Monday, January 31, 2011

Pedestrian Struck & Killed By Police Car

There's been another pedestrian killed by a car. And this time it was a police officer that hit and killed the person walking. The Spokesman-Review has the details.

The Spokane Regional Health District is launching a campaign to increase safety between cars and bicycles and cars and pedestrians. Last week they had asked us to make a series of maps showing the locations and numbers of accidents involving cars and bicyclists or walkers, plus how severe the collision was. We were kind of surprised at the sheer numbers after looking at the results, and the numbers don't even go through 2010, when there were several accidents. Here's a link to those maps. Check out the downtown area. It looks like someone spilled paint on it.

Council To Discuss Increasing Parking Fines

The Spokane City Council tonight will discuss raising the price of parking tickets from $15 to $25. Some downtown businesses don't support the move though. The Spokesman-Review has the story.

When was the last time you had a parking ticket?

Senator Calls To Trim Waste From New Transportation Bill

We've been operating on an extended transportation bill for a while now, while Congress discusses what a new highway bill will look like. Considering the economy, and the mood in Washington, it's expected to be a lot different from the most recent bill, SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users).

For instance, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) says the only way to sell a highway bill to his Republican colleagues would be to pare it back and cut waste. Inhofe says anything that not related to transportation needs to be cut. Pet projects like Capitol dome repairs and recreational bike paths make up about 3 percent of the current bill -- an unacceptable number, according to Inhofe, considering that it draws from the Highway Trust Fund.

Here's the latest on the development of a new Transportation Bill from the website for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works.

Missing Your Head? Check The East Sprague Route

My sister-in-law tells me stories from her daily bus ride because she rides the East Sprague route where you see a little of everything if you ride long enough. She said that late last week a young woman got on the bus holding two mannequin heads with full heads of hair. My sister-in-law's comment was that if she ever needed to carry a head on the bus for whatever reason, wouldn't you put them in a bag? I said no, I would want them out where I could talk to them so I could have an entire seat to myself.

Senator Goes After Distracted Walkers

After taking on distracted drivers, some New York lawmakers are now going after distracted walkers. There's a movement afoot (yes, bad pun I know) to ban pedestrians from using iPods, music players and cell phones while walking and crossing the street. Watch the story below then let me know if you would support a movement like this or if you think it's taking matters too far.

A Couple Items From The City of Spokane

- An open house for the Grand Blvd. from High Dr. to 29th Ave. project has been set for Wednesday, Feb. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Sacajawea Middle School, 401 E. 33rd Ave. Citizens and businesses are encouraged to attend to learn about traffic impacts and construction dates for this project, which will be constructed this year.

- City Street Department crews are out repairing potholes caused by the freeze-thaw cycle. Crews focus on the largest holes on the busiest streets first. To report a hole please call 625-7733; please include as much detail as possible, like the exact location and approximate size of the hole.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Neighborhoods Talk Transportation

Instead of their usual weekly meeting, the Spokane City Council held one of their quarterly 'Town Hall' meetings this week where they hear from groups of neighborhoods. Each of the neighborhoods represented gets to give a presentation and bring the Council members up to date on what's been happening in their 'hood. Several of the neighborhoods that represented this week had transportation issues on their agendas- and several of them were positive, not just complaining about potholes or something.

Councilman Jon Snyder recaps the meeting on his blog.

City TBD Back On The Table

The City of Spokane's Transportation Benefit District (TBD) may not be a done deal after all. The City Council rejected a $20 annual vehicle tax two weeks ago, but now Council President Joe Shogan is bringing the issue up again and the Council is expected to decide Monday if it will hold a Feb. 14 hearing on the vehicle tab fee.

To quote Shogan, “We are going to proceed on the TBD come hell or high water – whether we pass it or not – because a lot of talk with no funding is a lot of talk.”
That quote alone should get you to read this Spokesman article on the issue.

Health District Starting Campaign To Encourage Drivers, Walkers, Bicyclists To Share Roads

Just a heads up about something you'll be seeing in the media soon: the Spokane Regional Health District will be kicking off Spokane's first comprehensive education campaign aimed at increasing safety through sharing the road among bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians.

It’s funded by a grant through SRTC. The Health District is currently in the process of gathering stakeholder input on the subject, including how to realistically decrease fatalities, injuries, threats and uncivil behavior.

Stay tuned, I'll update you when it's time to get the public involved.

January SRTC Newsletter Available

We've been so busy around here lately. So busy that I haven't had much time to blog lately. The days have been passing so quickly that I can barely remember what I did yesterday, let alone the past couple months. So good thing we put together a quarterly newsletter. It not only keeps you informed, but helps me account for my time. So here's what we've been up to since September.

Engineers Group Gives Transportation Low Grades

In President Obama's State of the Union speech last night, we heard a lot about working together to make things happen, new spending cuts, and increased outlays for education, mass transit and infrastructure. So speaking of mass transit and infrastructure, where do we stand as far as transportation?

A civil engineers group did their own 'State of Transportation' this week and gives the U.S. transportation system low grades. The American Society of Civil Engineers says we need to think about the condition of our bridges a lot more, an overhaul of the air travel infrastructure is needed, freight needs to be moved by rail more and trucks less, and access to public transit needs to be improved as half of all Americans have no access to commuter buses or trains.

Here's more from CNN on the State of Transportation in the U.S. Or, if you're more inclined, you can watch their broadcast on the subject. The commercial you're forced to sit through to watch it is even kind of amusing.

I90 Work Today

I90 will be reduced to one lane today between Geiger Blvd and US 2 until about 2:30 this afternoon. Crews will be working in the median and both eastbound and westbound lanes at different times. They will be cleaning up debris from an accident that happened in the past. Be alert, there could be slowdowns and backups in the area.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WSDOT Says Bigelow Gulch Work Not Done Correctly

The County's project to upgrade Bigelow Gulch Road has run into a problem.

A draft report from the Washington State Department of Transportation says the county right-of-way office’s work was done poorly enough that two phases of the project aren’t eligible for federal reimbursement.

County officials say they will work to fix the damage and don't believe the project is ready to be scrapped. The Spokesman-Review has the full story.

Mica Speaks On His Hopes For New Transportation Bill

Republican John Mica, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, recently gave an interview on his hopes to crank out a new transportation bill this year, even in a partisan congress. He also addressed rumors of raiding the Highway Trust Fund and stretching infrastructure money farther.

You can listen to the interview here, and read the transcript. You can even download the MP3 file there in case you want to put it on your MP3 player to listen to over and over.

Any thoughts after listening to/reading this?

Road Restrictions Go Into Effect In February

I can't believe it's that time of year already. What happened to fall? Where did winter go?

Spokane County’s Engineering and Roads Department will start seasonal weight restrictions on February 2nd and continue until further notice. Roadway surfaces and the structures beneath the surface have become weakened during this winter’s cycle of freezing temperatures, followed by warmer temperatures and precipitation.

As a result, roads are vulnerable to severe damage and the implementation of weight restrictions reduces the need for increased road maintenance and auto repairs later this year.

Seasonal road restrictions usually go into effect in late February or early March and last for approximately 6 weeks. However, seasonal weather conditions vary from year-to-year and dictate the extent of the restrictions and when they go into effect.

Spokane County commercial vehicle enforcement officers will be on patrol and violators will be fined!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Contentious Debate Over City Center

Spokane Valley City Councilwoman Rose Dempsey stepped down last week, citing an inability to come to consensus on many issues with the majority of the council, and health issues.

Dempsey often found herself on the losing end of many council decisions, including the first reading of an ordinance that would impose an “emergency amendment” to the city’s comprehensive plan. The law, which is up for final approval tomorrow night, would strip the “city center” zoning in the area of University City shopping center and replace it with a more broad “mixed use” designation.

The debate over that ordinance was contentious, and some speculate, the last straw for Dempsey. Here's more on the 'City Center' debate from the Spokane Valley Herald.

Driver Gets Injured In Roundabout

Roundabouts seem to be all the rage lately. Prior to the 2000s there were only small traffic circles in the area, but no roundabouts. That's for a variety of reasons: not only do they keep traffic moving through an intersection unlike a traffic signal, relieving congestion and lessening air pollution from exhaust, but they are also considered much safer than traditional intersections.

This is because there is less potential for serious crashes in roundabouts – since vehicles all travel around the center island in the same direction, head-on and left-hand turn (T-bone) collisions are eliminated.

Low travel speeds through roundabouts also reduce collisions and the few collisions that do happen are minor because they're at slow speeds.

Well, despite all that, a Mead-area man managed to hurt himself at the roundabout at Mount Spokane Park Drive and Bruce Road yesterday. Washington State Patrol troopers say the 38-year-old man was headed west on Mount Spokane Park Drive when he failed to turn through the roundabout and instead drove into the traffic control structure at the center of the intersection.

The collision caused his 1990 Chevrolet pickup truck to end up in an adjacent field, troopers said. It's not clear at this time how seriously he was hurt. The accident is under investigation, but I think that sounds like a case of just plain driving too fast.

Proposed STA Service Reductions Recommendation

After much discussion and several public open houses, The STA Board of Directors was presented with a recommendation for the September 2011 service reductions at last week's STA Board meeting. You can view all of the proposed cuts and changes here, but here are a couple highlights:

- Extend Route 22 to the 5-Mile Park & Ride and terminate at that location. Additionally, modify the route to travel on Rowan Ave between Assembly St and Driscoll Blvd. This reroute would eliminate the service on Assembly St north of Rowan Ave and on Driscoll Blvd north of Rowan Ave.

- Extend Route 27 just past Monroe St to Madison St and Rosewood Ave and end the route. Modify route to travel on Dakota St between Illinois Ave and Indiana Ave.

- Modify Route 29 to terminate at Spokane Community College.

- Discontinue Route 30 and 31.

- Eliminate service to the West Spokane Industrial Park along Lawson St, McFarlane Rd, and Garfield Rd. Serve the BX on Fairchild Air Force Base (FAFB) with select trips on weekdays only.

There are several more so you will probably want to use the link above to view all the changes. The cuts are going to be hard on everyone, but there is some good news here. The original plans called for discontinuing service to Medical Lake completely. STA managed to rework their reductions though to come up with a way to provide weekday service, with service to the hospitals during non-peak times only.

After looking over the proposed changes, do you have any comments? Well, a Public Hearing regarding the recommended service reductions will be held at the start of the STA Board Meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, at the Spokane City Council Chambers, Spokane City Hall, 808 West Spokane Falls Boulevard.

Snuggie Sighting On The Bus

I SWEAR that I saw a woman on the bus either wearing a snuggie or a full-length bathrobe this morning. I walked by the Altamont #46 at the Plaza and glanced in for some reason and there she was! She was standing at the front talking to the driver wearing some sort of loungewear that was an aqua green with some kind of multi-colored pattern on it. Who would have though? The snuggie is now public transit wear!

Stimulus Money Breakdown

So remember way back to last year when all the Stimulus money was coming out and we were all aflutter about getting our hands on some of it? Okay, so what happened to all that money? Thanks to Paul for sending me this breakdown of local Stimulus grants from ProPublica. It shows which jurisdiction received grants, which projects the money is going toward and how much was received.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bill Would Require Bike/Ped Curriculum At Traffic School

You know how sometimes you can go to traffic school instead of having a driving infraction put on your record? Well a proposed new bill suggests that those folks who go through traffic and safety courses be taught about bicycle and pedestrian traffic safety as well.

House Bill 1129, sponsored in part by our own Representative Andy Billig, would require traffic schools conducted in connection with a condition of a deferral, sentence, or penalty for a traffic infraction or a traffic-related criminal offense. This bill goes in front of the House Transportation Committee at 3:30 today. We'll follow it and let you know if it goes anywhere.

What do you think? Good idea or bad? Why?

TAC Meeting On Monday

The January Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting is Monday, Jan. 24. Here's a look at the agenda. TAC meetings are open to everyone, so come down if you can. It's in our conference room at 221 W. First Ave., Suite 310.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Down, Two To Go

SRTC last night hosted an open house to gather input on recommendations developed for the West Plains- Spokane International Airport Transportation Study. Consider it was a snowy night, we had a pretty good turnout. Some of the comments we heard include:

- Put a traffic light at Flint Road and U.S. 2 to make it easier for cars to turn left across the highway (this is in the process of becoming a realization)

- Develop a light rail line to the airport

- Install bike lanes within the study area

- Put a bus shelter at the bus stop across from Walmart

- Put a bus route on Thorpe Road to Thomas Mallon Road as there are housing developments going in there

- Develop a bus route that connects Medical Lake, Cheney, Airway Heights, Fairchild Air Fore Base and EWU

All of these comments will now be analyzed as we develop a report for this study. If you would like to view the recommendations and results from the WP-SIA Transportation Study, go here. There are also directions there on how to submit comments on the suggestions.

Okay, with that meeting over, we still have two more open houses this week. Tomorrow (Thursday) we are hosting two Transportation Vision Project open houses. They are from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. at the Kress Gallery in River Park Square. Here's more info on those meetings and the project.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Work Plan For 2011

I recently had my job evaluation and was asked, as part of it, to set some professional goals for the upcoming year. These are a little late for the new year, but I guess they could kind of be considered 'resolutions.' So here's what I came up with that I would like to tackle at SRTC in 2011:

- 'Relaunch' KMPO blog and build up readership (KMPO is our sister-agency in Kootenai County. This is important important because Spokane County could become a 'combined statistical area' with Coeur d'Alene)

- Start a SRTC Twitter account as yet another method of reaching the public

- Develop a social media policy

- Form a 'networking' group with other area Public Information professionals in the transportation field

- Increase marketing of the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center (SRTMC) to the public.

- Revise the SRTC Public Involvement Policy to make sure we are reaching all sectors of society.

Plus a million other little things that will come up between now and the end of the year that will take up most of my time. It seems mundane, but that's my list. What's your thoughts? This is just the 'public outreach' end of things because that's what I do, but are there any major areas SRTC is missing?

Monday, January 17, 2011

'Getting There' Column Features SRTC Open Houses

This week's version of the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column is pretty much devoted to SRTC activities. Oh yeah, and there's a little something in there about charging stations for electric vehicles and a DUI emphasis patrol.

Moving Forward With Naming Street After King

Here's a fitting story for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Spokane's City Council last week approved a $3.7 million construction contract with Spokane Rock Products to tear down old warehouses in the way of a new street that will be named after the civil rights leader.

The project will also include a small park that’s meant to serve as a gateway into WSU-Spokane on the southeast corner of the new street and Division.

This story includes a quote to the effect that having a street named after King shows that Spokane is becoming more progressive. I don't know about overall, but do you think Spokane is getting with the times when it comes to transportation? Bike lanes are going in, right of way was left in the middle of the North Spokane Corridor to possibly put a light rail line and Hillyard is trying to get Neighborhood Electric Vehicles legalized for use on the street. What's your thoughts?

Meeting Reminder

A reminder that you have plans tomorrow night. The West Plains-Spokane International Airport (WP-SIA) Transportation Study open house is from 4-7 p.m. tomorrow in the Kalispel Ballroom at Northern Quest Casino and Resort.

The WP-SIA study was in response to continued development of the airport business park, land use changes at the airport, and the effect those changes will have on the Geiger interchange and surrounding roadway network. Here's more info on the study.

Results and recommendations from the study will be available for you to look at and discuss with study staff at the meeting. A flyer for the meeting is below. Just click on it to see if full size.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Holiday Closures

A reminder that Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so all area government offices will be closed. Except SRTC, that is. It's not that we don't respect the Doctor, its that somewhere along the line, before I worked here, staff voted to use MLK Day as a 'floating holiday.' That means we can either take it off, or choose to save the day off at a later date. Same with Columbus Day.

So everyone else will close around 4 or 5 today and open again Tuesday at 8 a.m. Plan accordingly. That doesn't give you much time if you have government business you need to get done before Tuesday.

I Think I Actually Heard This Conversation Once

Here at SRTC, we can laugh at ourselves, so here's a little something to get you through Friday. No, we're not traffic engineers, but our transportation planners use the same lingo in the office and we've had some of these same conversations with engineers we partner with. While that's fine within the business, we've made a big effort in recent years to make all our materials understandable to everyone, not just those who deal with traffic on an everyday basis. Legal disclaimer: we don't support or endorse the 'Strong Towns' message at the end. Enjoy!

Letter Writer Praises Streets, Condemns Sidewalk Snow

Spokesman-Review Letter to the Editor
Thanks for Plowing

I, too, would like to thank our city for a job well-done in keeping our streets plowed. Yesterday the dear retired man on the corner snow-blew our entire block, leaving the sidewalk from one corner to the next snow-free. I so looked forward to my walk to the bus-stop this morning thanks to his efforts (yes, there really are pedestrians in this town).

Sometime during the night, though, the city plows threw all the dirty snow from the streets right back at us, leaving knee-deep filthy mounds all along the sidewalk that our neighbor had just cleaned up for us.

Once again I was forced to walk down the middle of the street. Have you ever walked down Wall, Queen and Monroe (main arterials) during rush hour traffic? What an exhilarating challenge! Your city plow drivers might be inconsiderate brutes, but, yes, Spokane, you’re doing a wonderful job keeping the streets clean of snow. Kudos!

Nadine Yingst Joubert

Well this letter to the editor certainly has a little of everything. The bad thing is that I can't tell if she's being sarcastic or not. She praises Spokane for keeping the roads clear, yet calls our city plow drivers 'inconsiderate brutes.' Hmmm... I tend to think they're just doing their jobs and it's not like they actually take pleasure in watching people struggle with the mounds of snow they create.

Report Says Bicycling Creates Jobs

Does bicycling create jobs? A new report out of Baltimore, MD says it does. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood met with a coalition of bicycling advocates this week who say that pedestrian and bicycle projects created nearly twice as many jobs per dollar spent than traditional road projects.

Mr. LaHood blogs talks about the meeting, and that report, on his 'Fast Lane' blog.

City Done Plowing

The City of Spokane this morning lifted its Stage 1 Snow Emergency and are done plowing. Crews didn't plow every street, but they did drive the entire City and moved slush and ice as needed.

Today, crews EW concentrating on clearing storm drains and dealing with large puddles of standing water.

If you have a drain near your house, you are asked to clear it of ice and snow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meltdown Causes Mayhem On Roads

If you've left your house at all today, you already know this. I've just been too tied up all day to update the blog. The big headline though: melting snow and falling rain are flooding our roadways and making some streets dangerous.

There are many areas around the region where storm drains are either plugged or full, making huge puddles on the street. I was driving down Thor earlier today in the outside lane. The flow of water down the hill next to the curb was pulling my car around so bad I had to change lanes. And I wasn't the only one. The Spokesman-Review has a roundup of some of the trouble areas.

They Don't Need No Stinkin' Sunshine To Ride

We all see them and think, "That's hardcore!" And maybe wonder if they're a little crazy. Yes, I'm talking about the folks who ride their bikes all year round, including on wet, slushy days like today. So who are these diehards? The Inlander introduces us to some of the folks who don't see what the fuss is all about.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Updates

I have been swamped all day so haven't been able to post snow updates. I recieved updates from both the City of Spokane and the County earlier. Here goes:

The City of Spokane this morning called a Stage 1 Snow Emergency to assist with plowing efforts in the ongoing snowstorm.

All cars were required to be moved from all arterials and STA fixed bus routes by 3:30 p.m. today. 48 pieces of equipment are on the streets, working in residential hills and arterials.

Crews worked last night to de-ice ahead of the storm and then began plowing efforts as the snow began to fall. Night crew members were kept late, and morning staff was called in early to ensure no break in snow removal. You can follow the progress of City plows here.

Spokane County has 75 pieces of snow removal equipment (plows, graders, sanding/deicing trucks) working on emergency routes and primary arterials throughout the county. Crews will continue to work around the clock to clear the entire 2,550 miles of road system.

After crews finishing plowing/sanding emergency routes and primary arterials, they will move to secondary roads, hilly residential areas, and followed by flat residential neighborhoods. You can find County snow removal information here.

Don't Make Plans Next Week

I'm taking the liberty of planning your schedule again. Consider next week pretty much booked. We have three public meetings coming up that require your attendance.

The West Plains- Spokane International Airport (WP-SIA) Transportation Study open house is on Tuesday, Jan. 18 from 4-7 p.m. at the Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, 100 N. Hayford Rd. That study is in the process of being wrapped up and we've developed proposed improvements and recommendations that you should know about if you live or travel through the west plains area. The meeting is in the Kalispel Ballroom, which is inside the hotel. It's open house format, so drop by at your convenience anytime during meeting hours. For more information on this study, check out its web page. And if you want to view the flyer, click on it to make it bigger.

I'm not above grovelling. If you have to sell it to your loved ones as a night at the casino and you 'accidentally' ran onto this meeting that interests you, I won't tell.

Meeting numbers 2 and 3 are for the Transportation Vision Project. That study is also in the final stages of completion and results and recommendations are available. They will be presented to the public at two open houses on Thursday, Jan. 20 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. at the Kress Gallery in Riverpark Square. Come put in your two cents about your 'vision' for transporation for the future. There's more information on that study here. And if you'd like to see a flyer for those meetings, click on the one below to see it full size.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This Just In From The City

The City of Spokane just sent out an email saying Street Department crews are preparing for heavy snow expected to begin tonight.

Crews will spread de-icer in advance of the storm on hills, bridges, and at intersections. Additional crews will be added as the storm progresses.

You can follow the progress of snow plows on the City's website here.

Mica Plans 'Listening Sessions' For Transportation Legislation

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, says he intends to start a process that will help craft a new multi-year surface transportation bill.

Mica says he plans to hold "listening sessions" outside of Washington to get input from local and regional officials on what should be in the next transportation legislation.

Some items to accomplish already on his list: retooling some current surface transportation programs to save money, speeding up projects to release funds already approved, spuring greater use of infrastructure loans from existing federal government programs and giving more incentives to private firms to invest in transportation projects.

The Journal of Commerce has more.

Law Would Tell Drivers How To Pass Bikes

It might seem like common sense, but a Washington state Representative has introduced a rule on how cars should pass bicycles, explain where bicycles belong in the roadway and tell cyclists to avoid pedestrians on a trail.

Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, says House Bill 1018 stems from close calls he's had while bicycling. The bill is being promoted by the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. Here's more info on it.

Cold & Tired Pedestrian Steals Truck

Here's a reminder of why you're not supposed to start your car then go insdie while it warms up: according to the Spokesman-Review, a man stole a pickup truck Sunday that was warming up outside a Deer Park home.

The alleged car thief, 32-year-old Samuel J. Sanchez, says he stole the 1992 Ford Ranger because he was cold and tired of walking. The pickup’s owner reported it stolen immediately when he heard the engine revving and saw the truck leaving his driveway.

Sanchez was picked up on U.S. 395 a few minutes later without incident.

Council Votes Down Tab Tax

After months of debate, the Spokane City Council last night voted down a proposed $20 annual fee on vehicle tabs, in part because it allocated part of the money that would be raised to installing and repairing sidewalks. The Spokesman-Review has the story.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Groups Talking About Street Utility Tax

Spokane Valley officials say they won't be pushing for a street utility tax anytime soon. Valley City Council members voted on a proposal recently that would have taxed commercial and residential property owners based on the amount of traffic generated by their respective building. The proposal was voted down.

With the legislative session starting today, many feel that a street utility tax should be at or near the top of the priority list because of the lack of dedicated funds for maintaining streets.

The Valley News Herald has more.

WSDOT Plans More Freeway Projects For Spring

You've got more backups on I90 to look forward to when the construction season starts in the spring, the construction field has it's own version of the Grammys and some local projects won and it's pothole time again.

The Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column has what's happening this week in transportation.

Pants Optional Light Rail Ride

What is it with those crazy folks on the west side always seeming like they want to take their pants off?

Yesterday was the second annual 'No Pants!' Light Rail Ride. New York's Improv Everywhere troupe started the international tradition in 2002, in which participants in various cities strip on a given winter day. About a hundred people peeled their pants off on the Link light rail, from the Westlake stop to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

There were a few rules, like keeping a straight face and wearing non-offensive underwear, although if you watch the video below, check out the guy in the background in what appears to be green bikini underwear. I'd consider that offensive.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

GSI Lists How NSC Can Improve Spokane

We've talked on here many times about the North Spokane Corridor and the pros and cons it brings with it.

Well, Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) is apparently pretty excited about the economic development opportunities that will come along with it. This article posted earlier this week on GSI's website, recognizes the freeway for the new freight route it will provide and the additional modes of transportation it will provide access to.

It also talks about GSI's plans to take a delegation to Olympia later this month to advocate on behalf of more funding for the NSC.

Notice of Special Board Meeting

On Friday, January 7, 2011, 10:30 am, at the SRTC Offices, the SRTC Board will hold a meeting to consider the following:

1. Agenda approval
2. Executive Session to consider the performance of a public employee (RCW 42.30.110(g))
3. Contract for services with Glenn Miles
4. Adjournment.

Final disposition or action shall not be taken on any other matter at the above meeting. This meeting is called by Notice from the Presiding Officer this 6th day of January, 2011.

Persons who require special accommodations should call (509) 343-6370.  SRTC complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

House GOP Agrees To Allocate Less To Transportation Spending

It's getting scary out there for transportation. We're hearing from members of the public every day about needed transportation improvements, such as the story below about potholes, but there's less and less money to spend on it. The House GOP last night adopted a rule that will allow the House to allocate less transportation funding than is authorized by the current funding and authorization bill that governs federal surface transportation spending. The rules package will be voted on by the full House and is expected to pass.

So what does that mean for transportation stakeholders and agencies?

the Washington State Department of Transportation 'Federal Transportation Issues' Blog breaks it down.

STA Launches Google Maps Trip Planner

There's something new for you bus riders. On January 1 Spokane Transit launched a new trip planner through Google maps. You can access it either through the main page of their website, here or directly from Google Maps by just typing in a start and end point for directions and checking “by public transportation”.

It's pretty cool really. I typed in a couple different destinations, and for each it told me where I needed to walk to for a bus stop for the route I needed (plus how long it would take to get from my starting location to that bus stop), how soon until a bus on that route comes again, and exactly where to get off the bus to reach my destination. In one case, a walk was required to get where I was going once I got off the bus, and it even told me how long it would take to walk there.

Potholes Make Their Return

It seems like it's a never ending cycle for Spokane street crews; they're either plowing or patching potholes. With the freeze and thaw cyclees we've been going through this winter crews have been trying to get to as many potholes as they can between bouts of plowing, but its a challenge. KXLY ran this piece on potholes last night.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

West Plains- Spokane International Airport Study Open House

SRTC has recently developed draft recommendations for the West Plains-Spokane International Airport (WP-SIA) Transportation Study and we'd like to hear your thoughts on them. We will host a public open house on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 to provide an opportunity for members of the public to view and comment on those recommendations. The open house is from 4-7 p.m. in the Kalispel Ballroom at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino, 100 N. Hayford Road in Airway Heights.

Study recommendations address public concerns about roadways within the study area, improvements to transit service, safety improvements, and safety issues for bicyclists and pedestrians. For more information on the WP-SIA study, click here. To view the flyer for the meeting, click the pictures below to view it full size.

Bicycle Collisions Not Dropping According To Statistics

While there appears to be a commitment to make the City of Spokane a more bicycle-friendly place, statistics show that bicycle accidents are all too common in our area. The death of a bicyclist just last month underscores this.

This piece on the movement toward bicycling and the risks involved ran in the Spokesman-Review this weekend.

Browne's Addition Plowing Starts Today

Okay, I'm sure you already know this from the tons of media coverage devoted to it, but the City of Spokane will be plowing the streets of Browne’s Addition today and Wednesday, Jan. 4 and 5, starting at 9 a.m.

Cars must be moved from the north-south streets in Browne’s Addition on Tuesday and from the east-west streets on Wednesday. The streets are so narrow in Browne’s Addition the plows cannot get through with parked vehicles lining the streets.

Vehicles parked in those areas when the trucks come in will be subject to towing. If your vehicle is towed call 625-4100 to arrange to bail it out.

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.