Friday, July 31, 2009

For The Tenth Time- It's Not A Vacation, It's Job Training

Just a note that blog posts may be few and far between over the next couple weeks. I'll be out of town for some job training (not sure it will be like in the picture though). I'll try to post stuff as time becomes available, but in the meantime, Jeff Selle will be your 'guest blogger' but he's pretty tied up with some big assignments so not sure how much time he'll have to devote to it.

Writer Suggests Second Tier To Cash For Clunkers Program

Spokesman-Review Letters To The Editor
Expand clunker program

Nice article on the $4,500 clunker program a couple days ago. The pictured pickup is way better than what a lot of people own and drive. Why did the powers that be not consider a second tier program? Would it not make sense to give this truck to someone that is driving a real clunker? Sure it would take some thought and work to make it work. The way it is people will be turning in a lot of vehicles that would be a definite step up for many folks.
Get rid of the real junkers like the Nissan diesel wagon I watched belching and bouncing its way down Seltice in Post Falls recently. Take it in even trade for a much better vehicle. The owners of a lot of the real clunkers cannot afford to buy anything better than what they currently drive.

Dennis Stoeser
Newman Lake

What's your opinion of the Cash for Clunkers program? I 'm not sure how effective it's going to be because, even though you get $4,500 for your car, YOU STILL HAVE TO MAKE PAYMENTS ON A NEW CAR so you're not coming out ahead financially.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

SR 206 Work Begins Friday

Work is expected to start Friday, July 31st on a project to pave SR 206 from the junction of US 2 to Bruce Road.

Drivers on SR 206 may be delayed due to pilot car operation and congestion. There are also possible short term closures on SR 206 at the Bruce Road roundabout when the paving operations are adjacent to that intersection.

Beginning Monday August 3 at 7:00 p.m. until Thursday morning around 6:00 a.m., SR 206 will be closed from the US 2 intersection to Yale Road, for an accelerated grinding and paving operation in this segment.

Some Items From The City Of Spokane

· The intersection of Wellesley Ave. and Market St. will have lane reductions and obstruction from Saturday, Aug. 1, through Monday, Aug. 3. Crews will be working on a water main. Flaggers will be in place.

· Traffic signals at the intersection of Lincoln St. and 14th Avenue will not be operational until August 14, while crews upgrade the signal standards. Four-way stop signs are in place.

· Browne St. from Spokane Falls Blvd. to Main Ave. will have pedestrian and parking restrictions until August 20. Crews will doing underground utility work.

Freya Street Bridge Closes Saturday

Another reminder: the Freya Street Bridge closes to ALL traffic for approximately one year starting this Saturday, Aug. 1, at about 7 p.m. The bridge is being replaced and is expected to reopen in the summer of 2010. This project will replace the two side-by-side bridges with a single structure going over the railroad lines just north of Broadway Ave. F

reya St. will be closed from Trent to Alki avenues. Motorists will be detoured around the closure to Broadway Ave, Fancher Rd., and Trent Ave. Freya St. will remain open to local traffic, allowing access to the businesses along the project.

The $9.5 million project is being funded by Bridge Replacement Money, the Freight Mobility Street Improvement Board, and the City of Spokane.

Report A Signal That Doesn't 'Detect' Your Bike

This past legislative session, a bill was passed that requires the Washington State Department of Transportation to adjust vehicle-activated traffic control signals that don't detect bikes and motorcycles.

Part of the bill reads: “During routine maintenance or monitoring activities, but subject to the availability of funds: All existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals that do not currently routinely and reliably detect motorcycles and bicycles must be adjusted to do so to the extent that the existing equipment is capable consistent with safe traffic control. Priority must be given to existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals for which complaints relating to motorcycle or bicycle detection have been received and existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals that are otherwise identified as a detection problem for motorcyclists or bicyclists, or both. Jurisdictions operating existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals shall establish and publicize a procedure for filing these complaints in writing or by e-mail, and maintain a record of these complaints and responses”.

As a result, the Washington State Department of Transportation is looking for comments from bicyclists and motorcycle drivers who notice when traffic signals don't “detect” them. You can submit your comments, or get more information,here or in writing at WSDOT Ombudsman P. O. Box 47327 Olympia, WA 98504-7327.

Drop In RV Sales Hurting Economy Even More

We've heard a lot about the economy hurting car sales, auto production plants, and unemployment rates in general. But what we haven't heard much about is how the poor economy is hurting RV sales, which in turn also takes a toll on the unemployment rate.

RV sales have dropped 65% from their peak just a few years ago, and predictions are that hundreds of RV dealers will go under in the coming year. Here's more on that from MSNBC.

North Monroe Walk Audit Report

On June 9, A 'non-motorized' group I'm involved in gathered to conduct a walk audit of historic North Monroe Street. A walkability audit is an evaluation of the walking environment that identifies safety, access, and convenience concerns for pedestrians. Audits also identify potential solutions, such as engineering treatments, policy changes, or education and enforcement measures.

Margie Hall, from the City of Spokane's Planning Department, was kind enough to compile our results into a report that you can read right here. It's easy and interesting reading so look it over and give me your opinion of Monroe Street.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

STP Application Deadline Extended

SRTC has just extended the deadline for the 2009 Call for Projects for allocation of Surface Transportation Program (STP) funding for the years 2011-2012.

Applications are now due on Monday, Sept. 14.

There is approximately $10 million in STP funding this year. As with any call for projects, the purpose is to identify, prioritize, and select projects for funding as funds become available.

Here's a link to the SRTC website for more information and application forms.

Writer Says Meadowlane Just As Bad As Cheney-Spokane

Spokesman-Review Letter to the Editor
Intersection dangerous

Regarding “U.S. 195 crossing will get exit lane” (July 27), the intersection of Meadowlane Road and U.S. 195 has almost as bad a history by now as the Cheney-Spokane Road intersection. It was the site of a recent car-motorcyle accident that killed one, if not two persons.
That intersection is very bad and clearly, as it is now, a second accident waiting to happen. When westbound on Meadowlane, the sight distance is complicated by very poor views of northbound traffic on U.S. 195, as well as from eastbound Meadowlane and northbound traffic waiting to turn either north or south on U.S. 195, not to mention southbound traffic turning east toward Qualchan or toward Eagle Ridge.
Currently, much of Eagle Ridge development uses eastbound Meadowlane, as does a par 3 golf course. From westbound Meadowlane, about 75 houses (typically 6-8 vehicle
trips per day) and Qualchan Golf Course use the intersection.
Additionally, two major churches are under construction, one on each side of U.S. 195, at this intersection. One of these churches is slated to be the site of a major day care center. All churches are the source of many day and night time meetings, additionally adding to the near-future traffic burden at this intersection.
The intersection of Meadowlane Road and U.S. 195 needs equal or more attention than Cheney-Spokane Road.

Thomas G. Mosher

I have a couple friends who live in Eagle Ridge so I've used Meadowlane Road many times. I thought it was a little scary but was never in fear for my life. How about you folks out there who drive through the area on a daily basis?

Urban Mobility Report 2009

Thanks to Michael Keller for providing a link to some info I blogged about yesterday. There was a graph in yesterday's USA Today about congestion on America's highways and where Spokane fit in. I couldn't find a link to it, or a paper to scan. Michael sent me a link to the source material though, so here's where you can check out the Urban Mobility Report 2009 produced by the Texas Transportation Institute. Some interesting reading.

SRTC July Newsletter Available Now

Two things:

- I'm a little irritated because I recieved a text message this morning at 7 a.m. on my personal phone promoting the Cash for Clunkers program. Not sure who it was from so how do they get my personal info??

- You've been waiting for it and now it's here (that's sarcasm, by the way). The July issue of the SRTC newsletter is available. Click here to see what we've been up to this summer and
email me if you want to be added to our newsletter distribution list.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Washington ARRA Work Doubled From May To June

A news release from the WSDOT:

New employment data from state and local highway contractors showed Recovery Act work in Washington state doubled from May to June as more projects get awarded and underway. Work to deliver Washington’s recovery act highway projects is shifting into high gear, as $492 million in stimulus funding makes its way off the balance sheet and onto the road.

With more state and local stimulus projects now under construction, contractors have increased their hours worked with payroll and labor hours doubling from May to June. The employment data shows workers on Recovery Act-funded projects logged nearly 58,000 labor hours in June, compared to just under 29,000 hours in May. At an average salary of $38 per hour, workers are continuing to support their families and the economy.

As of July 29, three ARRA highway projects in Washington state are substantially complete. The I-90 Yakima River to west Ellensburg Paving project finished ahead of schedule and on budget. Paving projects in the city of Conconully and in Garfield county are also complete. Washington currently has 106 projects that have been awarded to contractors or currently under construction. A total of 159 projects have been advertised to date.

As a whole, WSDOT has obligated $244.5 million (71%) of $344.6 million, with funds now obligated to 33 of 36 individual state projects. Local governments have obligated 84.4% of local funds, or $128.4 million of $152.1 million. Agencies have until March 1, 2010 to obligate the rest.

The Federal Highway Administration provided $492 million for state and local highway projects in Washington state, advancing projects and jobs to address high-priority highway preservation needs and fund low-cost, high-benefit transportation system improvements. According to the American Association of Surface Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), every $1 spent to preserve a road enables agencies to avoid spending $6-$14 to rebuild one that has deteriorated.

Washington state will deliver more highway projects with federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds than first envisioned, thanks to the recent trend toward lower construction bids. Between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009, WSDOT awarded 172 contracts, 150 of which came in less than the engineers’ estimate. The average amount below the estimate for these 172 contracts was 17 percent. As of July 27, WSDOT has awarded 26 state stimulus projects worth 128.1 million. In total those projects have come in under the engineer’s estimate by 20 percent. Contractor bids on city and county stimulus projects around the state are also coming in lower than expected, allowing local agencies to deliver an additional $20 million in highway construction projects.

A Reminder From The WSDOT

There are two major asphalt paving projects on US 395 in Stevens County. The first is from just north of Deer Park to Loon Lake. The second is from Loon Lake to Immel Road, about five-miles north of Chewelah. There are different contractors for each job as they were bid separately. Consequently, drivers will experience delays on both projects, possibly at multiple locations, as different phases of each job may be taking place.

Drivers need to expect delays and add extra time to their trip planning, especially commuters from Colville, Chewelah, and Loon Lake, to jobs in Spokane and motorists from those communities with time sensitive appointments or obligations.

Because of the rural nature of this area, there are not efficient alternate routes. In addition, this is a heavily-traveled corridor so congestion and delays of up to 20minutes at the various work locations may be possible.

USA Today Says Spokane Has '4th Least' Road Congestion

Paul Kropp sent me a heads up that there is a Spokane mention in today's USA Today. Neither he nor I can find it on their website though, and when I ran down to the lobby to grab a copy, the box was empty!

I don't have time to run to the store at lunch today so I'm going to take his word on this (I'd say Paul's a pretty good source) and let him describe it as he did in his email to me (why do work when I can get someone else to do it for me?):

Today's USA Today has a Snapshot graphic below the fold on the left side that portrays "Cities with least road congestion in peak hours": Spokane is shown as 4th least (17%) of "metro areas with the lowest percentage of rush- hour travelers stuck in traffic jams." The source cited is the Texas Transportation Institute.

Thanks Paul! Now I need a little help finishing up my annual Title VI review, got any extra time on your hands?

Cash For Clunkers- What You Need To Know

I haven't seen much in the print media lately, but the local TV news programs are going kind of crazy (especially the morning shows) over the 'Cash for Clunkers' program.

The 'Consumer Assistance Recycle and Save' Act (also known as 'CARS' or 'Cash for Clunkers') is a $1 billion program that will provide a voucher of up to $4,500 to help offset the cost of new car purchases or leases until November.

While the program is getting a lot of attention though, there are some definete drawbacks, such as if a car is worth more than the voucher for which it qualifies the driver would be better off just taking the regular trade-in value. And vouchers don’t come as an addition to trade-in values because cars brought in under the cash-for-clunkers program have to be scrapped, so their trade-in value is essentially zero.

Plus, it's a stretch of the imagination to believe that someone driving around in a car that’s worth less than $4,500 is going to want the payments that come with a new car. There’s a reason they’re driving that car and a $4,500 discount isn't going to do much to change that.

If you're not turned off by any of that though and are interested in more details, here are some of the requirements:

- Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
- Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
- Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
- Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
- You don't need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
- Program runs through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
- The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.

For even more details, the government has set upthe website to answer questions on the 'Cash for Clunkers' program.

Bicyclist Injured In Crash

A 55-year-old bicyclist was injured when his bike collided with a pickup Monday night in Spokane Valley.

At about 7:30 p.m., Guy Werner was southbound on his mountain bike in the northbound lane of Pines Road, police said. A Ford F150, driven by Gregory J. Cozza, stopped at the intersection of Pines and Fourth Avenue. As Cozza drove west into the intersection, his truck collided with Werner, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Werner was not wearing a helmet, WSP reported. He was transported to Valley Hospital, where his condition was unavailable Monday night.

It seems like pedestrian-versus-vehicle and motorcylce-versus-vehicle accidents have been the trend lately, but I've been hearing about a lot more bicycle-versus-vehicle accidents too. This is why you need a helmet folks.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mark Your Calendar

Mark your calendar, because we're working with the Spokane Regional Health District and the YMCA/YWCA to bring renowned walking advocate and engineer Mark Fenton to Spokane for a day of education. Click the attached image to view in a larger format, or email me here for more info.

37th To Get 'Sharrows'

With the passage of the City of Spokane’s new Master Bike Plan, along with new interest in cycling in our community, the City is adding “sharrows” on Southeast Blvd. and 37th Ave. as part of this summer’s construction work to allow bikes and cars to get along better.

Sharrows are pavement markings installed within travel lanes designed to alert motorists that they are sharing the street with bicyclists and to help bicyclists position themselves in lanes to allow motorists to safely pass them.

These markings have been used successfully in other cities across the country, including Seattle, Bellevue, and Portland. In Spokane, the new markings will be unveiled when Southeast Blvd. and 37th Ave. reopen to traffic. Southeast Blvd. opens later this month, with 37th Ave. to follow mid-October, and other streets in the future.

On the Southeast Blvd., which is being rehabilitated from 29th Ave. to Perry St., the sharrows will be placed between 27th and 29th avenues connecting the existing dedicated bike lanes on the street. On 37th Ave., which is being rehabilitated from Perry to Regal streets, the installation of the sharrows, placed the length of the project, will improve bicycle safety and usage along this corridor.

To use a sharrow:


· Use the sharrow to guide where you ride within the lane – generally through the center of the sharrow when safe to do so.
· Remember not to ride too close to parked cars – watch for opening doors.
· Ride in the same direction as traffic.
· Be aware of your surroundings, and follow the rules of the road.


· Expect to see bicyclists in the travel lane.
· Pass to the left of the cyclist, using the adjacent travel lane. Remain behind the cyclist until it is safe to pass.
· Yield to on-coming bicyclists when turning and look right/behind you when making a right-hand turn.
· Be aware of your surroundings, and follow the rules of the road.

US 195 Getting Seperate Exit Lane

The scary intersection of US 195 and Cheney-Spokane Road is getting the exit lane that neighbors have been asking for. Here's the story from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' column.

Who's Afraid Of A Train At 40 MPH?

You want a light rail system in Spokane? We may have to get creative about it, like they do in the Philippines. Some resourceful 'entrepreneurs' in Manila have built what look to be trolleys and use them to get commuters around the city... on active railroad lines.

Here's more on this story, and some crazy pictures, from the 'Oddity Central' blog.

From The WSDOT Newsletter

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA is funding several paving projects on state highways in our Region.

There are paving projects on US 2 from its intersection with SR 211 through the City of Newport, US 395 from the Stevens County Line near Deer Park to Immel Road north of Chewelah, and on SR 206 from US 2 to Bruce Road.

All of these projects are just getting underway, and drivers need to be alert over the next couple of months and plan their travels with extra time for possible construction delays.

Although it’s not funded through the Stimulus program, our contractor is still busy on Interstate 90 in the Spokane area. They are still paving shoulders and on/off ramps along with placing new signs. Most of that work is underway at night. The job should wrap up by Labor Day.

Here's Your Early Warning: Freya St. Bridge Work Starts Saturday

Construction on a $9.5 million project to replace the Freya St. Bridge begins around 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1. The bridge will be closed to all traffic for about a year; it is expected to reopen in the summer of 2010.

This project will replace the two side-by-side bridges with a single structure going over the railroad lines just north of Broadway Ave.

While the bridge is closed, drivers will be detoured to Broadway Ave, Fancher Rd., and Trent Ave. Freya St. will remain open to local traffic, allowing access to the businesses along the project.

Funding for the Freya St. Bridge project comes from Bridge Replacement Money, Freight Mobility Street Improvement Board, and the City of Spokane.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oversize Restriction For Hwy 395

This just in from WSDOT: Effective July 27th for approximately 70 days, loads over 14feet wide must notify Colville Department of Transportation @ 509-684-7434 before using Highway 395 through the area. They will notify the contractor & engineer on the project to help you get through the construction zone but you can expect numerous delays as there's no detour available.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jeff's Bike Is Banned From STA

Jeff Selle from our office got yelled at by a bus driver today. We took the #74 bus to the Mirabeau Park and Ride and jumped off there to ride to Liberty Lake. I was going to grab my car out of the Liberty Lake park and ride lot and go home and Jeff was going to continue riding to his home in Post Falls. So, we go to jump off the bus at Mirabeau and the driver is already out, manhandling Jeff's bike. She started kind of yelling at him, saying his bike is too big for the rack and she won't let him bring it on anymore. I had been watching the bikes the whole time through the window 'cause I'm always kind of freaky like that, thinking they're going to fall off, and I hadn't even seen them wiggle around. I was riding CooTeR (you know, our CTR bike) and it looks like it's the same size as Jeff's and she didn't give me any trouble.

So, my question is, has anyone else had their bike kicked off the bus? If so, why? And was your eviction actually enforced?

Healthcare Legislation Includes Money For Walking

Healthcare legislation working its way through Congress is apparently more than an effort to provide insurance to millions of Americans without coverage. Included is a provision that could provide billions of dollars for walking paths and walking ammenities.

Some people say this is a classic example of pork barrel spending, but others argue it's a necessary way to promote healthier lives and, in the long run, cut medical costs. Here's the Boston Globe article.

Spokane Has It's Own Bicycle Polo Club

You can street ride, mountain bike, and I've even seen my neighbor kids ride their bikes off the end of the dock into the lake. But what else can you do to entertain yourself on a bike?

One group of diehards has started the Spokane Bicycle Polo Club, and they're hoping to get more people to join. Here's the story from the Spokesman-Review.

Bus Bench Provider Chosen

The City of Spokane bus bench episdoe is apparently over. Yesterday they named a winner of their bus bench contract. According to a City press release, Creative Outdoor Advertising of Jupiter, FL. had the best bench, the most comprehensive maintenance plan, an extensive track record, and the highest return for the City.

Once a contract is approved, new benches will be installed over a 90-day period. A 5-year contract with Creative is anticipated to place benches in a minimum of 200 locations in the City, with the possibility for a 5-year renewal.

New Crosswalks On Riverpoint Campus

The Riverpoint Campus in the University District has brand new crosswalks. Two were recently installed, thanks to a collaborative effort by the Growth and Transportation Efficiency Center program (GTEC), Spokane County Commute Trip Reduction program, Spokane Regional Health District, WSU Spokane, and the City of Spokane.

The new crosswalks were installed at the bus stop at the east end of Riverpoint Blvd., and a midpoint crossing from the north parking lot next to the Riverpoint One Building to the campus's main parking lot. Additionally, landscaping changes will help improve pedestrian visibility and safety. Another crosswalk was re-striped at the bus stop at the west end on Riverpoint Blvd. and additional signage was installed.

The new crosswalks were identified as high priorities for improvement of pedestrian safety in a walk-ability audit conducted on the campus last fall by GTEC staff with assistance from students, staff, and faculty of WSU Spokane and EWU Spokane.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another Reason To Ban Studded Tires- They Can Cause Deadly Accidents

Yet another reason to get rid of studded tires; State Patrol Troopers say a three car crash this morning was caused by studs. An Elk man was attempting to turn left off Highway 2 near Newport when he alledgely slid on the studs and crashed into the back of another car. He then went into oncoming traffic, hitting a car going the other direction.

The man was cited for negligent driving and driving with studded tires. Washington requires drivers to remove studded tires by April 1.

Lincoln & 14th Signal Out For 3 Weeks

The traffic signal at the intersection of Lincoln St. and 14th Ave. will not be operational for the next three weeks starting tomorrow, Thursday, July 23. There may also be intermittent lane closures and obstructions in the area while City crews remove and replace signal standards.

The intersection should be treated as a four-way stop until it's back in use.

3 Wheels Are Better Than 4 In This Case

Google is taking to the streets to advance its Street View service this summer... on tricycles.

Google is deploying bikes mounted with its 360 degree Street View cameras this summer to map areas of Britain inaccessible by its fleet of Street View cars. Here's more on this story. I think I'm going to have to take a leave of abscence to ride a Google trike this summer.

A Bunch Of Complaints & One Legitimate Concern- You Decide Which Is Which

Here's my list of transportation irritations for today:

- A woman in a Miata almost hit me while I was crossing the street this morning. That surely would have left a bruise on my ankles and probably totalled her car.

- The mechanic said my starter isn't bad, but it was about to fall off as someone didn't tighten the bolts correctly.

- Is air conditioning really worth $400?? That's what I paid to have mine fixed.

- The back wheel on my bike is apparently bent because it wobbles all over.

- Fuel efficient cars are great for the environment but could take a toll on our road system. Because they use less fuel, funds from gas taxes will decline, so higher fuel efficiency means we may no longer be able to afford to fund transportation services. Here's more from the blog on this catch 22 situation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Third Ave. Lane Closures

Third Ave. from Freya to Rebecca streets will have lane closures tomorrow and Thursday between 7a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Traffic will be reduced to one lane while City crews complete grinding and other street repairs. You can expect delays.

Writer Wants Expanded STA Service To Cheney

Spokesman-Review Letters To The Editor
Cheney needs later bus runs

Spokane Transit Authority should provide later running buses between Cheney and Spokane to accommodate Cheney residents who work, attend night classes and seek entertainment in Spokane.

Cheney is home to Eastern Washington University, the fastest growing university in the state. Cheney’s population has been consistently expanding since the mid 1990s, even doubling during fall through spring. Yet, during the week, the last bus from Spokane to Cheney leaves the Plaza at 10:20 p.m., causing innumerable complications for the Cheney resident who works a night shift.

Many students who take classes during the day work nights in Spokane (where more part-time and after-hours jobs are available). On the weekend, the last bus to leave the Spokane bus plaza is at 9:20 p.m., an hour earlier.
Not only is this schedule inconvenient, it is potentially dangerous. When 2 a.m. rolls around and people are leaving the bars, buses have long since stopped running. Unfortunately, instead of taking a taxi (which are limited, outrageously expensive and completely out of the question for a student budget), people drive intoxicated.
STA can rectify this problem by providing buses from Spokane to Cheney up until midnight on weekdays, and no earlier than 2 a.m. on weekends.

Brittney Deutsch

I've been saying the same thing about the Liberty Lake route for a while now but what it comes down to is funding. There's just not enough money to keep buses running all the time in every area. If I remember correctly, in a conversation a while back with Karl Otterstrom, STA's Director of Planning, I thought he said they might be looking at the possibility of expanding service to Cheney. He acknowledged it's one of their busiest routes during the regular school year and I think he said they're looking into it. The last bus on my route runs at 6:20 p.m. How about you?

Accident Has 2nd & Thor Intersection Backed Up

You may want to avoid the intersection of Second Avenue and Thor Street for a while this morning; traffic is backed up there following a two-car collision just a while ago.

One lane of traffic is open in each direction, but vehicles are backed up while officers investigate the crash. One of the two drivers allegedly ran a red light and collided with the second vehicle. Minor injuries were reported and both vehicles were badly damaged.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Letter Calls For STA To Revisit Light Rail

Spokesman-Review Letters To The Editor
Time to revisit light rail

It is time for a new vote to authorize the STA to begin study and planning of a light rail system to serve the future transportation needs of the Spokane region. The negative vote of several years ago, taken without sufficient education of the public in the value of a light rail system and before the recent spikes in the price of gasoline, must be overturned as a first step towards such a system.
I further suggest that those in favor of light rail for Spokane need to, whenever possible, speak up and to prepare themselves to do so. We need to familiarize ourselves with the arguments used in opposition, as these seem to be the same in every city where light rail has been proposed.
For those with access to the Internet, a good place to begin is at, where there is a comprehensive study of such arguments, along with refutations and links to much more information.
Now is the time for supporters of light rail to begin to educate themselves and others to help lead Spokane to a modern transportation system.

David Henry Tiffany

The new transportation bill in the works supposedly puts a lot of emphasis on rail transport. Word around here though is that STA is leaning toward Bus Rapid Transit in the short term, and possibly light rail in the long term. What's your opinion on this topic, what is the best way to go?

Valley School Gets Flashing Signs

There's a lot going on in transportation right now. A Spokane Valley school is getting new flashing 'School Zone' signs and paving work started yesterday on Sprague between University and Evergreen. Those are just a couple items in this week's Spokesman-Review 'Getting There' column.

SRTC Issues Call For Projects

SRTC has just released the 2009 Call for Projects for allocation of Surface Transportation Program (STP) funding for the years 2011-2012.

There is approximately $10 million in STP funding this year. As with any call for projects, the purpose is to identify, prioritize, and select projects for funding as funds become available.

The deadline to apply is Monday, Aug. 17. Here's a link to the SRTC website for more information and the application forms.

Biking With A Belly

Thanks to Chris from J-U-B Engineers who sent me this article from Momentum Magazine called Biking With A Belly. Chris had commented on an earlier blog thread about how his wife bicycled all the way through her pregnancy, with her doctor's blessing.

The article says that exercise is essential during pregnancy to help maintain a normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar levels and overall physical fitness, which can help during labor. It suggests bicycling because it is more comfortable for many pregnant women than walking or other forms of exercise. The article also has some tips on how to make cycling safer and more comfortable during pregnancy, such as adapting your bike so you sit more upright and switching from clipless to regular pedals if your balance is off in order to avoid accidents.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

City Of Spokane Obstructions For Next Week

A couple items form the City of Spokane to be aware of for next week:

- The project to rehabilitate Market St. from Garland to Francis avenues begins next Monday, July 20. The following dirt streets will be paved as part of that project: Rowan, Sanson, Everett, and Wabash avenues from Market St. east to the railroad right-of-way. The project includes a full depth curb-to-curb rehabilitation of Market Street from Garland to Francis avenues including replacing existing curbs and sidewalks; and paving Rowan, Sanson, Everett, and Wabash avenues from Market St. east to the railroad right-of-way; and installation of pedestrian lighting and trees from Heroy Avenue to Columbia Avenue.

- The National Veterans Wheelchair Games handcylcing event will be held downtown this Saturday, July 18. Streets in the downtown core will be closed from 7 to 9:30 a.m. The streets include: Riverside Ave., Main Ave. and Spokane Falls Blvd. from Browne to Lincoln streets, and the Washington St. couplet.

- The skywalk between the Old Crescent Court in the Sterling Building and the STA Plaza will reopen at 6 a.m. on Monday, July 20. The closure is needed for construction.

- Eighth Ave. from Sunset Blvd. to Government Way is closed to allow crews to demolish the old bridge as part of the Fish Lake Trail project.

All-Pet Airline Having Big Success

I have friends who are flying across the country to take a temporary job for a couple months. They have a date they need to be there so don't have time to drive. They own a cat they would love to take with them, but after checking into the cost and requirements of taking Fluffy on a plane with them, decided it might be cheaper and easier to board Fluffy for a couple months, despite reservations about leaving their beloved pet with strangers.

A new airline may be the answer, although they don't fly in our area yet. Pet Airways, the first-ever all-pet airline, says business is brisk and pretty much all their flights are booked out two months in advance. Here's a story on this new kind of airline, from Yahoo News.

'Tour De Bureaucrats' To Hit The Centennial Trail

Consider this your warning. We held a recent staff retreat and one of the items that came out of it was that we are going to do more 'field trips' and 'team building' activities (translation: find excuses to get outside during the summer). So, today at lunch (please note we're doing it on our lunch hours so no taxpayer dollars will be used to finance this endeavor) we are taking the 'Tour De Bureaucrats' bike ride of the Centennial Trail. Not sure yet which section of the Trail we're tackling, but if you see a group of bedraggled-looking bike riders, including one lady wearing a dress, that will be us. Here's a picture of our last outing to the Fish Lake Trail by the way.

Don't Let Pets Drive; It's Too Hot For Them In The Car

This is only transportation related because it involves vehicles, but a reminder that it's supposed to be in the 90's through the rest of the week so if you HAVE to take your dog with you in the car, don't leave them there while you shop, see a movie, etc. Even dogs with a cool haircut like Lily here can suffer dehydration, heat stroke, and sunburn (dogs with haircuts are especially prone to sunburn) within just a few minutes of being left in a hot car.

Business Owners Ask Legislators For Transportation Changes

Over 100 business leaders from across the U.S. are traveling to Washington, D.C. today to share their views on transportation policy with their Senators and Representatives.

They're asking Congress to include transportation reform in any reauthorization of transportation policy and have four basic requests:

1.) Explore all funding options--including raising user fees, encouraging private investment, and creating an infrastructure bank.

2.) Safeguard money collected from gas taxes and other fees for transportation-specific projects.

3.) Cut red tape associated with those projects.

4.) Address the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund immediately.

Here's more on this event from 'Welcome to the Fast Lane: the official blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.'

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seattle Toughens Law On Disabled Parking Abuse

I blogged about the problem of people without disabilities parking in disabled parking spaces a couple months ago. Well, apparently the problem isn't just ours. It's gotten so bad in Seattle that City Council members this week voted to take action.

Apparently a lot of people over there are using disabled placards that they 'inherited' when family members died or ones they obtained fraudulently.

Here's the Seattle PI story.

I have a couple friends in wheelchairs and they both complain about this. Anyone else out there see this abuse increasing, or has it always gone on at this level?

Be Extra Observant, There Are More Motorcyles Out There Than Ever

Seriously folks, accidents involving motorcycles are starting to hit epidemic proportions. Another motorcycle accident last night left an area motorcylist with injuries.

It happened around 7:00 last night when the truck driver, headed westbound on West Monroe Road, made a left turn onto Bernhill Road and struck the motorcycle that was heading east on Monroe. The truck driver told authorities the sun was in his eyes and he didn’t see the motorcycle approaching when he attempted to turn.

The motorcyclist is reported to have compound fractures and serious injuries. Sheriff’s deputies said the truck driver will not be charged.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Child Safety Seat Emphasis Patrols

Local law enforcement will monitor traffic at seven locations throughout July to increase awareness of child safety restraint laws.

The emphasis patrols started today from 1 to 6 p.m. at Broadway Avenue and Sullivan Road. They continue Wednesday from 1 to 6 p.m. at 57th Avenue and Regal Street.

Other patrols are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Boulder Beach area of Upriver Drive and at the Spokane Valley Mall; on July 24 from 1 to 6 p.m. at Division Street and Francis Avenue; on July 25 at Valley Mission Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and on July 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Harvard Road and Wellesley Avenue.

The patrols are part of a statewide effort to improve compliance with the state’s child safety restraint laws. Fines for violations are $124. The basic rules for child restraints are:

•Until age 13, children must ride in the rear seat of a vehicle.
•Children from newborn through 12 months and less than 20 pounds must be placed in a rear-facing seat.
•From age 13 months to 4 years, children should be in a child car seat with a five-point harness.
•From age 4 until the child is 4 feet 9 inches tall, children should ride in a booster seat. Boosters should only be placed with a lap and shoulder belt.
•The seat equipment, harnesses, and belts must be installed and used properly.

Hammond Says ARRA Projects Bolstering Economy

Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond and state department of transportation directors from 17 states hosted a news conference today highlighting the rapid pace of delivering federal Recovery Act jobs and highway projects bolstering the nation’s economic recovery.

Nationwide, 2,000 construction projects with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) are underway. That adds up to more than $6 billion in projects. A total of 5,600 projects have been identified and approved for bidding, which means a total of $16.7 billion will flow into the economy over the next two years.

Washington state received $491 million from the Federal Highway Administration for 181 state and local highway projects. 138 have been advertised or awarded to contractors, and 66 are under construction, said Hammond.

AARP Releases Study On Need For Complete Streets For Older Americans

The AARP Public Policy Institute has just released their report "Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America."

This report addresses the need to create Complete Streets that are safe and convenient for travel by automobile, foot, bicycle and transit regardless of age or ability. Some findings from research conducted for this study show that:

* 2/3 of planners and engineers report they have not begun considering the needs of older road users in multi-modal planning.

* More than 80 states and localities have adopted Complete Streets policies, but less than 1/3 of these explicitly address the needs of older road users.

* 40% of adults age 50 and older report inadequate sidewalks in their neighborhoods. Nearly 50% report they cannot cross main roads close to their home safely.

* The report suggests revisions to five intersection treatments in the Federal Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians to better balance the needs of both older drivers and pedestrians.

To read the report in its entirety, click here.

Gregoire's Office Says Stimulus Money Doing It's Job

Governor Gregoire's office says federal stimulus money is doing it's job; stimulating the economy. Gregoire's 'Stimulus Advisor' says the money is making a huge impact in patching a $9 million budget deficit. Here's the Spokesman-Review story.

One Lane Of Vancouver Bridge Given To Cyclists

An experiment 13 years in the making gets underway today in Vancouver, B.C. In 1996,
the city handed over one lane of the Burrard Bridge to cyclists- making it unavailable for vehicle traffic- then abruptly aborted the trial a week later. After much reconsidering though, the experiment begins again today.

The southbound curb lane heading out of downtown will be exclusively for cyclists, leaving two southbound lanes for drivers. All three northbound lanes remain unchanged.

Here's more on this story from 'The Hook' blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Local Officer Wants Safety Seats Installed Correctly

Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller is on a mission. She is trying to prevent children from being hurt and injured in traffic accidents when a properly installed safety seat could prevent it. We worked with Officer Teresa on a walking audit recently, and she's definetely passionate about what can be done to save lives when it comes to driving.Here's an interview the Spokesman-Review did with her regarding her child safety seat crusade.

Morning Accidents Slow I90 Traffic

I90 is still moving slowly after two accidents this morning.

In the first one, a man riding a motorcyle was killed near the Liberty Lake onramp. State Troopers believe the crash happened early this morning, but the wreckage wasn't discovered until almost 7 a.m. The investigation is ongoing into what happened.

In another accident just before 9 a.m., troopers were investigating a two-vehicle collision in the eastbound lanes of I-90 at the Barker Road interchange, in which one of the vehicles went over a divider into the westbound median.

Local Revitalization Area Public Meeting

The City of Spokane is interested in developing a Local Revitalization Area in the University District and wants your input on the proposal.

Creation of a Local Revitalization Area would provide funding for public improvement projects within the District through a new version of tax-increment financing approved by the state Legislature in 2009. The funding could provide a boost toward the construction of a railroad overpass for pedestrians and bicyclists in the District, along with other potential projects.

A meeting is scheduled for tomorrow night (Tuesday) to learn about the University District Local Revitalization Area. The City is seeking input on the boundaries of the area, as well as the projects that could be constructed using this funding.

The meeting is at the Nursing Center, Auditorium 105, on the Riverpoint Campus, 103 Spokane Falls Blvd.

NSC Open House Meeting This Week

The Washington State Department of Transportation will host an informational meeting this Wednesday (July 15) to update the community on the progress of the North Spokane Corridor (NSC), the corridor design, and future plans.

Department staff will be on hand to answer questions about the overall status of the project and construction details. Real Estate Services representatives will also be available. There will be no formal presentation at the Open House. You can drop by anytime between 5-8 p.m. It's at Rogers High School (1622 E. Wellesley) in the cafeteria.

The first piece of the NSC, from Francis to Farwell Rd. will open this August. More project information is available on the WSDOT website.

County Gets Grant To Realign Centennial Trail

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office has awarded the Spokane County Parks and Recreation Department a grants for $197,974 to realign part of the Centennial Trail.

That will pay for 50% of the estimated construction costs to realign the Centennial Trail at Gateway Park near the Washington-Idaho border. The work is scheduled for 2010 as the County Engineer replaces the old I-90 bridge that spans the Spokane River at Stateline. This project will realign the trail under the new bridge on the south bank of the river, and will also eliminate two dangerous at-grade crossings on the Centennial Trail. Click the map below of the proposed realignment to view it full size.

Man Takes On United Airlines Over Broken Guitar

Ever lose your luggage while flying? How about having one of your possessions damaged by the airline? That's what happened to a Canadian guy named Dave Carroll who went on tour with his band and flew United Airlines to get to their gigs.

When they arrived, Carroll's $3,500 guitar was broken. After going through the usual channels, he had no luck getting reimbursed for the broken guitar, so he turned to the internet and posted the youtube video below called, "United Broke My Guitar."

In just two days, so many people viewed the video and contacted United that the company's CEO finally contacted him, replaced the guitar, and asked to use the old one for customer service training at United.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bigelow Gulch Project Resumes Monday

The Bigelow Gulch Road construction project will resume on Monday, July 13th at 7:00 a.m. The work will entail excavating the slope on the north side of Bigelow Gulch Road and hauling the dirt across the road to build up the necessary fill to widen the road. The traffic impact will be limited to the portion of Bigelow Gulch that is between Palmer Road and Havana Road.

Flaggers will direct traffic, but with trucks and heavy equipment crossing the road, drivers should expect delays and plan accordingly. Officials expect the work to be completed by November.

Some City of Spokane Obstructions

- The skywalk between the Old Crescent Court in the Sterling Building and the STA Plaza will be closed beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 10, and will reopen at 6 a.m. on Monday, July 20. The closure is need for construction.

- Eighth Ave. from Sunset Blvd. to Government Way is closed. The closure is needed to allow crews to demolish the old bridge as part of the Fish Lake Trail project.

- There are lane restrictions and no street parking on Cedar St. from 12th to 21st avenues.

Northeast Spokane Construction Project Starts Monday

A residential project to rehabilitate a number of streets in Northeast Spokane is set to begin next Monday, July 13. The project includes some full-depth curb-to-curb rehabilitation as well as resurfacing the top layer of asphalt in some areas. Streets include Montgomery Ave. from Astor to Hamilton streets; Illinois Ave. from Dakota to Hamilton streets; Ermina Ave. from Astor to Columbus streets; Baldwin Ave. from Astor to Perry streets; Addison, Standard, Dakota and Cincinnati streets from Indiana to Montgomery avenues. Montgomery Ave. from Astor to Dakota streets will be closed to traffic with local access only.

The $1.3 million project is being funded by the 10-Year Street Bond.

Allstate Says Spokane Drivers Safer Than Seattle Drivers

Allstate Insurance just released their “America’s Best Drivers Report” and Spokane drivers rank higher than Seattle drivers.

Spokane is ranked 34th in the U.S. for best driving, while Seattle is 134th, according to the report. Here are more rankings.

Marr Spends Day With USDOT Transportation Director

Senator Chris Marr, a Spokane Democrat and vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, spent Monday with U.S. Department of Transportation Director Ray LaHood.

They met for a lunch briefing at the University of Washington and held a news conference to discuss the stimulus funding provided for transportation projects in Washington. They then took a ferry to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the federally funded Bremerton Tunnel.

Here's a video where Marr discusses the message he left with LaHood regarding transportation on our side of the state.

Bamboo-Made Cars Run On Coconut Bio-Diesel

Taking a trip to the Philippines anytime soon? Yeah, me neither. But if you ever do, be sure to check out the newest taxis there. Two new taxis, named Eco 1 and Eco 2, have hit the streets of a town called Tabontabon.

They're made almost entirely of bamboo and powered by coconut bio-diesel! Both are made of 90% bamboo and almost fully covered in banig, a Filipino woven mat. They're spacious too, one can carry up to 20 people and the other eight people.

They're stylish too, being decorated with a variety of colors and designs. But the real question is, how fuel efficient are they? The blog 'Green Diary' has the answer.

Mini Farmers Market Helps Woman With Transportation Needs

There is a lady I met through work who never ceases to amaze me. Jenny Hoff has Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Jenny can no longer walk, is in a powerchair, and will eventually lose the use of her arms as well. The amazing thing is that she stays connected to her community and even volunteers.

She recently took part in a walking audit of Monroe Street with us to tell us how the pedestrian facilities function for people in wheelchairs.

Jenny has a special powerchair accesible van that she 'inherited' when a friend (also with ALS) died. At first she told me it was a Godsend because it let her maintain her independence, but now it is eating her out of house and home for gas. She doesn't drive it very often, mostly she uses the STA paratransit service as it can get her pretty much anywhere she needs to go. She does need the van to get to church on Sundays though and to visit her parents in Airway Heights, and therefore needs money to put gas in it.

She's earning that money through a 'mini-farmer's market' she does in front of her house. She guarantees that her prices are less than anywhere else. Here's what she has right now:

Walla Walla Sweet Onions:
5# bags for $5.00
10# bags for $9.00
25# bags for $18.00

Birdhouses (very cute, made by a friend and painted by Jenny) from $15-$25

Freshly made fruit pies every Friday. They range from $7-$10 depending on their filling, including rhubarb, huckleberry, and Apple.

You can find Jenny at 10010 E. Empire in Millwood or call ahead at 979-1883 to reserve items. Here's a chance to buy local and see your money helping someone out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's Christmas In July

If you're catching a bus or train at the downtown Spokane Intermodal Center today, you may want to arrive early. It's packed down here today, due to the visit of the Disney 'A Christmas Carol Train.'

The SRTC offices are in the Intermodal Center so Jeff Selle and I took the opportunity to tour the train. I know, this is a stretch for the blog, but it's a train so I'm calling it transportation-related.

The train is touring the country to promote Disney's new version of the movie 'A Christmas Carol.' So, the place is overrun with parents and children clamoring to see the show and the parking lot is packed. Personally, I wasn't that impressed and it took forever to get through the train, but the fake feast that Jeff photographed me with was so real looking it made me hungry for turkey and gravy.

New Product Allows You To Carry Fishing Gear On Bikes

Wow, I'm finding all kinds of fun stuff today. So say you like to ride your bike. And you also like to fish. But how do you combine these two hobbies, when it's hard to haul your fishing gear on your bicycle? With the new 'Bike Fisherman,' of course! This product is produced by a local couple who rode the Centennial Trail last year and kept seeing good fishing holes. So they took to the drawing board and this is what they came up with. Happy fishing everyone.

Enhanced Licenses Clogging Licensing Offices

Apparently the new Washington state enhanced driver's license is so popular that the Department of Licensing announced new procedures yesterday to unclog the offices that issue them.

Drivers have been waiting for hours to get the license that doubles as ID for getting into Canada. Part of the hold-up is because drivers must show up for an in-person interview and bring documents that prove their identity, U.S. citizenship, and Washington state residency.

Here's more from the Spokesman-Review.

Bleeding Billboards Warn Drivers

Ryan in our office sent me this item after seeing the zombie post below. Apparently when it rains in some parts of New Zealand, it really pours... blood, that is.

It's part of a safety campaign to slow down reckless drivers during the rainy season when roads become slick and dangerous. 'It' is a series of billboards showing pictures of children. When it rains, blood oozes from the billboards. And it's apparently very effective. Since the billboards were put in place, there hasn't been a single fatal accident in the area.

Here's video and a media report.. and a warning that it's kind of creepy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Meet The City Of Spokane's New Bike/Ped Coordinator

The City of Spokane's new Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator has been making the rounds of local government meetings since starting his new job a couple weeks ago. I met him at our June Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) meeting. For those who haven't had a chance to meet Mr. Wencel,
the Inlander has this interview with him in this week's edition.

Slow: Zombie Xing

I've heard of roads being closed for construction, accidents, block parties, and parades but this is a new one. Three blocks of North 35th Street in Seattle's Fremont District was closed to traffic Friday night so that drivers wouldn't have to worry about plowing into thousands of the undead as they took part in the largest zombie march ever.

The 'Red, White, and Dead' event was held in honor of the 4th of July, and to make a run at the Guinness World Record for having the most zombies in one place at one time. 5,000 'zombies' showed up, including my friend and her undead daughter, seen above.

Here's an article from the Ballard News-Tribune on the event.

Statewide Aviation Recommendations Released

After almost two years of deliberations, the Washington Aviation Planning Council has released its final statewide aviation recommendations.

The Aviation Planning Council was appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2007 as part of the Long-Term Air Transportation Study (LATS). The Council’s purpose was to use LATS Phases I and II technical findings, and include public input, to determine:

- How best to meet commercial and general aviation capacity needs.
- Which regions of the state are in need of improvement regarding the matching of existing, or projected, airport facilities and the long-range capacity needs at airports within the region expected to reach capacity before 2030.
- Recommendations regarding the placement of future commercial or general aviation facilities to meet the need for improved aviation planning in the region.

Some highlights of the Council’s findings include:

- No immediate capacity constraint exists at any airport in Washington State today.
- Future capacity constraints will exist within the time frame of this study (2030), primarily in the Puget Sound Region.
- Washington’s aviation system is threatened by encroachment from land uses that are incompatible with aviation operations, and existing land use laws are inadequate.

Here's where to click to read the entire report, which includes the full list of recommendations.

Happy 20th Centennial Trail, But There's Still Work To Be Done

Work started on the Centennial Trail twenty years ago. Yet two decades later there are still disconnected gaps in the trail. And there are some places along the trail that have safety issues. Friends of the Centennial Trail Executive Director Kaye Turner sat down with the Spokesman-Review recently to talk about the future of the trail. Here's that interview.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

37th Ave. Project Starts Tuesday

Get ready south hill residents, because another construction project will be firing up in your area soon.

The project to rehabilitate 37th Ave. from Perry to Regal streets begins next Tuesday, July 7.

The project includes installation of new curbs and sidewalks from Crestline to Mt. Vernon streets and replacing water transmission and distribution mains. Drivers will be detoured to 29th Ave. to Grand Blvd. and then onto Hatch Rd. to 57th Ave. and then to Regal St.

The nearly $2 million project is being funded by the 10-Year Street Bond, Water Department, and Spokane Transit Authority.

Pedestrian Count Results Are In

Thanks to Margie Hall from the City of Spokane's Planning Department. She was kind enough to compile the results of a pedestrian count we worked on in June. Margie and I take part in a Non-Motorized Transportation group that includes reprentatives from STA, SRTC, City of Spokane, the Lands Council, the Spokane Regional Health District, the Bicycle Advisory Board, the Commute Trip Reduction program, and several others.

In early June we did a walking audit of Monroe Street from Ide Street to Boone Ave. to identify barriers to walking, bicyling and using wheelchairs. And we found a lot of them. So that got us wondering how many people actually walk and ride on Monroe Street. We did a pedestrian count a couple days later (and have more planned) and were surprised by how many people do:

Site: REI, Boone to Mallon
3:30-4:40 p.m.

# pedestrians: 83
# bicyclists: 14
# illegal pedestrian crossings: 22
# illegal bike crossings: 1

Site: Monroe and Ide (north end of bridge to Broadway)
4:45-5:20 p.m.

# pedestrians: 66
# bicyclists: 9
# illegal pedestrian crossings: 14
# illegal bike crossings: 2

Site: Monroe and Broadway
3:45-4:45 p.m.

# pedestrians: 151 (3 in motorized wheelchairs)
# bicyclists: 33
# illegal pedestrian crossing: 27
# legal pedestrian crossings: 83

Truck-Pedestrian Collision Leaves Woman With Life-Threatening Injuries

First Avenue in downtown Spokane is reduced to one lane while police investigate a truck-pedestrian accident this morning. Post is blocked from Sprague to Second avenues.

A female pedestrian was hit by a truck in a crosswalk about 7:30 a.m. Police say her injuries are life-threatening and the driver could be charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian.

A pickup was turning left from First Avenue onto Post Street on a green light when it hit the woman, who had a walk signal.

This scares me because it happens to me ALL THE TIME downtown. I try to cross the street right in front of our building, always with the walk signal, and nine times out of ten I get cussed out by people waiting to turn right. I always yell at them, 'I've got the walk signal!!' but they usually yell back. Anyone else experiencing this on a fairly regular basis in Spokane?

Fuse Release 'Sizzle' and 'Fizzle' Award Winners

Thanks to Paul Kropp for forwarding this item:

The Washington state-based online advocacy group 'Fuse' just released their 'Sizzle Awards,' identifying what state leaders are great, and who's second rate, when it comes to progress.

According to their website, Fuse 'works to provide a cutting edge online organizing and communications hub for Washington and 'is focused primarily on securing major advances in progressive public policy for Washington State.'

Timm Ormsby is listed among the winners as a recipient of the 'Mother Jones' award but Mary Margaret Haugen and Judi Clibborn were given the not-so-prestigious 'Wrong Way' award and Governor Gregoire claimed the 'Pushmi-Pullyu' award.

You can check out more winners and losers, and what each award means, here.

Then let us know if you agree or disagree, or what awards you would give out given the chance.

Spokane County's Five Mile Project Starts Monday

For those of you who drive Five Mile Road, things are about to slow down even more. The County's reconstruction of 5 Mile and Strong Road starts on Monday, July 6.

Five Mile Road will be reconstructed from Berridae Road south to Strong, and Strong Road will be reconstructed from Rustle Road east to Five Mile.

Both streets will be open to local traffic only.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bridge Projects Could Slow You Down

Spokane County's Engineering and Roads Department wants to alert you to two bridge projects that could increase your travel time this summer.

The Elder Road Bridge maintenance project has closed Elder Road from State Route 27 to Campbell Road until approximately August 15th. The east end of the bridge has experienced some settling. The project will restore the bridge and approach roadway to its original condition.

The Rutter Parkway Bridge will be closed beginning Monday, July 6 until about August 31. Drivers should plan to use alternate routes. The project will rehabilitate the concrete deck and overlay slab with concrete.

Council Okays Fish Lake Trail Stimulus Money

The Spokane City Council on Monday night voted to accept federal stimulus money for the Fish Lake Trail, meaning construction can now move forward.

The council voted unanimously to move ahead with the $1.7 million second phase of the project, which will connect a previously paved section to the start of the route in West Spokane. Here's the story.

Bike Commuting While Pregnant- Safe Or Risky?

Most people who know me know I'm pretty squeamish about pregnancy, so here's a topic I never expected to discuss on this blog: should pregnant women continue to bike commute? My first reaction was no, they should be hidden away out of the site of the non-pregnant public. I have to admit that's not fair though. This thread on the 'Bike Commute Tips Blog' by author Paul Dorn says bicycle commuting can be a particularly healthy activity for expectant mothers, even up to the week before giving birth.

He emphasizes that pregnancy is definetely a time when women need to use caution in their physical exertion, but says bicycling is among the best exercise a woman can choose because of it's smooth motion and it doesn't require lifting or jumping, and you can choose your level of exertion.

So read the article and let me know if you, your spouse, or a friend commuted by bike while pregnant.

Holiday Closures, Schedule Changes, Etc.

Because the Independence Day holiday falls on a Saturday this year, we've got some schedule changes in the works this week. Most government offices will be closed on Friday, July 3. Here's a roundup of what's going on:

- SRTC will be closed on Friday, July 3. We'll reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 6.

- Most Washington State Department of Transportation construction work will be suspended by noon on Thursday, July 2 in anticipation of increased holiday traffic. Interstate 90 west of Spokane near the Cheney/Four Lakes Interchange will be reduced to one lane in each direction for a bridge deck repair. Interstate 90 just east of Downtown Spokane may have grooved pavement and abrupt lane edges.

- Spokane City Hall will be closed on Friday, July 3.

- Downtown Spokane parking meters don’t have to be plugged both Friday and Saturday, July 3 and 4.

- The Spokane City Council meeting for Monday, July 6, has been cancelled because of a lack of a quorum.

- Spokane County offices will be closed on Friday, July 3rd. The Spokane County Courthouse, Public Safety Building and Veterans Services will also be closed.

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.