Monday, August 31, 2009

It's Kind Of Like The Minivan Of Bikes

So you've got a lot of stuff to carry, but only a tiny rack on your bike. What to do? Maybe drive to work that day or to do your errands? WRONG! You need the new Danish 'Cargo Bike.' Here's the info from the 'Bike Hugger' blog.

Roundup For The Week Of August 31

Some newspaper reporters do a test to see if the NSC will save you time, traffic is very slow on US 395, and the intersection of Sprague and Evergreen will be back to normal tomorrow.Here's what's happening this week in transportation from the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

This Kind Of Run-In With Police Isn't Good Either

Oops, this kid's got to be embarrassed. Spokane police say a child on a bicycle slammed his bike into a slow moving police patrol car over the weekend, but wasn't seriously hurt.

The accident happened near an alley at Seventh Avenue and Oak Street Saturday evening when the Spokane police officer was responding to a non-emergency call.

The boy was wearing a helmet and bounced off the car, which wasn't damaged.

The boy didn't get in trouble, but police did teach him that rules of the road apply to alleys, and that gives the vehicle moving through the alley the right of way over a bicycle entering the alley.

Friday, August 28, 2009

PSA Aims To Reduce Texting While Driving

Have you seen this video yet? It's a public service announcement out of the UK about texting while driving that's making the rounds of the internet right now. Just a warning, there's blood involved, but not slaher-movie amounts or anything.

Possible Freeway Lane Restrictions

This Sunday, there could be lane restrictions on I90 through the metropolitan area (milepost 280-287). WSDOT crews will be cleaning drains on the freeway in both directions between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Free Car Seat Safety Check

A while back I watched a friend's toddler for a weekend. We needed to go to the store or something, so I struggled for 20 minutes trying to install her *&^%$ car seat. I have a college degree but this was beyond me. Needless to say, a lot of swearing was done in the process.

Her mom finally came to pick the child up after the weekend and we're switching the car seat from my car to hers. And the child starts swearing a blue streak because she'd seen me do it. Oops. That took some explaining.

My point though is that, you may be of above average intelligence, but those crazy car seats still win every time. That's why there's a free child car seat safety check tomorrow at Wal-Mart in Airway Heights from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring your seats and vehicles and have a team of nationally certified technicians go over the equipment and the proper use of it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eastbound I90 Backed Up Between Stateline & Liberty Lake

Avoid eastbound I90 starting at Liberty Lake. A crash about a mile east of Stateline has the freeway backed up for several miles, all the way to Liberty Lake. No word yet what caused the crash or if anyone was injured.

Going Underground With Bike Parking

Any time I ask, 'What would get you to ride your bike to work more often?' one of the first answers I get is, 'More bike parking.' We're getting better about providing bike parking in our area, but there's still a lot needed. In fact, we're no where near as progressive as the Japanese city in this video, where they park bikes underground! Check it out. And thanks to Charlie from the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation for sending this to me.

How Would You Spend Neighborhood Funds?

The Spokane County Community Services, Housing and Community Development department needs your help.

Every year Spokane County receives Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Affordable Housing funds. These funds are allocated to projects and services that address needs identified in participating cities, towns, and unincorporated areas of Spokane County, principally to benefit low- to moderate-income people.

The County wants to hear what type of projects and services you think should be funded with that money.

And before you say, 'This isn't transportation related,' think about how it all comes together. A lot of the older neighborhoods don't have sidewalks. A lot of people with disabilities live in these neighborhoods. They can't roll their wheelchairs in the dirt next to the road, so they have to be in the roads. This presents a safety hazard. The CDBG money can pay for things like sidewalks, pedestrian lighting, benches, etc.

So do us all a favor and spend five minutes taking this survey that will help the County decide how to best spend their funds. And when you're done, please pass it on to anyone else you think will take it. You have to hurry though, the last day to take the survey is next Monday, Aug. 31

Slow Down, School Is Back In Session

You know the drill, school starts for students at Spokane Public Schools today, so slow the heck down.

Keep in mind that the speed limit is now 20 miles per hour through school zones again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Clunkers Programs Generated Nearly 700,000 New Car Sales

Cash for Clunkers generated nearly 700,000 new car sales and ended under its $3 billion budget, the Transportation Department announced today.

Japanese automakers Toyota, Honda and Nissan accounted for 41% of the new vehicle sales, with the Toyota Corolla being the most popular new vehicle purchased under the program, followed by the Honda Civic, Toyota Camry and Ford Focus.

Here's more statistics from the program from the Spokesman-Review.

While this program definetely boosted the auto industry and the economy (by putting people to work) this year, what this article doesn't say is that many economists are now worried that the auto industry is going to tank again next year and possibly the year after, because few people will be buying cars. What's your take? Any other major pros or cons you see coming out of this we haven't talked about?

Sample Bus Bench Available For Napping- I Mean Testing

If you're really hard up for something to do today, take a walk over to the northwest corner of Division and Mission. That's where a sample of the City of Spokane’s proposed bus bench has been installed. The bench will be available for citizens to view and try out until Friday, Sept. 4.

Earlier this summer, the City named Creative Outdoor Advertising as the winner of the City’s bus bench contract. The contract hasn't been approved by City Council yet, but once it is new benches will be installed at over 200 locations in the City within 90 days.

So give their product a try. If you can get past me anyway. I'll be the one sprawled out the bench, using government time to take a nap but passing it off as Quality assurance/quality control.

Why Do Anything Half Way?

Thanks to blogger Holly who suggested this method of keeping your bike safe in response to the post below about a stolen bike flyer.

Watch NSC Traffic- It's Kind Of Relaxing Really

Thanks to blogger 'Anonymous' who submitted the following comment regarding the North Spokane corridor:

I'm in Hillyard and I drove it yesterday. Nice road and it will be cool when it's done. Right now it pretty much goes from nowhere to nowhere. Once it links up to 395 I will probably use it quite a bit.

Well, maybe this will get others to use it in the meantime: It's the live traffic camera page from the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center website. Scroll down under 'Spokane County' and you'll find a newly-available camera labelled 'NSC/Gerlach Rd.' It confirms that things are slow up there so far. I'm not advocating that you speed or anything, but look at that wide open road. Wouldn't it be nice to drive 60 miles per hour with no other cars around? Looks like another field trip is in the works for me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Survey Issue Resolved

For those of you who were trying to fill out the "Summer Parkways" survey but having trouble, the issue has been fixed and we're ready to roll again. Here's the link.

And here's some background on Summer Parkways:

I work with a 'non-motorized' group that's made up of representatives from the City of Spokane, the Spokane Regional Health District, the Lands Council, the YMCA/YWCA, STA, and several others.

One of the projects we've been working on is a possible new event called “Summer Parkways.” It involves the closure of streets to vehicular traffic for a day or part of a day in favor of walking, bicycling, rolling, and other non-motorized forms of transportation. Walkers, runners, bikers, seniors, adults, and children would be able to enjoy neighborhood streets filled with a variety of activities along the route - all in a car-free environment.

These “Summer Parkways” events have been held in other parts of the country and the world as an opportunity to encourage people to become more physically active and to help build community. Here's a short video about one that happened in New York and here's info on one in Bogota, Colombia.

Now what we need to know is if you would be interested in having a Summer Parkway event in our community. Please fill out the survey above, then send the link on to anyone else you know who might be interested. Thanks!

Anyone Drive The NSC Yet?

KXLY News had a live report last night saying that not many people are using the North Spokane Corridor. I checked their website but couldn't find the video of the story, just a print piece saying the freeway is open, the speed limit is 60 miles per hour, etc. etc.

What I'm wondering is, are people not used to it being open yet so they're not utilizing it? It's only day 4 of the stretch of freeway being open, so is that too soon to expect much capacity on it? Also, is it just too short of a stretch to bother with at this point? It's only 3.5 miles, which at 60 mph means you'd only be on it for about 3 minutes before having to get back off.

I haven't driven the NSC yet so let me know if you have and what your impression was.

This Bike Had 'Take Me' Written All Over It

This missing bike flyer was allegedly posted in Williamsburg, VA. I stole the picture from 'cause it made me laugh.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The WSDOT Sure Knows How To Party

It's official, the North Spokane Corridor is now open. I haven't actually driven on it yet, but here are a couple pictures the bossman took at the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday.
Here's are a bunch more pictures from the event posted on Flickr.

Roundup For The Week Of August 24

Despite central Hillyard being torn up to rebuild Market Street, the outlook for businesses in the area is looking good. Volunteers are needed for an upcoming bicycle/pedestrian count, and work starts on the intersection of US 195 and Cheney-Spokane Road today. Here's a roundup of transportation happenings for this week from the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

'Summer Parkways' Survey

I work with a 'non-motorized' group that's made up of representatives from the City of Spokane, the Spokane Regional Health District, the Lands Council, the YMCA/YWCA, STA, and several others.

One of the projects we've been working on is a possible new event called “Summer Parkways.” It involves the closure of streets to vehicular traffic for a day or part of a day in favor of walking, bicycling, rolling, and other non-motorized forms of transportation. Walkers, runners, bikers, seniors, adults, and children would be able to enjoy neighborhood streets filled with a variety of activities along the route - all in a car-free environment.

These “Summer Parkways” events have been held in other parts of the country and the world as an opportunity to encourage people to become more physically active and to help build community. Here's a short video about one that happened in New York and here's info on one in Bogota, Colombia.

Now what we need to know is if you would be interested in having a Summer Parkway event in our community. Please take this short survey and share your thoughts and ideas with us, then pass it along to anyone else you think would be interested. Thank you!

Some City Of Spokane Projects Wrapping Up

- Several streets in southeast Spokane that were part of a rehabilitation project are expected to reopen today. The project included full-depth curb-to-curb rehabilitation as well as resurfacing the top layer of asphalt in some areas. Streets include Altamont Blvd. from 11th to Ninth avenues; Cook St. from Altamont Blvd. to 14th Ave.; Woodfern St. at Altamont Blvd.; and Ninth Ave. from Altamont Blvd. to Jaques St. The $800,000 project was funded by the 10-Year Street Bond.

- Southeast Blvd., between 29th Ave. and Perry Street, is expected to reopen this Friday, Aug. 28 after several months of construction to rehabilitate it. The project included a full-depth curb-to-curb rehabilitation and replacing water distribution mains. The $1.9 million project was funded by the 10-Year Street Bond and Water Department.

- A residential project to rehabilitate a number of streets in Northeast Spokane is nearing completion, and the streets are expected to reopen no later than Friday, Sept. 4. The project included some full-depth curb-to-curb rehabilitation as well as resurfacing the top layer of asphalt in some areas. Streets included 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. The $1.3 million project is funded by the 10-Year Street Bond.

- Buckeye and Grace Avenues from Ruby Street to Upriver Drive was reopened late last week following a water main rehabilitation project. Minor detail work is still being done and motorists are being asked to drive with caution. The project replaced the existing water main with a larger one and rehabilitated Jackson Ave. from Ruby to Astor streets and Grace Ave. from Julia to Myrtle streets. The $3.2 million project was funded by the 10-Year Street Bond, Community Development, and the City’s Water Department.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Public Forum For Fairchild Air Force Base-Joint Land Use Study

A public information forum is scheduled for Monday, August 24 from 6-9 p.m. to review and comment on Draft Sections 1 through 5 of the Fairchild Air Force Base-Joint Land Use Study (FAFB-JLUS).

The purpose of this study is to identify methods necessary to protect FAFB from encroachment by land uses that may conflict with the long-term military operations of Fairchild AFB.

The forum will be held in the Airway Heights Municipal Court Chamber, on the second floor of the Community Center at 13120 W. 13th in Airway Heights.

Draft Sections 1-5 are available by clicking here.

Some Assorted Bicycle Happenings

Here's a whole list of bike events/opportunities/needs. Look through and see if any interest you:

- Volunteers are needed to help set up and register riders before the Spokefest ride on Sept. 13. You can still do the ride as well. Help is also needed at food stops and aid stations during the ride. You can sign up by emailing

- The City of Spokane Valley is looking for volunteers to Work on a Bike Master Plan.
If you’re interested in participating in a working committee to develop policies and goals for the BMP, contact Mike Basinger at(509) 688-0045 or email

- The Spokane Bicycle Club is leading a ride on Saturday, August 22 starting at 8:30a.m. from Mead Middle School on north Market & Farwell Road. They will ride north to the Big Meadows loop and climb to Green Bluff (approximately 30 miles) have lunch at McGlades, then stop by at the opening of the North Spokane Corridor. The ride is open to all non-members who would like to join in with a bike in good condition, helmet, water & snack. Here's more info.

One More Reminder- The NSC Opens Saturday

Tomorrow is my flex day off, so here's your last reminder about the North Spokane Corridor celebration on Saturday. After six years of construction, the first three mile link of the freeway is complete and will open to traffic between Francis/Freya and Farwell Road.

A grand opening ceremony will feature walking tours, a ribbon cutting ceremony, a bike ride, free hot dogs, kids activities, a classic car parade, and giveaways like water bottles, t-shirts, and more! Here's more info on the where/when/how of this celebration.

Once this first section of the freeway is open, there will be more work to do. The Inland Northwest Associated General Contractors of America has teamed up with the Spokane Area Good Roads Association on a campaign to encourage legislators to get the NSC the money required to finish it. Money has been the holdup for years on this project, but people involved are hoping the 'Keep Spokane Moving' campaign will help resolve that issue Here's more info on this and how you can help.

37th & Freya Intersection Closed

If you drive this route, you already know it, but the intersection of 37th Ave. and Freya St. will be closed today from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. for paving. Drivers are being detoured to 36th Ave. onto Ray to Rebecca streets. You should expect delays in the area though.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vandalism Bad, But Funny

Let me make it clear that SRTC in no way endorses vandalism, but it's Wednesday and you've made it this far so you deserve a treat.Here's a gallery of 'Amusingly Defaced Street Signs. Please don't try to make your own at home.

Council Races Could Shake Up Local Transportation Politics

Things could be changing around here come the first of the year... or not. The SRTC Board has two Spokane City Council members on it, and everytime new council members are voted in, new assignments are made as to whom will sit on what boards. Nancy McLaughlin is on our board and made a strong showing in the primary last night, so we may retain her. The other member up for releaction is Mike Allen, who is running a close second to Jon Snyder at this time. Allen isn't on our board, but if he loses his seat, things will definetely change if the very pedestrian/bike-friendly Snyder gets in there. All kinds of things could happen between now and the election in November, but
here's how things are looking right now as far as local races go.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August TTC Meeting Cancelled

The August Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) meeting, scheduled for August 26, has been cancelled.

The next TTC meeting is scheduled for September 16, 2009 at 1:30 pm.

Congrats Kevin, You're a CTR Winner!

Congratulations to SRTC GIS Analyst Kevin! He won this handy-dandy dustbuster for taking part in Spokane's Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program. That means he either rode the bus, walked, biked, or carpooled to work at least one day last month, or worked a compressed schedule. This is me presenting Kevin with his prize. I'm the Employee Transportation Coordinator for the CTR program in our office so I got the honor, and as you can see, we're both very excited about it.
So who says men don't like to clean? Since receiving his prize, Kevin has been non-stop dustbusting, including his keyboard
and even cleaning the cracks in the cubicle walls with the attached 'crevice tool.' I told him I'd bring in my cat Bob tomorrow to dustbust as he's starting to shed.
So how can you be cool like Kevin and win a CTR prize too? Here's a link to more info on CTR.

NSC Festivities Start At 6 A.M. Saturday

Here's your second reminder that you already have plans for this Saturday, so don't go planning anything. The grand opening of the North Spokane Corridor is Saturday and there are events that start at 6 a.m. and go into the afternoon, so you can pretty much cross off that entire day on your calendar. There will be everything from an organized walk on the freeway to a bike ride and ribbon cutting ceremony and lots of events for the kids. Here's more info.

And if you want to sound really informed while making small talk with Mayor Verner (whom I'm sure will be there) here's some history of the NSC, going all the way back to 1946! There are some cool pictures on that page too, so study up.

What Would Get You To Ride To Work More Often?

Thanks to Holly for sending me this article. 'Slate' recently asked, "What would it take to get more people to bike to work?" and came up with the answer "more bike parking." It makes sense when you think about it, and it applies to cars so why not bikes? Studies show that a large percentage of commuters who drive to work alone in their car each day have a free, assured parking spot. So if you knew you had a safe, guaranteed place to park your bike each day, would you ride more?

UDistrict Revitalization Area Approved By Council

The Spokane City Council last night unanimously approved the creation of the Spokane University District Revitalization Area. That means 75% of city property taxes generated by new construction, and all city sales tax growth up to $650,000 a year from within the boundaries, will be set aside to pay for public infrastructure, including a 'gateway' off the Division Street exit and some sidewalks.

Here's more from the Spokesman-Review.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Volunteers Needed For Bike/Ped Counts

Do you have a couple hours you can spare on the weekend of Sept. 29- Oct.1? The Cascade Bicycle Club has been contracted by the Washington State Department of Transportation to conduct statewide counts of bicyclists and pedestrians and is looking for volunteers to help out.

To have counts taken in our community though, we have to be able to demonstrate that we can get enough volunteers together to do it.Here's more information and a place to sign up to volunteer. Tell your friends and family.

These Aren't Like Any Planes I've Ever Seen

The Spokane International Airport has some new 'planes' to look at, and they're quite unusual. Plus, work has started on the latest leg of the Fish Lake Trail, and the project to widen 5 Mile Road is taking shape. Here's what's happening in transportation this week from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' column.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What's Worse; Drinking & Driving Or Talking & Driving?

For those of you who just looked at your watch and thought, "When is this &^%$ day going to get over already??" here's a little something to entertain you while you're killing time until 5:00.

What's more dangerous, drinking and driving or talking on the phone and driving? The folks at the publication 'Mobile' took one for the team and did a very non-scientific experiment to find the answer so that you don't have to.

Their goal: To find out if their subject could stay on the road while besotted or blathering. Here's the results.

NSC Celebration- And You're Invited!

Here's your chance to get on the North Spokane Corridor before everyone else does. After six years of construction, the first drivable link of the North Spokane freeway is complete. The roadway will be open to traffic between Francis/Freya and Farwell Road, approximately three and a half miles.

There will be a grand opening ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 22. And quite a party it will be. There will be walking tours, a ribbon cutting ceremony, a bike ride, free hot dogs, kids activities, a classic car parade, and great giveaways like water bottles, t-shirts, and more! Here's more info on the where/when/how of this celebration.

But don't party too hard, 'cause we need your help to get the rest of the freeway finished. The Inland Northwest Associated General Contractors of America has teamed up with the Spokane Area Good Roads Association and other partners on a campaign to encourage legislators to get the NSC the money required to finish it. Money has been the holdup for years on this project, but people involved are hoping the 'Keep Spokane Moving' campaign will help resolve that issueHere's more info on this and how you can help. And get used to seeing that logo because organizers say this campaign is going to be a vocal one for at least the next couple years.

Fight Called Off Against Development- Could Clog Regal St.

The Southgate Neighborhood Council voted this week to call off their legal battle to prevent bix box development along Regal Street. While some people I have spoken to recently say the south hill needs its' own businesses so that south Spokane residents don't spend their money in the Valley, others are worried that this development will cause Regal Street to fail, as it won't be able to handle the increase in traffic.

Here's more on this story. I don't drive up there very often, but I do know it's a pain to get to the Shopko if heading south on Regal, and you tie up traffic behind you. So what's your opinion on this, does the need outweigh the inconvenience?

A Report From The Field On Haven-Market Project

Thanks to blogger Charles who was out on special assignment yesterday. Here's how he describes his drive down Market-Haven:

"I drove down Market-Haven today from Francis to Garland. From Francis to the Hillyard Pool they have all 4 lanes done ONE coat of asphault (sic), so a big bump at each end, so I guess they will do the second or finish coat when they get the rest done. South of Ziggys to Garland similar except only two south bound lanes done north bound lanes still look like a battle field as does downtown Hillyard."

Battle Field huh? When I worked in the local news business one of the reporters called a construction zone 'Beirut.' Not really applicable these days but it always makes me grin when I think of that. Anyway, thanks again Charles, I'll talk to the boss about getting you on the payroll. And in the meantime, take it easy on those single layers of asphalt. Those bumps at each end and the ruts are hell for motorcyclists.

Is It Planes Landing Or Pavement Grinding?

I was driving through Spokane a couple days ago with a couple friends from Olympia and a backseat full of kids. There was a lot of complaining about all the construction we kept running into (I admit, a lot of that complaining came from me, despite the fact that the construction keeps me in a job). One of my friends asked why they don't do all construction work overnight on the east side of the state like they do in her neck of the woods. Well, this is why.

This is an article and video from the WSDOT blog demonstrating how loud pavement grinding can be at 2 in the morning. Apparently, some people have compared it to the sound of airplanes landing. Yikes, that's loud! So would you rather listen to that all night when you have to work at 7 a.m. or spent an extra 10 minutes a day stuck in traffic because of construction? Yeah, I'll quit complaining now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Couple Of Things From The City Of Spokane

- The 'Cops n’ Kids Car Show' is this Saturday, August 15, from 7 p.m. to midnight downtown. It takes place at the corner of Riverside Ave. and Washington St. meaning that area will be closed to vehicle traffic.

- Beginning Monday, Aug. 17, Mission Ave. from Julia to Myrtle streets will be closed until the second week in September for sewer work. Spokane Community College and the Fire Training Center can be accessed off of Greene St.

'Bike Of The Future' Unveiled

It sounds like a dream but it's not- the commuter bike of the future will count calories as you pedal, play music, and use a solar-powered motor when you get tired.

Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman has designed a bike that includes an 'unbreakable' locking device that allows only the owner to open it via fingerprint recognition, spoke-less wheels that make the bike more aerodynamic, and puncture-proof self-inflating tires.

Here's more on the bike we could all be riding in a couple years.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Letter Writer Says Don't Destroy Clunkers- Give The Good Ones Away

Spokesman-Review Letters To The Editor
Trickle-down clunkers?

If the government was really serious about getting clunker cars off the road they would now have a lottery and let people with the real clunkers have a shot at trading in their car outright for one of the pretty decent cars that are now slated to be destroyed.

The reality is that the people driving the real clunkers weren’t out last weekend buying brand new cars, because they couldn’t afford it even if you gave them $4,500. Why not trade the poor person’s junker for someone else’s “not-so-clunker”?

Karen Szakonyi
Newman Lake

I know we've talked about this recently, but I thought Ms. Szakonyi has a point about the people who really need efficient cars not being able to afford them. $4,500 doesn't make a big difference when you're making monthly payments on a $20,000 car.

Haven Street Open Again

Haven Street has just reopened to southbound traffic from Francis to Garland avenues. The street was closed as part of the rehabilitation of the Market Street corridor in Hillyard. That project is still underway and includes rehabilitating Market and Haven streets from Garland to Francis avenues and paving the following dirt streets: Rowan, Sanson, Everett, and Wabash avenues, from Market Street east to the railroad right-of-way.

Market Street from Garland to Francis avenues remains closed. Wellesley Avenue is open to traffic; and local access is being maintained on Broad, Wabash, Olympic, Queen, Diamond, and Rowan avenues from Haven to Market streets. Motorists are detoured to Crestline Street at Garland and Francis avenues.

The $5.6 million project is being funded by the City’s 10-Year Street Bond and state sources. Work is expected to be complete by mid-November.

City Council To Host Hearing On Revitalization Area

The Spokane City Council has scheduled a hearing on the formation of the University District Revitalization Area (UDRA) for next Monday, August 17, 2009.

Formation of the revitalization area is enabled through legislation passed in 2009, 2SSB 5045, and is a new form of tax increment financing in Washington state. This legislation authorizes reallocation of existing taxes - it is not a new tax. Spokane was selected as a pilot project in the legislation. This will be the only hearing and opportunity for testimony regarding UDRA.

Formation of the Revitalization Area enables incremental increase in revenue from local property tax, local sales tax, and a contribution of state sales tax to be directed toward economic development efforts within the boundaries of UDRA. As required by 2SSB 5045, projects for potential implementation are listed in the ordinance. Possible projects that may be funded in part or whole by UDRA include streetscape improvements, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, water and sewer upgrades, Centennial and Ben Burr trails, park and recreation facilities, shoreline restoration, stormwater management systems, Division Street Gateway Corridor and the University District Bicycle/Pedestrian bridge.

Here's more information on the Revitalization Area and the hearing.

Time To Register For SpokeFest

SpokeFest is coming- have you registered yet?

After a great launch last year with 1,255 participants, organizers are braced for anywhere from 3,000-5,000 people for this years event, which takes place Sunday, September 13.

Starting on Spokane Falls Boulevard and ending on the Post Street Bridge in downtown Spokane, SpokeFest offers two routes, a 21-mile route and a 1-mile route. The 21-mile route is a loop that covers some of Spokane’s most beautiful riding, including the Aubrey L. White Parkway, Riverside State Park and a finish atop the Spokane Falls. The 1-mile loop runs through Riverfront Park and is perfect for families, young riders and those wanting to stay in our urban park.

For more information and to register go to the SpokeFest website by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Did you see the smoke?

A grass-and-timber fire sent smoke over Interstate 90 near Spokane and caused intermittent lane closures on westbound lanes, the Spokesman Reveiw reported Monday afternoon.

The fire was called in shortly after noon and started in the vicinity of milepost 276 on the north side of the freeway near the Geiger Boulevard exit.

The state patrol, the state Department of Transportation and fire crews responded to the scene, and the fire was brought under control after more than an hour.

You know what is cool about this story. The Spokesman Review linked to our new SRTMC web site so their readers could view the fire live. it's always nice to feel needed in that way... Ok, here is the SRTMC website just in case you are interested.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Three dozen fatalities, what a shame

The Spokesman Review did a great piece on the traffic fatalities that have plagued our region recently. While driving conditions have been treacherous over the past couple of winters, it seems to me that drivers are actually worse in the summer months. Maybe it's a false sense of security people have. All of these accidents are tragic, but the one that haunts me right now is the accident last week on Magnesium. A woman lost her life prematurely only because another person felt a need to speed so fast that he lost control of his vehicle and wound up killing an innocent person. Be careful out there... Here is the story.

Here is the city's obstruction list!

* On Tuesday, Aug. 11, the Newport Hwy. near its intersection with Westview Ave.will be reduced by one lane northbound so crews can install a water tap.

* Traffic signals at the intersection of Lincoln St. and 14th Avenue will not be operational until Aug. 14, while crews upgrade the signal standards. When the power’s out, everybody stops. Four-way stop signs are in place. Motorists should use caution and allow vehicles to take turns.

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

* Eighth Ave. from Sunset Blvd. to Government Way remains closed as part of the Fish Lake Trail project. The project is progressing. Crews have completed clearing and are installing the bridge fence.

* City Street Department crews are out:
o Crack sealing Howard St. from Boone to Indiana avenues.
o Repairing the following streets during working hours:

* Sprague Ave. from Freya to Havana streets—will be reduced to one lane in each direction.

* 37th Ave. from Freya to Ray streets—will be reduced by one lane on Monday and Tuesday. Flaggers will be in place.

* Repairing potholes. Call 625-7733 to report a pothole; please include the location and approximate size of the hole.

More details in the comments section...

Looks like we are on track...

Cindy Green from the Spokane County Health District sent this along last week. It's an interesting piece, and what struck me is that as lot of the recommended activities are already being employed to some degree throughout our region... Read for yourself:

Writing in Preventive Medicine, Edward Maibach of Fairfax, Va.-based George Mason University and colleagues suggest that approximately one-half of U.S. car trips are less than five miles, a distance that could be easily navigated on foot or by bike, United Press International reports. According to Maibach, reducing the frequency of such short trips could produce multiple benefits, including positive effects for the environment through reduced pollutant emissions and health benefits for individuals stemming from increased physical activity. Maibach cites examples of proven, low-cost strategies that communities can employ to encourage residents to reduce short-distance car trips, such as city bike-sharing initiatives, the distribution of walking and cycling maps, and "walking school buses" in which children and parents walk together to local schools. In addition, Maibach calls for government officials and community leaders to support policy changes that promote active transportation, including reducing speed limits, making intersections safer for cyclists and closing select roads to cars. Want to know more? Check out the whole article here.

North South Corridor set to open!

It's been roughly 50 years in the making, and now the first leg is finally ready to be used. Check out the day's activities here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Transportation engineers get no respect...

The letter below ran in the Coeur d'Alene Press today. This guy clearly does not like roundabouts. Certainly things could be worse (like the photo above). I am no engineer, but I like roundabouts -- especially in residential areas because they tend to calm traffic down. Plus they are easier to navigate than a four-way stop.

I don't know about you, but it seriously bugs me when I pull up to a four-way stop and someone decides to go out of turn, or the person who is supposed to go won't go. Then everybody starts waving each other through...Ugh! At least with a roundabout everything seems to flow fairly smoothly. Ok, here is the letter already:

Several weeks ago the citizens of Dalton Gardens received notices in the mail regarding a roundabout that would be built at the intersection of Fourth and Hanley. This structure was to be built in this location primarily as a safety factor that would reduce accidents. The notification stressed that this project would require several months to complete and require rerouting of Fourth Street as well as the Hanley traffic.

In the interim I have had numerous discussions with neighbors regarding the feasibility of this questionable project. To this point in time I have not found anyone who feels it is beneficial in any way to the citizens of Dalton Gardens, or our neighbors.

Were our citizens informed during the planning stages of this fanciful merry-go-round? I don't recall receiving any notice informing the citizenry of such a plan to be discussed in Dalton City Hall Chambers. Can someone please tell me what the cost of this misplaced monstrosity will be? Was it part of a stimulus package that really won't cost the taxpayers anything? Who was the brain child engineer who drew up the plans to place this contrivance in such a location as this?

Would the genius responsible for this premeditated pipe dream please step forward to accept such accolades as we may bestow on him?


Dalton Gardens

Thursday, August 6, 2009

WSDOT just released a construction update...

Here are the projects in the Spokane Metro area and there status:

Spokane Area Projects

I-90/Spokane Area Rut Repair and Ramp Paving (resurfacing MP 281-284 plus ramps MP 275-291)

Traffic Impacts: Roadway work is underway on resurfacing the through lanes from Division Street to Havana Street. Drivers should expect lane restrictions, slow traffic, and congestion from 7pm to 6am. Motorists should also be alert for grooved pavement and abrupt lane edges. Drivers should also watch for rough asphalt pavement.

Project description: Rehabilitate concrete freeway surface from Division Interchange through the Hamilton Interchange. Asphalt paving from Hamilton Interchange to Havana Street. Asphalt on and off ramp paving for selected ramps between Geiger Blvd to Sullivan Road. Asphalt paving on westbound I-90 near Flora Road. Freeway sign replacement.

Project website:

I-90 Westbound/Bridge Deck Repair (MP 270-Just west of the Cheney/Four Lakes Interchange)
Traffic Impacts: On Tuesday, August 11 from about 7:30 a.m. to as late as 3:00 p.m., westbound I-90 will be reduced to one lane at the BNSF Railroad bridge just west of the Cheney/Four Lakes Interchange.

Project Description: Bridge Deck Repair.

I-90 Westbound-Hamilton Street Interchange westbound on ramp/Deck Repair (MP 282)
Traffic Impacts: On Wednesday, August 12, from about 9:00 a.m. until as late as 3:00 p.m., the Hamilton Interchange, westbound I-90on ramp will be reduced to one lane.

Project Description: Repairs to the on ramp bridge that crosses over I-90.

North Spokane Corridor/Freya to Farwell PCCP Paving

Traffic Impacts: Minor items. Possible lane restrictions on Farwell Rd.

Project Description: This contract paves the NSC two-lane driving surface with Portland Cement Concrete Pavement. Improvements on Farwell Road are included.

Corridor Website:

Project Website:

North Spokane Corridor/BNSF Tunnel

Traffic Impacts: Work is underway. No traffic impacts.

Project Description: Construct an arch tunnel for the BNSF railroad adjacent to Market Street. The new freeway lanes will pass over the tracks. Tunnel is complete. Work is underway on backfilling and roadway over the tunnel.

Corridor Website:

Project Website:

North Spokane Corridor/US 2 Lowering and Bridges

Traffic Impacts: In general, southbound US 2 is still reduced to one lane. The legal speed limit on US 2 from the Farwell Road vicinity to the SR 206 vicinity has been reduced to 45 mph. Southbound wide loads over 10 feet wide must use the signed detour via Market Street to Farwell Rd. Southbound motorists should expect congestion. Also, the contractor is hauling material along the new freeway route from US 2 south and Parksmith Dr. is currently closed to traffic. Pile driving for bridge support structures is underway. Nearby residents may hear the equipment and feel some vibration. Drivers on Farwell Road near the NSC should be alert for flaggers and crossing trucks plus pedestrian bridge construction. Sidewalks on Farwell near the NSC bridges will be closed for pedestrian bridge construction.

Project Description: Excavate US 2 grade to pass under the new freeway alignment. Construct new culvert under US 2 for Deadman Creek. Build six new bridges for US 2/NSC Interchange.

Corridor Website:

Project Website:

SR 27/Pines Road &I-90 Interchange Improvements(MP 86)

Traffic Impacts: Minor items.

Project Description: New signal at Mansfield with I-90 ramp modifications. This is a City of Spokane Valley project in partnership with WSDOT. For specific project information and lane restriction status, call 921-1000.

SR 206/Jct US 2 to Bruce Rd Paving

Traffic Impacts: Paving underway. Drivers on SR 206 may be delayed due to pilot car operation and congestion. Today (Thursday, Aug. 6) and Tomorrow (Friday, August 7) between 8:30 a.m. and around 11:00 a.m., there are short term closures on SR 206 at the Bruce Road roundabout when the paving operations are adjacent to that intersection. Other than that, SR 206 will be open to traffic with single lane traffic directed by flaggers and pilot cars. Paving operations should be complete by late Friday, August 8th, depending on weather. Signing, paing, and shoulder work planned for the week of August 10-14.

Project Description This project will pave a little over 2 miles of SR 206/Mt Spokane Park Drive from US 2 to Bruce Rd.

Project Website:

SR 291/Utility Work Spokane City Limits to Ridgecrest Rd. (MP 4-7)

Traffic Impacts: Shoulder closures and possible lane restrictions.

Project Description: Avisita Utilities will be placing a new gas line adjacent to the roadway. For information, contact Avista at (509)495-4424.

Have a long commute? You can still bike to work...

Okay, I am seriously considering buying one of these motors for one of my bikes. It just adds a little more convenience to the long commute. I commute from Post Falls to downtown Spokane daily and when I take my bike, I usually take the bus for a portion of the trip to save time.

But last month I had a bus driver tell me she was going to refuse to take my bike because the wheel base is a little longer that an ordinary bike and it doesn't fit completely down in the carrier rack. Even though I have been riding the bus with that bike for most of this year without any problems at all, she wasn't hearing it.

If I buy one of these motors, I won't need STA. I could still cut my time down when I need to or I can choose to pedal all the way home when I have the time. Sure, it'll add some weight to the bike, but the motor has an independent drive system so it won't drag you down if you still want to pedal...I'll keep you posted on this.

If you were waiting on that train, well...

The Spokesman Reveiw reports:

Two railroad engines and a boxcar came off the tracks Wednesday about nine miles south of Northport, Wash.

The derailment was reported about 11 a.m., after the cars – owned by Kettle Falls International Railways – slid about 50 feet down an embankment toward the Columbia River, officials said.

The state Department of Ecology is responding to determine any environmental damage. No significant fuel was reported leaking from the engines, which contain about 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel, officials said.

Two railroad workers received minor injuries, said Rick Anderson, with Stevens County Emergency Services. A landslide over the tracks may have been a cause.

Wondering what the fuss was on Monroe?

Apparently, a suspected drowning on the Spokane River stalled traffic for a couple of hours on the Monroe Street Bridge Wednesday. Thankfully, it looks like it was a false alarm. The Spokesman Review report is here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Clunker program may have unexpected twist...

This story in today's Spokesman Review is very interesting. I wonder if the used car folks are serious about this or just bellyaching because sales slowed a bit since the cash for clunkers program kicked in. It worries me to think that a lot of perfectly good vehicles will be destroyed. Those are usually the cars I buy because I commute from Idaho. I carpool with my wife and ride my bike as much as possible, but still I rack the miles fairly quickly so buying new just doesn't make sense for me.

Does this unintended dynamic concern you?

Gotta love construction season!


August 4, 2009


Lane closures are planned on Nevada St. from Lyons to Sitka avenues between 8 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, August 5 and 6. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction while City crews modify the traffic island on Nevada St. to improve access to surrounding businesses. Signs will be in place.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

WSDOT awards next major NSC construction contract

SPOKANE – The Washington State Department of Transportation has awarded the final contract in a series of eight North Spokane Corridor projects funded by the 2003 gas tax package. Graham Construction and Management of Spokane was the winning low bidder with a construction bid of $50,519,317.

The project, US 2 to Wandermere Vicinity, completes the final grading, gravel and asphalt layers, plus the final concrete driving surface, for the four-lane divided section from Farwell Road to Wandermere Road. The job also includes the construction of two major bridge structures over Wandermere Road connecting to existing US 395.

“This job is the last of the eight contracts that completes a 5 ½ mile drivable section of the North Spokane Corridor,” said Keith Metcalf, WSDOT Eastern Region Administrator. “When this work is finished in 2011, drivers will have a more efficient connection to the Market/Greene Street freight route.”

Construction should begin later this year and be completed in the fall of 2011. The project is estimated at nearly $60 million and could support or sustain as many as 500 jobs.

For more details, visit the project web pages at:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Some Road Trip Observations

Hey look! Jeff has already had time to blog about a couple things!
Thanks Jeff! Well, I'm in Olympia and have a couple observations about my road trip over here yesterday:

- A couple weeks ago I was complaining about having to pay $400 to get the air conditioning in my car fixed. Disregard that. It was a well-spent $400. The temperature gauge in my car said 104 degrees when I was going over the bridge at Vantage.

- I have NEVER seen so many broken-down cars on the side of the road. I counted well over thirty, and only started counting around Ellensburg. Seemed like there were a lot of people with blown tires. I'm not sure if that's a side-effect of the heat, but all I know is that there were a lot of hot-looking people walking down the side of the interstate to get help.

- A friend and I were out until about 11:30 last night in downtown Olympia and even at that time of night there were still a ton of people on bikes riding around, and bikes locked to every available bike rack, tree, and newspaper box.

Road rage leads to hit and run on I-90

In the be-careful-out-there department, here is a Spokesman Review piece on a hit and run that occurred on I-90 on Saturday afternoon:

An apparent road rage incident on Interstate 90 around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday caused a motorcyclist to crash his bike.

The incident, near the Altamont exit, involved a red car, possibly a late ’80s or early ’90s Honda Prelude, and a 2009 Kawasaki motorcycle.

The Washington State Patrol reported that both vehicles were eastbound in the center lane on the freeway. The Prelude was behind the motorcycle, and went to pass it on the right. When the vehicles were alongside each other, the drivers exchanged “obscene gestures,” the WSP said. The Honda then pulled in front of the bike and hit it, sending the motorcyclist, Thomas Cameron Imes, crashing into the left shoulder. The Honda drove away, police said.

Imes, 23, was taken by a private party to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

The WSP said the Honda has red lettering in the upper right of the rear window. The driver, a male, had a pit bull riding in the car’s passenger seat. It was last seen southbound on Thor near Third Avenue. Anyone with information on the running car is asked to call Trooper Robert Noack at (509) 227-6566.

QUESTION: Is it just me, or does there always seem to be a pit bull involved in these situations? Come to think of it, do you suppose it could have been a pit bull tearing up the STA seats?

Shredded seats stump STA

This kind of stuff really bothers me. Some jerk (or jerkette) has decided to slice up the seat covers on the buses, and so far this villan has managed to mangle about 100 of them! What's worse? Nobody has turned the culprit in! We need to catch this person. If you see anyone doing it report the activity to the driver, or contact STA. Read the story here.

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.