Wednesday, August 31, 2011

County Cuts Engineering Staff

The Spokane County Engineering and Roads Department Tuesday laid off 13 engineering technicians for lack of work. The layoffs are driven by an across-the-board reduction in capital projects. Next year’s construction schedule is expected to cost about $12 million, compared with about $40 million in recent years. The Spokesman-Review has more.

Federal Program Used Locally Could Face Deep Cuts

A federal program that pays for roads, sidewalks, youth programs and miscellaneous other services could face substantial cuts in the coming year, as Congress works to slash debt. Local officials are worried that cuts to the Community Development Block Grant Program could translate to cuts in improvement projects and social services. Here's the story.

Buses Carry Atheist Message

Some people are a little surprised by a message they're seeing on eleven Spokane Transit buses. A national atheist coalition is spreading their word through the buses and STA officials say it's not their job to limit free speech. Here's the whole story, from the Spokesman-Review.

Pedestrian Hit, Killed By Car On Sprague

Another pedestrian was killed yesterday. A City of Spokane Police Department news release says it happened just east of downtown where Sprague Way joins into Sprague Avenue.

The driver of the vehicle was headed east on Sprague in the curb lane. At this time, there are no criminal charges against the driver but the incident is still under investigation.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cleaning Day At SRTC

It turns out SRTC has a storage room I didn't even know about that's been packed so full of stuff for years now that no one even goes in it. I guess it was pretty quiet around here Friday so some of the staff members decided to clean it out because they have some kind of plans for it. It's not that big of a space either, but THIS is what they found in it! Holy cow, that's YEARS worth of stuff. Hoarders has nothing on us! Uh, maybe we need to implement an annual spring cleaning day.

Indiana/Sullivan Works Moves To Other Side Of Intersection

The northeast corner of the Indiana/Sullivan intersection will close Saturday, Sept. 3 as a resurfacing project there moves into its next phase. At that time, the southeast corner of the intersection will be reopened.

While east-west movements along Indiana Avenue across the Sullivan intersection remain closed, traffic will once again be able to turn east onto Indiana from northbound Sullivan.

Sullivan Road traffic in the area remains reduced to one lane in each direction. All northbound and southbound traffic continues to be routed across the weight-restricted Sullivan Road Bridge on the west side, which normally only carries southbound traffic.

The project is on schedule. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the intersection is expected to re-open to traffic all directions sometime between September 13 and 21.

State Planning To Spend Money To Make Money

You've heard the old saying 'You have to spend money to make money?' Well, that's kind of what the state is banking on in an effort to bring in federal funds for transportation. The Washington State Department of Transportation is planning to pay a four year $750,000 contract to a lobbyist firm and they're hoping it will pay off by bringing millions of dollars into the state for transportation infrastructure. has the story.

TX Roadways Closed Due To Extremem Heat

The extreme heat in the south is causing some major transportation projects in Houston, TX. The heat is causing infrastructure to shift, which causes possible safety issues. ABC 13 has the story.

Widow Of Bicyclist Has Questions About Incident

The wife of a man killed when he was hit on his bicycle earlier this summer still has a lot of questions regarding the incident. And admits she'd built an image in her mind of who the perpetrator was, and it doesn't fit the description of the person who actually did hit her husband. Here's the story from the Spokesman-Review.

DSP Installs Downtown 'Wayfinding' System

I was out of town for about a week and all kinds of transportation stuff happened while I was gone! The Downtown Spokane Partnership got all high tech on us and started installing a wayfinding system throughout downtown. The first of the gigantic stickers was installed in front of the Red Lion Hotel at the Park a couple days ago just across the bridge from Riverfront Park. A total of 50 of them are going in, and they include a Quick Response code so that those with smartphones can scan them and bring the map up on their phones! Here are more pictures of the Red Lion one being installed.

Art Project Turns Into Public Transportation Project

Thanks to @Vanilla Jane for sending this article about an art project in Tenino, WA that turned into an experiment in public transportation.

I remember many, many years ago this was tried in Spokane, only it didn't start out as an art installation, it was always aimed at getting people where they were going more efficiently. In our case, the bikes were painted purple (in keeping with the lilac city them) and, if I remember right, many of them mysteriously ended up in the river. That was either the late 80's or early 90's though so I'm wondering if community bikes would have a better reception now. Any thoughts?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Red Light Camera Fight Heating Up

Tim Eyman says his red-light camera initiative is sweeping the state and uniting people on a transportation issue they can agree on. One state rep even says that Washington is a battle ground state on the issue, because if the red light camera companies lose Washington, there's a good chance they'll lose the rest of the country.

Here's the latest on the anti-red light camera movement from the Seattle Times.

Welcome Sign Survey

To help confirm Spokane Valley as a unique city with its own distinct identity, the Spokane Valley City Council is considering placement of signs in strategic locations and on public facilities to identify Spokane Valley and welcome visitors to the community.

The City Council would like to know your preferences from among six sign types they are considering. A survey has been set up on the City's website where community members can see pictures and descriptions of the six sign types, and then select one they believe would best represent Spokane Valley and its citizens. Here's a link to the survey. It will be up through Sept. 8.

Hatch Road Bridge Closed

The Hatch Road Bridge, which crosses Latah Creek near U.S. 195, will be closed for maintenance work Tuesday, Aug. 30, through Thursday, Sept. 1, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. That means you'll need to find an alternate route.

Spokane Valley Traffic Alert

The southbound curb lane of Pines between Sinto & Boone will be closed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, August 30 through Thursday, September 1 for utility work. Signs will direct traffic through the work area.

Valley Bike/Ped Master Program Update

Wondering what's happening with Spokane Valley's Bike and Pedestrian Master Program (BPMP)? Well, tomorrow, Aug. 30, Valley staff is scheduled to provide a detailed administrative report on the BPMP to City Council members. This meeting will be held at City Hall in the Council Chambers commencing at 6 p.m. and is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the BPMP. Or you can check out this summary sheet of the program.

This meeting will provide an opportunity for Council to make changes to the BPMP. Council members may request staff to draft an ordinance with minor changes reflecting City Council's changes, or remand substantial modifications back to the Planning Commission for a future scheduled public hearing. If there are substantial changes the community will have an opportunity to voice their opinion(s) at the Planning Commission public hearing. So there you go, now you know what's happening with the BPMP.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blogging Hiatus

I'll be out of the office for about a week so there will be a blogging hiatus. There may be occasional items posted so you may want to check back occasionally. And definetly check back on Aug. 29 because that's when I will resume my outreach duties.- Staci

New Construction Projects & Lane Closures Posted

With fall on the way, the local jurisdictions have to crank those construction projects out while they still can. New projects and lane closures starting tomorrow and next week are posted at

Tough Day At SRTC

This is a hard one to blog about. But being a public agency I feel that I have to tackle this topic because it's public information and a fact of life these days. We have recently gotten some tough news; like many other government agencies, SRTC's budget has a large hole in it due to a number of factors, so we are reducing our workforce. Those who remain are taking mandatory furlough days.

While staff understands the need for these measures and realizes we are not the only agency going through this, it is still hard to say goodbye to members of our team we've worked with for several years. While the hardest part in our office right now is the emotions, there will also be some challenges in tackling our work load. Some of us will be taking on extra duties to make up for those that were let go. While we pride ourselves on our customer service and punctuality in our projects, we will continue to do our best. I will still be here blogging and doing other outreach.

In the meantime, we're applying for grants and looking at options that could cut costs. A word to the wise though; You may not want to call the boss to complain about traffic today, he's taking this very personal and is more than a little stressed out.

Baby Changes Walking Habits

Despite having none of my own (and absolutely no maternal instict) I've always known that having children changes your lifestyle. But to the degree that you even change the way, and the places, that you walk?? Yep. The author of the Where the Sidewalk Starts blog talks about how having a baby has changed her pedestrian habits.

Letter Writer Says Bicyclists Should Pay Up

Letter to the Editor

I read a couple of letters recently from bicyclists complaining about their rights. They argue their rights of the road, which I guess includes special rights – like on a four-lane road with cars waiting for the light, they have the right to ride to the front in between the cars instead of waiting where they fall in line behind a car.

Another complaint I see they have is that they cannot afford the taxes, fees and insurance that motorized vehicles have to pay. Yet they want a free ride on the backs of people paying these fees. They demand a bike lane that uses road fees to build. They can’t ride on the shoulder because it’s dirty.

Well a good solution is to have them pay fees to build their bike lanes and sweep the shoulders. I guess they think these entitlements are free.

I drive a car. I don’t think the fees I pay for this right should be given away for the sake of the few bicyclists on the road. Bicyclists, nothing is free. You want these benefits for the few of you; well pay the fees to have this done or just quit whining.

Richard Haste

I have a couple issues with this letter: 1.) Bicyclists do NOT have the right to ride between vehicles to the front of the queue (did I spell that right?) when waiting at a traffic light, as Mr. Haste claims. 2.) The majority of bicyclists out there also own vehicles, and therefore are already helping to pay for area roads through their car tabs, etc.

New Director Article

We made the Spokesman-Review for an article about the new Executive Director coming on board. It's pretty much includes everything I had in the press release I posted here yesterday but there's an additional tidbit or two. Here's the article.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WA Highway Projects Get $25M In Federal Funding

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today $25.9 Million in Grants for Washington Highway Projects. The only project in our region is replacement of the Keller Ferry. Here's the list of projects to receive funding.

SRTC Board Hires Executive Director

Following a nationwide search, the SRTC Board has hired an Executive Director. Kevin S. Wallace joins our team on Sept. 6 from his current position in Phoenix, AZ. Here's a news release about Mr. Wallace and his qualifications.

We're very excited to have Kevin coming on board. With all the concern over the reauthorization of the federal transportation bill, hard economic times and the changing role of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, we are looking forward to using his knowledge to steer us in a new direction. Believe me, he's going to be earning his money; there's a LOT going on here.

We'd also like to thank Mark Rohwer, who was pulled out of retirement to serve as our Interim Transportation Manager while the hiring process was underway. Mark had the tough task of figuring out what exactly we do here on an everyday basis, making some tough budget choices and keeping employee morale up at a time when there was a lot of concern over the state of the economy. He's done a great job and we hope he heads right back to his hammock when we release him back into retirement.

Road & Lane Closures For Tomorrow and Friday

A portion of Washington St. will be closed tomorrow and there will be lane closures on Hamilton and Valleyway. Details are at the top of the home page.

Partnering With Other Agencies For Community Sustainability

The media is slow on the topic of transportation today, so just to have something to post this morning I'll tell you what's ahead in my day: I'm leaving here in ten for City Hall where Jeff Selle from our office and I will run a mini-workshop aimed at forming a consortium of area agencies to apply for a Community Sustainability and Regional Planning Grant. It's through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and could bring in several million dollars to our community, which is sorely needed right now. The partners in that could range from the City of Spokane to higher education institutions and social service agencies that help lower income families and people with disabilities. It's going to be a huge undertaking but we believe we're already striving to achieve several of the goals the grant shoots for, so we might be able to tackle this. I'd love to expand on those goals, but I can't find my info packet on the grant right now, so I'll fill you in later. Sorry, my 'filing system' needs some work.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Council Will Let Voters Decide On SARP

At a special meeting last night, the Spokane Valley City Council agreed to let voters decide whether to change Sprague between Argonne and University and Appleway from Dishman Mica to University back to two-way streets. KXLY has the story on the decision and public reaction to it.

A lot of people have asked what will happen with $300,000 in federal funding from the Surface Transportation Program that was dedicated to the corridor years ago if the scope of the project changes. The question many want to know is if the Valley will have to pay it back. Well, it's hard to say at this point. According to my sources, the Valley has about a year timeframe in which to complete an environement assessment (EA) on the project. If they don't get that done, then the money will have to be paid back. So why wouldn't they be able to get an EA done in that time? Because you can't do an EA on a scenario if you're not sure what to plan for. They have to wait to see what voters decide when it goes to a vote in November and after that the EA can start. They take time though so it could be a tight squeeze.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Special Board Meeting Wednesday

The SRTC Board has scheduled a special meeting for this Wednesday, Aug. 17. Here's the agenda.

Obama's New Campaign Trail Ride

Air Force One is so 2000's. According to ABC News, this is President Obama's new mode of transportation; an armored bus, stocked with secret communications technology, and with flashing police-style red and blue lights on the front and the back.

The vehicle was commissioned by the Secret Service, which has always hired buses for election campaigns and retrofitted them to provide suitable protection for presidents and rival party nominees. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Bowdish Road Closure

Bowdish between 17th & 18th will be closed from 6:30am on Wednesday, Aug. 17 through 6pm Friday, Aug. 19 for utility work. Signs will reroute traffic via Skipworth.

Train Hits SUV

Here's another reason to get the Bridging the Valley (BTV) series of projects going: The Spokesman-Review reports that a train smashed into a SUV east of Rathdrum yesterday, flipping the car four or five times and ejecting the driver.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said the SUV tried to cross the tracks even though there was no railroad crossing in the area. The train whistle was sounded repeatedly, and even though its emergency brakes were activated, it couldn’t stop in time. The SUV rolled several times, and the driver, identified only as a Post Falls man, was ejected and pinned beneath the hood. He was airlifted to a hospital with internal injuries.

Up to 50 trains use those tracks daily.

Okay, considering that the guy tried to cross the tracks where there isn't even a crossing tells me that a BTV project probably wouldn't have prevented this collission, but it could help prevent others, by either raising the road up to go over tracks or dropping it under, like at the tracks near Argonne. Separating vehicles and trains would make it might difficult for them to come in contact and could save lives.

Transportation Roundup For Week Of Aug. 15

Freeway noise walls, freeway blasting, intersection rehabilitation and a lot of other road construction. That's what's happening this week in the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

Sullivan Bridges Weight Restrictions

Temporarily weight restrictions will be put on both the north and southbound Sullivan Road Bridges across the Spokane River from Aug. 20 through Sept. 21. To date, restrictions have only applied to southbound traffic on the west bridge.

After the Indiana/Sullivan Intersection Replacement Project is completed and traffic patterns revert to normal, restrictions will again apply only to the west bridge.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Construction Projects, Lane & Road Closures Posted At

I hate to break it to you, but there are more construction projects starting next week. The good news though is that we're going to have LOTS of nice new roads this fall when construction wraps up. All the new projects and lane and road closures are posted at on the home page.

Obama Tells Congress To Hurry Up & Pass Highway Bill

Voters should pressure Congress to pass a federal highway bill, according to President Obama. In a speech last night, the president said he's eager to pass a bill in order to get folks working on jobs building and repairing roads and other transportation infrastructure.

The current version of the bill expires Sept. 30, so time is running out. The has the story on what's taking so long.

Man Injured While Trying To Avoid Getting Hit By Car

A 90-year-old veteran of World War II is the most recent victim in a vehicle versus pedestrian incident. Allan Wood was seriously hurt Tuesday when he fell and knocked himself out as he tried to get out of the way of a speeding car. And the driver sped off after witnessing this. The Spokesman-Review has Wood's story.

Final Spokane Summer Parkways This Sunday

If you haven't checked out Spokane Summer Parkways yet, this Sunday is your last chance to do so this year.

Several roads in the Northwest Neighborhood will be closed to motorized vehicles from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Northwest Neighborhood so that you can take to the streets on your bikes, skates, feet, or any other form of non-motorized transportation or exercise. The route includes the beautiful Audobon Park, fun activities at Joe Albi Stadium, and the new Dwight Merkel Complex. If you haven’t explored this part of Spokane, this is a great opportunity. Here's all the info you need.

Mmmm... Road Diets

When I was in high school, I had a teacher who always looked a little under the weather on Fridays, and he'd put in a video for us to watch instead of teaching math. Well, it's Friday and my brain is jello so here's a nice video for you. And speaking of jello, it's on road diets, a way to calm traffic and make it safer for all users by removing lanes from a roadway. Thanks to @Bike to Work Barb for sending this to me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

American Society of Civil Engineers Supports Complete Streets

The American Society of Civil Engineers has added its voice to the Complete Streets discussion. In a policy adopted July 30, the ASCE states, "The ASCE supports Complete Streets policies that require that the safety, interests, and convenience of all users – drivers, bicyclists, transit users and pedestrians of all ages and abilities – be considered in the design, construction, operations, and management of transportation projects." You can read the policy here.

Highway 95 Construction Starting

If you use Highway 95 in North Idaho to get to Silverwood or other destinations south of Coeur d'Alene, your drive could be a lot smoother soon. Work is starting to expand the highway from Ohio Match Road up to Silverwood Theme Park into a divided, four-lane highway. KXLY News has the story below.

Back When I Was A Kid...

At the risk of sounding like an old geezer, I'm going to complain about the price of something now- air. My tire was low so I stopped at a gas station this morning to fill it. The machine there cost 75 cents. Having only 50 cents and no cash, I went to two more stations, hoping to find what apparently no longer exists- free air. I finally had to go to the cash machine, go to a fourth gas station, get change, and ended up paying a dollar (yes, a dollar!) for air. The funny thing is that the machine had a blurb on it that said $1 for 5 minutes of air! Hey, that's a great deal- if you're blowing up a hot air balloon. I want a refund for the 4 minutes and 40 seconds of air that I didn't use while topping off my one tire. Okay, done complaining now. I understand nothing is free anymore but $1 for air seems excessive.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Could Gas Tax Be Next Major Struggle Between Parties?

Could the federal gas tax become the next major battle between Democrats and Republicans? That's what transportation advocates and congressional staffers suspect.

The Senate and House are in the process of considering a long-term highway bill. With the chambers far apart on their proposals though, there has been some concern that congressional Republicans would attempt to use the gas tax as leverage in the fight over the competing transportation proposals. 'The Hill' website has the story.

Editorial Says Commissioners Should Support Mandatory Helmet Law

An editorial in the Spokesman-Review this morning says that County Commissioners should support a proposed mandatory helmet law for all of Spokane County for those riding bikes, skateboards and scooters. Here's the editorial.

I had a discussion with a family member yesterday on this topic and his thought was that it would be fine to require children under 18 to wear helmets, but as an adult you should be able to make your own decisions regarding hitting your head. What's your thoughts on the subject and why.

I-90 Delays

You may want to find an alternate route to I-90 through downtown this morning. Westbound traffic has been pretty close to at a standstill the past couple hours due to a combination of heavy traffic and a collision near the Hamilton Street interchange. I got stuck in it myself and received calls from a couple other people frustrated by the delays. One of those people tried to jump off onto Second Ave. and also got slowed down there, so be patient.

Obama Reaches Deal On Heavy-Duty Vehicle Efficiency Standards

President Obama yesterday announced the first fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for long-haul rigs, work trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles. This is the second 'mileage pact' with vehicle manufacturers in less than a month.

The regulations call for cutting 9% to 23% of fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions by 2018, depending on the type of vehicle. The Spokesman-Review has all the details.

Writer Says Fuel Efficient Cars Aren't For Tall Folks

Letter to the editor: Tall folks' nightmare
Moscow-Pullman Daily News

PULLMAN, Wash. - Have proponents of a vehicle fleet that averages 54.5 mpg any idea what adverse consequences lie in their campaign to save the environment from greenhouse gases or to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The resulting little cars are a nightmare for tall folks. At 6 feet 2 inches, I don't consider myself particularly tall (several people in my family are significantly taller), until I try to get into some of these mini-cars. Little cars are fine for little people. They also may be for young folks who don't have bad knees or hips, or stenosis in the lower back.

I'd like to buy a Jeep Wrangler; but with the seat pushed as far back as it goes, I can barely get my feet on the pedals. I couldn't safely drive it.

But this isn't even the beginning of the nightmare. The maniacal push for high gas mileage is driving a lot of expensive technology on consumers, and it isn't accounted for by proponents.

Just one example (to cope with space limitations on letter length): Disc brakes. Ever notice as the miles build up they begin to pulse and you have to have a mechanic true (grind down) the rotors? That's because engineers have made the rotors so thin (to save weight) that the heat of braking warps them. So there's a costly repair job. And it can only be done a time or two before you have to replace the rotors.

Any mechanic could cite a dozen or more other examples.

Terence L. Day,

I've heard a lot of objections to electric and more fuel efficient cars (the batteries are too expensive, there's nowhere to plug them in, you can't buy ethanol just anywhere, you can't charge solar panels at night, etc.) but this is a new one. Any tall, or short, people have a rebuttal or supporting argument?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Man Hit/Killed By Car While Standing In His Yard

The Spokesman-Review is reporting that a driver with a learner’s permit apparently confused the gas pedal with the brake and struck and killed a man as he stood in his Spokane Valley lawn this afternoon.

The accident happened on 32nd Avenue just west of the intersection with Glenn Road. The victim was identified as Wes Abney, 48.

It's not clear yet if the driver in the incident will be charged.

Council Keeps Indiana 25 MPH

The Spokane Valley City Council voted to keep Indiana Avenue at 25 mph in the Greenacres area, after much debate. City of Spokane Valley staff had suggested increasing it to 35 mph. The Spokane Valley News Herald has the story on why Valley Councilmembers disagreed.

Reduced-Size Megaloads Could Come Through Spokane

Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil is considering rerouting their 'megaloads'- right through Spokane. Fifty of 98 giant modules of oil equipment already have arrived at the Port of Pasco by barge, where they’re awaiting approval to be shipped by truck up U.S. 395 to I-90 through Spokane, travel east to Coeur d’Alene, and then follow the same route as the Highway 95 loads along I-90 and I-15 in Montana to Canada.

The Spokesman-Review has the full story.

August TAC Meeting Cancelled

The Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting scheduled for Aug. 22 has been cancelled to give TAC members a 'summer break.' They work hard; we feel they deserve it. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Fatal Crash Closes Broadway From Havana To Alki

If you haven't left home yet, avoid Broadway from Havana to Alki. A news release from the Spokane Police Department says that section of roadway has been shut down following a fatal crash that happened just before 6 this morning.

Based on witness statements and preliminary evidence at the scene, investigators believe a car was traveling at a high rate of speed westbound on Broadway. It crashed when the driver was unable to negotiate the curve at Alki Way. Investigators also determined alcohol was a factor in the crash. A passenger didn't survive the crash. The drivers is at an area hospital with unknown injuries and under arrest for Vehicular Homicide. The identities of both the passenger and the driver will be released when the passenger's next of kin have been notified.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Public Involvement Policy Available For Review/Comment

I recently updated SRTC's Public Involvement Policy (PIP) and it's now available for review and comment. The PIP provides methods for community engagement, communications, and the solicitation of public comment. It provides guidance on providing effective involvement of stakeholders and the public in the development of plans and programs. Being a government document, it's a little dry reading but I'd advise you to do so to make sure we're on the right track. Click here to read it.

You can submit comments on the PIP here.
Comments are due by 4 p.m. on Sept. 23, 2011.

County Considers Mandatory Bike Helmet Law

Spokane County considers a mandatory bike helmet law, there's a new website for young drivers and lots of construction. Here's what's happening this week from the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

Survey Says Americans Can't Afford Car Maintenance

A recent AAA survey says the week economy is changing how motorists handle their vehicle maintenance.

Nearly 30% of survey respondents said a $2,000 repair bill for their car would be more than their budget could handle. And one in eight surveyed said a $1,000 repair bill would break the bank.

More than half of respondents said they’ve decided in the past 12 months to hold onto an older vehicle rather than face the burden of paying for a new one, according to the survey.

Here are more survey results from the Magic Valley Times-News.

Lithuanian Mayor Crushes Illegal Parking

Thinks to @Melissa for sending this. Every year when the City of Spokane plows the streets of Browne's Addition and has to have cars towed to make room for the plows, I hear a lot of complaining. Well, to those people I say, be glad you don't live in Lithuania. A mayor there is taking a hardline on people who park illegally. And to get the word out that he won't tolerate 'disrespectful behaviour by drivers who disobey parking rules' (his spokesperson's wording), he set up a little stunt involving an illegally parked Mercedes and an armoured personnel carrier. Wow, I wish I could get my hands on a personnel carrier for just one day.

New Website Promotes Physical Activity

Step UP Spokane has launched a website to make it easier to get you moving. Step UP Spokane is a communitywide campaign to help improve the health of citizens by promoting daily physical activity and healthier eating.

Here's the new website. It features health information and improved physical activity tracking. The site can also be used to find local fitness and healthy activities and to read about the latest health news.

The Step UP Spokane program was launched last fall. Since that time, nearly 1,500 people have registered to take an activity challenge.

August Board Meeting Agenda Available

The monthly SRTC Board meeting is this Thursday, Aug. 11. Here's the agenda. The meeting will be preceded by an informal brown bag session on the HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. As always, the meetings are open to the public and there is a public comment period provided in case you have something transportation-related on your mind.

City Thinking About Snow Already

It's mid-August and 80+ degrees out, so why is the City of Spokane thinking about snow? To be proactive. In the last three years, Spokane has had two winters with historic snow loads. Those winters prompted the City to develop new policies that determine how snow removal is accomplished.

The Community Assembly (a group of designated representatives from Spokane neighborhoods) is interested in finding out what you think of snow removal, through a survey that asks questions about your personal experience and opinions on this topic. Here's the link to the survey. When you're done taking it, you can review the results so far, which are pretty interesting. Please pass it on to others as well.

Friday, August 5, 2011

He's still out there, so leave the headphone at home

According to the Spokesman Review, authorities investigating reports of women being assaulted by a bicyclist while jogging continue to urge caution but say law enforcement “is addressing this issue.”

Spokane County sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan said Thursday that he couldn’t provide further details regarding police efforts but said trail users are urged to jog in pairs and not to wear headphones that block noise.

The assailant has targeted women on the Centennial Trail as well as residential areas; authorities urge women to be particularly cautious “in nearby residential areas north of the river and east of Mission to Argonne Road,” Reagan said in a news release.

Another woman reported being assaulted July 26 about 10 a.m. on the Centennial Trail near Greene Street and Upriver Drive, Reagan said. The woman said she was running when a white man about 25 to 30 years old, brown hair, 5-foot-7 with a medium build, slapped her bottom. She swore at him and he rode away, Reagan said.

Witnesses should report suspicious activity or incidents to Crime Check at (509) 456-2233

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's not the Google car, but interesting for sure...

This kind of stuff always makes me wonder what transportation is really going to look like in the next 20 years... I want a car that I can get into, push a button and then take nap while the car does the driving.

BTW, the audio in this video kind of sucks at the end of the video, but it gets the point across...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A few details are coming out on debt bill

While very little detail has been made public on the limit bill that President Obama signed into law today, Streets Blog was able to corner a transportation staffer in DC, who was able to detail some on the implications to transportation funding. We are not certain this analysis in 100% accurate, but its the best we have right now... stay tuned as more details will come out in the next couple of days...

Here is the link.

Senate leader announces focus on "Highway BIll"

OK, one more... I was watching the live broadcast of the Senate vote on the Debt Ceiling issue, and i was pleasantly surprised to hear Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announce (for the first time)that he want to tee up a bipartisan vote on the "Highway Bill" when congress reconvenes in September. He said that he has discussed ways to fund the bill with the Senate Chairman of the Finance committee, and he thinks there could be an agreement that would pass both houses of congress. The transportation committees in both houses have released their framework for reauthorizing the "Highway Bill," but the biggest difference between the two is a the duration of the authorization. The house wants a six-year, bare-bones reauthorization and the Senate wants increased spending over a two-year cycle. The House bill would be completely funded by the Highway Trust fund, and would require no new revenues. The Senate bill would also use the highway trust fund, but it would require about $25 billion in additional revenues... If Senator Reid is right, and the Senate Finance committee can find more money to pump up the trust fund (without raising taxes), the chair of the House Transportation Committee has stated that he would be willing to support increased infrastructure spending as well... stay tuned, and in the meantime,here is the link to Senator Reid's comments

Be Careful on Centennial Trail

Be careful if you are planning a joig or bike ride on the Cenntenial Trail. According to the Spokesman Review, police have received three reports of women being gropped by a man riding a bicycle on the trail. Until this man is caught, police say it is wise to jog or bike in pairs... Click here to read more details

Have you ridden the bike loop yet?

This story and graphic ran in the Spokesman Review today. It is refreshing to see our city leaders paying attention to the bike folks who enjoy the benefits of active transportation. Not to throw a wet towel on things, but one has to wonder how much of this we will see in the future with the state of our national economy and the emphasis on cutting government spending. SRTC has been tracking the national debate on spending and transportation funding. While those discussions are far from being settled at this point, it's pretty safe to say that the debate on transportation funding is likely to be spirited... So maybe we should just enjoy what what are seeing now, and hope for the best as we try muddle through this economic downturn. Oooops, almost forgot the link... Read more here

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.