked goods).

We'll see you in the new year and remember, if you're going out tonight, take it easy on the roads. Even if you aren't drunk, chances are someone in a car nearby may be.

WSDOT Moving Plows From Western To Eastern Washington

Did you know that the Washington State Department of Transportation uses rubber plow bits in most parts of Western Washington to protect raised pavement markers, but recessed pavement markers in most parts of Eastern Washington? That's right, and they're changing out those plow bits because WSDOT is shifting some of its plows and crews from western Washington to the eastern part of the state for the next five days. Here's the latest from the WSDOT blog.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Latest Snow Info From The City of Spokane

City of Spokane snow removal crews are finishing up the snow emergency routes, major and secondary arterials, and bus routes this morning. All streets are open again today. Crews also have started a new full-City plow of the residential streets today.

As the bad weather continues, some citizens may find they need non-emergency assistance. For those with non-emergency special needs such as wellness checks, or those who need help getting medications, foods and other special needs, please call 2-1-1. For emergencies, of course, please call 9-1-1.

Don't Be A Snow Ostrich

The Washington State Department of Transportation asks you not to be a 'snow ostrich.' So what is one? WSDOT tells you on their blog. Plus, they've got a refresher on who's responsible for plowing what. It's helpful so you know who to call up and yell at.

County Not Screwing Around Anymore

Spokane County is calling in the big guns. The Washington Air National Guard’s 141st Refueling Wing (ARW) has been called upon to augment state and local jurisdictions with snow removal. The 141st ARW is providing ten citizen airmen to operate two industrial snow-blowers, one truck with a plow and one front-loader. Their mission will be seven-days in duration unless they are called off sooner. Go Guard!

In the meantime, Spokane County road crews are continuing to clear primary arterials and emergency routes.

Don't Count On Cab Service

If you have plans for New Year's Eve that involve taking a cab home, be aware that the weather is taking a toll on the local taxi business, in addition to everything else.

Spokane County's Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program received notification from local cab companies that, due to weather conditions, they are running significantly behind schedule. That means if you're part of the CTR program and need to use the Guaranteed Ride Home program, you may get home either really late, or have to find another way to get there.

I found out about this the hard way last weekend. Trying to be proactive, some friends and I got a ride to a local establishment to celebrate a friend's birthday, planning to take a cab home. When we called for one at 11:30, we were told we couldn't get a ride until at least 2 a.m.! So guess who spent several hours in the bar parking lot on a Friday night waiting for a ride? Never did show up either. We finally got a friend out of bed in the early morning hours to come get us.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Latest From The City; Changing Strategy & Mayor To Speak

To keep people moving in today's heavy snowfall, the City of Spokane is changing its plowing strategy to concentrate on specific north-south and east-west corridors. Plow crews will rotate through these corridors continuously.

Mayor Mary Verner will update the media on current plowing efforts and related work at the City Street Department's Normandie complex near Sinto and Washington at 2:30 p.m. today.

Here are the east-west routes:

* Francis Avenue. This corridor will start at the west City limits on Nine Mile Road to Havana on the east.
* Wellesley Avenue. This corridor will run between Assembly and Freya.
* Second and Third avenues. This corridor will include the Sunset Highway to the east, and then run along Second and Third until Havana.
* 29th Avenue. This corridor runs between Cedar and Havana.
* 37th Avenue. This corridor runs between Bernard and the east City limits.

Here are the north-south routes:

* Maple/Ash corridor. This corridor runs from Country Homes Boulevard on the north to Hatch Road on the south.
* Division Street and Stevens. This corridor starts along the Newport Highway on the north, through the "Y", through town and up the South Hill along Grand, Stevens, and Bernard streets to 29th.
* Market Street and Thor/Ray. This corridor runs along Market/Greene across the interstate and up Thor/Ray on the South Hill to 37th Avenue.

Snow Update From The City Of Spokane

This just in from the City of Spokane: snow removal crews are once again working to clear emergency routes and major arterials as the snow continues to pile up. Plows have moved to main streets but graders remain in the residential streets, with the second round of residential plowing expected to be completed today.

Temperatures currently are below freezing, but are expected to increase during the day. Some street flooding is possible. Citizens are asked to clear storm drains, if possible, to help minimize street flooding.

Spokane Fire Department officials also are asking people to clear away snow from hydrants to allow for access during emergencies.

Watch For Black Ice, Especially In West Plains Area

*&^%$#... more snow! And not just new snow, but it's sitting on top of a layer of ice that froze after yesterday's melt-off. Area law enforcement says the worst area is I90 in the West Plains area. Several slideoffs have already happened there this morning.

Just like all the other area agencies that deal with transportation, the Washington State Department of Transportation says, "We're doing the best we can, but no we can't clear the snow out from in front of everyone's driveway." Here's a link to their latest blog entry.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

P.M. Rush Hour More Dangerous Than A.M.

According to 'Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us', by Tom Vanderbilt (Alfred A. Knopf, $24.95), the morning rush hour is twice as safe as the evening rush hour, in terms of traffic accidents. That's because, when you're driving home in the evening, drivers are out shopping, picking up kids, etc. and not concentrating on driving as much as they should be. They are also more likely to have had a drink or two on the way home from the office.

So remember that on your drive home tomorrow and be especially observant.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

County Declares State Of Emergency

This morning, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) met in emergency session and unanimously declared a State of Emergency in Spokane County. This action was taken because County Engineer Bob Brueggeman reported severe blowing and drifting snow in the southeast portion of the County, crews struggling to keep right-of-ways clear, and numerous power outages, primarily in north Spokane County.

By declaring a State of Emergency, the BOCC now has the authority to hire private contractors to assist in snow removal without going through a time-consuming bid process. An officials State of Emergency also enables the County to obtain supplementary resources from other local governments/jurisdictions, implements the Spokane City/County Emergency Management Plan, as necessary, and directs the Emergency Management Department to coordinate all incident-related assistance to the affected areas.

Since December 17th, Spokane County has been spending $70,000 daily on snow removal efforts.

Saturday Snow Update From the City

City of Spokane plow crews are once again plowing emergency routes and major arterials; they gradually will move to secondary arterials and bus routes tonight (Saturday).

In the residential areas, they've completed plowing on the South Hill for a second time. Depending on snow fall, the second round of residential plowing should be complete by Sunday or Monday.

Crews re-plowed downtown, “racking” the snow to the center of the streets again. Don'tattempt to cross these berms; you will get stuck!
Here's City's snowplow webpage for info on when plows will be in your area.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snowzilla: Public Enemy #1 For Tying Up Traffic

SRTC in no way endorses this, but here's an idea from Ryan in our office of what you can do with all that extra snow in your yard: build a 'Snowzilla' snowman. Better ask the authorities first though, Anchorage officials have given the builders of Snowzilla a cease and desist order, saying so many people are coming to see the snowman that traffic has increased to the point of endangerment in the neighborhood and that the snowman itself was unsafe. Oh well, it's not like he's permanent.

This Just In: SRTC Closure

Well we finally did it. We convinced the boss to let us leave the office for a couple days (although my ankle bracelet gives me a shock if I'm off the premises for more than 72 hours at a time).

SRTC will closed this afternoon (Wednesay), Thursday, and Friday. We'll be back and (hopefully re-energized) on Monday. I know I'll be feeling better after four days of dressing the cat up for the holidays.

Freeway Slow, Man Threatens Plow Drivers, People Needed To Help Elderly & Disabled

Just got downtown and the freeway was pretty slow. Two accidents between Barker and Freya had things crawling. Speaking of accidents, I've heard from several people that some drivers are trying to create their own lanes when there is only one lane plowed in each direction. This is especially true going down hills; there is a line of cars waiting their turn, but some clown tries to pass in the lane that no longer exists because it's covered in snow. This causes accidents, bottlenecking, anger, etc.

We're all frustrated about the snow situation, but let's keep it in perspective. A man was arrested yesterday for threatening to kill any snow plow driver who came down his street. Here's the story.

Maybe he needs some community service. Catholic Charities is looking for people to shovel out the elderly and disabled. Some of Catholic Charities' clients have been house-bound for a week now. If you have a snowblower, a plow, or a strong back, and some time to spare, call Catholic Charities at (509) 328-8400.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Looking for last minute gift ideas?

It looks like Santa came early for Tempe Arizona drivers this week. Four people dressed in Santa outfits hit the streets on Monday and "packaged up" three traffic cameras that issue tickets for speeding and running red lights. They didn't make the highway patrol too happy, but judging by the horns honking in this video, I suspect there were more than a few grateful gift recipients...

SR 27 Closed

For those of you trying to reach Pullman or Colfax, turn back! State Route 27 is closed for snow removal until further notice. Compact snow and ice and snow drifts caused the closure from the Pullman City Limit to Fairfield City Limit starting at 8:00 this morning.

Holiday Closures

Here's a roundup of closures for this week at area government agencies:

- SRTC will be open on Christmas Eve (tomorrow), but chances are we will sneak out a little early, so if you need something, try to catch us before 1 p.m. After that, Jeff and I will be enjoying a little 'holiday cheer' if you know what I mean, to take our mind off all this snow.

- All Spokane County offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday, but Spokane County Courts will be open on Friday.

- Spokane City Hall will be closed starting at noon on Wednesdays, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, and all day on Thursdays, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

- Downtown Spokane parking meters don’t have to be plugged on Thursdays, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

- Spokane Valley City offices will be closed on Thursday, December 25 and Friday, December 26.

My Personal Transportation Complaints Caused By Snow

This little piece of art is the work of my friend Suzee who is, needless to say, a little frustrated by the snow. Yesterday was the first time she'd seen a plow in her northeast Spokane neighborhood since the snow started last week. It took her about three days I believe to get her car dug out, but after the plow came through, she couldn't get it back in her driveway!

As for my frustration, I had to wait an hour and 20 minutes for my bus last night. By the time it showed up, delayed by an accident and getting stuck in the park and ride lot, I couldn't feel my left hand. And the elderly lady waiting at the bus stop with me had this to say: 'You could pierce my face right now and I wouldn't feel it.'

This morning's ride in was much better, although it did take about 45 minutes longer than normal. And here's my rant for the day: just because there's snow on the ground and you can't see the lines of the parking spots doesn't mean you have to park 8 feet from the next car in parking lots. The Liberty Lake park and ride was a mess this morning, with only a fraction of the usual number of cars able to use it, because everyone was parked so far apart!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: All Not Running

Holiday travel became more difficult today with cancelled flights, buses and delayed train travel.

So far, eight flights have been cancelled out of the Spokane International Airport since this morning.

All Greyhound buses into and out of Spokane have been cancelled. Snoqualmie and Stevens passes are still open at this point, but traction devices are recommended, officials said.

Amtrak is still running routes into Spokane, but with significant delays.

The Latest From The City- Monday, 9:45 a.m.

Snow removal efforts in the City have changed due to the new snow overnight. Plows are back on the City’s snow emergency routes and major arterials.

In the residential areas, crews have finished plowing on the South Hill. Work also is proceeding downtown. Crews “racked” the snow to the center of the street, creating large berms and are using industrial snow blowers and dump trucks to remove the berms. All that snow is then dumped at the City's Operations Complex.

Browne’s Addition will be plowed on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 23 and 24. North-south streets in Browne’s Addition will be plowed on Tuesday, and east-west streets on Wednesday. Plowing will begin at 9 a.m. each day. Because the streets are so narrow, cars must be moved from the streets or they will be towed.

Plow Info

Wondering when your street is going to be plowed? Here's a link to the County's plowing priority map. and here's Spokane City's version. Also, give the plow drivers some slack, they're working round the clock and doing the best they can.

While you're waiting to be freed from the oppression of snow on your neighborhood street, here's some words of wisdom from the County's website that we should all heed:

DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO DIG TUNNELS OR BUILD FORTS IN SNOW BERMS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD OR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET! Plow operators cannot see children hidden in the snow! Children should be restricted to playing in yards, parks and playgrounds.

SRTC Is Back In Business!

It took me 1 1/2 hours to get to work today, but I'm here! And glad to be here too. Was starting to get cabin fever and a little looney. I think my pets are glad I'm working today too, I was considering dressing the cat up in doll clothes just for something to do. Bob wasn't very happy about that.

Anyway, a couple things I observed on my death march into work this morning:

- The good news: people were taking it very easy on the freeway. I think we only got up to 40 mph, and I only saw two slide-offs. The bad news: Drivers weren't moving over to let people merge as they were trying to get onto the freeway at the on-ramps. This caused some scary moments.

- If you are stopping to help pull someone out of a snowdrift or their driveway, PLEASE get as far off the road as you can before getting out to hook up their car with your tow chain. One clown stopped in the middle of Harvard Road in Liberty Lake this morning to help someone. That's great, but he also left his door wide open, leaving no room for people to get around. They were going into the median, which bogged things down even worse.

- Thanks to all the people who took it upon themselves to plow public roads! A very nice man in a big pickup was plowing Harvard this morning when I came through.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We Were Snowed In Too

Just like the rest of you, all of SRTC staff were snowed in and not able to get to work on Thursday and Friday (well one person managed to get here, but I'm not sure how long he stayed). Everyone is accounted for is the good news. I was just out on the roads of the valley and downtown and it wasn't too terrible, but parking lots are terrible. So take it slow and go easy, supposedly more snow is on the way.

We'll start regular updates of the blog again on Monday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Word From The City of Spokane & WSDOT

The City of Spokane has just declared a "Condition Red" snow emergency, which means City crews will be plowing snow 24 hours a day, seven days a week until they can complete a full City plow, which includes removing snow from 967 miles of streets.

Today, crews are focusing on snow emergency routes and major arterials. Then, they will move to the secondary arterials, bus routes, and residential hills. If no more snow falls, crews will then begin plowing residential streets.

The Washington State Department of Transportation have all their trucks on the road as well but are urging drivers to be prepared by carrying chains, slowing down and giving yourself extra time to reach your destination. Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady spots. These all have potential to develop black ice that makes driving hazardous.

Check The SRTMC Website For Accidents & Delays

Don't forget, on days like today, when the weather is making the commute rough, to check the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center (SRTMC) website before heading out on the roads. The site shows accidents, delays, backups and any other incident that could cause you problems. You can also watch live cameras to determine the conditions of local roadways. Here's a link to the SRTMC site. And here's a video about the SRTMC that City Cable 5 put together for us:

Weather Causing Accidents & Delays

This morning’s snow has triggered rush hour accidents across the region, including several on Interstate 90. Here's some of those accidents:

- A two-car wreck at the eastbound Freya Street exit on I-90 was slowing traffic in eastbound lanes toward downtown Spokane. Some traffic was taking the Freya exit and clogging Second Avenue.

- Another incident was reported at I-90 and Exit 277-A where the right lane was blocked.

- A refuse truck and automobile had collided on westbound I-90 at U.S. Highway 195.

- Traffic cameras showed vehicles on the freeway moving, but at some places such as Freya and Havana streets, it had slowed to about 25 mph.

- Idaho State Police reported slide-offs and an accident partially blocking Interstate 90’s westbound lanes at Post Falls.

Alternative Jet Fuel To Be Put To The Test

The Japanese are trying an alternative fuel in a commercial airliner they will test next month. Camelina is a biofuels crop that has received strong backing from Montana officials. It will be put to the test in January by a company out of Seattle and Boeing. Here's the story.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Traffic Obstruction Due To Movie Shoot

Tomorrow (Wednesday), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. drivers near First Ave. and Washington St. in downtown Spokane will encounter obstructions as film crews shoot a scene for a movie.

The scene will have a trailer followed by a police escort driving in a loop. The loop will begin at 1029 W. First Ave.; the film crew will drive on First Ave. to Washington St., from Washington St. to Sprague Ave., and from Sprague Ave. to Adams St., ending up back at First Ave.

2009 Board Meeting Dates Set

For all you SRTC groupies, the dates for 2009 Board meetings have been set and we've posted them on our website. Click here, then scroll to the bottom of the page to see 2009 meeting dates.

I'll get Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) dates to you ASAP.

WSU Grad Wants Highway 26 Renamed For School

A WSU graduate wants to rename Highway 26 from Colfax to Vantage. What's he have in mind? Tyler Morgan proposes renaming SR 26 the WSU “Cougar” Highway. No, this is not a joke, and Morgan actually has some support for his cause. Here's the story.

So what do you think? Considering their record on the football field this year, I think maybe we should wait a while and see if they 'deserve' it next year :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Big Meeting Friday To Discuss Stimulus Package Projects

The SRTC Board has continued their meeting from last Thursday, December 11 to this Friday, December 19 in order to invite area elected officials to discuss and comment on transportation projects that have been submitted for consideration as part of a potential transportation infrastructure stimulus package.

Congress is seriously considering an infrastructure investment bill to stimulate jobs and the economy. SRTC must deliver the Spokane Region list of proposed projects to Washington State Department Of Transportation no later than December 29.

Friday’s meeting starts at 9 a.m. in meeting rooms A, B, and C of Bay 1 at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St., Spokane Valley. It will provide a great opportunity to discuss transportation projects and priorities as a region.

The public is welcome at all SRTC Board meetings so if you're interested, come join us!

This Is A New One By Me

Bob Has Spoken

Spokesman-Review Letters to the editor
No road worker layoffs

I am writing to correct the misinformation contained in Dr. Kim Thorburn's letter of Dec. 10, "County on wrong road."

The Engineering and Roads Department of Spokane County is not laying off 15 road workers. We had 15 vacancies throughout the entire department, six of those being road workers. These vacancies were the result of retirements and regular attrition. While these positions show up as being eliminated in 2009, in reality they were eliminated as the vacancies occurred this year.

In addition, Spokane County successfully concluded labor negotiations with the road crews earlier this year, and to speculate that eliminating already vacant positions is "retaliation" is patently absurd.

To be quite clear, the Engineering and Roads Department is not laying off employees, and county residents will not see a decline in service in 2009.

Bob Brueggeman
Spokane County engineer

Drop In Santa Barbara Accidents Attributed To Hands-Free Law

I couldn't find the article when digging around on the internet this morning, but I heard a news story this morning that said traffic accidents have dropped by almost 40% in Santa Barbara County, CA since the hands-free cell phone law went into effect earlier this year. And fatal accidents dropped by 72%!!! Wow, those are some results. I'll keep digging and post it if I can find it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Driving At Its' Best

This video is making the email rounds right now. I'm not sure where it's from, but I have a feeling we have some of this fun to look forward to this weekend. And if it does, don't be like the woman here who jumps out of her car. She could have been hit by another car.

Writer Against Appleway Change

Spokesman-Review Letters to the editor
Valley shift irreversible

The Spokane Valley City Council is bound and determined to make Sprague and University the hub of the Valley, because they want to build a grand city hall there so all can come and worship at their feet.

A "world-class" consultant has told them to change the efficient one-way couplet back to two way traffic and "they will come" back to the Dishman area to spend money. (I think they've watched "Field of Dreams" too often.)

They want to save the tax base collected from Dishman merchants, but eliminate commercial development east of Sullivan (also tax base) to force the city back to the west. Dishman was the hub of the Valley up until about 50 years ago. Then the Valley center slowly moved east. Now it's the Sullivan corridor.

Two-way or 10-way traffic is not going to move the Valley center back to Dishman.

By the time this City Council is done, the Valley will be in worse financial shape than the rest of the country. So have a happy New Year and don't forget to pay the 6 percent phone tax the council levied on us.

Sally Jackson
Spokane Valley

Do you agree/disagree or other with Ms. Jackson?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

City Gearing Up For Expected Snow

The City of Spokane is gearing up for the snow that we're expecting this weekend. According to a press release they just sent out, the City plows the streets according the following priority list:

1. Snow emergency routes: arterials that carry more than 15,000 vehicles each day.
2. Major arterials: arterials that carry less than 15,000 vehicles each day.
3. Secondary arterials and bus routes.
4. Residential hills.
5. Residential streets: Residential streets will be plowed if snow accumulations reach more than 4 inches, snow continues to fall, and additional snowfall is predicted in the forecast.

Citizens are asked to remove their vehicles from the streets when plows are expected. Updated plowing schedule information is available by calling the City’s snow removal hotline at 456-2666.

Writer Says County On Wrong Road

Spokesman-Review Letters to the editor
County on wrong road

Fifteen of the 58 employees to be laid off by the Spokane County commissioners' budget are road workers ("County plans to cut 58 positions," Dec. 4).

As a resident of unincorporated Spokane County, roads are the most important service that I expect from county government. I don't think that I'm alone in this expectation. The roads of my county commissioner district, No. 1, are a travesty. I won't hold my breath for snow removal in the event of a repeat of last winter.

Road workers are the only county union without a contract. They are holding out for a fair salary adjustment from the county commissioners. Is this retaliation? Who do the commissioners think that they are retaliating against? I'd rather have graded and plowed roads than a racetrack.

Kim Marie Thorburn

County Discontinues Valley's Road Maintenance Contract

According to a news release from the County, the City of Spokane Valley is going to have to find another way to maintain their roads starting next year.

Yesterday the Board of County Commissioners voted to discontinue the County’s road maintenance agreement with the City of Spokane Valley, effective October 15, 2009.

The $1.8 million contract was apparently no longer cost-effective for the County Engineering and Roads department which has been providing services such as signing, traffic signals, highway striping and winter maintenance for the Valley since 2005.

No word yet how the City of the Valley will provide these services in the future.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's Black Friday For Parking Meters

Who would have thought so many people would want to get their hands on a parking meter, considering that all I ever hear about them are complaints?

The City of Spokane is selling surplus parking meters for $35 each, just to get rid of them. And they've had an incredible response. One Street Department employee told me yesterday that the lobby was packed with people trying to get a meter. There are so many people that want one that they're now asking you to please call first to put in an 'order.' The number is 232-8800 if you want one to give to that special someone for Christmas.

In Support of The NSC

Spokesman-Review Letters to the editor
Freeway need is visible

It was nostalgic to read the quarter-page Opinion piece by John J. Covert (Dec. 6) listing all the reasons why we shouldn't build the north-south freeway.

These are the same 40-year-old tired arguments that have us buying right-of-way by the square foot today, that could have been purchased by the acre 40 years ago. The "Citizens for Sensible Transportation Planning" need a reality check – like maybe stand atop Pines I-90 Interchange bridge and look down. Because we are still free here in America, you will see what we do – build freeways to move people and freight.

The first order of business at 16 is to get the driver's license. Sprague Avenue to Division to Liberty Lake is lined with car and truck dealers. The expectation here in America is growth (economic panic without it) and like it or not, our region is no different. The construction of this freeway has been on the back of the shelf long enough. Finally we have legislative leadership that understands this priority – it must and will be built, even if it's done one foot at a time.

Thomas C. Stewart
Liberty Lake

I agree with Mr. Stewart about the need for the NSC, but don't believe that freedom is about moving people and freight. And yes, we do put a lot of emphasis on driving and owning nice vehicles, but I think that is starting to change. Anyone?

STA Discusses Raising Fares

STA says it will consider increasing fares next year during budget deliberations. Here's why.

From everything I've seen, STA fares are still pretty low compared to a lot of comparably-sized cities. Anyone disagree or see an alternative to increasing fares?

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Not Light Rail, But Spokane Is Getting A New Form Of Transportation

According to the Inlander, Spokane will soon be getting a new form of transportation; pedicab.
Here's the scoop.

I'm going to try to get Mr. Eggum to park outside the SRTC offices and be on call for me. I do a lot of cross-downtown walking and often curse my penchant for wearing heels. Will you use this service when it becomes available?

In Support Of A Gas Tax Hike

Spokesman-Review Letters to the editor
Gas tax hike offers benefits

I was surprised by Christina L. Moxcey's Nov. 29 letter suggesting that a rise in the gas tax with a resulting decrease in gasoline consumption is "the last thing we need."

On the contrary, we would have the benefits of less dependence on foreign oil, less traffic congestion, increased viability of public transit, cleaner air (less pollution from exhaust), increased demand for local food (as opposed to shipping food long distances), and far more than enough revenue to offset any additional costs for lower-income families.

Meanwhile, everyone would still be free to "make choices for themselves" about what to drive.

Roy Johnson

Anyone care to offer your opinion on this one?

Roundup For the Week of Dec. 8

There's a way to check road conditions before leaving home, the NSC is progressing, and if you're nervous about winter driving there's a class for you. Here's what's happening this week in the local transportation world from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' Column.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Some Updates From The City

· A reminder that shoppers and drivers near NorthTown Mall and River Park Square may experience delays due to traffic back-ups. Flaggers will be directing traffic today and this weekend.

· The Maple St. Bridge has one lane closed for northbound drivers near the north end of the bridge today, until 2 p.m. Crews are repairing street lighting conduit.

· Howard St. from Spokane Falls Blvd. to Main Ave. will be closed to traffic on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a film shoot. Businesses will be open.

· Riverside Ave. near its intersection with Wall St. will be reduced to one eastbound lane starting Monday, Dec. 8, through Friday, Dec. 12, from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Additionally, Wall St. will be closed from Riverside to Sprague avenues. Avista crews will be repairing a utility lid.

Leaf Pick Up Coming To An End

City of Spokane crews are expected to complete leaf pickup activities this Sunday, assuming snowfall won’t interfere with that work.

The City’s leaf pickup service is intended to remove only the leaves that naturally fall into the streets. Residents should not rake leaves into the street. Please move your vehicle from the street before leaf crews are in your neighborhood. The leaf pickup schedule may be subject to change, please refer to the City’s leaf pickup hotline at 456-2666 for the most up-to-date information.

Groups Call For Green Investment To Repair Economy

A report compiled by 29 of the country's biggest 'green' groups calls for green investment to achieve economic growth, such as investment in infrastructure like public transportation.

The list of actions and policies the groups would like President-elect Barack Obama to adopt stresses the need for an approach that unites environment, energy, and economic policies. Here's the story and a link to the document.

Check Out Plan For Hillyar'd Future At Annual Holiday Festival

If you don't have plans for the weekend, the 2008 Hillyard Holiday Festival will give you a chance to check out the community before it undergoes a big makeover in 2009, and see what it will look like in the future.

Included in the festivities at the Hillyard North Pole (5101 N Market St, Old U.S. Bank Building) are $5 printed-while-you-wait pictures with Santa Claus, many craft and gift vendors, a holiday decoration contest for local buisnesses, holiday treats and a chance to get to know your neighbors.

Doors open at 11am and go until 6pm. Proceeds from the event benefit the local neighborhood non-profit organizations.

At 1pm on Saturday Dec. 6th, on the lower level of the Hillyard North Pole, WSU's Interdisciplinary Design Studio will be showcasing their work from this term, designs for the future of Hillyard.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Slow Going On SH97, The Eagles Are Back

The eagles are back on Lake Coeur d'Alene, which means that if you drive over to see them, you need to be extra careful on State Highway 97, the road that goes around the lake. When I've been over there in past years it's a mob scene of people stopped in the middle of the road, parked with cars halfway in the roadway, and people running back and forth across the highway, darting between cars. SH97 is already a scary stretch of road, so slow down and pay attention, and don't be one of those people who do any of the above.

Thanks to the Spokesman's Huckleberries blog for the eagle picture, by the way.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Public Transportation In New York

I stumbled on this YouTube video of New York called 'Public Transportation; It's not so bad.' I had a hard time paying attention to the actual form of transportation involved though, because of the incredible grafitti scenes on the buildings. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Airlines Say The Will Cut More Flights & Jobs

Executives of major U.S. airlines announced today they will be cutting more flights and jobs. Here's the Spokesman-Review story.

WSDOT Blog Answers Your Mt. Pass Questions

If you traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday, you may have used the WSDOT Mountain Passes webpage to find out about conditions on local passes. And if you did, you may have noticed that the site has two (often) different temperature readings for each pass. So what's the difference in temperature? That's the question of the day on the WSDOT blog! Here's your answer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Next Component of NSC To Start Construction This Week

Work on the next major component of the North Spokane Freeway is slated to start this week. The project— US 395-NSC/US 2 Lowering- will complete the North Spokane Corridor/US 2 interchange. The $42 million job is expected to be complete in 2011.

This project will lower the existing US 2 between Farwell Rd and Peone Creek to provide the clearance needed for the highway to pass under the North Spokane Corridor freeway. A pathway will be constructed which allows pedestrian and bicycle traffic to cross over traffic from south of Farwell Road to the area north and west of US 2 and US 39.

Drivers will see minimal traffic interruptions over the next few months with most of the work focused on the new bridges. This project is the seventh of eight jobs for the US 395/North Spokane Corridor freeway project that were funded by the Nickel Gas Tax, enacted in 2003.

Federal Money, Makeovers, and Lane Markers

Federal money is headed to the region for road and highway projects, Hillyard is getting a makeover, and I90 gets some new and improved lane markers. Here's what's happening in area transportation 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.