Thursday, April 30, 2009

City Street Sweeping Schedule

Here's the City's street sweeping plan for next week:

Northwest: Kathleen Ave. to the north City limits and Indian Trail Rd. to Skyline Dr. Francis Ave. to Strong Rd. and Ash St. to Indian Trail Rd.

Northeast: Hough St. to South Riverton Dr. and Mission Ave. to the river. Division St. to Mission Ave. and Helena St./South Riverton Dr. to Trent Ave./Parkwater Rd.

South: Second Ave. to 29th Ave. and Monroe St. to Cannon St.
14th Ave. to Fourth Ave. and Grand Blvd. to Monroe St. Fifth Ave. to Rockwood Blvd. and Southeast Blvd. to Rockwood Blvd.

Sweeping will be done between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Residents are asked to move their vehicles from the street during sweeping.

A Couple Things You Should Know For Next Week

- Some City streets will be closed this Sunday, May 3, for the annual Bloomsday Run. The start area, downtown on Riverside Ave. between Lincoln and Post streets, will close at 5:00 a.m. The streets surrounding the start area close at 7:00 a.m., and the rest of the course closes at 8:15 a.m. to traffic. Additionally, the Monroe St. Bridge will close at 5:30 a.m. and Washington couplet closes at 7 a.m.

The race begins at 9 a.m.; the streets in the downtown core will reopen around 11:30 a.m. and the remaining streets will reopen around 2 p.m.

- A project to install a concrete intersection and make improvements to the traffic signals at Francis Ave. and Nevada St. begins Monday, May 4. Nevada St. from Rosewood to Decatur avenues will be closed to traffic. Francis Ave. will be reduced to one lane in each direction.

The Photored Cameras Would Have Gotten Him If He Lived In Spokane

Not sure where this happened or if it's true, but I received this picture from a City employee today with the explanation 'The driver of this pickup was drunk when he hit the left turn light and sheared off the light post at the base, and then kept driving on about 2 miles to a bar, where he stopped for more beer!! How impaired do you have to be to NOT notice that you are carrying a stop light? ( I Wonder if the light was green? ) The truck was towed about 2.5 miles to a towing yard, with the light still pinched between the two tow hooks and the bumper bent around it. It took several good hard pulls with a backhoe to get the pole free.'

So there you go folks, one more reason not to drink and drive; those poles aren't cheap.

Valley Seeking ARRA Funds For Bike Master Plan

Spokane Valley is eligible for $823,000 in Federal Recovery Act grant funds to spend on energy conservation planning or projects that result in energy savings and long-term sustainability.

One of the projects they are interested in developing with that money for is a Bike Master Plan (BMP). A goal of the Comprehensive Plan is the adoption of a BMP that will enable the City to leverage funds for the construction of alternative transportation facilities.

The City is conducting a public meeting on May 7th from 5-7:00 P.M. in the City Hall Council Chambers to gather public input on that project idea and others.

The goal of the grant is to create energy savings, new jobs, and long-term environmental benefits for cities. Other ideas being considered are:

- Exchanging traditional traffic lights with LED lights
- Conducting energy audits on City-owned facilities
- Preparing a long-term energy plan for the City
- Sprague Avenue traffic signal coordination system from University to Sullivan

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Those Wacky Wyomingians. Or is it Wyoman?

Here's something interesting I found while digging around on the internet today. Wyoming allows drivers to keep studded tires on their vehicles year-round.

2 Area Bike/Ped Projects Get Capital Funds

Good news for a couple local bike and pedestrian facilities. The Iron Bridge & Centennial Trail realignment both were awarded grants from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.

The Centennial Trail Realignment at Gateway Park will realign the Trail to pass safely beneath the new Spokane Road ("Old I-90") Bridge, which is being replaced in the 2008-2009 biennium. This project received a grant of $197,974.

The Historic Iron Bridge Renovation project received $530,000 in grant money. It's not clear yet if this will be enough money to fund the entire project. The City of Spokane has some commitments as far as how to raise the match money required to get this grant, but aren't sure yet if that amount will cover the entire price tag of the project.

This project would renovate and open Spokane’s Historic Iron Bridge for bicycle and pedestrian use.

It's Official; We're The Cranky Bureaucrats

We're calling out other public agencies; what's the matter Colonel Sanders? Too chicken to take part in Bike To Work Week? Speaking of chicken, this is our BTW spokeschicken. He got the job based solely on his gear, not his credentials. How many chickens do you know that have their own bike helmets?

Anway, Bike To Work Barb (also known as BTW organizer Barb Chamberlain) sent us an email after we registered our team yesterday (Go Cranky Bureaucrats!!) saying that there are only two other teams from public agencies registered so far, and both are from WSDOT. So how about it City of Spokane? Spokane Transit? Spokane County? To quote Barb, 'It would be great to have a transportation agency Bike To Work cage match.'

We'll even give you the link to register. Here it is. Go crazy transportation agencies. We've got your number.

Riverfront Park Bridge Gets Weight Restrictions

New weight restrictions have been imposed on the South Howard Street Bridge in Riverfront Park, in an effort to extend its useful life. This bridge is adjacent to the Rotary Riverfront fountain in Riverfront Park.

For the most part, this shouldn't affect you (if it does, we need to talk about your commute route) as this bridge is only used for limited service and special event vehicles. The new restrictions will ban all trucks and cars from using it. Fencing will be installed to cordon off a 25’ section of the bridge to help reduce pedestrian loading.

A commissioned study determined this bridge has deteriorated to the point where reducing the load is the only way to extend its life. This is the only bridge inside the park that has these restrictions.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

US 195 Blocked At Cheney-Spokane Road

U.S. Highway 195 is blocked at Cheney-Spokane Road this afternoon following a two-vehicle collision just after 3 p.m.

A Washington State Patrol spokeswoman said one occupant needed to be extricated.

Southbound traffic was being diverted at Inland Empire Way.

This is the same intersection where Lorissa Green, 16, of Cheney, was killed in January when she was t-boned by an oncoming pickup truck. Her death prompted an outcry for improvements to the intersection.

Lawmakers this month approved a budget allocating $250,000 for a separated exit lane alongside the southbound lanes for traffic turning to go south and west on Cheney-Spokane Road.

SRTC April Newsletter Available

SRTC's April newsletter is out (and barely in time, April is almost over!). Click here to see what projects and activities we've been working on the past few months, and what's coming up on the horizon.

Backlash Against Traffic Cameras Leaves One Dead

I blogged a couple weeks ago about how some people are fighting back against cameras that either record red light runners or speeders. Well, it's no longer a joking matter, or just a case of vandalism in Arizona, where a photo-radar van operator was gunned down last week. Here's the story.

Traction Sand Causing Problems At Treatment Plant

Where does all the sand go that is put on city streets to help traction in the winter? If you live in Seattle, it goes into the sewer. Where it's now causing all kinds of problems.

This year's record amount of sand is shutting down pumps and requiring increased maintenance at King County's sewage treatment plant. Here's the story.

Agencies Worried About Paratransit Price Increase

If STA approves recommended fare hikes, the most dramatic increases would be felt by paratransit riders. And that has the agencies who work with people with disabilities concerned. Here's a Spokesman article about the potential impact.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gas Price Q & A

Gas prices are definetely rising, but are we going to see them get as high as $4 again? AAA says that's not likely. Here are some questions and answers about gas and gas prices, from the Spokesman-Review.

Roundup For the Week of April 27

Some changes go into effect today on US 2 as a result of construction on the North Spokane Corridor, registration is open for Bike To Work Week, and the way you get on and off the freeway at Pines has changed. Here's a roundup of transportation news from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' column.

Southeast Blvd. Project Starts Tomorrow

A project to rehabilitate Southeast Blvd. from 29th to Perry Street begins tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28.

The project includes replacing a distribution main from 29th Avenue to Rockwood Boulevard, one from Rockwood Boulevard, and one from 18th Avenue to Perry Street.

Southeast Blvd. from 29th Ave. to Rockwood Blvd. will be closed to traffic with local access only. Motorists will be detoured onto 17th Ave. to Ray St. to 29th Ave.

The $1.9 million project is being funded by the 10-Year Street Bond and Water Department.

Spokane Valley Public Hearing Tomorrow

The Spokane Valley City Council will hold a public hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) night to hear final comments on the Sprague and Appleway Corridors Subarea Plan. It starts at 6 p.m. in the CenterPlace Great Room, located at 2436 Discovery Place in Spokane Valley.

The Subarea Plan proposes new development regulations for all properties within the Plan Area, including building use, building height, setbacks, building orientation, signs, parking, streets and open space and building design. It also includes recommendations for street network improvements for Sprague and Appleway. Here's a link to the Plan.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Residential Street Sweeping Starts Monday

It's a sure sign of spring when neighborhood street sweeping starts.

Sweeping will be done between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, starting April 27. Residents are asked to move their vehicles from the street during sweeping.

Next week, crews will sweep the areas bounded by these streets:

Northwest: A St. to Driscoll Blvd. and Rowan Ave. to Francis Ave.
Wellesley Ave. to Rowan Ave. and Driscoll Blvd. to A St.
Kathleen Ave. to the north City limits and Indian Trail Rd. to Skyline Dr.

Northeast: Hough St. to South Riverton Dr. and Mission Ave. to the river.
Division St. to Mission Ave. and Helena St./South Riverton Dr. to Trent Ave./Parkwater Rd.

South: 18th Ave. to Fifth Ave. and Southeast Blvd. to Crestline St.
Second Ave. to 29th Ave. and Monroe St. to Cannon St.

Downtown Road Closure

Post St. from Spokane Falls Blvd. to Bridge Ave. will be closed to traffic from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. this Sunday, April 26 for the Earth Day celebration.Detours will be in place.

Workshops Update Your Cycling Skills

A little rusty on your bicycling skills? I know I am. You can update your cycling skills through Bike Commuting Workshops next week taught by certified instructor Eileen Hyatt.

The workshops feature traffic skills, tips on clothing, gear, and lighting as well as prize drawings and refreshments. They also feature roadside repair instruction by techs from Bronze Gear sponsor North Division Bicycle Shop.

The workshops are free and available on a walk-in basis--no need to register. Here are the dates:

Tuesday April 28, 6-7:30pm at Shadle Library, 2111 W. Wellesley
Wednesday, April 29, 6-7:30pm at Mountain Gear, 2002 N. Division
Monday, May 4, 6-7:30pm at North Spokane Library, 44 E. Hawthorne

I90 Closure Sunday Morning

If you're headed toward Coeur d'Alene for your Sunday drive, you'll have to find a different route than I90 this weekend.

I90 near Huetter between Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene is going to be closed for 10 to 15 minutes Sunday morning in both directions. The closure starts at 5:30 a.m. to allow for utility work by Kootenai Electric Cooperative.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Some Items From The City To Be Aware Of

· 37th Ave. and Perry St. will be closed to traffic from 8 p.m. Friday, April 24, until Monday morning, April 27. City water crews will be working in the area.

· Wellesley Ave. to Assembly St. will have minor traffic back-ups on Saturday, April 25, from 8 a.m. until noon while motorists go to and from the America’s Kids Run.

· Mission Ave. near its intersection with Perry St. may have obstructions to accommodate trucks entering and leaving the Witter Pool parking lot so crews can pour a concrete pool bottom.

· City street crews will cleaning the Bloomsday route next week in preparation for the May 3 run. They will place “No Parking” signs on Monday, April 27 along sections of the route to allow for room to clean. In particular, watch for signs on Riverside Ave. from Maple to Hemlock streets.

ANOTHER North Side Intersection Closed

Wellesley Ave. from Altamont to Smith streets, and Cook St. near its intersection with Wellesley Ave. is currently closed to traffic, following a traffic accident involving two vans with children in them.

Several young children from a before-school daycare program were injured in the accident. It's not clear yet what caused the collision.

WA Soda Company Produces Own Power With Bikes

This story isn't really about transportation, but it does involve bikes and conserving energy.

Jones Soda Co. of Seattle took itself off the electricity grid for Earth Day, using cyclists to power lights, computers, printers and fax machines at its headquarters.

Employees and others at the soda pop company began pedaling at 5 a.m. Wednesday, taking turns on nine stationary bikes hooked up to batteries to store the energy.

Here's more.

Media Coverage Of CTR Bike Ceremony

Local media was at the ceremony yesterday when the City and Commute Trip Reduction program gave out bikes to downtown businesses, including SRTC. Here's KXLY's coverage and Here's KHQ's story, which by the way, stars yours truly and Jeff.

Nevada Closed from Empire to Providence

If your commute takes you through the area of Nevada and Empire Avenue, you're going to have to find another way to get there this morning. Nevada is blocked from Empire south to Providence, and will be closed for a good part of the morning, while police investigate a fatal crash. A pickup hit a parked construction trailer, killing the driver.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Drivers Use Twitter To Fight Traffic Tickets

Here's a new one... some Spokane drivers are using technology to fight speeding tickets. The group is using the social networking website 'Twitter' to post the location of speed traps to alert other drivers. Here's the story from Q6 News.

Our CTR Bike Has Arrived!

Let the fun begin, we have received our new Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program bike and we're not wasting any time putting it to use! This is Steve, Tony, and Jeff headed out to lunch just a few minutes ago. We're now planning group rides, taking part in Bike To Work Week, and videos we can make with the bike.

The ceremony to pick up the bike was really cool too, because everyone getting bikes was also very excited. This picture is of Jeff schmoozing with Mayor Verner and Ron Kusler from the CTR office.

On the ride back to the office, we saw several people on new bikes taking joyrides through Riverfront Park. It's been years since I've ridden though, and I immediately had a mishap with the gears- right in front of the TV cameras :)

Happy Earth Day- SRTC Is Forming A Biker Gang (Bicycles That Is)

In honor of Earth Day, we have bikes coming out our ears today in the SRTC offices. Not only do we get our new bike from the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program today, but everyone else brought theirs in to ride too. Ryan rides pretty regularly. Jeff just took it up (doctor prescribed by the way-but he's really jazzed about it). Tony decided that if Jeff is going to ride on a regular basis he'd bring his bike so they could ride together. Then Steve got jealous because he doesn't have a bike but wants to ride with the guys, so I told him he could use the CTR bike until he gets one. Even Bonnie has her bike here today. Wow, it's like it's contagious.

I'm just getting ready to go to the ceremony at City Hall to get our new bike, so will post pictures later today.

WSU Master Plan Workshop Tomorrow

You're invited to participate in a master plan workshop tomorrow for an update of the Riverpoint Campus plan.

The workshop is Thursday, April 23, 3-5 p.m., in the Riverpoint Campus Academic Center Auditorium (Room 20).

There will be a presentation of the draft campus master plan based on community input from a March 17 workshop and other information and ideas collected. Attendees will be asked to respond to the draft, with input addressed in the final plan presented at a third workshop, coming up in June.

Here's a link to the WSU Spokane home page for more info.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Motorists May Be Asked To Voluntarily Pay Extra $5 Per Year To Keep Parks Open

In a move designed to stave off the closure of dozens of state parks, the state House of Representatives yesterday voted to ask motorists to pay an extra $5 a year per car.

House Bill 2339 now goes to the Senate. If half the state’s residents pay the fee — which would be voluntary — it would raise about $28 million for parks over the next two years. Here's more info.

Whitworth Considering Vacating Popular Bike Route

I've got an update from Whitworth on a meeting tonight on campus. Greg Orwig, Communications Director at Whitworth, says the meeting tonight is not specifically to discuss the possiblity of vacating Whitworth Drive on the Whitworth campus.

The college has hired a master planning firm to help guide campus development for the next 10-20 years at Whitworth. Members from the firm will lead the meeting tonight to gain community input for the campus plan – particularly as it relates to the surrounding neighbors including the possibility of closing Whitworth Drive.

The decision about closure will be informed by the master plan and is not imminent. Ultimately, it’s a county commission decision so there will be ample opportunity for public input. More community meetings will be held before making a decision so there would be opportunity for direct input to Whitworth. Also, if Whitworth Drive was closed, chances are good a throughway would be maintained for bikes and pedestrians.

Some bicylists I heard from were concerned they would only be left with the shoulder of Highway 395 to ride on between Regina and Hawthone Drive. The vacation is being considered because of safety concerns about people trying to cross Whitworth Drive.

So if you're still interested, the meeting is tonight (April 21) at 7 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall (closest access is from the Field House parking lot).

WSDOT Will Be Watching Construction Zone Speeders

The Washington State Department Of Transporation is waging war on people who speed through construction zones. The WSDOT will start using an Automated Traffic Safety Camera on I-5 near Olympia in May.

The camera is mounted in a small sport utility vehicle parked in an active work zone. The speed radar and camera catches the rear license plate of vehicles speeding through the work zone.

Speeding through construction zones is a huge problem. Most people don't realize it takes approximately 200 feet for you to stop your car when traveling at 60 mph.
There were more than 10,500 work zone collisions reported between 2000 and 2008. 59 of these collisions resulted in fatalities. Here's more info on the camera.

SRTC Getting New Commute Option

Hey- SRTC is getting a gift from the Spokane County Commute Trip(CTR)Reduction Program- a new bike! And you're invited to the ceremony where it will be presented.

CTR is teaming up with the City of Spokane and the Downtown Spokane Partnership to make it easier to commute in the downtown area.

10 businesses, including SRTC, that promote alternative transportation to their employees, are going to receive bicycles for their work sites. The work site bicycles will be used for mid-day errands and appointments that might otherwise have caused a commuter to drive his or her car to work.

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner will present the work site bicycles in the Chase Gallery on the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard, on Wednesday, April 22, at 9:30 a.m.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's 9 A.M. Do You Know Where Your Laptop Is?

Here's a public service announcement from SRTC: if you have a laptop in the car, stow it on the front passenger seat or in the trunk. But not the backseat. A woman was killed recently by a laptop that hit her in the back of the head during a fender bender. Here's more.

Some Areas To Watch Next Week

- Some downtown streets will be closed this Sunday, April 19 for the annual Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure run. The start and finish area on Spokane Falls Blvd. at Bernard St., as well as the Washington couplet, will be closed at 8:30 a.m., with the remaining streets closing at 8:45 a.m. The race begins at 9 a.m. and the streets should reopen around 10:30 a.m.

The race route is as follows: start at Spokane Falls Blvd. and Browne St., heading west on Spokane Falls Blvd. towards Browne’s Addition. From there, the race will move north on Monroe St. and then west on Riverside Ave. to Cannon St., south on Cannon St. to Pacific Ave., west on Pacific Ave. to Chestnut St., south on Chestnut St. to Second Ave., east on Second Ave. to Elm St., north on Elm St. to First Ave., north on Cedar St. to Riverside Ave., east on Riverside Ave. to Lincoln St., north on Lincoln St. to Main Ave., east on Main Ave. to Bernard St., and north on Bernard St. ending at Spokane Falls Blvd.

- Watch for obstructions on Eagle Ridge Blvd. from Meadowlane to Cedar Road; City Street crews are crack sealing that area.

- Strong Rd. from Indian Trail to Rustle roads will be closed Monday and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

STA Votes On Bus Stop Benches Today

The Spokane Transit Authority board will consider the question of bus stop benches today. Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has ordered sign companies to remove bus benches in the city right of way to comply with a city sign ordinance. But that would leave many bus stops without benches. The alternative is for STA to sign a $38,000 contract to buy 100 backless benches without ads. Here's more.

Couple Hauls Freight- By Bike

Well here's a new one. You've heard of bicycle messengers and bicyle commuters, but how about bicycle freight deliveries? That's what one couple are doing in downtown Portland, OR in an effort to reduce the amount of trucks on the road. Here's the story on the freight-hauling bicycling couple.

What's your opinion? Is this a good idea or not time and cost effective?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Free Car Care Fair

The Spokane County Commute Trip Reduction Program is teaming up with Motion Auto Supply for a free Car Care Fair this Saturday, April 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Community College Automotive Building on Greene and Mission.

Automotive specialists will provide vehicle inspection of lights, vital fluids, belts, hoses, and air filters- and it's all FREE!

It gets even better though, refreshments will be provided by Costco and there are chances to win prizes. Other sponsors inculd the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.

STA Public Hearing Tomorrow On Fare Increases

Here's an email I received from STA late yesterday afternoon:

Dear Community Leader:

Thank you for your valued input regarding the Citizen Advisory Committee’s (CAC) original proposal to increase fares at Spokane Transit.

After reviewing data collected from our outreach efforts, the CAC made two significant revisions in their final recommendation to increase fares:

1) The proposed Express Pass was not recommended.
2) The timeline for increasing fares for Paratransit services was extended an additional year.

The chart below illustrates the revised Paratransit timeline, as presented by the CAC at the March 19th STA Board Meeting:

Paratransit Fare Products 2009 2010 2011 2012
NEW Cash Fare Per Trip $0.75 $0.75 $1.25 $1.50
Paratransit 2-Hour Pass $0.75 $0.75 $1.25 $1.50
Paratransit Monthly Pass $25.00 $25.00 $35.00 $45.00

PLEASE NOTE: STA is recommending to the Board of Directors that the start-up date for the initial Paratransit fare increase be implemented in January 2010, as opposed to September 2009, which was the date originally proposed by the CAC.

To view the CAC’s complete presentation on their proposal to increase fares, please : click here.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: A public hearing to discuss this important topic will be held at the next STA Board Meeting, Thursday, April 16, 2009, beginning at 5:30 p.m., in the Spokane City Council Chambers, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. STA will make the recommendation to delay the Paratransit fare increase at this meeting. A Board decision is expected to be announced Thursday, May 21.

If you require additional information, please contact Molly Myers, Communications Manager, at 325-6090.


Spokane Transit Authority

County Building & Planning Office Opens Late Tomorrow

If you've got business with Spokane County's Building and Planning Department tomorrow (Thursday), you'll have to wait until after 10:30 a.m. to take care of it.

The department's office will be closed until then for a staff meeting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

STA Drivers Compete For Top Driving Honors

Congratulations to Spokane Transit drivers who placed in this year's Bus and Van Roadeo, during which drivers compete for top honors and a chance to represent STA at the state and national level.

Fifteen fixed route coach operators and nine paratransit van operators competed this year on the challenging course. Here are the winners:

Fixed Route Division
1st Place- Gabe Fernos
2nd Place- Scott Leinen
3rd Place- Mike Hogue

Paratransit Division
1st Place- Janis Klise
2nd Place- Carl Hansen
3rd Place- Steve Pinkerton

Bicycling Coalition Meeting Reminder

A reminder that tomorrow is the first meeting to discuss the possibility of forming a regional bicycling coalition. The suggestion to form one came out of a Bicycle Summit in mid-February.

The meeting is tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 6:30 p.m. in the REI meeting room, 2nd floor, corner of Boone and Monroe. Organizers asked that you RSVP by April 10 if you wanted to attend, but maybe if you email them today they'll still let you in? It's worth a try so send an email to this link if you want to go but haven't signed up yet. I'm not promising you anything of course.

The meeting will be a chance for bicyclists and bike advocates to determine whether there is adequate support to move forward with this proposition, and if so, to determine what initial directions to take.

Things Are Moving Slow This Morning

Traffic is crawling in both directions of I90 this morning due to several car accidents.

One accident just before 7:00 caused the left-hand lane eastbound to be blocked near Freya. Another accident in the westbound lanes in the vicinity of Evergreen Road was also slowing traffic, according to a Washington State Patrol trooper.

Monday, April 13, 2009

STA Security Guards Make Big Catch

Kudos to two Spokane Transit Authority security guards who just received a letter of commendation from Spokane Police Chief Ann Kirkpatrick.

In February, Guards Chris Stein and Chris Hamilton apprehended a suspect believed to have been involved in an armed robbery the day before. When Stein and Hamilton approached the suspect on STA Plaza property, he made movements toward his waist that led them to believe he may be armed. The man wouldn't stop when commanded to do so, and knowing the danger an armed man could pose to the public, Stein and Hamilton wrestled him to the ground. A search turned up a loaded stolen firearm on the suspect that could have been used in future crimes.

Thanks officers, it's good to know you're keeping an eye on things at the Plaza!

Bike To Work Week Registration Open

Registration is now open for Spokane's Bike To Work Week, from May 10-16! Here's the link to register.

In the meantime, while you're out and about, please thank this year's BTW Week sponsors who make it possible to put on BTW events. Here they are: Gold Wheel:Alt29 Design, Group Health, REI Foundation, Spokane Public Radio, Unico Properties (our inaugural Gold Wheel sponsor in 2008), Silver Spoke, City of Spokane, Mountain Gear, Out There Monthly Magazine, Steam Plant Grill/ Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company, Bronze Gear, Cuda Apparel, Lee & Hayes, North Division Bike Shop, REI Spokane, Silver Collector Auctions, Pedal Partners, Emde Sports, FedEx, Office Interlink, Spokane Regional Transportation Council, and Thomas Hammer Coffee.

Roundup For the Week of April 13

One of the most complained-about roadways in north Spokane will finally get fixed, the Riverside Ave. Extention Project workshop is this afternoon, and people interested in forming a bicycle coalition are being sought. Here's what's happening this week in transportation.

Vehicle Thefts Drop But 3 WA Cities Still Have High Rates

Vehicle thefts dropped in Washington state last year... by 25%! But three cities— Spokane, Yakima and the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area — rank in the top 50 in the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s annual Hot Spots report. Here's the story from the Spokesman-Review.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some Areas To Watch Out For Tomorrow & Monday

- US 2 eastbound and westbound traffic will be stopped on Monday, beginning at 6:45 p.m., in the vicinity of Hayford Road for up to 15 minutes. Blasting will be taking place in the area and the traffic stoppage is a safety precaution.

- A project to replace a traffic signal at Wellesley Ave. and Belt St. begins on Monday. The project will also add a left turn phase to the signal. Belt St. will be closed at its intersection with Wellesley Ave. Additionally, Wellesley Ave. from Hemlock to Elgin streets will be reduced to one lane in each direction.

- The intersection of 37th Ave. and Perry St. will be closed to traffic on Saturday, April 11, while City crews repair a water main.

Riverside Ave. Extention Project Workshop

Some big changes are coming to the University District, including the extension of Riverside Avenue. With change though, come a lot of questions. If you're curious about the Riverside Avenue Extension Project, you're invited to participate in a workshop to answer your questions and solicit your opinions. The workshop is Monday, April 13 from 3-5 p.m. It's in the Riverpoint Campus Academic Center, Rm. 20, 600 N. Riverpoint Blvd.

Writer Wants Light Rail

Spokesman-Review Letters To The Editor
Give transit a chance to grow

One of the green issues that our legislators are looking at this session is transportation needs in Washington state. I take the bus every day to work but would like to see Spokane build a mass transit system to supplement the bus system.
After living in Portland for 17 years, I saw how transit-oriented communities functioned. At first, many people thought that few people would take it, but as time went on, life grew along the light-rail lines where apartments, condominiums and houses as well as stores were built. Because people could walk or take the light rail there was a decrease in traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Portland started with one light rail; now they have four. One even takes you right to the airport.

Transit-oriented communities would revise how Washington plans for its future transportation needs and how it uses land as its population grows.

Sue A. Orlowski

I spent a week in Portland not too long ago and, because I was travelling on the government's dime and times are tight, didn't rent a car. Turns out I didn't need to, because as Ms. Orlowski said, I got everywhere I needed to go on the light rail, or transferring from the light rail to a bus. I've been getting asked about the possiblity of light rail again a lot lately so seems there's still a lot of interest. What's your position?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gear Up For Bike To Work Week

Bike To Work Spokane has a new website! Soon you will be able to register for Bike To Work Week there, but right now they're fine tuning a minor glitch in the registration page. So for now just head over there to see what's new this year during Bike To Work Week, May 10-16. Here's a link.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Interested In Joinging A Bicycle Coalition?

One result of a 'Bicycle Summit' held in Spokane in mid-February was an expressed desire to explore establishing a regional bicycling coalition. Now a meeting has been scheduled to discuss this proposition, and you're invited.

The meeting is April 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the REI meeting room, 2nd floor, corner of Boone and Monroe. The meeting will be a chance for bicyclists and bike advocates to
determine whether there is adequate support to move forward with this proposition, and if so, to determine what initial directions to take.

The group behind this effort is trying to get a headcount so please RSVP by April 10.

Lowest Amount Of Highway Deaths In 48 Years

The nation's highways experienced the least amount of driving deaths last year since the year 1961! So why the decline in fatal accidents? Some say it's the economy forcing people to drive less, but this Spokesman-Review editorial contends it's something much simpler- seatbelt laws.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bike To Work Week Volunteers Needed

Bike to Work Week needs your help filling some volunteer positions. Here's what's needed:

- A photographer to take pictures at the Education Fair, kickoff breakfast, wrap-up party, and on the fly as opportunities arise.

- Volunteers for EduFair--Sunday, May 10, 11am-4pm, Riverpark Square.

- Volunteers to set up and tear down, staff the bike corral, and info table for the Kickoff Breakfast--Monday, May 11, 7-9am, Riverfront Park Gondola Meadows.

- Volunteers to set up and tear down, and staff the bike corral and info table at the Wrap-up Party--Friday, May 15, 4:30-6:30pm, Steam Plant Grill.

- Clubs, organizations, and businesses that want to host an energizer station to hand out food, beverages, and other items.

If you can help out with any of these needs, please email Bike To Work Week here.

Centennial Trail Benefit Auction This Friday

A reminder that the Friends of the Centennial Trail Adventure Auction is this Friday, April 10. This unique auction blends items and adventures into fun packages. For example, Spokane Athletic Supply is donating a running package in which the winning bidder gets to run with Don Kardong.

Most of the funds from the auction go to building trails. It's only $25 a ticket or $225 for a table of 10. For Tickets call 624-7188 or check out the website for more info.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Drivers Fight Back Against Traffic Cameras

It's not just Spokane using the photored cameras to catch red light runners, more and more communities are installing cameras to catch people speeding, committing acts of road rage, and running red lights. And more and more people are protesting the lights, sometimes resorting to vandalism. This story from the Wall Street Journal talks about some of the crazy ways people are fighting back (all of which we don't endorse here at SRTC).

Sprague Project Getting Ready To Start

Officials in Spokane Valley want to get the word out; a project to repave parts of Sprague Avenue and install concrete intersections could cause some major headaches this spring and summer if you drive that area. Here are the details.

A Couple Things You Should Know To Avoid Long Delays

- Starting today at 6:45 p.m., US 2 eastbound and westbound traffic will be stopped in the vicinity of Hayford Road for up to 15 minutes as a safety precaution. A contractor will be doing blasting in the area in order to proceed with commercial development.

- Alberta Street from Northwest Boulevard to Francis Avenue and Cochran Street from Northwest Boulevard to its crossover at Alberta are being closed today as part of a reconstruction project.

Both streets will be reconstructed curb-to-curb. Intersections at Northwest Boulevard and Garland, Rowan and Wellesley avenues will remain open to east-west traffic with designated detours for Alberta and Cochran on Northwest Boulevard for northbound traffic and Ash Street for southbound traffic.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

All I Have To Say Is *&^%$#@!!!

'Spring' snow is making a mess of local roads this morning. Rollovers and slide-offs are being reported all over the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas.

Stevens (shown in the picture) and Snoqualie passes were both closed overnight, but open again this morning. Crews on Stevens had to clean up after an avalanche that hit a car but didn't hurt anyone and Snoqualmie was closed for avalanche control. Traction tires are advised on both passes if you're heading that way today or tomorrow. No studs though, as of Monday they're illegal until next year.

Virginia Says No To Cul-De-Sacs

I found this article from the Washington Post very intereting; the state of Virginia is taking a stand... against cul-de-sacs. From now, on all new subdivisions must have through streets linking them to neighboring subdivisions, schools, and shopping areas. This is being done in an effort to improve safety and accessibility, and has the bonus of reducing road maintenance costs for government agencies.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Writer Doesn't Like Havana Street Bridge Project

Spokesman-Review Letters To The Editor
Havana bridge a waste

I do not understand the reason for a new million-dollar-plus bridge to be built over the railroad at Havana Street. There is a replacement bridge due to be built a half-mile to the west of there on Freya Street at a cost of millions. There will, in the near future hopefully, be a new bridge to the west of that on the north/south freeway. To the east of Havana one mile there is a near-new wonderful bridge on Fancher Road. Why do we need three new bridges over the railroad in less than a mile and a half?

Could not those tax dollars be put to more useful projects, such as an interchange at Highway 195 and Cheney-Spokane Road or to the completion of the north/south freeway? Surely there must be some more productive use of tax money than this.
A bridge over the railroad at Havana would be a waste as Havana dead-ends four blocks north of the railroad at Mission Avenue and a little over a mile south of the railroad at Eighth Avenue.

Larry Parker

There are large backups at Havana on a regular basis. The building of the Havana Street Bridge is part of the larger 'Bridging the Valley' project. Here's more info on that to illustrate the need for this bridge.

STA Identifies Stimulus Projects

Spokane Transit Authority has identified transportation projects using federal economic stimulus funds to be included in the Transportation Improvement Program(TIP). This means we must make an amendment to the TIP. Which means we have to put the new projects out to a public comment period. So if you're interested, here's more information and the list of new projects.

If you have comments, email them to us here. The public comment period runs from April 1 to May 4, 2009.

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.