Monday, December 31, 2012

Who Will Lead The WSDOT?

Is Paula Hammond out as Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary? Not necessarily, but why then is Governor-elect Jay Inslee initiating a nationwide search to find a new WSDOT head?

Transportation Issues Daily reports the new Gov is looking for new leadership.

'Streetsie' Awards Revealed

I blogged last week about how you could vote for the best and worst in transportation in 2012 in Streetsblog's annual 'Streetsie' Awards. Well the votes have been tabulated and the winners include LeBron James for bike commuting and Massachusett's 'Mode Shift' campaign, plus a lot more. Losers include whatever federal transportation bill follows MAP-21 and a handful of political gaffs from the year past.
You can find all the results here.

Group Recommends Distracted Walking Legislation

Is distracted walking the new distracted driving? That's what a new report claims- that distracted walking is just as dangerous as distracted or drunk driving and that laws against it should be enacted. "Distracting" behavior such as talking on the phone, texting and listening to music on headphones is on the rise apparently and is a common way pedestrian get hurt. has the story.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

More Holiday Closures

Here we go again: Next Tuesday, January 1 is New Years Day so all local government offices will be closed. Also, SRTC and the City generally close around noon or 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, as do some of the other agencies, so you should probably just get your government business done that morning to be safe. We'll be back open at 8 a.m. on Jan. 2 though.

Spokane Democrat On WA State House Transportation Committee

Do you know who represents you on the Washington State House Transportation Committee?  I have to admit, I didn't know all of them either. Thanks to Transportation Issues Daily though, we've got a handy cheat sheet of members. We'll focus on the Democratic side of the Committee today, just because that's what the article focuses on. Transportation Issues Daily promises to post the Republic members in an upcoming story though, so I'll link it too.

In the meantime, the Democrats have seven new members and ten current members returning to the Committee when the Legislature convenes on January 14. Here's a look at the players, including newcomer Marcus Ricelli from Spokane.

Best Cars For Seniors

Last week I blogged about the best cars for teenagers, so this week I've got the best cars for seniors. I've never thought about it, but apparently a car that adapts to a lack of flexibility or muscle strength and is comfortable at the same time could be a challenge to find.

AAA says seniors should look for the following features depending on their medical conditions:

• Drivers suffering from hip or leg pain, decreased leg strength or limited knee range of motion should look for vehicles with six-way adjustable power seats and seat heights that come between the driver’s mid-thigh and lower buttocks. These features make it easier for drivers to enter and exit a vehicle.

• Drivers with arthritic hands, stiff fingers or diminished motor skills benefit from four-door models, thick steering wheels, keyless entry and ignition, power mirrors and seats and large dashboard controls with buttons. These features reduce the amount of grip strength needed and reduce pain associated with turning or twisting motions.

• Drivers with diminished vision or problems with high-low contrast will find vehicles with auto-dimming mirrors, large audio and climate controls and displays with contrasting text helpful. These features can reduce blinding glare and make controls and displays easier to see.

So which cars fit the bill best? AAA looked at a LOT of vehicles and ranked them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Electric Car Owners Face $100 Fee In 2013

The price of owning an electric vehicle in Washington State is about to go up. After Feb. 1, 2013, owners of the battery-powered cars will be required to pay a $100 annual fee for road and highway improvements intended to compensate for the lack of gas taxes they pay.

Supporters of the fee say electric cars put the same wear and tear on roads that gas vehicles do and should pay their share for the road’s upkeep. Those who oppose it feel they are being punished for trying to do something good for the environment and point out that they're paying for the extra electricity they use to charge their cars.

Here's more from the Spokesman-Review. What do you think- is it fair to charge electric vehicle owners or is it a case of no good deed going unpunished?

UI's Transportation Institute Turns Research Into Real-World Applications

So what goes on at a 'transportation institute?' Research that turns into real-world applications, at least at the University of Idaho’s National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology.

The Spokesman-Review takes a look at what the institute does and it's quest to build cleaner, more fuel-efficient engines.

Stevens Pass Open Again

If you hadn't heard yet, US 2 Stevens Pass reopened late yesterday afternoon after being closed for several days. Trees had built up a large amount of snow and ice, causing well over a hundred of them to fall onto the roadway. Warmer temperatures and less snowfall than expected yesterday caused the built up snow to fall to fall off the trees, removing the threat.

The Washington State Department of Transportation had planned today to see if helicopter 'backwash' could dislodge the snow but nature took care of it so that experiment has been cancelled.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Best and Worst in Transportation for 2012

Streetsblog is asking your opinion on the best and worst of transportation in 2012 for their annual 'Streetsie' awards. All you have to do is answer a couple questions about transportation on their website and they'll tabulate the results on Dec. 27 and give out the awards. Some of the questions include:
  • What's your favorite celebrity endorsement of sustainable transportation?
  • The most cringe-worthy egg-on-face moment for the GOP in 2012?
  • The most sensible path forward for high-speed rail is?
  • What’s causing the dip in vehicle miles traveled?
  • MAP-21 expires in 21 months. When do you think a new bill will be enacted?
And a few other. Here's a link to Streetsblog so you can voice your thoughts.

That Bad Driver License Photo Will Be With You Even Longer Now

The state of Washington will no longer do drivers license tests and you can now go longer between renewing your license. Plus, some downtown Spokane streets will be closed for First Night Spokane. The Spokesman's Getting There column has what's happening in transportation this week.

Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Public Meeting

Mark your calendar, the City of Spokane Valley is hosting a community meeting to discuss replacement of the Sullivan Road Bridge. The meeting is Wednesday, Jan.9 from 4-7 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place.

This meeting will be held to review updates on the bridge design, information on projects to retrofit storm drains on the existing bridges and resurface Sullivan Road from Flora Pit Road to Trent Avenue; and to ask for support in requesting assistance from the state legislature for Bridge Replacement Project funding.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Holiday Closures

With Christmas being next Tuesday, you should know that all area government agencies will be closed. Some are also closed Monday. So here's how things will shake out:
  • SRTC will be open Monday until 1 p.m. and closed Tuesday, Christmas Day. We open at 8 a.m. again on Wednesday.
  • Spokane County will close at 2 p.m. Monday AND be closed all day Tuesday.
  • Spokane Valley will be closed on Monday AND Tuesday.
  • The City of Spokane closes City Hall at noon on Monday and is closed all day Tuesday.
Parking meters don’t have to be plugged on Tuesdays, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 and parking is free after 5 p.m. at metered spaces through Jan. 5.

Crash Dieters Delay Subway Trains- Often

So what would you think would be the  top causes of delayed subway trains in big cities across the country? Poorly trained employees? Waiting for people to load and unload? Nope, none of the above. It's crash dieters who faint from dizziness, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Yes, you read that right.

After track work and signal problems, ill passengers, most of them crash dieters, rated among the main reasons for subway disruptions. Medics have to respond when someone passes out, slowing down the trains. NBC News has more.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Centennial Trail Public Meeting

Put this one on your calendar- the City of Spokane is hosting a public meeting to talk with folks like yourself about the Centennial Trail Gap – Mission Avenue Crossing Study.This project will provide a feasibility study for an improved crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists at Mission Avenue in Spokane.

The meeting will highlight the issues at this location (fast moving traffic, etc.), provide details on the study, present preliminary alternatives and give citizens the opportunity to provide input. It isTuesday, January 8, 2013, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Stevens Elementary School, 1717 East Sinto Avenue.

Trail users, this is your chance to voice your ideas, so don't miss it.

New Technology Tells You To Pull Over & Take A Nap

Okay, we may have gone a little too far now. Technology has just been released that can be inserted into vehicle driver seats to monitor heart rate and heartbeat stability of drivers. Why? To sense when a driver is falling asleep behind the wheel.Here are the details, from Digital Trends.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Famous Authors and Their Bikes; A Photo Series

You've heard about Ernest Hemingway and his  boat, but did you know he also had a love of bicycling? That's him in the picture; in peacetime and as part of his war duties.

These pictures are part of a photo series of famous authors and their bicycles that I found a link to on  the DownToEarthNWBlog.

Apparently many authoris, from Tolstoy to Henry Miller and Sylvia Plath used bicycling for transportation. Check it out, there some pretty cool pictures, especially of the early tandems. And what some of these writers wore to ride their bikes is kind of crazy too.

20+ Years In Existence And The Centennial Trail Still Isn't Complete

With over 37 miles of the Centennial Trail being used more than 2 million times per year in Spokane County, chances are good you've been on it yourself. But while the trail stretches all the way from Riverside State Park to the state line (then continues to Coeur d'Alene), did you know that the Washington portion of the trail actually isn't complete? This article in today's Spokesman-Review talks about six trail projects organizers would like to see completed.

US 395 Freight Study Planned

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is partnering with Washington State University in 2013 to do a freight study on US 395 between Deer Park and the Canadian border.

WSU Freight Policy Institute staff members and volunteers from area Lions Clubs will ask truck drivers to stop for a few minutes to be interviewed about their route and cargo. The one-day surveys will be conducted starting in early 2013 at three locations along the route and spaced through the year to capture seasonal freight movements.

Freight studies help transportation agencies understand how the highway system is used so they can consider that when planning future highway projects.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

100 Years Ago Spokane Called Greatest Railway Center On Continent

The item below was in Sunday's This Day In History column from the Spokesman-Review from 1912 and was passed along to me by a member of the public who is very interested in transportation happenings.

From the rail beat: The railroad statistics compiled by The Spokesman-Review were truly astonishing: Every week, 630 passenger trains entered the city.

This meant that every day 38 steam passenger trains arrived in Spokane, along with 52 electric-line passenger trains, which were mostly local lines coming from nearby towns.
Spokane was the “converging point of six transcontinental lines, 10 branch roads and two electric systems.” The paper concluded that the city was “one of the greatest railway centers on the American continent.”

This is pretty amazing to me considering they had this huge regional train station 100 years ago and now the only time you can catch a passenger train in Spokane is at 2:00 in the morning.

Gamble While You Wait at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport

Move over Vegas. Hello Minneapolis-St. Paul. There's a new airport where you can gamble while waiting for your flight. Electronic games were approved for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recently. It won't be exactly like Vegas though, as MSP Airport will be the first to offer electronic gambling on IPads in restaurants.

Minnesota Vikings fans who lose money will have one consolation- revenue raised from the gambling will go to pay for Vikings Stadium. The StarTribune has the story.

A Look At The New Keller Ferry Under Construction

Some pretty cool pictures on the Washington State Department of Transportation's blog about construction of the state's newest ferry boat, which will serve right here in Eastern Washington.

 The “Sanpoil,” the new ferry vessel for the Keller Route across the Columbia River, is being built at a Longview shipyard right now.

It reached a major construction milestone on December 11 that involved two cranes and a 20,000-pound section of the boat.

Here's what's happening and when the boat will be in service.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gov. Gregoire Pitches Surprising Transportation Package

I blogged last week about how outgoing Governor Chris Gregoire was pitching a new transportation package this week and she did it today. She did propose a new gas tax, but where the revenue will go wasn't expected.

Another surprise- she didn't propose increases to other transportation-related fees. For a reason though. Transportation Issues Daily breaks her proposal down.

Sierra Club Picks 50 Best & Worst Projects Nationwide

From Transportation Issues Daily, The Sierra Club has selected 50 transportation projects they feel would do the most, or the least, to improve the environment and reduce oil dependence. And they've put a fairly self-explanatory map together to illustrate the report where you just click on the project to see what it is.
It doesn’t appear that any highway projects made the “Go” list, including here in Washington. Most of the “Go” projects are transit, rail and trail oriented. Conversely, it appears that every “Stop” project is a road project. But read it yourself, or view the map, and let us know what you think.

The map and report can be viewed here.

1895 Laws For 'Wheelmen'

Thanks to Charles Hansen for sending me this 1895 article from the Spokane Chronicle on laws for 'wheelmen,' also known as bicyclists.  It was kind of ironic to me that, over 100 years later, there are still issues between bicyclists and vehicle drivers, although of a different kind. It's good to know though that the item about giving the right of way to the vehicle is no longer the case.

Census Bureau Going Digital With Survey

Remember the old days of the U.S. Census when you'd get either a 'long' or 'short' form from the Census Bureau to fill out about your household and demographics? Well, times are changing. The long form was replaced with the American Community Survey a while back and now it's going digital.
The American Community Survey is sent to more than 3.5 million addresses on a rotating basis throughout the year. The survey provides a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the nation. The results are widely used, for example, by town and city planners, retailers and homebuilders and extensively here at SRTC. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, occupation, language, ancestry and housing costs for even the smallest communities.

There had been talk about discontinuing the American Community Survey to save money, but the outcry by agencies that use the information apparently saved it. By putting it online, the Census Bureau says it will save money on printing, paper, postage and processing costs, while making it more convenient for the selected households to fill it out.
Households selected to participate in the American Community Survey will receive a letter in the mail with instructions about how to log in to the secure website and complete the survey online.

Monday, December 17, 2012

SRTC Board & Committee Meetings For 2013

For those of you marking your calendars for 2013 (and for the rest of you-why aren't you??) here's a list of all SRTC Policy Board, Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) and Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings for 2013.

All of these meetings are open to the public and you're encouraged to attend whenever you're interested or can. There are public comment items on every meeting agenda so come share your transportation thoughts with us.

Third Ave. Rehab Project Open House

You're invited to an open house hosted by the City of Spokane to discuss plans to rehabilitate Third Avenue from Division to Arthur Streets under the 10-year Street Bond. The meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 18, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., at Goodwill Industries, 130 E. Third Ave.

Transit Use Numbers Up Again

Public transit use continues to increase. The American Public Transportation Association last week released data showing 2.6 percent bump in transit use over last year.

APTA broke its findings down by location and type of transportation, some of which were bigger winners than others. Heavy rail enjoyed a 3.6 percent increase in ridership. "Grist" has the numbers.

Property Owners Refuse To Leave So Engineers Build Freeway Around Building

When my friend the real estate agent was first starting out in the business, she was pretty rusty at writing so I would help her jazz up her ads. A major dump became a "great starter home you can customize to your preferences!" and a house right next to the freeway had "great access and lots of transportation options!" So just think how we could market this half-demolished building in China that has a motorway built around it.
The family that lives in the building aparently refuses to move and embroiled in a legal battle over the amount of compensation they're seeking to relocate.

Apparently homeowners that refuse to leave aren't all that rare in China. The Independent has the whole story.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gregoire To Propose Transportation Funding Package

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said Tuesday she is preparing a new transportation package that would rival the multi-billion-dollar deal she helped approve in 2005. She plans to explain the plan during a budget proposal next week.
In an interview, Gregoire cited the need to fund basic maintenance of transportation infrastructure and pay for major new projects. How to pay for these needs though? The Tacoma News Tribune has the story.

AAA Recommends Top Cars For Teens

Most teenagers have one criteria for what kind of car they buy: what they can afford. Parents who help their kids out with purchasing a vehicle though may probably consider some other factors- how safe and reliable a car is, plus how affordable. 

Using that criteria, AAA compiled a list of top vehicles for teens. I have to admit, I was surprised at their top pick, which I drove when I was in high school many, many years ago!
Here are their recommendations.

Transportation Technical Committee Agenda Available

Normally we hold the Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) meetings on the fourth Wednesday of each month. But due to that being the day after Christmas this year, the TTC meeting has been moved up a week to December 19. Here's the agenda. If you see anything on there that interests you, feel free to attend the meeting. They're very informative and have an item on every month's agenda for public comment in case you have something transportation-related you'd like to share.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bicycle/Pedestrian Fatalities Increase In 2011

The common perception seems to be that a lot of people get hit by cars while walking or biking around here lately. New data is out from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2011 thought and it shows a nationwide increase in bicycle, pedestrian and traffic deaths.

Last year, 677 cyclists were killed in the United States -- an 8.7 percent increase over 2010 and 3 percent more pedestrians were killed. So what's behind the increases?
StreetsBlog looks at some of the contributing factors.

Seniors Great Behind The Wheel But Don't Fare So Well In Crashes

Senior citizens may be the safest drivers on the road- but they're also the most likely to die in a crash, according to new data from AAA. Why is that? WTVN Radio has the story. Plus, vehicles with senior-friendly features. Find out what kind of car grandma should be driving to help lessen her arthritis pain.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How Long Did Travel Take In the 1800s?

I recently flew to Las Vegas in a couple hours. And last year a trip all the way across the country to Florida took about four or five hours if I remember right. Not bad huh? Especially when you consider it could take weeks or even months to do that same trip in the 1800s, depending on how you were travelling.

Treehugger has this series of maps showing travel rates from the old days you have to check out. Pretty cool.

Transportation Advisory Committee Meeting Agenda

The next meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) is next Monday, December 17. The TAC is our citizens advisory group. Here's a look at the meeting agenda. If anything on there jumps out at you, feel free to attend the meeting. They're all open to the public and there's an item on every TAC meeting agenda for public comment.

Your Comments Needed On Projects To Be Added To The Transportation Improvement Program

We're looking for your input on a proposed amendment to the 2013-2016 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP is a programming document that identifies specific projects proposed to be undertaken during the upcoming four years. Or for those who don't speak planner, it's a document describing all the projects local jurisdictions are hoping to construct or complete by 2016. I find the most interesting part of the TIP to be the list from each jurisdiction detailing their projects and descriptions, the jurisdiction sponsoring them, funding attached to each project and where the funding came from (local, state or federal funds).

This proposed amendment includes adding 36 projects to the TIP that have recently received funding and removing projects that were fully obligated federal funds in 2012 and had changes to the programmed amount or year.

A public comment period for the proposed amendment starts December 11, 2012.  Here is how you can view the proposed changes and comment on them.

Monday, December 10, 2012

More Than A Dozen Pedestrians Struck By Cars In One Week In B.C.

People talk sometimes about how dangerous it is in our community for pedestrians, because of the multiple vehicle-pedestrian accidents we have each year. Well if you like to walk, be glad you're here and not in British Columbia, where more than a dozen pedestrians were hit in one week. Yes you read that right. ONE WEEK. CTV News has the story on the rash of collisions.

Hybrid Cars May Not Be As Great For The Environment As We Thought

So you bought yourself a hybrid and you're helping to save the environment right? Maybe not. Consumer Reports says Ford has been inflating the mileage on its hybrid models. Instead of getting “47 city/47 highway/47 combined mpg” as advertised, the Fusion sedan gets 35/41/39 and the new C-Max wagon gets 35/38/37. Heck, my friend's 1997 Honda Civic gets that.

That’s a pretty big difference — especially when the common philosophy is that hybrid drivers are generally those who drive a lot becuase the only way to break even when buying a hybrid rather than a regular gas-powered car is to driver about 12,000 miles a year.
Here's the story from DC Streetsblog.

New Cellphone Parking Lot At SIA

Spokane International Airport gets a new, more convenient cellphone parking lot, there's a new way to cross the railroad tracks at Francis just east of Market if you haven't been up there yet and the Washington State Transportation Commission is looking for your input on the need for new transportation revenue.
The Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" column has local transportation happenings for this week.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Why Drive To The Arena To See Your Favorite Band When You Can Just Drive?

Jay Z- Coming to a highway near you?
Here's a quote from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood I never thought I'd see; “Whether you want to hear Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre rock the mic on a Long Beach frontage road or a rousing program from the Boston Symphony Orchestra across six lanes of I-90, we have something for everyone.”

Don't get excited, it's just a spoof by satirist the Onion saying the U.S. Department of Transportation is staging "Traffic Jam 2013," a new highway concert series that will feature popular musical acts performing for passing motorists on America’s shoulder lanes, median dividers, and overpasses.

With base ticket prices starting at $55 though, maybe we should give it a try? That could fund a lot of highway maintenance and construction. Here's the story if you want to see what other artists you could check out on the road if we lived in the Onion's world.

NY Officials Ask For Billions To Repair Storm-Damaged Transit System

Officials are asking for billions of dollars in storm aid to repair the damage left from Hurricane Sandy- and that's only in New York! The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it will cost more than $7 billion to repair the damage to the antiquated transit systems and billions more to upgrade the systems to withstand major storms in the future.

It's looking like securing that kind of money in the current economy is a stretch though and the Obama administration may not want to put out that kind of funding. Transit officials say now is the time to invest in the infrastructure though, as it will cost more to fix the damage now, then come back and upgrade it later.
The New York Times has the story.

Why Would You Need To Plow Snow In Texas?

So say it's your job to drive a snowplow but there's no snow in your area. How would you learn? By using a simulator, of course. In know, you're asking WHY would it be your job if there's no snow in your area?? Well apparently Dallas, TX officials are worried they're going to get hit by another big storm like the one a couple years ago that pretty much paralyzed the city. To be safe rather than sorry, they're teaching employees to drive plows- by playing video games.

The Daily Herald has the story.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Taking A (Short) Hiatus From Planning

Eve cheated and roped our intern Levi into
helping with her filing.
So just a heads up that there will be little to no blogging today because staff took the day off from regular duties to clean out 30 years of files. I started doing it about six months ago, but working alone I was getting nowhere, so we decided to take one day and just crank it out. 

Mallory has so many file boxes to go
through I don't think she can get out of
her office to make tamales.

Kevin is REALLY excited about
making tamales.
The good news though (for us anyway) is that there's a reward in it for us. The bossman learned to make tamales while living in Arizona and we each brought in an ingredient and formed a production line to make them. I, of course, am the official photographer of Tamale/Filing Fling 2012. 
This is great guys but
what are the rest of you
going to eat?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SRTC Board Meeting Agenda

Here's the agenda for the Dec. 13 Policy Board meeting. As always, all SRTC Board and committee meetings are open to the public so feel free to attend. They're more interesting than you'd think and I always learn something.

Coal Train Meeting A Packed House

Eight hundred people attended yesterday's public meeting on a proposed coal port facility in northwest Washington. Many people are up in arms about the proposal because of increasing coal train shipments through Spokane and North Idaho. Others say the facility would promote new jobs in our state. The Spokesman-Review has more on the meeting.

SRTC had representatives there to learn more about the proposal as it could potentially impact transportation in our area, such as by causing additional waits at railroad crossings or through air pollution.
In the meantime, a lot of people are trying to pin down Washington Governor-Elect Jay Inslee on his position on the proposed coal facility, but so far he's not talking. Analysts are looking to things he said in interviews and debates during the election season to try to predict which way he is leaning. Transportation Issues Daily looks at some of those quotes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WSDOT Says No To Marijuana Use- Even Where It's Legal

The U.S. Department of Transportation says not to get too excited about legalized marijuana in Washington and Colorado; it will have no effect on drug testing practices. At least for employees in safety-sensitive positions already subject to strict drug and alcohol screening anyway, such as pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, and others.

The DOT's official stand is that it does not recognize either recreational or medical use of the Schedule I drug. Politico has the story.

Obama Requests $50B For Infrastructure Investment

President Obama is pressing for infrastructure investment again as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. Among other things, he asked for $50 billion in infrastructure spending. That's the same proposal he pushed last year as part of the American Jobs Act that didn't go anywhere.

 It’s not clear how that money would be spent specifically, but the Jobs Bill included $9 billion for transit and $4 billion for high-speed rail, as well as funding for the TIGER program.
DC Streetsblog has more.

Coal Train Meeting Tonight

Hundreds of people are expected to attend a public meeting tonight on a proposed coal terminal near Bellingham. Such a terminal could bring a dramatic increase in the size and frequency of coal trains through our area, which has many people worried about coal dust coming off the uncovered loads, derailments, traffic tie-ups and the risk of pollution to waterways. As a result, the Army Corps of Engineers has been requested to do a study on the impacts the terminal could have.

Tonight's meeting, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center at 4 p.m., is to discuss what all the study should cover. Many protestors and others are expected to show up though and a rally is planned prior to the meeting. The Spokesman-Review has more on that.

Representatives from SRTC will attend that meeting to learn more about the study and the possible impacts of additional coal trains through the area on transportation, such as on the delay to vehicles waiting at rail road crossings and the effect on air pollution.

Monday, December 3, 2012

New 'Mobility Center' Open At STA Plaza

Spokane Transit has recently opened a new 'mobility center' at the Plaza downtown to help people with disabilities continue using regular buses. Free training sessions are available to prepare passengers for loading and unloading without the pressure of a tightly scheduled bus with passengers aboard. The Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" column has the details.

Spokesman-Review Talks Shop With Spokane's Street Department Head

The Spokesman-Review sat down with Mark Serbousek, head of the City of Spokane's Street Department (and a member of SRTC's Transportation Technical Committee), recently for an interview on all things road-related. The conversation covered everything from how much damage studded tires do to pavement to why your driveway gets plowed in whenever the plows go past your house.
Read the interview here.

Shoes Optional on the Trampoline Sidewalk

Okay, seriously, why am I sitting at this desk when somewhere in the world there is a trampoline sidewalk?? The bouncy sidewalk was built in a Russian city recently for an annual art and design festival as a way to get between festival venues.
Here's more on the 'Fast Track' sidewalk from C Net.

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.