Thursday, March 29, 2012

Update: Fed Transpo Bill Extention Passes Both House & Senate

Earlier this afternoon, the U.S. Senate followed the House of Representatives' lead and passed a 90-day extension to the multi-year surface transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU. This is the bill's ninth extension since it expired at the end of September 2009.

Transpo Secretary Hammond Receives Public Works Award

Congratulations to Washington State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. The Washington American Public Works Association (APWA) named her winner of its 2011 Roy Morse Award for outstanding technical or professional accomplishments in public workers.

APWA officials say Hammonds career excellence and dedication to public works made her an easy choice for the award. The Washington State Department of Transportation Blog has the whole story.

Distracted Driving Lands Car Thief In Jail

Wow, talk about an overachiever. A Kennewick man crashed into a home because he was texting and eating at the same time- while driving a stolen truck.

The Spokesman-Review reports the driver lost control of the stolen truck and went into a ditch, drove through some logs and lawns and then hit the house.

He rain from the scene but was picked up not too much later. And if you were wondering what he was eating, it was a croissant.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

First Annual Spokane Bike Swap A Big Success

I just got done talking with Aurora Crooks of Spokane County's Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Program. It was the CTR program that organized last weekend's first Annual Spokane Bike Swap, along with several partners. Aurora says that early numbers from the Swap show they had a phenomenal turnout for the event. She said the Swap started at 9 a.m. on Saturday and she got a call at 10:30 that morning saying most of the consignment bikes were already sold! $43,000 was brought in on the consignment bikes along and the bike shops that were there also said they sold lots of new bikes as well.

In all, early numbers show the Swap cleared at least $15,000- and it all gets donated to the Friends of the Centennial Trail to improve the trail! The CTR office is putting together final numbers and I will report them when I get them, but the early numbers are very impressive and encouraging.

Service Uses Facebook To Match Carpoolers

You use social media for everything else- networking, new recipes, finding out what Anut Flo is up to, finding dates, etc.- so why not use it to get a ride where you're going too?

A new company is using the power of social media to connect potential carpooling partners. The service is called Zimride and it uses Facebook to match up people going places with people who need rides to those same places, or close by. has the background on Zimride.

Electronic Version of 2012 Road Construction Map Available

For those who like to be prepared, I've got a sneak peek at the 2012 Spokane Regional Road Construction Map here.

The map is a collaboration of local jurisdictions that work with transportation. This year the City designed the map. It is developed annually in an effort to keep traffic moving by helping drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians avoid slow downs caused by road construction.

A print version of the map will be available within about a week so check back here to find out where you can pick up your free copy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vote To Extend Federal Transportation Bill Cancelled

Republicans in Congress today proposed a 60-day extension of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users. The current bill expires this Saturday. The proposal didn't get far though; after a debate, a vote was postponed.

Transportation Issues Daily reports that the vote was cancelled because Democrats indicated they would not vote for the extention, in an effort to try to force the House into voting on the Senate’s transportation bill.

So what happens now? Well I would say commence to panic but those in the know say Republicans likely will implement a procedure to pass the bill with a simple majority.

Here's the latest.

WA Gas Prices Up 6 Cents Since Last Week

The AAA auto club this morning is reporting that the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Washington is $4.07! That's up 6 cents from last week and 25 cents from a month ago. It's also 17 cents higher than the national average.

The average price in Spokane is currently $3.82 That's not terrible though considering a AAA survey from yesterday shows an average of $4.22 in Bellingham and $4.13 in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area.

Southwest Raises Ticket Prices; Blames Increase On Cost Of Fuel

Southwest Airlines is raising ticket prices- for the third time this year- and blames the move on the high price of jet fuel. Now several other airlines are following their lead.

How high are fares going? The Spokesman-Review has the details.

Revised Transportation Technical Committee Meeting Agenda

The agenda for the Transportation Technical Committee meeting tomorrow here at SRTC has been revised a tiny bit. The item 'Alternatives Analysis Grant Opportunity' has been added. Here's the updated agenda.

Spokane's Urban Area Boundaries Change Due To Census Results

The U.S. Census Bureau yesterday released Urban Area (UA) boundary lists from the 2010 Census.

In Spokane County, the newly released boundaries and data show some changes, although nothing unexpected. Spokane's UA has grown larger, includes areas that were once part of a separate 'Urban Cluster,' and it no longer crosses into Idaho.

No idea what I'm talking about? It really is interesting stuff, and it's explained better here. Plus you can look at a map of the newly defined Urban Areas.

Monday, March 26, 2012

STA Called One Of Most Secure Transit Systems In Country

Congratulations to Spokane Transit Authority! STA last week was presented with a “Gold Standard” plaque from the Transportation Security Administration for meeting TSA’s federal security threshold.

Federal officials said STA is one of the most secure transit systems in the country. Spokane is one of only 17 communities nationwide to achieve the gold standard for transit security over the past year. The Spokesman-Review has more in their "Getting There" column.

Gregoire Signs $800M Transportation Budget

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed a transportation budget with nearly $800 million in new spending Friday but vetoed several items in it.

The budget, which includes new and increased fees on driver’s license and electric cars, is a far cry from the $3.6 billion increase in transportation funding that Gregoire called for previously.

Money raised by the new fees will go to the state ferry system, the potential state Route 167 extension to the Port of Tacoma, and studies of six congested Interstate 5 interchanges in Thurston and Pierce counties near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The News Tribune has the details on the new budget.

St. Patrick's Day DUI Arrests Way Down From Last Year

Local law enforcement agencies have declared last week's St. Patrick’s DUI Emphasis campaign a major success. The goal of the patrol was to have no serious disabling or fatal injuries as a result of impaired driving- and it was achieved!

In addition, the number of DUI arrests were down from last year. Spokane County had 26 DUI arrests this year compared to the 74 people that were arrested during the same timeframe in 2011.

One Lane of Sullivan Bridge Closed Through Mar. 31

The west curb lane of the southbound Sullivan Road Bridge will be closed through 7 pm this Saturday, March 31 to collect information for the preliminary design of the replacement bridge. Delays are expected so you may want to find another route.

Congress Working On Federal Transportation Bill Extention

With just six days left until the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users expires, Congress this week is (finally) turning its' attention to drafting an extension, instead of working to pass a multi-year bill.

According to Transportation Issues Daily, Congress is expected to pass a three month extension of SAFETEA-LU this week, before breaking for a two-week Easter break. The House will take up and should pass the extension early in the week. The Senate is expected to pass the bill later in the week.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Studded Tire Deadline Extended

Drivers have an extra two weeks to remove their studded tires this year. The Washington State Department of Transportation extended the studded-tire season through the end of the day Monday, April 16, as forecasts call for possible winter driving conditions through the Easter weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Writer Fills Out NCAA Bracket Based On Community Walk Scores

A friend who is very into basketball helped me to fill out my NCAA bracket. And I'm losing big time. So I'm thinking next year, instead of going the educated route, I might try something more random.

That's what Kaid Benfield did, a writer for the Natural Resources Defense Council Blog. He filled out his bracket based on Walk Scores. You know, the score that indicates how walkable your neighborhood or community is.

Benfield obtained Walk Scores for the arenas where each Sweet 16 team plays their home games. So based on that, who's the big winner in this tournament? Marquette, because the Bradley Center, where they play, is a downtown arena with a "walker's paradise" Walk Score score of 95.

Here's the rest of his bracket.

EBike Popularity Going Up As Gas Prices Do Same

With gas prices high, a lot of people are interested in cheaper modes of transportation, but not everyone can make the commitment to riding a bicycle for long distances. A lot of people are making a commitment to sit on a bike and let it do the work though; battery powered bikes are apparently selling like crazy lately. The Spokesman-Review has the story. At a starting price of $1200, is an ebike something you would consider?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

City Council Meeting Wrapup

Spokane International Airport will buy new land and The Transportation Benefit District Board decides to contract all TBD project work this year instead of using City crews, which could slow things down and cost more.

City Councilman Jon Snyder blogs about what happened at last night's Council and TBD meetings last night.

Countdown to Fed Transportation Bill Expiring: T-Minus 11 Days & Counting

With Congress facing a deadline next Saturday for passing a new transportation bill, advocates of road and bridge projects are planning to rally in Washington, D.C. next Tuesday.

The rally will be led by a coalition of transportation lobbying groups and attended by some of Congress' heavy hitters. The Hill has the story.

WA State Graded 'Not Easily Corruptible'

Hey good news Washingtonians; you're not easily corruptible. This isn't specifically transportation related but I thought it was intersting that two watch dog organizations recently named Washington among the least “corruptible” states in the nation.

The Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity joined with Public Radio International and journalists around the country to score the states on questions involving a wide array of government activities. While we didn't get an A, our state was graded pretty high for the way it handles political redistricting, internal audits of state government and disclosure of lobbyists’ pay and spending.

We also had a couple areas we didn't score high in though. The Spokesman-Review has our overall score, and the details.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Transportation Advisory Committee Meeting Agenda

The agenda and packet for next Monday's Transportation Advisory Committee is now available. You can view it here. Everyone is welcome at TAC meetings so feel free to attend if you like. There's a public comment agenda item if you have any transportation issues you would like to raise.

Countdown to Fed Transportation Bill Expiring: T-Minus 12 Days & Counting

Looks like it could be a crazy week in Washington, D.C., according to Transportation Issues Daily. The website reports that the Senate passed MAP-21, a two-year $109 billion bill, late last week. The House, however, doesn't appear to be that organized. The Federal Transportation Bill expires next Saturday and discussion of extending it isn't even on the House agenda for this week.

An extension is required to allow the government to continue collecting the federal gas tax and related fees, and to keep federal transportation programs functioning. We'll keep you updated as the week progresses.

Sunset Bridge Study Considers What Facilities A Rehabbed Bridge Would Need

A study of the Sunset Boulevard Bridge over Latah Creek is wrapping up and it will most likely recommend rehabbing the almost 100-year-old bridge. the question now is; the current bridge is down to two lanes- how many should a new bridge have? Does it need bike lanes? Should light rail be planned for as part of a rehabilitation program? The Spokesman-Review looks at these questions and other Sunset bridge issues.

Governor Signs Enhanced DUI Penalty Bill

Drivers in Washington will now face steeper consequences for driving under the influence while a child is in the vehicle.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law Friday legislation that enhances penalties for drunken drivers transporting passengers 16 and younger. The Oregonian has the details.

Sullivan Road Bridge Lane Closure

The curb lane of the Sullivan Road Bridge southbound across the Spokane River will be closed on Tuesday, March 20 from 8:30am to 3:00pm for utility work. You may want to find an alternative route through that area.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Parade Street Closures

The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled for this Saturday, March 12, will lead to a number of road closures downtown.

Parade entries begin their route from the parking lots at the Spokane Arena, heading south along Washington St. to the parade’s start at Spokane Falls Blvd.

- From there, the parade moves east on Spokane Falls Blvd. to Bernard St.,
- South on Bernard St. to Main Ave.,
- West on Main Ave. to Stevens St.,
- North on Stevens St. to Spokane Falls Blvd.,
- Down Spokane Falls Blvd. to Post St.,
- Across the Post St. Bridge, and back to the Arena.

Washington St., from the Arena to Spokane Falls Blvd., will close at 8:45 a.m., with the rest of the route closing at 11 a.m. Streets should be reopened by 2 p.m.

37th & Grand Project Open House

A public open house will be hosted by the City of Spokane on Wed., Mar. 21 at 7 p.m. to discuss a project to rehabilitate 37th Ave. & Grand Blvd. The open house is at Sacajawea Middle School, 401 E. 33rd Ave.

Bike Swap Needs Your Used Bike To Sell

It’s time to get on your bikes and ride. Okay, well maybe after this rain quits anyway. But until then, it's the perfect time to get rid of your old bike and upgrade to a nice new ride. And the perfect opportunity to do so is at next weekend's 1st Annual Spokane Bike Swap.

To sell your bike at the Swap, register online at The cost for registration is only $10 and is collected on Friday, March 23 when you check in your bike from 3-8pm!

Then join others on March 23 & 24 at the 1st annual Spokane Bike Swap at the Spokane County Fairgrounds. Shopping hours are Saturday 9a.m.-4p.m. and Sunday from 9am.-Noon.

Peruse through the used bikes for sale in the bike corral, stop by and see what the local bike shops are selling at the event, get fitted for a helmet, learn how to put your bike on a bus, and learn more about the local bike clubs.

Admission is only $5.00 per person, 12 and under is free along with free parking!

SRTC Policy Board Retreat Agenda Available

Here's what you've been waiting for; well at least I have anyway. The agenda for the SRTC Policy Board Retreat is now available here.

The retreat/working session is next Thursday, March 22 and topics will include the Board’s Vision and Mission and Action Items for 2012.

The retreat is from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, WA 99216. Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend so we'd love to see you there but the Board will not be taking public comment.

US 395 Bridge Construction Coming

Yes, it's outside of our immediate area, but if you plan to do any travelling this summer in Stevens or Ferry counties, you should be warned that the US 395/SR 20 Columbia River bridge will be under construction.

The bridge will be resurfaced for four months starting in July to fix more than seven decades of wear and tear. To inform everyone about the project, the Washington State Department of Transportation will host an informational open house on March 28 to discuss anticipated traffic impacts, oversize load restrictions and a lengthy detour route. The open house is 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Stevens County Sheriff/Ambulance Training Room, 425 N. Hwy 395 in Colville.

Crews will rebuild the bridge roadway one side at a time, and the WSDOT anticipates everything from 10-minute delays to full nighttime closures. To keep traffic moving, temporary traffic signals will be placed at either end of the bridge allowing alternating traffic to cross. Signal cycles will be about 10 minutes. Also, the detour for oversize loads and during full closures is 68 miles, so plan accordingly. Full closures are expected between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. during 15 to 20 days of the job.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2012 Regional Construction Map Available Soon

Guess what? Some people are saying it's spring now, but in my world that equates to construction season. And I've gotten several calls recently from people seeking the annual Spokane Regional Construction Map, like the one above from last year. While SRTC has developed the map the past three years, the City of Spokane has taken it over this year. The map is a collaborative effort between regional jurisdictions that shows the major planned road construction projects for the year in an effort to help people get where their going more efficiently without getting slowed down by construction.

The City is in the process of selecting a printer now so it will still be a few more weeks before the maps are available. There will be a big kickoff event and I'll post info here on how to get your map when they're available, so check back please.

Thieves Stealing Car Batteries

The Lewiston Tribune says thefts of batteries from passenger vehicles and heavy equipment have been reported recently in Whitman, Garfield and Nez Perce counties.

Nez Perce County's Sheriff says they believe all the thefts are connected and the batteries are being stolen for the metal inside that can be sold to recycling companies. Their advice is to keep your car locked so thieves can't get to the lever that opens your car hood.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Proposed Amendment To Transportation Improvement Program

SRTC is proposing an amendment to the regional 2012-2015 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP is a funding document that identifies specific projects proposed by local jurisdictions to be constructed during the upcoming four years. More information on the proposed amendment can be found on the home page of the SRTC website.

A public comment period on the amendment runs through 4 p.m. on March 27, 2012. Comments can be emailed to, mailed to SRTC at 221 W. First Ave., Suite 310, Spokane, WA, or submitted by calling (509) 343-6370.

Some Ways To Save On Gas That I Haven't Heard Before

You've probably heard most of these before, but with all the complaining going on about gas prices, I thought it was time to post tips on how to save money on gas again.

Many are common sense such as slowing down and not idling if you can help it, but did you know that every five miles per hour you drive over 60 costs you an additional 24 cents per gallon? Or that you should fill up your tank on Wednesday because gas prices usually go up on Thursday? And usually you're told NOT to use credit cards, but in this case you're encouraged to use gas cards due to the incentives they offer. As long as you pay them off quickly, of course.

Okay, so hope this helps a little anyway.

Spokane City Major Arterial Projects For 2012

Here's an article I missed yesterday, from the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

It highlights the major arterial projects the City of Spokane has lined up for this season, including three MAJOR projects on Francis Avenue; a new study that shows fewer people than originally thought own hybrid vehicles; and Sen. Maria Cantwell has proposed an amendment to the next transportation bill that would make planning for freight transportation a priority in government funding.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Connecting Sidewalks Topic of Spokane Valley Public Meeting

Connecting sidewalks along South Pines Road between 16th Avenue and 23rd Avenue will be the topic at a community meeting on Wednesday, March 21 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at South Pines Elementary School Library, 12021 E. 24th Avenue.

The discussion will include proposed options for adding sidewalks, curbing, a bike lane, storm drain improvements, and making incidental repairs to the roadway.

Involvement and input from property owners adjacent to the proposed sidewalks is particularly important because impacts to privately installed fencing and landscaping in the public right of way will vary depending on the options selected.

Input from others who use that section of Pines Road is also critical because it is a route for students traveling to and from Pines Road Elementary School.

Child Hit By Truck In North Spokane

A 12-year-old Stevens Elementary School student hit by a pickup truck this morning is in stable condition at a local hospital after being thrown sixty feet and suffering significant internal injuries and broken bones.

Witnesses say several cars yielded to the boy who was trying to corss Mission at Magnolia to Stevens Elementary School, but the truck, driven by Brandon L. Maganas (11/2/87), did not.

Although not impaired at the time of the incident, Maganas was in possession of drugs, did not have a valid driver’s licenseand was a felon in possession of firearms. During the course of the investigation, officers located a bag containing Heroin, Methamphetamine, Marijuana and three narcotics.

The cause of the collision is Fail to Yield Right of Way to a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk.

Federal Transportation Bill Watch

What's happening with the Federal transportation bill this week? The current extension of SAFETEA-LU, along with the federal gas tax and several fees authority, expires on March 31.

With that deadline steadily creeping up, I'm looking to 'brand' our monitoring of the move to either pass new federal transportation legislation or extend the current 'Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users.' So help me out here. What do you think of these options? 'Federal Transportation Bill Watch- Just Pass It Already, We're Getting Nervous Here' or 'Federal Transportation Legislation- Government on the Move. Although it's a Slow Roll.' Okay, needs work I know. Back to the drawing board.

Well, anyway, here's what's happening with the Federal Transportation Bill this week according to Transportation Issues Daily: the House is in legislative recess to conduct an in-district work period. The Senate is in session and will continue to focus on and very likely pass its transportation bill. Debate on the remaining 22 amendments begins today, but voting isn't expected to happen until Tuesday. A vote on the amended final bill could happen as early as late Tuesday evening.

Man Sues GM For Seat Warmer Burns

An Oregon man is suing General Motors claiming he was severely burned by the seat warmer in his pickup truck. Okay, truly not funny but at the same time it's hard to resist all the jokes that could accompany this story.

Here's the story from This is the first issue with seat warmers I've heard of. Only problem I've experienced is inability to stay awake when they're on. Anyone else had any problems?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Open House For Jefferson Street Rehab Project

The City of Spokane is hosting a public open house to discuss a project to rehabilitate Jefferson St. from Wellesley to Rowan avenues and surrounding residential streets. The open house is Thursday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m. at Ridgeview Elementary School, 5610 N. Maple St.

University District-Sprague Corridor Study Open House Mar. 20

A while back, the City of Spokane received a $150,000 stimulus grant aimed at creating a green, transit-oriented land use and transportation plan for the Sprague Corridor (Browne to Fiske).

Now they want your help deciding how to spend it. You are invited to attend the University District-Sprague Corridor (UDSC) Planning Study public open house to hear about the preferred design of the study area.

The open house is Tuesday March 20th, from 6-8 p.m. at 410 East Spokane Falls Boulevard, Suite 260. The project team will be presenting the preferred design for Sprague Avenue, and development focus for the South University District. Your feedback is needed to ensure that the preferred design and recommendations match the envisioned future.

Here's more info.

Parking Meter Rate Changes Going Into Effect

New rates are going into effect at the City of Spokane's 2,300+ parking meters to reflect new rates approved in December by the City Council.

The new prices are designed to standardize rates for short-term and long-term parking and are supported by a recommendation based directly on market demand in the 2011 Downtown Parking Study.

Rates at 30-minute spaces will be reduced, while those at two-hour, three-hour and 10-hour spaces will increase. Ninety-minute spaces remain the same.

Overall, parking rates for four hours or less will be a consistent $1.20 per hour, and more than four hours will be 40 cents per hour.

These changes may generate some additional revenue, which the City Council designated to be used for services including street maintenance and public safety as well as new streetscape improvements within the metered area.

The last change in parking meter fees took place in 2007. Prior to that, the parking meter fees had remained the same since 2000.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Paying At Pump Puts Automatic Hold On Gift Card Funds

Well here's something I just found out about. A friend gave me a $100 Visa gift card recently (I know- how lucky am I??) so I used it at a couple places yesterday, putting about $25 on it. I then went to a gas station and put $30 worth of gas on it, and got a receipt showing that.

At that Point I still should have had about $45 worth of credit to use. I made one more stop and the card was declined, saying the amount had been used up! So I got online to check activity on the card and it showed when I used it at the gas station that I had charged $75 worth of gas!

That got me disturbed since I only had $30 in gas in my car so I called the corporate office of that company. A very nice lady there told me that $75 is the maximum amount of gas you can pay for at the pump at their company, so they automatically charge that amount on gift cards up front, when you pay at the pump. Then when the receipt is processed for the actual amount you spent (which happens everyday) the amount you didn't use is refunded back to the card.

So, supposedly by tomorrow, I will have $45 back on my gift card to be used. So, while it's no big deal, it's slightly inconvenient if you have big plans to spend your card that day. As the woman at the gas station corporate office told me, every gas company does that. She also said "Gift cards aren't very user friendly." Huh- who would have known?

High Gas Prices Hurting Local Non-Profits

I've been hearing a lot of complaints about gas prices lately. According to AAA, analysts expect prices to peak between $3.75 and $4.15 a gallon in May. And while most the people I hear complaining are parents dropping their kids off at school or folks running to the mall for errands, those rising prices are also taking their toll on local non-profit organizations.

KXLY News takes a look at the measures Meals on Wheels are taking to keep their service going.

Council Connection To Feature Hillyard Planning Process

“Council Connection,” the cable television program featuring Spokane City Council members as hosts, will showcase the Hillyard area tonight.

The first half hour of the show, hosted by City Council Members Amber Waldref and Mike Fagan, will feature members of the Northeast Advisory Board discussing outcomes of the neighborhood planning process, improvements to Market Street, and stakeholder input into the creation of economic development strategies for Greater Hillyard.

Second half hour guests will include Ken Garceau with Windermere Real Estate and Stan Key of Greater Spokane Incorporated, also members of the Northeast Advisory Board. They will discuss the board’s work to identify infrastructure and business needs and explain how the creation of a Public Development Authority in Northeast Spokane will provide a tool for implementing future projects.

The show will air live tonight, March 7, at 6 p.m. on CityCable 5 and you are asked to call in with any questions you may have on the topic during the show. The phone number to reach the show is (509) 625-6337. CityCable 5 is the City of Spokane’s government-access cable station; it’s found on channel 5 on the Comcast cable system in Spokane.

Extra DUI Patrols Start Friday

Starting this Friday, Mar. 9, through Sunday, Mar. 18, local law enforcement will conduct extra DUI patrols in Spokane County.

St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular night out to celebrate, which is why officers from the Cheney, City of Airway Heights, Eastern Washington University, Liberty Lake, Spokane and Spokane Valley Police Departments, the Spokane and County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol will commit extra patrol hours to make the roadways safer for everyone.

During this same time period last year in Spokane County, 74 people were arrested for driving under the influence. On St. Patrick’s Day 2009, 37 percent of the drivers and motorcyclist involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above, according to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bike Swap Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are still needed for the 1st annual Spokane Bike Swap on Friday, March 23 for set up, Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25, 2012.

If you are able to volunteer, click here and fill out the times you are available. An informational meeting for all volunteers will be Wednesday, March 7 from 6-9pm at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center in the Expo Annex A Building.

Study Says Cellphone Ban Cuts Traffic Deaths In California

Since California passed a law forbidding the use of handheld phones while driving in 2008, the number of traffic deaths there has declined- by 22%! A study by the state Office of Traffic Safety, shows that the number of deaths related to talking on phones has dropped even more; 47%.

We have the same law here in Washington State, but I only know one person who's received a ticket for talking on the phone or texting, despite seeing dozens of people doing so each day. Why does California's law seem to work so well while ours doesn't appear to? Governor Jerry Brown says California's law is viewed as more effective than other states' because it is strictly enforced. Here's more on that study.

Monday, March 5, 2012

SRTC Board Meeting Agenda For This Thursday

This Thursday, March 8 is the monthly meeting of SRTC's Policy Board. Here's the agenda. As always, everyone is welcome, and encouraged to attend, so come check it out if you have the time and interest.

Sullivan Road Bridge Public Meeting March 14

If you use the Sullivan Road Bridge, mark your calendar for Mar. 14 from 6-7:30 p.m. at at CenterPlace Regional Event Center. That's when the City of Spokane Valley will host a community meeting to show drivers the construction sequences and traffic routing anticipated during the replacement of the southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River.

Project engineers and design consultants will be on hand to go over the options that were influenced by input provided from businesses, residents and other interested community members who came to earlier meetings. This meeting will be an opportunity to share additional comments.

Deterioration of the aging bridge prompted weight restrictions to be posted in 2011. Those restrictions were lifted upon recent completion of temporary repairs to prolong the life of the bridge until it can be replaced.

About half of the $19.7 million needed for bridge replacement has already been secured. Once funding for the remainder has been obtained, an approximate schedule for construction will be determined.

What Happens If The Federal Transportation Bill Isn't Extended?

We like to think on the bright side here at SRTC, but sometimes it's hard not to wonder, "What if...." And the topic of those ponderings today is what if a federal transportation bill isn't passed, or the current bill extended, by the March 31 deadline?

Well, the Politico blog predicts stalled construction projects, idled buses and lower gas prices. But don't get excited about the lower gas prices part because it will come with a major price to our roads. Here's Politico says will happen if the transportation bill expires.

Getting Out Of The Car and The Role Airports Play On Economic Development

A transportation expert urges cities to think outside the car, a new study shows that airports boost economic development, and an order is signed establishing water trails as a class of national recreation trails. Here's what's happening in transportation this week from the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Incompetent Bike Thief Caught On Video

Wow, while this video is kind of funny, it also made me angry. It's funny because the bike thief, caught on camera in New York City, is foiled due to his own incompetence. But even so, I hate to watch someone's bike get trashed.

New York City's Most Untalented Bike Thief from on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Francis Ave. Construction Project Open House

The City of Spokane will host a public open house next week to discuss a project to rehabilitate Francis Ave. from Division to Market streets. The open house is Thursday, March 8, at 5:30 p.m. at Arlington Elementary School, 6363 N. Smith St. Come get your questions answered and give your input.

The Lorax Selling Cars??

Activists are saying the auto industry has gone too far to sell cars this time. They're angry because the new Lorax movie — a film based on a book about how some corporations care only about profits and not about the environment — includes a tie-in with the Mazda Corporation.

The Lorax is based on a 1971 Dr. Seuss book about environmental stewardship. In it, a Truffula tree forest was clear-cut to make way for the four-lane highway the Once-ler built to sell more Thneeds. The outcry is that the car tie-in is being used to make people feel less guilty about purchasing Mazdas.

To add to it, Mazda is taking the Lorax himself, along with their graphics-wrapped SUVs, into elementary schools. Mazda claims it's a "celebration of reading, a fundraiser for public-school libraries" but critics are calling the move "an opportunity to market Mazdas to the pint-size set. While they don’t buy many cars themselves, they have direct access to parents who do."

Here's the commercial. Watch for yourself and tell me what you think.

Help Name The New Keller Ferry Boat

Construction of the new vessel for the Keller Ferry route across the Columbia River gets under way later this month at a shipyard near Longview.

One of the most important components of the new boat is the name and the Washington State Department of Transportation is asking for your help to name it.

Go to the Keller Ferry vessel website at and click on the “Help Name the New Vessel” link.

The new vessel is scheduled to go into service spring 2013. The boat replaces the Martha S. which has served that route since 1948.

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.