Friday, July 30, 2010

I have always wanted one of these...

This flying car is on display at this airshow hosted by the Wittman Regional Airport, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

WSDOT update on E. Washington projects

Keller Ferry

The Keller Ferry vessel, Martha S., was taken out of service for repairs on June 14th. The contractor replaced several sections of hull steel and the engine room access hatches on the car deck. The work was completed on schedule and the boat returned to service as planned on July 16th. Our contractor, Dakota Creek Industries, did an excellent job on the repairs. We also would like to thank the staff of the Washington State Ferries Division for providing the project oversight expertise.

- - - - -

US 195 Corridor Safety project

In southeast Spokane, the US 195 corridor from Hatch Road to Interstate 90 has been selected as a “Safety Corridor.”

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission, in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington State Patrol, designated this safety corridor at the request of Spokane Mayor Mary Verner and others in the local community. The goal of a safety corridor is to reduce fatal and disabling collisions on roadways with significant safety needs. A task force made up of community groups, businesses, local, state and federal organizations and emergency services organizations provides leadership in identifying and solving problems along the safety corridor. That group will begin meeting in August to get the project started.

- - - - -

North Spokane Corridor Update

Francis Avenue to Farwell Road-Southbound Lanes— On July 22nd the WSDOT opened contractor bids for constructing the southbound lanes for this 3.5-mile segment of the North Spokane Corridor. Graham Construction of Spokane was awarded the job on July 28th. These three new lanes parallel the northbound side which is currently carrying both northbound and southbound traffic in a temporary, one lane in each direction, configuration. Work should begin shortly with completion slated for early 2012. This project was funded through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program that is a portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

US 2 Lowering and Bridges – We have lowered the grade of US 2 to pass under the North Spokane Corridor main line and are now driving on the new lowered alignment while we finish up the northbound lanes. We are building 6 bridges for the main freeway lanes and connecting on and off ramps for US 2. The project includes a 32 foot arch structure for US 2 at Deadman Creek to provide improved wildlife passage under the highway. This work should be complete in late 2011.

US 2 to Wandermere – Currently under construction are the twin bridges that connect the North Spokane Corridor to existing US 395 and the completed four-lane, divided highway from the US 2 Interchange to US 395 at Wandermere. We expect to begin setting the girders on these structures in early August. This job is slated for completion in late 2011.

- - - - -

Recently completed pavement preservation projects

US 195/Idaho border to Colton—WSDOT just finished an asphalt paving job on an eight-mile section in Whitman County. This job also included a full rebuild of the main street within the City of Uniontown.

US 195/Hatch Road to I-90-Northbound Lanes Dowel Bar Retrofit—Steel “dowel bars” were placed in the joints between the concrete panels to prevent further shifting. Following that work, the roadway surface was smoothed with diamond grinding in this four-mile section in southeast Spokane. Roadwork on the job was wrapped up in mid-June.

These two projects were funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I wonder if it's anyone we know... hmmm

A masked gunman believed to have robbed five banks since December may have struck again Wednesday.

The noon-hour armed robbery at the Indian Trail branch of the Spokane Teachers Credit Union is similar to other heists attributed to a man who usually flees on a bicycle, which employees said happened Wednesday.

“It’s likely to be the same individual, although we are still actively investigating,” said FBI supervisory senior resident agent Frank Harrill.

The suspected serial robber last struck May 25 at US Bank, 621 E. 30th Ave., about 11:30 a.m. He’s believed responsible for robberies Dec. 22 at Sterling Savings Bank, 3000 S. Grand Blvd.; Feb. 13 and April 19 at Chase Bank, 2215 W. Northwest Blvd., and May 18 at Chase Bank, 3007 E. 57th Ave.

The robber is described as white, 6 feet tall, in his 30s with a thin-to-medium build and fair complexion.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI’s Spokane office at (509) 747-5195, ext. 2. If it’s after hours, call (206) 622-0460.

Muzzy Road Bridge Closure

Muzzy Road Bridge over Thompson Creek at the North end of Newman Lake
is scheduled to be closed August 4, 2010 and remain closed during the month of August.

This closure will allow the reconstruction of the bridge which is currently weight-restricted due to a rotting timber substructure.

The bridge will be reconstructed in its current location by strengthening the supporting foundation and placing a new deck and rail system which will allow it to safely carry legal loads.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blogging Hiatus 2010

Things may get kind of quiet on the blog for a little while. No, we won't be experiencing technical difficulties, but I will be heading off for vacation next week.

I've asked Jeff Selle in our office to fill in on blogging but that will depend on how much time he has on his hands. He's not used to multi-tasking like I do: With one hand I'm posting an article on how every time you start your car engine you're killing a penguin and with the other hand I'm trying to extort some poor citizens into taking part in our Transportation Vision Project.

Depending on how things go, I may do a little blogging 'from the field,' but don't expect things to get completely back to normal here until August 2.

Spokane Valley Wants Your Opinion On ADA

Wow, the City of Spokane Valley is serious about ADA compliance. And they're asking you to help them evaluate their ADA success. I just received this email:

Providing City services and programs that are accessible to those with disabilities is the goal of the City of Spokane Valley’s self-evaluation survey and transition plan. This project will bring the City into compliance with the requirements of Title II of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

As part of the process, community members are invited to participate in a public meeting on Tuesday, August 3 from 8:00am to 9:30am in Council Chambers at City Hall to learn more about the evaluation and its purpose, including the process, schedule and how the results will be used.

Community members will be asked to share their experiences, input and suggestions about the current level of access, for those with disabilities, to City programs and services. Barriers to access may include physical barriers, such as lack of parking and safe routes of travel to City facilities for mobility impaired persons, or the tools used to communicate with citizens, or may relate to the way the City conducts its business.

For more information on this project, please call Mary May at 509-720-5320 or or Mary Kate McGee at 509-720-5305 or

NOTICE: Individuals planning to attend the meeting who require special assistance to accommodate physical, hearing or other impairments, please contact the Community Development Administrative Assistant at (509) 720-5301 as soon as possible so that arrangements may be made.

Some Items From The City Of Spokane

- The project to rehabilitate Addison and Standard streets from Francis Avenue to Colton Street and Beacon Avenue from Dakota Street to Nevada Street starts on Monday, July 27. The project includes upgrading stormwater drains and installing ADA curb ramps.

The $1.7 million project is being funded by the 10-Year Street Bond and City of Spokane Wastewater Department.

- The Hartson and 11th Avenues from Havana Street to Sherman Street water Transmission Main project also begins Monday (could they have come up with a longer name?)

The project will install a water transmission main in Hartson and 11th avenues from Havana to Sherman streets. The project will also repair the following streets: 11th Avenue from Altamont Blvd. to Julia Street and N. Altamont Boulevard from 11th to Ninth avenues; and Ninth Avenue from Perry to Julia streets. Ninth Ave. will be closed to motorists beginning at Hatch Rd. moving east toward Perry St. as the project progresses. Local access will be maintained.

The $3.2 million project is funded by the City of Spokane Water Department and 10-Year Street Bond.

- The project to install planters for stormwater treatment and pervious pavement on Broadway Ave. from Elm to Oak streets is complete. The street is open to traffic; motorists may encounter traffic obstructions while crews complete the final detail work.

The $422,000 project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Stimulus and the City of Spokane Wastewater Department.

25% Of Nation's Bridges Deficient

This is scary news; 25 percent of the country's bridges remain "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete," according to testimony at a House Transportation Subcommittee hearing Wednesday. About 150,000 bridges -- nearly one in four -- are considered deficient, Here's the story from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.

Two Items From The WSDOT

- If you're in the West Plains area on Saturday, July 24 and Sunday, July 25, get ready for some possible traffic delays on Highway 2 near Fairchild Airforce Base.

100,000+ visitors are expected to enter and exit the base those days for Skyfest. You can expect severe congestion, slow traffic, and stopped traffic, especially just after 4 p.m. when the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds wrap up their daily performance.

Heavy traffic can also be expected on State Route 902 between I-90 and the City of Medical Lake.

- Beginning on Monday, July 26th, Hayford Road south of US 2 will be closed from the highway to McFarlane Rd. Detours are available via Garfield Road. No impacts to US 2 traffic are expected at this time. The closure is to allow sewer crews to do construction there.

More Transportation Vision Project Meetings Coming Up

So I'd just about gotten rid of that facial tic when- guess what? It's time for another round of Transportation Vision Project meetings! That's right folks, we need more public input. Three meetings are scheduled for the first week in August on three separate topics:

• Tuesday, Aug. 3- Roundtable Meeting: Transit, 6-8 p.m., West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt, Spokane
• Wednesday, Aug. 4- Roundtable Meeting: Seniors, 9-11 a.m.,Corbin Senior Center, 827 W. Cleveland, Spokane
• Wednesday, Aug. 4- Roundtable Meeting: Families/Children, 6-8 p.m., Corbin Senior Center, 827 W. Cleveland, Spokane

Here's a flyer on the meeting regarding transportation for senior citizens.

Here's a flyer about the familes and children roundtable meeting.

And here's one on the meeting addressing transit issues. By the way, the good folks at STA asked me to mention that this meeting location is on bus Route 21 and you will need to take the 5:35 bus from the Plaza to get there on time. How's that for service?

These meetings are open to everyone, so tell anyone else that you think might be interested. You can also find more information on the meetings at our Vision Project website.

And if you missed the first community workshop, or last week's roundtable meetings, the power point presentations are also posted there on the 'Documents' page. And, just in case you haven't heard it enough, if you haven't 'friended' us on Facebook or signed up to receive update tweets, please do so on the site.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July SRTC Newsletter Available

SRTC's July newsletter is now available. Here's a link to it.

Email me if you would like it sent directly to you when it comes out every quarter (January, April, July and October).

Final Dwight Merkel Trail Building Day

The next and last Trail Work Day for the trail from the new Dwight Merkel Sports Complex to Riverside State Park is Saturday, July 31, beginning at 9:00 am and ending at 2:00 pm. You can show up any time between 9:00 and 2:00 and stay as long or as short a time as you can.

Please RSVP here so the City knows how many volunteers to expect.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

City Asks All To Be Safe On Roads This Summer

The City of Spokane today sent out a press release asking for help from citizens to ensure a safe and fun-filled summer for everyone. The release says that City officials are seeing more bicyclists on City streets than in the past, and asking drivers and cyclists alike to use caution and obey the rules of the road.

The rules of the road for cyclists include:

• Ride in the same direction as traffic in the middle of the lane, or center of the bike lane or sharrow.

• Obey traffic signs and signals.

• Use a front white light and red rear reflector.

• Don’t ride on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in the central business district.

A few safety tips for cyclists:

• Wear bright colors.

• Ditch the headphones.

• Drive straight. The peek-a-boo bike weaving in and out of the lane when parked cars are spread out is dangerous because motorists have a difficult time seeing you.

• Watch out for parked cars.

The rules of the road for motorists include:

• Remain behind the bicyclist until safe to pass. When safe, pass to the left.

• Do not drive or park in a bicycle lane.

• Remember bicyclists may legally occupy the travel lane when passing, making a left turn, avoiding a hazard, or when the lane is narrow.

Cyclists can receive infractions from $52 for not wearing a helmet up to $124 for running a red light. The most common cycling infractions are riding on downtown sidewalks $103 or riding a bike without a headlamp, back red reflector or brakes $103.

Drivers found not following the rules of the road should expect to receive a traffic infraction, starting at $30 for parking in a bike lane.

TAC Meeting Next Monday

The next meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) is next Monday, July 26. Here is the agenda. Feel free to attend. The meeting is in the SRTC conference room at 221 W. First Ave., Suite 310.

Website Lets You Voice Budget Ideas

Got an idea how to trim the state budget? Governor Chris Gregoire wants to hear it. Gregoire has launched a website that allows people to suggest, comment and vote on budget ideas. The most popular ideas will be considered by the state’s budget writers.

The upcoming 2011-13 budget is estimated to be short by at least $3 billion.

Here's the website. Now come up with something brilliant.

MLK Jr. Way Dedication Ceremony To Be Aired On CityCable 5

If you're like me and you missed the dedication ceremony for Martin Luther King Jr. Way, you can watch it on CityCable 5 during the first week of August.

The June 18 ceremony, which includes remarks from a variety of community members and leaders, will be shown in its entirety at the following times:

Saturday, Aug. 1, at 7:30 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 2, at 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 8:30 pm
Saturday, Aug. 7, at 5 pm

The Spokane City Council approved naming the planned Riverside Avenue extension through the University District in honor of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The newly named street will extend east from Division St., curving to the north near the eastern campus border on the west side of the Spokane River, then connecting to Spokane Falls Blvd. prior to the new Trent Ave. Bridge. The project is designed to reduce vehicle traffic on Spokane Falls Blvd.

Construction is set to begin this year. The federally and locally funded project is estimated to cost $ 2.1 million for construction and will take approximately four months to complete.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lot Going On In Transportation...

Paving causes detours at a busy Spokane Valley intersection, a dedication ceremony for the new Barker Road Bridge is this week, and a 'Bikestravaganza' is coming to Spokane.

Here's what's happening in transportation this week from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' column.

TTC Meeting Agenda Available

I just posted the agenda for this Wednesday's Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) meeting. Check it out here. If anything catches your eye on there, feel free to attend the meeting. It's at 1:30 p.m. in the SRTC conference room at 221 W. First Avenue, Suite 310. There's even an agenda item for public comments so if you have something to say, come down and do it.

Keller Ferry Back In Service

I'm a day late and a dollar short on this because I was out of town last Friday, but for those of you making plans for this weekend, the Keller Ferry is now back in service.

The ferry, named the 'Martha S.', was returned to service on Friday following a month-long dry docking for inspections, repairs, and equipment upgrades.

The ferry shuttles vehicles across Lake Roosevelt on State Route 21. The Martha S. has been in continuous duty since 1948.

A Street Project Wrapping Up

The City of Spokane's A Street project is expected to be complete by this Friday, July 23.

The project rehabilitated A St. from Francis to Beacon avenues and residential streets including Audubon St. from Holyoke Ave. to Indian Trail Rd.; Beacon Ave. from Audubon to Alberta streets; Holyoke Ave. from Indian Trail Rd. to Lindeke St.; Houston Ave. from Holyoke to Lindeke streets; and Lindeke St. from Francis to Beacon avenues.

The $754,000 project was funded by the 10-Year Street Bond.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Luke I Am Your - - Public Transit Rider??

Blogger Holly thought it imperative that I post this before the weekend. For the republic. I've seen some strange characters on public transportation but this beats them all.

The Downside Of Owning A Vehicle

We've been talking a lot lately in our Transportation Vision Project meetings about how easy it is to get around on Spokane roads because there's so little congestion. That leads many people, myself included, to own their own vehicle and to drive to the majority of places they frequent. There's a downside to that though and I'm experiencing it today.

I had so much overtime from all the meetings this week that I had to take today and tomorrow off. Am I lying on the beach though enjoying my day off? No. Fishing? No. Taking a hike? Mowing the lawn? Walking the dog? Creating a voodoo doll of my boss? No, none of the regular stuff I do on my days off. Instead I'm sitting in my mechanic's waiting room as he rattles off all the repairs I need. Here's the damage so far:

1 tie rod + 1 idler arm + 1 alignment + 4 new tires + 1 battery = Holy cow, Glenn I need a raise! I take back what I said about the voodoo doll. Riding my bike more often is looking better and better.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bicycle/Pedestrian Meeting Wrapup

Another interesting
Transportation Vision Project meeting tonight. Tonight's subject was bicycle and pedestrian issues. I was a little disapointed by the turnout (about 30 had RSVPed but only about 16 showed up) but the conversation was great.

Here's a sample of what we heard:

- 30% of the workforce in the Spokane region is over the age of 55, and with the economy the way it is, those people will be working for a while longer. That means we need to prepare the transportation system for a large aging population through options like transit improvements and complete sidewalks systems.

- There are six areas in the City of Spokane's Master Bike Plan that show planning for bicycle boulevards.

- Removing parking lanes makes more room for bike lanes, but in many areas reduces revenues for municipalities.

- Older people tend to drive very close to the white lane on the right, making it uncomfortable for bicyclists.

- One rider was told by a driver that it wasn't healthy for him to be riding his bicycle as he could get hit by a car. Seems ironic doesn't it...

- Doctors in New Mexico are writing prescriptions for people to walk to improve their health and are giving them specific trails to walk.

- Long boards are becoming more common as a form of transportation. Many people are riding them in bike lanes, although it's not clear yet where the best place for the boards are.

There was a lot of other input that came out of the meeting as well. It will all be posted on the website above within the next couple days, so get on and check it out.

Hey Kids- Look At The Whales! Those Aren't Whales!

Thanks to blogger Holly for sending this Seattle Times article. Apparently there was a full moon over Puget Sounds last Sunday. Four, in fact. My favorite line is the last: 'The men apparently had been drinking beer.' Well duh.

So what's the dumbest thing you've done when angry at another driver? I have to admit I'm the queen of leaving nasty notes on peoples cars who park badly and take up two spots. Or people who park in handicap spots without permits.

Austin Road Closure

Austin Rd. from Five Mile Rd. to Quamish Dr. will be closed tomorrow, July 15, and again on Monday, July 19, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. City crews will be doing road repairs there.

Vision Project Meetings In Full Swing

It's 'Visioning Day.' As I type, I am sitting in the first roundtable meeting of the day for the Transportation Vision Project. This one focuses on Real Estate/Construction/Development and there is a lot of good discussion from the folks attending. One gentleman right now is sharing his experiences from the time he spent living in Chicago and pretty much had to use public transit or you wasn't guaranteed to make it to his office each day. Another man who has spent time in D.C. pointed out how little 'downtown areas' popped up around each rail stop there, allowing people not to have to travel far to reach businesses and services.

There are two other roundtable meetings coming up today too; freight and bicycle/pedestrian issues.

Last night was the public workshop for the project. I want to thank everyone who came out for that. We had great attendance and representatives from all demographics. I was especially impressed with the older folks who attended. They were passionate about the topic and had tons of good input and suggestions based on their many years of experience here and in other cities. One gentleman said he's been here since the 1930s and he said our roads used to be better during the depression than they are now!

The other thing I was impressed with was how open everyone was to listening to other's opinions. Everyone didn't agree on every comment but they were polite in their rebuttals. For instance, there were a couple gentleman who suggested that the North Spokane Corridor isn't necessary and that it will cut neighborhoods in half much like I90 bisected the east central neigborhood in the 50s. There was an entire contingent of Hillyard residents there who disagreed though, saying they're going to use the freeway to make Hillyard into a showplace for the people who drive by, hopefully getting them to stop.

Speaking of Hillyard, those folks are hardcore! They have some big plans. One includes starting their own sustainable neighborhood using only solar power, innovative water and waste systems, and electric golf carts for transportation. And it's all going to happen in Hillyard! This idea facinates me so I plan to follow up with the folks involved in that and blog in more length on this later.

In the meantime, one of our transportation planners, Mallory, attended the meeting and kept track of some of the sayings used by attendees that she found interesting. Her favorite? 'Self-styled environmentalists jumping around on a pogo stick.'

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

TAC Minutes Posted Online

Things have been so hectic around here that I finally just got a chance to post minutes from the past couple Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings to the SRTC website. If you want to get caught up, the April and May minutes
are posted here. The June minutes aren't there yet because they have to be approved at the July 26 meeting before they can be posted.

Vision Project Editorial

You can't get away from it. The Transportation Vision Project is everywhere. Today, the Spokesman-Review published this editorial about the project and how so many people complain about needed repairs and maintenance to our roadways, but those are just a small part of improving our overall transportation system.

Don't forget the public meeting on the subject tonight. It's from 6-9 at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln in Spokane, and it WILL be interesting and informative. I've been preparing materials for the workshop and there's some pretty in-depth stuff in there. So if you've ever complained about our roads, this is your chance to do something about it, so use this opportunity.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hey STA- Can I Get A New Pair Of Shoes?

Here's my embarrassing moment of the week: I walked out of the office this evening and saw the bus coming. The stop is about a block away so I started running. Luckily someone else was getting on that bus too, so it stopped and I got just a few feet away when my shoe flew off and went under the bus!

I asked the driver to pull forward or back up because my shoe was under the bus and he looked at me like I was a moron (probably a good assessment on his part at that point). He cranked the wheels to one side to pull away from the curb and right over my shoe! Another guy standing at the bus stop starting yelling 'Stop! You're crushing it! Back up!' I don't think the driver cared though cause he rolled forward all the way over it. The other guy at the stop grabbed it for me and we laughed hysterically as I tried to put on the crushed shoe, then jumped on the bus and tried to swipe my pass. I, and everyone else on the bus, was laughing so hard at that point I could hardly do it. Except the driver. He was obviously NOT amused.

I managed to reshape the shoe for the most part but it's a lot worse for wear. It pinches my heel something awful now so I think this pair will be retired.

Update: I received an email from Joel at STA who said, 'I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a new pair in the lost and found. Size/color preference?'

That's Joel for you- always trying to keep his customers happy.

Friend Transportation Vision Project on Facebook... Please

As I mentioned last week, this week is going to be pure organized chaos for me. That's because we've got a ton of workshops going on for the
Transportation Vision Project.

Here's a reminder of what's going on. If any of these topics stand out to you, feel free to attend the corresponding workshop or roundtable meeting:

- Tuesday, July 13 6-9 p.m.-Community Workshop- The Lincoln Center, 1316 North Lincoln Street

- Wednesday, July 14 10 a.m.- 12 p.m.- Visioning Roundtable:Real Estate/Developers/Construction- CenterPlace in Spokane Valley, 2426 N. Discovery Place

- Wednesday, July 14 1-3 p.m.- Visioning Roundtable:Freight- CenterPlace in Spokane Valley, 2426 N. Discovery Place

- Wednesday, July 14 6-8 p.m.- Visioning Roundtable:Bike/Pedestrian- CenterPlace in Spokane Valley, 2426 N. Discovery Place

Here's the other big news you need to know: you can follow the Transportation Vision Project via Facebook! Just click here, then choose 'like' and you'll be sent updates and notices through Facebook! Crazy, I know. So get clicking. If we get a lot of people 'liking' our page, I get to keep my job.

Spokane Summer Parkways a Huge Success

If you were one of the many people who took place in the first Spokane Summer Parkways yesterday, you know what a great time it was. I was pleasantly surprised at how succesful this first one was and how many people came out to play, minus their cars.

There was a little of everything, and I talked to a lot of people who were really excited about the event. What also surprised me was how many older people attended. And by older I mean elderly. There were lots of older folks walking, one older gentleman rollerblading, and a lot on bikes. It was great to see so many active seniors!

I also lots of scooters and skateboarders. And lots of people participated in the bike decorating contest. There were some pretty cool decorations, including one girl who dressed her bike up as a peacock and her male companion's bike was a pheasant. Unfortunately, they went by so fast I couldn't get good pictures.

I was there promoting SRTC's Transportation Vision Project and talking to a lot of people about their 'vision' for the future. I heard some interesting stuff too. One gentleman told me he's bicycled all over the world and Spokane has the politest drivers when it comes to bike-auto interaction. Another told me that in the Netherlands they have things that look like giant fishing nets posted alongside the road. Instead of having to stop to dump your trash, you just throw them into the net as you ride or drive by. And a LOT of people asked about light rail. The prevailing sentiment yesterday was that we need some sort of transit system between Spokane International Airport and Coeur d'Alene, and the preferred method seemed to be light rail.

Of course, bike lanes came up a lot and several people mentioned bike boulevards. And the marching bagpipers want bagpiping lanes, but you can't have everything.

All in all, the event was a huge success and I think the next Spokane Summer Parkways, on August 22, will be even bigger.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bicycle Friendly Signs Popping Up

Signs are popping up around the City of Spokane touting the City's status as a “Bicycle Friendly Community.” The League of American Bicyclists recently awarded Spokane the honor of a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community. Signs have been installed on Howard St. near its intersection with Cataldo Ave., and on High Dr. near 43rd Ave. Three more signs will be installed in other locations later this summer.

Spokane was one of 16 new cities to receive the bicycle friendly award in 2010. The program is designed to revolutionize the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability, and transportation networks.

Summer Parkways Getting Lots Of Press

The word is really getting out about the upcoming event Spokane Summer Parkways. I've been seeing advertising all over town, and today there's this article in the Inlander.

For those of you who skip the article, Spokane Summer Parkways is a block party of sorts that encourages people to get out of their cars and do something active. This Sunday, July 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Howard Street will be closed to automobile traffic from Riverfront Park to Corbin Park so that people on bikes, skates, feet, skateboards, etc. can take over.

There will also be physical fitness activities like yoga, Zumba, Hula Hoops, jump rope, hacky sack, and martial arts offered free along the course to encourage a healthy lifestyle for everyone.

I'll be there talking to people about SRTC's SRTC's Transportation Vision Project also. I know, that's a SURE way to get you there.

Holiday Travel Numbers Stay Steady

I can honestly say that in four days off over the Independence Day holiday, I only left the neighborhood once, and I only went a couple miles. Any apparently I'm not alone. The Washington State Department of Transportation says that traffic numbers stayed pretty consistent with the past couple years.

Here are the numbers from the WSDOT blog.

New Car 'Senses' Pedestrians

Tired of having to worry about where those pesky pedestrians are when you're driving? Well quit worrying and buy a Volvo. The newest Volvo slated to be released this year, the 260 model, comes complete with a 'pedestrian Detection and Avoidance System' that applies the breaks, if you fail to, when in close proximity to pedestrians. Now if I could only get a cars that could sense a run-in with my mother... Anyway, check it out in this YouTube video then tell me what you think- overrated gadget or awesome life saver?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cancel Your Plans For Next Week, I've Got You Booked

If you think I'm crazy now, just wait until next week. We have FOUR meetings next week for the Transportation Vision Project, and you are invited to any that grab your interest.

Here's what's on the agenda. Click the title for each to see a flyer for the meeting and to get a better idea of what Vision staff is trying to get out of each meeting:

- Tuesday, July 13 6-9 p.m.-Community Workshop- The Lincoln Center, 1316 North Lincoln Street

- Wednesday, July 14 10 a.m.- 12 p.m.- Visioning Roundtable:Real Estate/Developers/Construction- CenterPlace in Spokane Valley, 2426 N. Discovery Place

- Wednesday, July 14 1-3 p.m.- Visioning Roundtable:Freight- CenterPlace in Spokane Valley, 2426 N. Discovery Place

- Wednesday, July 14 6-8 p.m.- Visioning Roundtable:Bike/Pedestrian- CenterPlace in Spokane Valley, 2426 N. Discovery Place

If you want more information in general on our Transportation Vision Project, you can go to our brand new website. Any questions?

Ide Avenue To Close Thursday

Ide Ave. from Monroe to Cedar streets will be closed to traffic long-term beginning Thursday, July 8, to facilitate the development of the former Kendall Yards area.

Additionally, parking will not be allowed on the street or in the dirt lot just north of Ide Ave.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Car Seat Enforcement Campaign

Local law enforcement agencies are starting up an enforcement campaign to make sure children are correctly buckled into car seats.

The Spokane County Target Zero Task Force received a grant from Washington Traffic Safety Commission to promote the correct use of child car seats. Parents frequently place children in seat belts too soon. Seat belts are designed for adults and do not properly protect children until they are 4’9” tall.

Under Washington law, people who transport children are required to adhere to the following rules to protect children in the event of a crash:

▪ Child ages: 0 to at least 12 months and at least 20 pounds --use a rear-facing infant seat. Keep your child rear-facing as long as your child car seat allows.

▪ Age: 13 months to age four -- use a child car seat with a five-point harness.

▪ Age: four to 4’9” tall -- use a booster seat. Boosters should only be placed with a lap and shoulder belt.

▪ Age: up to age 13 -- children should ride in the rear seat of the vehicle.

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children up to age 14.

Roundup For The Week Of July 5

It's a tough job trying to explain our Transportation Vision Project and all that it encompasses. The Spokesman-Review gave it a shot today though, so let's see if they do a better job than I do.

Also in today's Getting There column: a busy Spokane Valley intersection will close for three weeks later this month, and the first phase of Bigelow Gulch is complete.

Business Owner Sues WSDOT

A local business owner is suing the Washington State Department of Transportation, because WSDOT won't buy his company. Petroleum Distributing Co. is in the path of the North Spokane Corridor. But because there is no funding to buy commercial properties at this time, the state says they're not currently in a position to buy. Which means the business owner has to continue to work. Here's the story from the Spokesman-Review.

Five Mile Road Project Wrapping Up This Week

The Five Mile Road project from Austin to Lincoln roads is expected to be complete and reopen to traffic by this Friday, July 9.

Until then, Five Mile Rd. from Austin Rd. to Cochran St. remains closed with local access only. Work began in May 2009 to widen and rebuild the street to 44-ft. including curbs and a continuous sidewalk on the west side, a 5-ft. bike lane north and shared-use bike lane south on Five Mile Rd.

The $6.1 million project was funded by state and federal sources, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Stimulus, and Mitigation and Real Estate Excise Taxes.

SRTC Will Be At Spokane Summer Parkways

Guess what this weekend is? The first Spokane Summer Parkways event. On Sunday, July 11, three miles of Howard Street will be closed to automobile traffic between Riverfront Park and Corbin Park so that you can bike, walk, skateboard, roller skate, or do whatever else you want that involves 'active transportation' on the road.

There will also be physical fitness activities like yoga, Zumba, Hula Hoops, jump rope, hacky sack, and martial arts offered free along the course to encourage a healthy lifestyle for everyone.

The highlight of the event though? I'll have a table there to promote SRTC's Transportation Vision Project. Be sure and stop by and talk to me about your 'vision' for the future of Spokane's transportation system. I'll be the one wearing the shirt that says 'I heart Vision.'

Spokane Summer Parkways is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Here's a link to more info on the event.

SRTC Board Meeting This Thursday

It's Board meeting week again at SRTC. The July meeting is this Thursday, July 8 at 1 p.m. Here's the agenda. If any items on it catch your eye, feel free to attend. The meetings are held in our conference room at 221 W. First Ave., Suite 310. There's even a public comment item on the agenda so you say your piece.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Visit Our New Transportation Vision Project Website

Okay folks, I've been telling your for a long time now that our Visioning Process needs your help. Well, we're finally at the point where we're ready to talk to YOU, the public.

The first step in that is introducing you to our new Transportation Vision Project website. It's an interactive site that lets you sign up for email updates, access project documents, post comments and access our Vision Twitter account and Facebook page. So get on, check it out, sign up for updates, write the upcoming meetings on your calendar and let us know what your 'vision' is for transportation in our region in the long-term.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Don't Put Your Sign On State Right-Of-Way

The Washington State Department Of Transportation wants to remind you that if you're running for office, you can't put a campaign sign on state highway right-of-way.

Because it's not always easy to know the boundaries of a state highway right-of-way, here are a few clues:

*Utility poles are typically located inside the right-of-way. So no signs between the pole and the state highway.
*Many locations also have a fence line separating the right-of-way from private property. So again, no signs between the fence and the state highway.

Temporary political signs are allowed on private property visible from state highways. However, the property owner must consent, and the sign must comply with the WAC, as well as any local regulations.

One-Way Or Two-Way: What's Your Preference?

Thanks to blogger Robert for asking for more information on converting downtown Spokane one-way streets to two-ways. I posted a source for information on that subject on an earlier thread, but thought if Robert is interested, maybe others are too.

The University District/Downtown Spokane Transportation Improvement Study was completed by DKS Associates just about a year ago and has a section devoted to converting one-way streets. To save you some trouble finding it, the pertinent info is in section 10, titled 'Motor Vehicles,' on page 10-3.

What are your thoughts? Should downtown Spokane streets be converted back to two-ways? If so, which ones?

I90 Lane Reductions

Eastbound I-90 will be reduced to one lane between Sprague Ave. and Argonne Rd. next Thursday morning, July 8, from 4:30 a.m. until as late as 6:30 a.m.

You can expect slow traffic, congestion, and possible delays. Then, from 9:00 a.m. until as late as 1:00 p.m. westbound I-90 will be reduced to 2 through lanes. You can also expect delays.

Crews will be drilling for test samples of pavement.

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.