Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SRTC Board Retreat Coming Up

If you're one of SRTC's many 'groupies,' here's something you may be interested in. We're holding our second annual Board retreat next Thursday, Oct. 8. Because that's the day of our usual monthly Board meeting, we'll get the meeting out of the way in the morning, then move on to other retreat items such as policy, visioning, and interlocal agreements. I know, all rivetting stuff.

The meeting is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bear Creek Lodge on Mt. Spokane. That's the first lodge (formerly Kirk's) by the tubing hill. Because this is an open meeting, anyone from the public is welcome to attend, although participation will be limited to Board and staff members.

SRTC will be providing a light breakfast and lunch for Board members, but will not be able to feed observers. There is a restaurant at the lodge though. And one more warning, there isn't any cell phone service at the lodge, so don't plan to text, chat, or tweet while there.

Mark Fenton- The Day After

I've spent the past two days with pedestrian advocate Mark Fenton and I'm tired. The man is like a hummingbird; always moving. But he's got a lot of experience, great ideas on making our area more walkable and bikeable on a limited budget, and is very entertaining.

After walking, driving, and running around the area for two days, Mark was impressed with what we have, but says there are 8 things we need to do to start the process towards making Spokane more bike and pedestrian friendly.

Those 8 things are:
1. Creating a team across the disciplines to get things moving. For example, have representatives from not just transportation, but also the Health District, Spokane Transit, the YMCA/YWCA, social service groups, environmental groups, local schools, and more.

2. Take baseline measurements. We already know how many people bike and walk and ride the bus, but the schools may not know how many children walk or bike to school and what routes they use. Fill in statistics we don't currently have.

3. Implement a 'Complete Streets' policy. You can find out more about Complete Streets here.

4. Make a priority list of connectors to link existing trails and bike lanes.

5. Revisit growth management policies.

6. Revitalize public transit by changing the image. Perhaps a new campaign to make transit more attractive to professionals, such as by adding cup holders to buses, offering countdown clocks at bus stops to let riders know when the next bus will arrive, and providing wifi on buses that don't currently have it.

7. Implement a local Safe Routes to School program, but brand it as something else so as not to imply that current routes aren't safe.

8. Possibly combine our governing bodies (City, City of Spokane Valley, County, etc.) into one governing body or create regionwide zoning and roadway standards so that everyone is working off the same set of rules.

Mr. Fenton said we also need to look at our current parking situation and discourage more parking lots and structures in downtown Spokane. In addition, he talked about dismissal time at local schools (we observed dismissal at Garry Junior High) and how to make them flow smoother, and discussed area streets that could be put on 'road diets' (reducing them from four lanes to two with a center turn lane and bike lanes on both sides).

So now the hard part starts, we're processing what we learned and discussing how to implement it. You'll be hearing more about this in the near future, I'm sure. Although I'm pretty sure Mark's 'P.A.P.P.I.' project isn't going to go far. That stands for 'Phsycial Activity Promotion through Predator Introduction' and involves wild animals chasing you from outlying areas into the core areas to work.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Final Reminder; Community Meeting With Mark Fenton Tommorrow

A reminder that there is a community meeting with famed 'pedestrian advocate' Mark Fenton tomorrow night. Mr. Fenton will address the ‘Complete Streets’ concept and how the average person can help make Spokane a more livable city.

The meeting is at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln Street, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Community and neighborhood advocates, elected and appointed officials, business leaders, everyday citizens, and anyone who wants to make Spokane a better, safer, and more interesting place to walk and bike are encouraged to participate.

I have to say, I think this meeting will do anything but bore you. I spent the afternoon running after Mr. Fenton today, because the man not only doesn't hold still for long periods of time, but being a former racewalker, he's also very quick.

We walked and drove through downtown Spokane, the 395 area, north Spokane and the south hill today, and Mr. Fenton actually seemed pretty impressed. He said there are cities that would love to have the 'bones' that we have- a major river and park right in our downtown area, high density attractive neighborhoods like the south hill, and neighborhoods on the north side where many children live within walking distance of their school.

I'll be out of the office most of the day tomorrow for more Mark Fenton mania, but will post more when I get back on Wednesday.

Maybe They Felt Guilty?

Here's something interesting: guy at work had his car stolen last week. It was found a few days later, only about 2 1/2 miles from his house. The thieves took some oil, washer fluid, and a coat he had in the car, but the good news is that they actually put gas in the car before abandoning it!

Friday, September 25, 2009

PARK(ing) Day Doesn't Go Over So Well In Spokane

Spokane's first crack at taking part in International PARK(ing) Day didn't go so well. PARK(ing) Day is an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.

Anyone can participate in PARK(ing) Day, though it is strictly a non-commercial project, intended to promote creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, and social interactions.

Members of the Youth Sustainability Council last Friday adopted a parking spot in downtown and made it into a miniature park and garden. Until they got kicked out. I guess Parking Enforcement doesn't recognize that holiday.

Here's what happened from the 'Spovangelist' blog.

It Only Looks Like A High-Tech Vaccuum

Look Ma. No hands! That's what Honda bigwigs are saying about their new 'personal mobility' device they just unveiled.

The vehicle looks like a unicycle, but don't worry, you won't fall off this ride because it maintains its own balance.

Here's more on the 'U3-x,' including a pretty cool video.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Some Items From The City Of Spokane

- Sprague Ave. from Helena to Crestline streets is closed during working hours Monday through Friday so crews can install fire hydrants.

- Third Ave. from Freya to Havana streets is closed for three weeks; Trent Ave. from Freya St. east to Mission Ave.; and Myrtle St. from Trent to Mission avenues are closed with local access only. Crews are connecting the South Valley Interceptor to the new wastewater reclamation facility.

- Eighth Ave. from Sunset Blvd. to Government Way remains closed as part of the Fish Lake Trail project.

Pedestrian In Critical Condition After Being Hit By Car

Pedestrian accidents just keep happening in our community. An injured pedestrian is in critical condition at a local hospital following an accident last night, and Spokane Police are asking for help in identifying the woman. Here's more from the Spokesman-Review.

Mark Your Calendars For Public Meeting

A reminder that famed pedestrian advocate Mark Fenton will be in town to talk to you next week about getting public officials and policy makers to take action towards making Spokane a more walkable and bikeable community.

Fenton will host a public meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln Street. Everyone is invited, and the meeting includes a walk audit, so wear your walking shoes. A flyer for the meeting is below, you can click on it to see it full size.

The Going Could Be Slow If You're Headed To The West Side

A warning if you're headed to the west side of the state this weekend. Between Cle Elum and Easton on Fridays and Saturdays, westbound travelers headed to the Seattle area may experience heavy congestion and up to two hours of additional travel time between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.

On Sundays from Easton to Cle Elum, eastbound travelers may experience the same conditions between noon and 9 p.m.

Construction crews are replacing damaged concrete panels. Both my neighbor and my brother. My brother said that he was stuck in the mess for 2 hours and traffic was completely stopped. People turned off their cars and he said many people could be seen sneaking off into the woods to use the facilities, if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Deadly Crashes Drop To 50 Year Low

Deadly crashes on Washington roads are at their lowest level in more than 50 years, state officials said Tuesday.

Early numbers show 522 traffic-related deaths last year – the lowest amount since 1955, when 461 people died.

This Spokesman-Review article has more information.

Ped Plan Available For Review/Comment

We love those guys over at City Cable 5. They asked me if I needed anything publicized, I said yes, and they cranked out this snazzy piece on our Spokane County Pedestrian Plan in no time.

After almost a year of partnering with the Spokane Regional Health District, we've come up with a draft of the Spokane Regional Pedestrian Plan. The goal of the plan is to create a pedestrian system to increase walking for transportation and improve the health of our community, while meeting the needs of pedestrians in our area.

The plan can be reviewed by clicking here. Comments can be submitted by clicking here. You have to have them submitted by Oct. 12 though.

Beacon Hill Trail Map Available To Buy

Maps of the Beacon Hill recreation Area trail are now complete and available for sale. The two-sided, full-color map shows trails, access points, points of interest, parks, land ownership,and community connections. One side of the map is an overview of the entire trail system. The other focuses on Camp Sekani mountain bike park. Trails are rated for mountain bike ability levels, but are open to all non-motorized users including hikers, trail runners, dog walkers, and climbers.

The map is available to buy for $8 at local bike and outdoor shops, including Mountain Gear, Bike Hub, Bicycle Butler, Wheel Sport East and North Division Bike and Ski.

Sales of the map are a fundraiser for the Fat Tire Trail Riders Club (FTTRC, which supports local trail building, maintenancem and advocacy activities.

Still Time To Take Summer Parkways Survey

A reminder that you've got a couple days left to let us know if you're interested in 'Summer Parkways.'

'Summer Parkways' is a new event we're trying to get started in conjunction with other local groups like the Spokane Regional Health District, the YMCA/YWCA, The Lands Council, Spokane Transit, and others.

Summer Parkways involve the closure of streets to vehicular traffic for a day or portion of a day in favor of walking, bicycling, rolling, and other non-motorized forms of transportation.

We're curious if you would support something like this, so please click here to take a survey regarding Summer Parkways. This survey will close at the end of this month - so please take 3 minutes now to complete it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Downtown Street Lights Out

Traffic lights are out in downtown Spokane so be careful if you're headed that way. At least all the ones between the SRTC office and City Hall are. For the most part, everyone was treating intersections as 4-way stops, but I was walking so it made it kind of scary to cross the street. Sure, the guy in the lane closest to me would motion for me to walk, but the guy in the next lane over would fly up at a too-fast speed and not see me so I was a little nervous that I wasn't going to make it back to the office in one piece.

Bus Routes Eliminated; Parents Not Happy

The article below is from Washington's west side, but with the economy the way it is, it could be happening in a lot of school districts nationwide in the near future.

3,000 students in the Edmonds Schoold District have to find a new way to school after their bus routes were eliminated recently to save the district $500,000 a year. And one school has even eliminated busing all together.

While there is a move to get more students to walk to school to reduce vehicle emissions and reduce obesity, some routes children would have to walk just aren't safe. One mother in the article even complains that her child has to walk past a bikini espresso stand to get to school! Many parents are calling the busing plan an accident waiting to happen.

Here's the article.

Letter Writer Not Happy With NSC

Spokesman-Review Letters To The Editor
Highway plan doesn’t rock

A few years ago I drove by the construction area of the North-South Corridor near the base of Mount St. Michaels. There were mountains of beautiful granite rock that had been excavated from that area. I called the Department of Transportation office, suggesting that the granite be incorporated into the design aspects of the freeway. It has always been my understanding that freeways were required to incorporate materials and vegetation into the design that are native to the area.

Recently I drove that new segment, expecting to see the inclusion of that beautiful rock in the design. Absolutely none! I was outraged! But then I realized that that is not the way government operates. They most generally pay millions of dollars to private enterprise for materials.

I also noticed three other vehicles on the entire stretch during the rush hour. What a bust! We wait nearly five decades for relief from all the interstate traffic passing through our neighborhoods and this is what we get. A freeway built in reverse that serves hardly anyone.
Instead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony and all the plaudits, we should have had a tomato toss.

Allan LeTourneau

Where to start? Okay, you can't just use thousands of tons of granite to build a freeway. There are certain materials you have to use, mixed just right, to make sure your freeway doesn't fall apart when the first car drives over it. True, the granite could have been used in a decorative way but how much granite can you decorate with? As for the lack of cars on the NSC, I've mentioned that before. At this point, the NSC is three miles long. That's not enough roadway to be a timesaver for most drivers. That will change when the next section opens in 2011. Harold White of the WSDOT was in our office last week for the monthly Transportation Technical Committee meeting and said things are slow out there, but they were expecting that. This is just the first step in the bigger picture.

Multiple Traffic Accidents Slow A.M. Commute

It's not even winter yet and we're already having multiple traffic accidents slowing things down.

A series of crashes between 7 and 8 a.m. today slowed traffic in several locations. One at the south end of the Maple Street Bridge involved two vehicles and blocked traffic, according to police.

Another, on U.S. Highway 2 in the vicinity of Oregon Road, slowed traffic in the northbound lane. There were also accidents at Post Street and Mansfield Avenue, Frederick Street and Freya Avenue, and Belt Avenue and Glass Street.

In all those accidents, only one injury was reported. That's good news, but what's going on out there folks? Let's slow down and be observant.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Volunteers Needed For River Clean-Up Bike Corral

The 7th Annual Spokane River Clean-up is this Saturday, Sept. 26 and volunteers are needed. Not just to clean up the river, but also to staff a bike corral for the people who clean up the river.

High Bridge Park, where volunteers check in before heading out to pick up trash, has very little parking so organizers recommend biking or taking the bus to the location. As a result, volunteers are needed to set up the bike corral at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, to staff it during the clean-up, and to tear it down at 2 p.m.

If you can help, click this link to send an email to Bike To Work Spokane.

Letter Writer Complains About I90 Repairs

Spokesman-Review Letters to the Editor
Highway work half done

We spent $8.1 million resurfacing Interstate 90. Then why not fix the joints at the overpasses? I-90 eastbound at the S curve at Hamilton Street, the first joint is a small bump, the second you can really notice, the third almost tears the wheels off my pickup.

They go in there and weld up the bridges every year or so, then put a big blob patch on top of it so the traffic then pounds the repair to dust in a few short months. Then they repair it again and reblob it. Maybe if they smoothed it over and did like a professional repair on the surface the joints would last longer, and so would my pickup.

They resurfaced the bridge on I-90 at Four Lakes but missed the exit 270 off ramp for Four Lakes-Cheney that needs a resurface. They told me they would do that last year but it’s still all potholes and broken and uneven pavement. Guess we’re lucky to have even that.

Norm Ellefson

I hadn't noticed the rough ride over the joints. Has anyone else? I go over that stretch everyday, but traffic is usually at a crawl at that point so I might not notice it at low speeds. And I'm usually on the bus, stuck in the nightly backup at Hamilton Street.

Roundup For The Week Of September 21

A detour for the North Spokane Corridor gets a detour of its' own, almost 3,000 drunk drivers were arrested statewide in less than a month, the City of Spokane Valley wants your help updating their street standards, and I90 will have some nighttime lane closures this week.

Here's what's happening in transporttion this week from the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

Watch For Animals In The Road

A reminder that it's that time of year again where fall is in the air and the animals are coming out in the early mornings. Take it easy in rural areas as this time of year we start seeing a lot more deer, elk, moose etc. trying to cross the road or just hanging out in the road.

I came around a corner near Newman Lake this morning just before 7 a.m. in time to see an elk herd crossing the road. There were about 30 cows and one bull, but he was a big boy that would total the average car that hit him.

Sidewalk To Be Dedicated To Cancer Patients

Here's something cool I just received a news release about: A section of sidewalk running parallel to Grand Boulevard at the Manito Park entry will be dedicated this week. It runs from 17th Ave. through 21st Ave. and is called the 'Walk of Hope.' The sidewalk is meant to benefit cancer patients by giving them a year-round place of beauty and rest, a reason to stroll through beautiful Manito Park, and especially a tangible activity to celebrate their own journey to wellness (taken word for word from the press release, as you can tell).

The sidewalk is sponsored by the Friends of Manito, City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, Providence Regional Cancer Center and Cancer Patient Care’s Board of Directors.

I've Heard Of A Clown Car, But This Is Crazy

Those over-achieving Chinese! Not only are their game shows better than ours and they have better bike parking, but they can also fit more people on a bike than us too. Some days I can't even balance enough to ride a bike, but to fit 16 girls on a bike? Crazy!

Friday, September 18, 2009

City Crews Finish Striping Early

Some good news from the City of Spokane; their Street Department this year has completed its planned pavement marking maintenance work ahead of schedule.

The striping crew painted 2.6 million lineal feet, or 497 miles, of long-line striping, including lane markings and center lines. Additionally, crews maintained:

1,358 marked crosswalks
1,155 stop bars
2,796 parking stalls
657 roadway markings, including arrows, disabled parking symbols, and more.

Something To Think About...

I didn't double check the numbers so have no idea how accurate this is, but I got it in an email today:

A vehicle at 15 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons a year of gasoline.
A vehicle at 25 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a year.
So, the average clunker transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320
gallons per year.
They claim 700,000 vehicles – so that's 224 million gallons / year.
That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil.
5 million barrels of oil is about ¼ of one day's US consumption.
And, 5 million barrels of oil costs about $ 375 million dollars at $75/bbl.
So, we all contributed to spending $3 billion to save $ 375 million.

How good a deal was that ???

Thursday, September 17, 2009

STA Route Changes Take Effect Sunday

Starting this Sunday, September 20, several Spokane Transit routes will be changing, including the #26 Addison route, #40 Browne's Addition, #64 Airport, #65 Cheney, #90 Sprague, and several more.

Here's a link to the STA site for a list of all the changes.

Some Items From The City Of Spokane

- Sprague Ave. from Helena to Crestline streets will be closed during working hours Monday through Friday, Sept. 21 to 25. Crews will be installing fire hydrants.

- Third Ave. from Freya to Havana streets is closed for the next month; Trent Ave. from Freya St. east to Mission Ave.; and Myrtle St. from Trent to Mission avenues are closed with local access only. Motorists are detoured to Sprague Ave. The STA bus stops on Third Ave. have been relocated to Fourth Ave. during construction. Crews are connecting the South Valley Interceptor to the new wastewater reclamation facility.

Some Notes From The WSDOT

- I90 will be reduced to one westbound lane in the vicinity of the Latah Creek Bridge next Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 22 and 23. The closure will be between 8 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. to repairs to joints on the Bridge.

- On Sunday, Sept. 20 and Monday Sept. 21, from 8 p.m. until 5:30 a.m., eastbound I-90 in the vicinity of the Hamilton Street Interchange will be reduced to one through lane.

- There will be outside lane restrictions on US 2 from Sunset Blvd. to Spotted Rd. over the next 6-8 weeks with some short-term traffic stops. The City of Spokane will be installing a water main in the roadside.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

US 2 Update, US 195 Ramp To Open, & Deer Park May Have Set A Construction Speed Record

A couple things to take note of:

- Repair work on US 2 between Deer Road and Farwell Road in north Spokane should wrap up later tonight and traffic should be restored to three lanes with one southbound and two northbound lanes.

Yesterday, a portion of the asphalt in the southbound lane of US 2 had cracked and was being repaired.

- The new ramp on US 195 at Cheney-Spokane Road is also expected to be complete and open to traffic tonight.

- The City of Deer Park just showed the big guys how to do business. They were the first of the local jurisdictions to get their act together, spend their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as ARRA. Also known as stimulus) money, and complete their stimulus project. They opened their Crawford Avenue widening project and roundabout to traffic last night after a whirlwind construction period.

And the other impressive thing about it is that Director of Community Service Roger Krieger says, when they opened the roundabout at 9 p.m. last night, cars started moving through it immediately and very smoothly with no incidents. And that trend continued today. Roger says they didn't even do much public education on how to use a roundabout, so the driving public must be more acquainted with roundabout ettiquette than when I was part of a roundabout opening several years ago. Opening day was not pretty in that case.

Emphasis Patrol Tomorrow Near GU

A special emphasis patrol near Gonzaga University is scheduled for tomorrow: the traffic unit will be writing tickets for crosswalk violations.

Here's more info on what officers will be looking for and pedestrian traffic laws.

No Snow, But Delays On The Pass Already

It's not even winter yet and there are already delays on the pass! The Washington State Department of Transportation is warning drivers that, from now until November, you should prepare for delays when travelling Snoqualmie Pass.

Because heavy construction on the Lake Easton to Bullfrog Road concrete replacement project wasn't started until after Labor Day, crews are working day and night to complete improvements before the first snowfall.

Traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction late Sunday night through Friday morning using the existing eastbound lanes. On weekends, three travel lanes will be open - with two lanes in the peak travel direction – to accommodate higher traffic volumes. The speed limit through the construction zone is 50 mph.

For more information on this project, click here.

Governor Seeking TIGER $ For NSC

Here's a news release that will be coming out of the Governor's office today that's good news for us:

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Transportation submitted applications for three high priority projects in King County, Vancouver, and Spokane to compete for the $1.5 billion available in TIGER Discretionary Grants, part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“I am proud of the way Washington state and its agencies are aggressively fighting for recovery funds,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said. “We are doing all we can to improve our infrastructure, while creating jobs. I am confident the Department of Transportation has put together a competitive bid that will enhance our roads, while putting people to work.”

WSDOT applied for grants to build portions of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement program ($300 million), the Columbia River Crossing ($147 million), and the North Spokane Corridor ($35 million). Each of the projects proposed to receive funding will improve mobility in major freight corridors, complement current state highway investment, and provide jobs in communities experiencing significant business closures and unemployment.

“We targeted mega-projects that clearly need federal assistance to enable the projects to be built,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “Our applications meet the TIGER grant criteria and also invest in construction-ready projects that are part of some of our most important corridor improvement programs.”

The $787 billion Recovery Act Congress passed in February included $1.5 billion for Surface Transportation Discretionary Grants, called TIGER grants. The U.S. Department of Transportation will review and score each application through a competitive process. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is expected to select projects in January. States are eligible to receive up to a maximum of $300 million in TIGER grants.

SR 520 Bridge Replacement – King County
The grant request is for $300 million to build the portion of the corridor on the east side of Lake Washington, from Medina to SR 202. The project would enhance safety, improve community livability, and provide mobility in one of Washington’s most economically important transportation corridors, extending HOV lanes, constructing new ramps and lids, providing a new bicycle and pedestrian path connection, and featuring the latest in traffic management and commuter information technology.

Columbia River Crossing – Vancouver, Wash. to Portland, Ore.
The grant request is for $147 million to build the SR 500 Interchange Project, which will provide improved mobility to and from I-5 commercial and industrial areas. This project is vital to reducing the construction impacts expected when the project replaces the I-5 Columbia River bridges.

US 395 North Spokane Corridor - Spokane
The grant request is for $35 million to build two southbound lanes from Francis Avenue to US 395, completing 3.7 miles of the highway in an economically important, NAFTA corridor. The northbound lanes were opened to traffic last month and are being used for both northbound and southbound traffic.

In addition, Governor Gregoire signed TIGER grant endorsement letters for two other projects:
City of Seattle: Mercer Street Project (Connects to the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement projects)
State of Oregon: Columbia River Crossing – Marine View Drive project
WSDOT continues to compete for eligible Recovery Act grant funds. WSDOT submitted applications for nearly $435 million in projects for high-speed passenger rail in August and is preparing to submit additional high-speed passenger rail applications in October.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spokefest; Even Bigger Than Last Year

In my excitement over the news of a naked male sunbather I almost forgot to blog about this weekend's Spokefest event. As expected, it was bigger even than last year, and drew approximately 1600 participants, although that was an early count I heard, so it could have changed by now.

Ryan Brodwater, an engineer at the City of Spokane Valley, took part and used his new helmet cam to film this video.

US 2 Lane Restrictions

So you think because summer is over that construction is over too? WRONG!

US 2 will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Deer Road and Farwell Road in north Spokane. The lane restrictions started this afternoon in order to repair cracked asphalt in the southbound lane of US 2.

The work should take a day or two to complete but you can expect congestion and delays if you drive US 2.

My Eyes! They're Burning!

A warning for you Centennial Trail users during these last warm days of the season. I just received an email from a friend who does work at the dam on Upriver Drive and the subject line was 'Full Moon at 3pm Today.'

Here's her email:

So I was doing my monthly inspection at the dam today and I got to see a FULL MOON. A man was nude sunbathing on the north embankment. Thank goodness he was face down!!

This was along the Centennial Trail where people can access the north side of the dam via the trail.

The coast should be clear for those of you who use the trail in that area though; the police were called to escort the sunworshipper into his clothes and out of the area. And by the way, the picture above isn't an actual picture of the perpetrator. More what I imagine he'd look like, from the horrified tone of my friends' email.

New Street To Be Named After MLK Jr.

A new street that will go from Riverside Avenue in downtown Spokane through the Riverpoint campus will be named for Martin Luther King Jr. The Spokane City Council voted to approve the proposal at last night's meeting.Here's more on this story from the Spokesman-Review.

Comp Plan Amendments Being Accepted

Are there parts of the City of Spokane Comprehensive Plan that you believe need updating or ammended? The City of Spokane now is accepting applications for amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comp Plan is a 20-year guide for Spokane’s future growth and development. The annual amendment cycle provides an opportunity to propose amendments that address changing land use conditions or emerging issues.

Applications for amendments will be accepted until Friday, Oct. 30 for consideration. Those interested in amending the Plan must schedule a pre-application meeting prior to filing a request for amendment. Proposed amendments will be subject to review and a public hearing by the City’s Plan Commission before recommendations are made to the City Council.

For information, you can email Senior Planner Ken Pelton.

Monday, September 14, 2009

National Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 12-18

Did you know that Sept. 12-18 is National Child Passenger Safety Week and that nationwide, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children? That's according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics.

Washington's Child Restraint Law includes:

- Children under 13 years old be transported in the back seat where it is practical to do so.

- Children up to their 8th birthday, unless they are 4'9" tall (57 inches), be transported in a child restraint system.

- The restraint system must be used according to the car seat AND vehicle manufacturer's instructions.

The Spokane County Traffic Safety Commission has more information on child passenger safety, including information on how to get your car seat or booster seat checked. Here's a link to their website and that info.

Pedestrian Plan Available For Review And Comment

For the past year, SRTC has been working with the Spokane Regional Health District and a couple other groups to develop a Spokane Regional Pedestrian Plan. Well, a draft is now complete and available for review and public comment. Click here to read it and here to submit a comment on it. You have until Oct. 12 to do so, so get reading.

Congratulations Ryan and Jennifer!

Congratulations to our Senior Transportation Planner Ryan who married his fiancee Jennifer last week! I suggested pooling our money and buying them a tandem bike for a wedding gift but no one listens to me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sprauge Avenue work will wrap up soon...

It's been a long summer for many businesses that had to endure the Sprauge Avenue repairs that strated in Spokane Valley in May, but all this is going to end soon. According the Mike Prager at the Spokeman Review, the work on Sprauge could wrap in in the next couple of weeks. Check out his story here.

Small-minded drivers deserve the pinky...

I was driving to work this morning and some kid who must have been late for the first day of school or something was speeding down the freeway... like he was trying to out run a cop or something.

Anyway, he was darting in out of traffic, and there were a couple close calls. I just thought to myself this small-minded person probably doesn't even realize the danger he poses to every law abiding driver on I-90. Then I get to work and find this video. I guess I am not the only one who thinks speeders are small-minded people... they even have a hand gesture for it!

Here are some of traffic obstructions in Spokane this week

* Mission Ave. from Greene St. to Trent Ave. and Myrtle St. from Mission to Trent avenues are closed until the second week in September. Local access is being maintained on Mission Ave. from Greene to Rebecca streets, and Spokane Community College and the City’s Fire Training Center are accessible from Greene St. Crews are doing sewer work.

* Eighth Ave. from Sunset Blvd. to Government Way remains closed as part of the Fish Lake Trail project. The project is progressing.

* City Street Department crews are out:

* Crack sealing 53rd Ave. from Crestline to Regal streets; Inland Empire Way from 28th Ave. to Hwy. 195; Fancher Rd. from Trent to Rutter avenues.; Chestnut Bridge from 17th to 18th avenues; and Marne Bridge from Clarke to Ash streets.

* Repairing Sunset Blvd. from Government Way to Cannon St. during working hours, motorists should expect closures and delays, and may want to drive an alternate route.

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

This could solve a lot of issues for bike commuters

Ok, so bike commuting to downtown Spokane just a got a little easier for those who are looking to park their bikes in a secure location. The City Ramp Parking Garage has set aside a secure room to park bikes for $1 a day, and there is a changing room that could eventually include showers if the bike parking thing takes off. Jon Speare blogged about it here on the Cycling Spokane Blog.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ok, it may be time to face the music...

I know this has nothing to do with transportation, but in my quest to fill this blog beast with useful and professional information, I couldn't resist this topic. (OK, you guessed it, Staci is on vacation again and I'll admit, it's a slow news day, but keep reading. This is still interesting. I promise.)

I don't want to be counterproductive or anything, but if you are reading this blog everyday -- and you continued to read past my first paragraph -- it may be time to look deep inside yourself and then read this story.

/just sayin'

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rachel, Are You A Transportation Planner By Any Chance?

SRTC is short a Transportation Planner. If you've got experience, we want you! Here's a link to the job description and how to apply if you're interested.

Who Doesn't Want To Pull Their Canoe With A Bike?

Thanks to blogger Holly for sending me some fun, yet practical, links. And the best part? Her comments to sell them. Here's a look:

Have a canoe, but no vehicle to tow it? Here's your answer.

Because your toddlers saw you shaking your fist and witnessed a stray finger flying about during a heated road rage inspired interaction, you can no longer turn your back on them for a second.Here's where you can get it.

Need to haul your industrial strength hair dryer around the desert, but don't own an SUV or a droid to carry it for you? Hope your quads are made of steel, because this trailer can handle up to 100 pounds!

I don't know if this was photoshopped, but at first I thought it was an ad for IKEA... ANYONE UP FOR AN IKEA RUN? This actually came from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, demostrating how much you can do with your bike. Here's the story.

So what do you think? Need some new bike 'accesories?'

Fewer Expected To Travel For Holiday Weekend

This is your last chance before the kids go back to school! Quick, get on the road for one more road trip! While that sounds great, Triple A says fewer people will actually take to the road this holiday weekend- due to the late date of the holiday, and the fact that many kids are already back in school for the year.
Here's the story.

A Couple Of Things For Next Week

I'm on vacation next week and Jeff Selle will be sitting in behind the blog desk, so here are a couple of really early notices in case I forget to pass them on to Jeff to blog about:

- Next Wednesday, Sept. 9, from 9 a.m. until as late as 2:30 p.m., eastbound I-90 in the vicinity of the Hamilton Street Interchange will be reduced to two through lanes to accomodate bridge joint work.

- Beginning Tuesday, September 8, no turns from southbound or northbound US 195 to westbound Cheney-Spokane Road will be allowed. Traffic will need to access Cheney-Spokane Road via Qualchan Road, the intersection one mile to the south. Turns from Cheney-Spokane Road onto US 195 will be allowed. This restriction may be in place for several days. Crews are constructing an offset southbound right-turn lane at Cheney-Spokane Road along the old highway alignment.

Pass It On- Mark Fenton Is Coming To Town!

Anybody picked up the September issue of OutThere Monthly? If you have, you've probably noticed the interview with Mark Fenton, nationally-known pedestrian advocate extrordinaire.

We're teaming up with the Spokane Regional Health District and the YWCA/YMCA to bring Mr. Fenton to Spokane on Sept. 29 to train local leaders, planners, and engineers about how to make Spokane more walkable. There will also be a community meeting that night to let citizens know what their part in the process is.

If you're not familiar with Mark Fenton, here's the Q&A the magazine did with him. And for more information on the community meeting, click on the flyer above to see it full size. Feel free to print it and post it at your place of work, or pass it on to others who may be interested.

Holiday Closures

Monday is Labor Day, so this is your early reminder that all local government offices will be closed, including Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, etc. City Halls. Everything opens again at regular time on Tuesday.

Parking meters don’t have to be plugged on Labor Day in downtown Spokane and the Spokane City Council meeting for the week of Sept. 7 is cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

The Washington State Department of Transportation sent out notice yesterday that all construction work will be suspended on WSDOT highway construction projects statewide Monday. In fact, most construction around the state will be suspended Friday night and resume Tuesday, in order to reduce roadway congestion for weekend travellers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Got A Good 'Active Transportation' Photograph?

This is the best I could do, a picture of a chicken on a bike, but you may be able to come up with something that will win the Alliance for Biking and Walking's 'People Powered Movement' photo contest.

The Alliance is holding the contest in order to gather good pictures of biking for a library that will provide free images to Alliance organizations. If you win, you get an all-expense paid bike trip to Tuscany and a year's supply of Clif Bars.

Here's more information, including judging criteria.

Hamilton On-Ramp Restricted Tomorrow

You can expect slow downs in the vicinity of the Hamilton exit on westbount I90 tomorrow. Beginning at about 9am until as late as 3pm, the westbound Hamilton on-ramp will be reduced to one lane so crews can do bridge deck repairs.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ladies- Here's a Ride Just For You

Not splitting town for the holiday weekend? Then we've got something for you to do Monday morning. As a warmup for Spokefest, a group of women cyclists will meet monday, Sept. 7th at 11 a.m. at The Elk. They'll then ride for about an hour through Browne's Addition and along the river, and end up back at the Elk for lunch and/or beverages.

So ladies, bring your friends and your bike but keep in mind this event isn’t for speed; it’s to enjoy the company of other women cyclists. No one will be left behind, and all abilities are welcome.

Here's a link to the event's Facebook page for more info.

SRTC Mentioned In Newspaper Cartoon

Hey check it out! Someone actually knows that we exist and that we're working behind the scenes. Generally, we don't get a whole lot of media attention because we don't do construction projects of our own, we just help other local agencies to accomplish theirs. This cartoon ran in last week's edition of the Spokane Valley News Herald.

Man Killed By Train In Spokane Valley

Spokane Valley police are investigating the death of a man struck by a train and killed early this morning along the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railway line near North Park Road and East Trent Avenue.

Police have few details at this point, just that it happened around 1 a.m. There's really not enough information to judge at this point, but the 'Bridging the Valley' series of projects is designed to seperate trains from both vehicle and pedestrian traffic and may have been able to prevent an incident like this. Here's more on Bridging the Valley in case you're not familiar with it.

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.