Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kootenai-Spokane Commissioners Coordinate For Greater Good

This story in the Spokesman-Review today talks about some areas in which Spokane and Kootenai county commissioners would like to coordinate their efforts to be more effective overall.

Here are a couple of the topics they are tackling: comparing notes on recycling programs, establishing a regional law enforcement pay structure so Kootenai isn't competing with Spokane County for officers, and connecting Kootenai's bus system to Spokane Transit routes to allow commuters to travel from Kootenai to Spokane County, all on public transit.

Great ideas? Of course, but the public transit one isn't a new idea. SRTC has been talking about hooking the two transit systems up for several years now. We've run into a couple barriers over the years that have prevented it from happening, so if the commissioners talking about it can make it happen, great.

The most opportune time may have passed already though, considering that SRTC used to provide transportation planning services for Kootenai County in addition to Spokane County. The Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization Board recently voted to separate from SRTC and hire our former Transportation Manager, so it's hard to say what kind of affect working with a newly-formed agency could have.

Anyway, it's great to see we're moving in the direction of across the board (and border) coordination. Read the article to see what other efforts commissioners from both counties are focusing their attention on at this time.

5 comments:

Charles said...

They all sound like good ideas, but as the article points out there is a state line between us, that may prove too hard to cross.

SRTC Staff said...

It would be great if we could put aside the politics for the good of the region and make it happen. In the scheme of things, it doesn't seem like it's something that would be terribly difficult to make happen.

Anonymous said...

Show me the money!

Melissa said...

Ever since Citylink started I've been astounded that the two transit agencies come so close to touching... but don't. Seems like it couldn't be too hard to build a park & ride lot that straddled the state line. Imagine a 10-20 foot wide strip of cement 100 feet long oriented north-south running on the state border with some sheltered seating and a few kiosks with both system maps and maybe a toilet. STA buses pull up to the west side every 30 minutes at the same time as Citylink buses pull up to the east side... swap passengers then continue on their way. It could be so beautiful!

SRTC Staff said...

@Anonymous has guessed one of the major barriers; no money. The Coeur d' Alene Tribe has been footing the bill for Citylink for years and has been saying for a while that they need help. Considering the current economic situation, and not receiving any help, the Tribe isn't in the position to expand their network at this time.

@Melissa, we were just talking this morning about how nice it would be to put a park and ride at Pleasantview where both transit systems could meet in the middle. Then the STA bus could jump back on the freeway, stop at the Liberty Lake park and ride to grab those folks, then back onto the freeway to head downtown. The current Citylink park and ride lot in CDA (that is very highly utilized) doesn't even have the shelters or toilet you talk about, so to start you could just use a lot and people would still use it until money became available to improve 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.