Monday, April 30, 2012

Transportation Roundup For Week Of April 30

You'll be seeing another roundabout in the area soon, Bloomsday runners and walkers should check out the option of using STA shuttles instead of trying to fight the traffic into and out of downtown Spokane on Sunday, and a whole bunch of area construction projects that are continuing or getting underway.

Here's a roundup of transportation happenings in the area for the week from the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

Bicycling and Hot Tubbing On The Same Trip? I'm Sold!

Okay, I know there have been a lot of new technology developments in the area of bicycling in recent years, but this is my favorite; the Dutchtub. It's a portable outdoor hot tub from the Netherlands that you tow behind your bike. They're wood-fired and have seating for four (that's what they claim anyway). You just have to provide the wood and water, but the add for them claims they're low enough to fit under most downspouts.  So, where we taking this baby?  I envision it on the deck outside my office.  Or next to my tent next time I go camping. Possibly on a picnic in the Dishman Hills.  Or maybe... well, use your creativity.  Anyway, here's the link to check it out, although I can't promise we'll be getting them here anytime soon:

May Is Bike Month!

Tomorrow is the first day of May, and May is Bike Month so get ready to ride!  If you haven't signed up to take part in local Bike Month festivities, go to and do it now! There's a month-long 'Commute Challenge' and Bike to Work week (May 20-26) events including a Ride of Silence, Kick Off Breakfast and daily 'energizer stations.'  Plus there's information on the site on group rides, local bicycling shops and services and clubs.  I'd recommend checking it out.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Watch This Before Driving Over The Pass

You've been waiting for it (you just didn't know it) and the 2012 Construction Video for the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project is now available.  Don't get stuck in traffic while trying to take a family vacation or a business trip!  Watch this video to know what to expect.
Besides, the news release that comes with it says the video is "full of twists and turns, explosive detail and it’s only a click away."

Spokane City Street Sweeping Starts Monday

Sweeping of residential streets within the City of Spokane starts Monday, April 30.  Sweeping will be done between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Residents are asked to move their vehicles from the street during sweeping. In the coming week, crews will sweep the areas bounded by these streets:

Northwest: Monroe St. to Ash St. and Wellesley Ave. to Francis Ave.

Northeast: Mission Ave. to Euclid Ave. and Ruby St. to Hamilton St.

Wellesley Ave. to Euclid Ave. and Nevada St. to Division St.

South: Water Ave. to Sixth Ave. and Eagle Ridge Rd. to Monroe St.

Spokane Mayor Advocates For NSC In D.C.

A news release out of the City of Spokane says Mayor David Condon was in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with Washington’s Congressional delegation, EPA officials, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to discuss the City's priorities.

The release says Condon met with Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, as well as 5th District Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and 6th District Congressman Norm Dicks to advocate for
Spokane’s most pressing needs, which include completing the North Spokane Corridor and addressing water and sewer infrastructure.
SRTC's Executive Director, Kevin Wallace, was also in D.C. this week as part of the delegation, although, as a government agency, SRTC doesn't advocate.  Kevin was there to educate and provide background.

Anyway, if you want to read about the Mayor's trip, here's a link to the City's news release.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spokane Valley Construction For Next Week

- Farr Road between Appleway Boulevard and Sprague Avenue - Expect lane closures in both directions at different times from 7 a.m. to mid-afternoon on Thursday, May 3 for resurfacing.

- University Road at intersections from 4th Avenue through 16th Avenue-Curb lane closures in both directions at different times will continue between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, May 4 for sidewalk ADA upgrades.

- 8000 Block of E. Riverway Avenue - Expect delays and minor congestion due to heavy equipment in the area.

Will Horn Honking Clear Up Traffic Jams?

Did you know that the answer to traffic congestion is to honk your horn?  Well that's what The Onion says anyway.

Tired Of Traffic? A New DOT Report Urges Drivers: 'Honk'

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sporty Bikes Inspired By Sporty Cars

If you can't afford a Porsche, maybe you can afford a bike inspired by the luxury car.

The Porsche 911 is the design inspiration behind two new Porsche bicycles, the RS and S. The RS edition is more of a racing bike, made from carbon fiber, while the S edition is heavier.
You won't find these bikes at your neighborhood bicycle shop though; they're sold exclusively through authorized Porsche dealers. They are available in small, medium and large sizes to fit any rider's profile. Here's some more information and a couple more pictures in case you're interested.

Spokane Valley 2012 Road Construction Projects

Just like across the rest of the county, road construction is getting underway this week in Spokane Valley.  The additional money to fund construction mentioned in the story above means that the Valley will be able to complete more projects than originally planned. There are now 23 resurfacing projects that could happen in 2012.

Here's a link to projects planned for Spokane Valley this construction season.

Valley Council Votes To Use $2M From General Fund For Street Maintenance

The Spokane Valley City Council approved a plan to help bridge the gap in what the city has in the bank versus what it needs to pay for continued street maintenance. The council voted to use over $2 million from the city’s 2011 general fund balance over $26 million for street-preservation efforts. This has a couple council members concerned they may not be able to foot the bill for the Sullivan Road Bridge if other funding can't be found.
The Spokane Valley News Herald has the complete story.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Clean Up Day Yields Small Treasures

So we had the annual clean up day of roads in my community this Saturday.  Fortunately I didn't find any underpants again this year, but I did find a basketball, four golf balls, one empty bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 lime flavor, a note about the high/low points of an unidentified movie, a Moody Blues CD (left) and a whole mess of these little frogs (right), in a ditch beside the road.  We sold the aluminum cans we picked up for the first year ever to a recycling place and got $27 to go in the Property Owners Association treasury.  Now we just have to find something worthy to spend the money on.

National Work Zone Awareness Week

With construction projects starting last week and this week, it's perfect timing that this week is National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW).  NWZAW is held each year to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety and mobility issues in work zones.

The theme this year is "Don't Barrel Through Work Zones! Drive Smart to Arrive Alive."  Catchy- wish I'd thought of it myself.

Transportation Roundup For Week of April 23

Spokane Transit officials are seeking a federal grant to look at ways to turn the North Division bus route into a high-performance route, the STA board approved a construction contract to remodel a portion of the second floor of the STA Plaza, work resumes today on a project to repair concrete pavement on Interstate 90, there's a Pedestrian Plan open house this week and construction gets underway on Francis Avenue.  Holy cow there's a lot going on in  transportation this week!
The Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column has a roundup of what's happening in the area.

I90 Rock Blasting Closure

Crews start rock blasting on Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass again this week as part of the $551 million I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East – Hyak to Keechelus Dam project to widen a five-mile stretch of the highway from four to six lanes.

I-90 will be closed in both directions between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday, April 26, from Gold Creek (milepost 56) to the Price Creek Sno-Park (milepost 61). This work is weather dependent and may change.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Original Plan Was To Get Rid Of Ferries, Build Bridges Across Puget Sound!- Link Fixed Now

Thanks to @Charles Hansen for sending me the article below. When I was a kid, my folks used to take us on all kinds of summer vacations and adventures on the west side of the state that required riding the ferry. And with summer on the way, you may be planning your own vacation involving a ferry across Puget Sound.

If things had gone as planned though, that wouldn't have been an option today- because there were plans in place at one point to replace the ferries with a series of bridges that would cross Puget Sound!

Crazy?? Well, it doesn't seem like the most feasible option by today's standards. This article lays out the whole plan to only use ferries as a temporary measure and includes a 1965 map of the proposed cross-sound bridges.

TTC Meeting Agenda For Next Week

Next Wednesday, April 25 is the next Transportation Technical Committee (TTC). Here is the agenda meeting and packet. Everyone is welcome, so feel free to attend. There's a public comment period also so now's the time if you have something transportation-related to say.

WSDOT Construction For This Week And Next

- Today and Friday, April 20, from about 9 a.m. until as late as 5 p.m., southbound US 395 will be detoured onto Wandermere Road from the Hatch Road Interchange to the Division Street/Wandermere Road Intersection. Northbound traffic is not affected. The detour will be in place to allow work needed for the new NSC Interchange.

- Work resumes Monday, April 23rd on the I-90/Geiger Blvd. to Downtown project to grind concrete pavement to remove studded tire ruts and resurface the Latah Creek Bridges. Be alert for lane restrictions and be aware the speed limit is reduced to 50 mph when work is underway. I-90 may be reduced to one travel lane in each direction depending on the location of the work.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spokane Valley Road Construction For Next Week

Appleway Boulevard between Dishman Mica Road and University Road - Traffic will be reduced to two-lanes from Monday, April 23 through Friday, April 27 for resurfacing.

Farr Road at Appleway Boulevard - Expect intersection to be closed to north and south traffic for a brief period midday on Tuesday, April 24 for resurfacing. Drivers are advised to detour via Dishman Mica Road.

University Road at intersections from 4th Avenue through 16th Avenue- Expect curb lane closures in both directions at different times between the hours of 7 am to 5 pm from Monday, April 23 to Friday, April 27 for sidewalk ADA upgrades.

8000 Block of E Riverway Avenue - Expect delays and minor congestion due to heavy equipment in the area.

Faces Of Transportation Contest

So here's a contest I think I can do good in for once. And some of you amateur photographers out there may want to take part as well. The annual Faces of Transportation Photo Contest is open to the public this year! The rules are at the link, but the basics are that each photo should include faces of people and represent the positive effects of transportation on individuals and/or communities.

The theme of this year’s competition is “Framing the Benefits of Transportation.” Digital photographs will be accepted in three categories: “Building the Future,” “On the Road,” and “Taking a Ride.”

So what do you think? Here are a couple photos I've taken recently that maybe I could use.

Oregon Mattress Attacks, Totals Subaru

Cue the dramatic music for this headline: Mattress Attacks Car!!!

Okay, while I make light of it, securing your load really is a serious issue. The subject of this Oregon Live article could have been killed when a mattress flew off another vehicle directly onto hers. And while she had a great view of a floral print, comfort layer queen size bed, she couldn't see the road at all. Her car ended up totalled but she and a passenger were fortunate to suffer only scapes and bruises.

In addition to a safety message, this article also has an interesting list of items that have fallen or blown off cars recently in Oregon. So if I can't talk you into reading it in the interest of education, at least take a look out of prurient curiosity. And by the way, sometimes you can see items fall off cars on the live traffic cameras on the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center website. So there, just gave you something to do if you had no plans today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

FREE Car Care Fair This Saturday

Does your car need a little preparation for the hot summer months ahead? Have it inspected free this Saturday, April 21 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the FREE Car Care Fair at Spokane Community College. Automotive specialists will provide a free vehicle inspection, including checking air filters, belts and hoses, lights, fluids, tires, and wiper blades. And the part I'm excited about- they're giving out free light bulbs for your car. For some reason my bulbs burn out more often that what seems normal.

Click the flyer below to see it full size.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Final Ped Master Plan Open House April 26

The City of Spokane will host its final Pedestrian Master Plan open house on Thursday, April 26, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St. A presentation will be held at 6 p.m.

The Pedestrian Master Plan, developed under the guidance of an internal work team and citizen advisory committee, lays the foundation for implementing transportation goals and policy articulated in the Comprehensive Plan and allows the City to strategically invest existing pedestrian dollars.

The open house is a key opportunity to provide input on the draft Pedestrian Master Plan document. Phase I of the Plan Update was focused on public education and prioritizing needs for sidewalk infrastructure installation based on pedestrian generators, such as schools, parks, commercial areas, and transit stops. Spokane has more than 650 miles of missing sidewalks and a limited funding source for sidewalk infrastructure.

More info can be found here.

First National Bike To School Day Is May 9

Mark your calendars- the National Center for Safe Routes to School, in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists, is pleased to announce the first-ever National Bike to School Day on May 9, 2012!

The inaugural National Bike to School Day will be the first opportunity for communities across the country to join together to bicycle to school on the same day. The event builds on National Bike Month, held each May, as well as the popularity of Walk to School Day every October.

Is your child's school doing anything to mark the day? If they are, go online to to register your event. And if they're not, also go to the site to get ideas for possible events. Registering a Bike to School Day event provides organizers access to a variety of downloadable materials, including stickers, certificates, badges and classroom activities and provides the opportunity to win a bike rack.

Construction Projects Starting Today or This Week

An I-90 project not quite finished last year starts up again next week, work starts today on a reconstruction project on East Francis Avenue from Division to Freya streets, and Barker Road is closed from Appleway to Broadway avenues. Plus some other construction projects either starting or about to start. Here's what's happening this week from the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

Ten Ways Your Transportation Costs Are Going Up

Gas prices aren't the only thing going up these days. Transportation is getting more expensive overall as parking and related fees also increase.

The Seattle P-I has ten ways your transportation costs are going up. While this article has some examples that are specific to Seattle, in most cases they translate to our side of the state so the article is still applicable.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Where To Begin?

So Eve in our office and I got the job of starting work to craft new mission and vision statements for SRTC. It was suggested that we begin by identifying the recurrent 'themes' that came up at the March 22 SRTC Policy Board retreat. Someone had told me about this website called Wordle. where you can enter a document, or the URL for your blog or website, and the site makes a design for you of the recurring words, with the larger ones being the words used most often. So I dumped in the summary of the retreat and here's what Wordle spit out. Stunning colors huh? Makes me feel kind of inspired. You can click on it to see the design full size.

When I found the random name 'Larry' in the middle of my design I learned that you can go back and take out certain words you don't want to include.

Spokane Valley Construction Planned For Week Of April 16

- Appleway Boulevard between Dishman Mica Road and University Road - Traffic will be reduced to two-lanes at a time around the clock from Tuesday, April 17 through Friday, April 20 for grind and overlay. Signs and flaggers will direct traffic through the work area.

- Barker Road from the Barker Road Bridge to Trent Avenue- Drivers should expect minor delays and curb lane closures in both directions at different times between the hours of 5:30am to 6:00pm from Monday, April 16 to Wednesday, April 18. Flaggers and signs will direct traffic through the work area.

- University Road at intersections from 4th Avenue through 16th Avenue- Expect curb lane closures in both directions at different times between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday, April 16 to Friday, April 20 for ADA upgrades. Flaggers and signs will direct traffic through the work area.

Railroad Crossing Emphasis Patrol Nets 83 Violators

Washington State Patrol Troopers yesterday handed out 83 citations to drivers who don't stop at railroad tracks when the lights are flashing and crossing guards are coming down. 83!! What's the hurry folks? Well, slow down now and watch this story on why more than just the 83 people who got tickets are mad.

Study Says Driving Stoned "Might Make You A Better Driver"

You heard it here first folks. A new study, by a national quote provider for online car insurance quotes no less, says that 'driving while stoned' isn't really dangerous.

The study, which looks at statistics regarding accidents, points out that the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving, which they say “is arguably a positive thing” and that driving under the influence of marijuana “might even make you a safer driver.”

I'm going to skip the commentary on this one and send you right to the article that tells about the study.

It's A Bird. It's A Plane. No, It's A Bat On A Plane.

Having wings, you wouldn't think bats would need to hitch a ride, but that's apparently what happened last August when a bat flew through the cabin of a plane just after takeoff.

It's just a little bat though right? No need to panic. Wrong. The incident started a rabies scare that has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying health officials should be prepared to deal with such events.

Here's the story from My favorite line in it: "Most bats don't have rabies, but the ones that are seen during the day, when bats are not normally active, or are encountered where they are not usually seen (such as in economy-class seating)..." Ummm, why economy class? Do they usually fly first class?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

City Of Spokane Road Construction Season Starting

Apparently all the City of Spokane needed to officially start the road construction season was the release of the 2012 Regional Road Construction Map (see below).

A project to rehabilitate Francis Ave. from Freya to Havana streets is set to begin Monday, April 16. Traffic will be reduced to one lane each direction. Francis will be widened to a five lane roadway with a continuous center turn lane and sidewalks, bike lanes, and a swale/planting.

The $1.3 million project is being funded by the Transportation Improvement Board and Real Estate Excise Tax money.

Also on Monday, construction starts on new Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO 38, 39, and 40) tanks on S. Riverton Ave. New underground concrete sewer/stormwater storage basins and associated overflow and cleaning appurtenances will be constructed in Upriver Dr. between Magnolia and Regal streets. South Riverton Ave. from Magnolia to Regal streets will be closed to traffic once construction begins.

Get Your Free 2012 Regional Road Construction Map

The 2012 Spokane Regional Road Construction Map is hot off the presses and ready for distribution. The map is an annual opportunity for area government agencies to coordinate on a project to keep the public better informed. The participating jurisdictions include the City of Spokane, Spokane County, City of Spokane Valley, and Washington State Department of Transportation/Eastern Region.

The map shows major projects that will affect traffic countywide during this construction season. Information provided includes the type of project, where it will be located, when it will begin, and how long each project will take to complete.

Free copies of the map are available at Spokane City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., 1st Floor Information Desk), Spokane County’s Engineering and Roads Division in the Public Works Building (1026 W. Broadway Ave., 2nd Floor), Spokane Public Libraries, and Spokane Community Centers.

An electronic version of the map can be viewed here.

Latah Bridge Rehabilitation Open House

The final community workshop to for the Latah Bridge Rehabilitation Study to gather public input is next Thursday, April 19 from 4-7 p.m. at the Finch Arboretum Woodland Center, 3404 W. Woodland Blvd.

Built in 1911, the Latah Bridge is located on Sunset Blvd. between Coeur d’Alene St. and Government Way. The goal of the study is to ensure the long-term vitality of the link the bridge provides in the region’s transportation system. The study will provide an understanding of the current condition of the bridge and develop a plan on how to rehabilitate it.

Law Enforcement Targetting Railroad Crossing Violations

If you're one of those people who try to squeeze under the crossing arm or drive around it at railroad tracks, you better watch yourself today. The Union Pacific Police Department are conducting a selective enforcement operation targeting traffic violators at railroad crossings in the city of Spokane.

Crossings between North Havana and North Haven Street will be targeted.
The heavy daily load of vehicle traffic traversing these crossings is potentially hazardous and a cause of concern for safe railroad operations. Violations are common at these locations and collisions have occurred.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

March Car Sales Best In Four Years

According to the Coeur d'Alene Press, the auto industry achieve its best monthly performance in almost four years in March.

General Motors said its U.S. sales rose 12 percent compared with last March due to demand for small, fuel efficient cars; competitive deals on trucks and unseasonably warm weather (although I'm not sure how that inspires people to buy cars).

Chrysler Group's sales jumped 34 percent as buyers went for Fiat small cars and Chrysler sedans.

Young People Driving Less- 23% Less!

A new report out from the Frontier Group says Americans are driving less than just a few years ago- especially younger people. The average annual number of vehicle-miles traveled by you16 to 34-year-olds decreased by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009! Why is this age group driving less? The Frontier Group has some reasons.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Valley Council Wants To Use Extra Money Toward Road Repairs

The Spokane Valley City Council made a major commitment to fixing the City's roads recently.

At the last Council meeting, members agreed that they favor using every dollar greater than the $26 million year-ending budget balance for roadwork! Several council members pointed out that construction costs are down, making now the time to do road work. The Spokane Valley News Herald tells us how much more money that would make available for street preservation.

Street Bond & TBD Programs Overlooked By Letter Writer

Spokesman-Review Letter to the Editor
Pothole Season Ahead

As spring approaches the people of Spokane get to play dodge-a-pothole again. Or how long can I go without a front-end alignment due to pothole damage? It’s clear that the method they are using to repave our streets isn’t working. You would think that with all the engineers and managers on city staff someone could come up with a plan to repave our streets. We are not talking rocket science here.

Take arterial “A” and figure the “X” amount of traffic for “Y” number of years, and it should need repaving in “Z” amount of time. Every time I ask someone at City Hall why they can’t do a better job on repaving, they moan and wring their hands and say street funding comes from the general fund and they don’t have the money.

They need to take a clue from the sewer and water departments, and come up with a street utility fee to pay for repaving streets. If Mayor David Condon wants to be re-elected, he needs to step on some toes and kick some butts and get ’er done. Otherwise the people of Spokane need to take up pitchforks and torches and march on City Hall.

Rick Johnson

Glad you brought this up Mr. Johnson, because there are a couple programs to get roads paved that are paid for by users. The first is the Street Bond program and not only was a formula used to arrive at which streets need paving first, but the folks out on the streets everyday were asked to weigh in- both citizens and City Workers who examine the streets for wear and tear. Discussion on the Street Bond at this time is important because the current program is about to be finished up and the plan is to ask voters for a second bond to get even more streets done.

There's also the Transportation Benefit District, a $20 car tab fee, that goes toward transportation improvements.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Construction Projects Starting This Week

Some substantial construction projects are getting underway this season in Spokane Valley, work also starts on a new Parksmith Drive interchange for the North Spokane Corridor this week and errant drivers in Spokane Valley can avoid having citations go on their record by attending traffic school. Here's what's happening this week in area transportation from the Spokesman-Review's 'Getting There' column.

Policy Board Meeting Agenda Available

The agenda is available for this Thursday's SRTC Policy Board meeting. You can view it here. There's an item on the agenda for public comment, and everyone is welcome, so feel free to attend if you have a transportation thought on your mind, or you're just interested.

Appleway Lane Closures

Appleway Avenue in Spokane Valley, between Dishman Mica Road and University Road, will have lane closures starting today through next Monday, April 16. Signs and flaggers will direct traffic through the work area.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy 10 Year Anniversary SRTMC!

Happy anniversary to the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center! The SRTMC is celebrating ten years of helping drivers, bicyclists and walkers get where they're going with a minimum of delays caused by traffic collisions, weather conditions and construction projects.

Take a video tour of the SRTMC by clicking here to see all the cool technology it offers to get you where you're going more efficiently- and to see how far it's come in ten years- then check out the live site at You'll find live traffic cameras to your heart's content there, and a map showing areas to avoid.

Clicking this image doesn't work to watch the video, you have to click the link above. Sorry but technology isn't my friend today.

Snoqualmie Pass Road Construction Starts Again

After a winter break, construction fires up again today on I90 east of Snoqualmie Pass. Crews continue a project to replace deteriorating sections of concrete roadway and asphalt shoulders in both directions of I-90 between Easton and Cle Elum.

So get ready for some delays. During construction, drivers can expect daytime lane restrictions before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. To reduce delays for summer travelers, crews will only close lanes at night from June to early September. Work should be complete in fall 2012.

How Have Transportation Views Changed Or Stayed The Same Since the 50s?

SRTC staff is starting work on a revamp of our Metropolitan Transportation Plan. The MTP is a long-term "blueprint" of where transportation in our region is headed in the future. 20+ years in the future. And while that seems like a long time, the distance between today and the 1950's doesn't seem so far away- at least when you watch this film on traffic congestion produced in the 50's by General Motors.

The film talks about how the nation's roads are 'dying' and maintanence is too expensive and how the price of moving freight is going up.

Some areas where we've come a long way since then though include parking and sprawl. The film advocates for a drastic increase in parking lots and the narrator at one point says, "We're running out of roads! We didn't dream big enough."

Did you know this little factoid? I didn't.

Police Get Surprise When They Pull Over Suspected Drunk Driver

Crazy kids. They're doing everything earlier these days. Here's the story of a Wisconsin boy who got pulled over for drunk driving- at the age of 15.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SRTC Board Retreat Reveals Lots Of Big Ideas & Future Plans

As is often the case with me, I'm a day late and a dollar short blogging. Except in this case it's more like almost two weeks late. Better late than never though, so welcome to my wrapup of the March 22 SRTC Board retreat.

We started the retreat with an exercise and discussion around three open-ended questions. Here are the questions and a sampling of answers:

1.) SRTC is unique because ____________.

• Participants have broad cross-section of expertise
• Available for all jurisdictions of any size at a fair price
• Coordination of vision between jurisdictions
• Its' Responsibility transcends municipal boundaries
• It's a storehouse of collective traffic information, opportunities & implementation

2.) Concensus is important at SRTC because _____________.

• Our role is to look at the big picture (collective vs. individual need)
• We need a unified vision for forward progress
• Our decisions have long-range implications for the region

3.) In five years, SRTC will _________________.

• Be more effective at influencing economic growth with transportation investments.
• Be recognized as one of the top tier MPOs in the U.S. as measured by:
 Staff expertise & quality
 Effectiveness
 Financial strength
 Political support
• Enjoy long-term financial sustainability

Next, Board members facilitated discussions on action items. The intent wasn’t to reach conclusions, but to identify priorities and action steps.

Agency budget issues, Board composition & membership dues
• Create subcommittee to develop dues formula for SRTC members
• Invite Spokane International Airport to become SRTC member
• Offer outreach to small towns on fee scale

Core Functions
• Consider conducting special studies that are funded
• Reconsider printing outreach materials that have been printed in the past but can be found online
• Develop process to determine what is out of SRTC’s area of responsibility to keep staff focused
• Educate partners on SRTC’s core functions
• Continue to provide a focus on freight movement

SRTC’s voice on regional, state and federal transportation issues Suggestions-
• Determine how to engage proactively in the legislative setting
• Work to get small town input

That doesn't seem like a whole lot for four hours, but there was a lot of discussion that went along with each of those topics or questions. This year's Board is incredibly engaged and has a lot of big ideas on how to move the agency forward and maintain our staffing and workload levels in this time of economic hardship. For more information on SRTC's Policy Board and who sits on it, you can check out the SRTC website Board page.

Story Claims Light Rail To Be Replaced With Zip Line

With April Fools Day being this past Monday, the Columbian got into the jokester act with a story about light rail on the Columbia River Crossing Project bridge being replaced by zip line and it included some alleged pretty funny quotes by officials. Check the story out here.

Airline To Charge Fee For Carry-On Items

Just when you thought airlines had topped out on fees, Allegiant Air comes up with another thing to charge you a fee for- your carry-on items. While Allegiant doesn't fly out of Spokane International Airport (it does service the Tri Cities however and is known to be an extremely affordable airline) rumor has it that other airlines could be following Allegiant's lead with their $35 fee for carry ons. Yes, you can still get your purse or briefcase on, but anything bigger than that and you'll be paying. So that begs the question- is this inflatable co-pilot too large to get on free? The Huffington Post has the story.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I received the monthly Washington State Department of Transportation- Eastern Region email newsletter update yesterday and it had a couple of interesting tidbits in it:

- A new round of federal 'Transportation Investments Generating Economic Growth' (TIGER) grants was recently announced and the North Spokane Corridor was selected as one of three projects submitted by the WSDOT. The project submitted is the realignment of about 7.5 miles of BNSF Railway mainline and spur tracks plus building two NSC freeway bridges, two pedestrian bridges, and an additional mile of pedestrian/bike trail.

The Department requested $18.9 million towards the $31.5 million project. The work will enable continued construction of the NSC corridor between the Francis/Freya interchange and the Spokane River. There is $500 million available nationwide to be awarded to projects in this round of TIGER funding.

- Construction of the new Keller Ferry vessel began on March 28th. Foss Maritime of Seattle is working on the aluminum hull at their shipyard in Rainier, OR. The hull and superstructure will be built in several sections, then transported to Grand Coulee, WA via truck sometime this fall. Final assembly will take place at Crescent Bay on Lake Roosevelt with the launch planned for May, 2013.

Evergreen Road Reconstruction Project Open House

If you drive Evergreen Road between 16th and 32nd Avenue, plan to attend an Open House on Thursday, April 12 from 6:00-7:30pm at the Vera Water & Power Board Room. The Open House will give you a chance to learn about and discuss the planned reconstruction of the roadway planned for this summer.

The City of Spokane Valley is partnering with Vera Water & Power to make roadway improvements as part of a project to construct a water line along Evergreen Road. As part of this project, it may be necessary to remove privately installed fencing and landscaping in the public right of way.

Planned improvements include:

• Resurfacing Evergreen Rd with asphalt between 16th and 24th.
• Reconstructing Evergreen and pave with asphalt between 24th and 32nd, and along 32nd for about 600 feet east of Evergreen.
• Adding northbound left turn lane on Evergreen at intersection of 24th.
• Adding southbound left turn lanes on Evergreen at intersections of 24th and 32nd.
• Connecting existing sidewalks on the east side of Evergreen between 24th & 32nd.
• Adding 5-foot bike lanes on both sides of the roadway between 16th & 32nd.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Centennial Trail Closed In Some Places Due To High River Water

If you use the Centennial Trail, you should know there are protions of the Trail along Upriver Drive just east of Mission Avenue under water due to the rising of the Spokane River.

The Spokane Fire Department is warning you to stay out of the river and consider any part of the trail that’s under water closed.

Flows in the Spokane River are nearing 26 feet; flood stage is 27 feet. The entire river is running high and fast, and water temperatures remain very cold.

Business Owners Ask To Restripe Sprague to Fewer Lanes

East Sprague business owners are asking the city of Spokane to restripe Sprague between Sherman and Fiske streets to increase safety, encourage walking bicycling and transit use and enhance the urban environment.

And the Washington State Department of Transportation is asking local agencies to submit grant applications for “projects that increase safety, encourage a healthier lifestyle, and create more desirable, livable communities.”

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

Driver Charged With Vehicular Assault For Hitting Bicyclist

A bicyclist is in serious condition after getting hit by a car early Sunday morning on the South Hill, according to KREM 2 News.

Police blocked off 29th Avenue near Martin Street for several hours yesterday while investigating the incident. The driver was arrested and charged with vehicular assault. Names of the driver or bicyclist have not been released, or any more details.

TV Program To Feature Airport Discussion

“Council Connection,” the cable television program featuring Spokane City Council members as hosts, will be shown live this Wednesday April 4, at 6 p.m. on CityCable 5 and will feature a discussion of the economic impact of Spokane International Airport and Felts Field. Council Member Steve Salvatori will host the program. He will accept calls from viewers during the program; so if you have questions or comments call 625-6337.

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.