Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Man Who Retired Debt Free At 30 Says Not Owning Car Played Large Part

Alert: you're going to feel bad about yourself after reading this article. The Washington Post recently interviewed "Mr. Money Mustache," a man who retired at the age of 30 with no debt, on how he was able to do this. Time after time in this article, he comes back to how not owning a car, or buying an affordable used car you can pay cash for, is one of the biggest ways to live debt free. Here's the article. Check it out and report back on how his advice is working for you.

These Officers Aren't Going To Catch You- They're Too Stiff To Chase

Okay, this is really kind of creepy. With two road deaths every single day, officials in Bangalore, India realize they need to do something to address the problem. But the steps they took are maybe what some other jurisdictions would have chosen.

They're putting more cops on the streets. But not real cops. Cardboard cutout cops. In theory, maybe not a bad idea, but if you look at the pictures of them, they look kind of hokey. They all have their arms crossed and look more like they're waiting for the bus or hanging around outside a conveninence store than like they're looking for crazy drivers to bust. Check it out. The article and pictures are here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Charlotte Mayor Tapped To Take Over For U.S. Transporation Secretary

The Charlotte, N.C. Observer and the Huffington Post are reporting that Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will replace Ray LaHood as USDOT Secretary and the White House has confirmed his nomination late Sunday afternoon.
Foxx was elected Mayor in 2009 but doesn't appear to have an extensive background in transportation. The White House says what he does have though is knowledge of the type of infrastructure needed to create jobs and compete in a globe economy.
Transportation Issues Daily has more on this move and Foxx's background.

Officials Numbers Are In For This Month's Bike Swap

The second-annual Spokane Bike Swap held earlier this month was a major success, construction on Third Avenue from Division to Arthur streets starts next Monday, May 6 and repaving work starts Sunday on Division and Ruby Streets.

The Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" column has a roundup of all the area transportation happenings for this week.

Bicycles; An Integral Part Of Your Emergency Plan?

Thanks to Barb at the Bicycle Alliance of Washington for sending me this one. It's an article by a emergency planner on how bicycles can be an integral part of disaster preparedness and response.

We saw it after Tropical Storm Sandy on the east coast this year. Public transit was flooded and at a standstill, even for weeks after the storm passed. People took to their bikes to get supplies and to get where they needed to go.

This article says simply owning a bike and using it regularly increases your ability to deal with any kind of disaster because you are more likely to be fit and healthy, prepared for physical and mental challenges and you can cover considerable distances by bicycle even when roads are closed to cars and mass transit. Here's more on how your bike could help you fend for yourself in the case of disasters of all kinds.

Neighbor Days Festival & Spokane's First "Kidical Mass" Ride

SRTC took part in the West Central Community Center's Neighbor Days Festival this past weekend, to talk to people about our Horizon 2040 plan. 

There were a lot of people there, particularly families, so a variety of thoughts were shared with me on transportation. I was surprised to hear though, that for a neighborhood fairly close to downtown, very few of the people I talked to said they use public transportation. A couple people told me their households had downsized to one car though and they had adjusted schedules/work situations accordingly.

There was also a lot of support for bike and pedestrian facilities from the people I talked to, particularly fixing or filling in missing sidewalks, as there is a concentration of elderly and disabled people in the West Central neighborhood. 

The festival was capped by the first "Kidical Mass" for our community, a three mile bike ride for children, families and pretty much anyone else who wants to take part. Kidical Mass was introduced by the folks who organize the Spokane Summer Parkways events and there will be two more this year; in the Chief Garry Neighborhood on May 18th, at 1pm and in the South Perry Neighborhood on September 12th (market night), at 5pm.The rides highlight safe riding and learning to ride and signal on the road.

I90 Closures At Snoqualmie This Week

There are four rock-blasting closures planned for this week on I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass, one that could be as long as four hours. Closures scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are scheduled from 7 to 8 p.m. from Gold Creek to the Price Creek Sno-Park in both directions.
But the length of the Wednesday closure, starting at 7 p.m., will depend on the amount of time it takes to remove boulders and large pieces of debris. Crews will also evaluate and repair any damage to the highway. Drivers need to plan for up to four hours of additional travel time.
Also, crews are repairing bridge decks along I-90 between Easton and Ellensburg. Construction starts April 29, and you can expect single-lane closures during the day.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Come See SRTC At West Central Community Center Neighbor Day Tomorrow

If you're not doing anything tomorrow, come outside to enjoy the nice weather at the West Central Community Center's Neighbor Day Festival at A.M. Cannon Park, 1511 N. Elm St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
I'll be there talking to people about Horizon 2040 and area transportation in general. While that should be the highlight of your festival experience, there will also be carnival booths, arts and crafts, food vendors, games and music by a DJ. And did I mention I'll be there?

Spokane City and Spokane Valley Construction Work For Next Week

Spokane Valley
24th Ave from Adams Rd to Sullivan Rd - Narrowed lanes and brief delays weekdays between 7 am and 5 pm through mid-May for sidewalk work.
Pines ITS project - Curb lane closures on northbound Pines weekdays from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm weekdays into July for signal conduit work.

Sprague/Sullivan ITS project - Curb lane closures on westbound Sprague between Evergreen and Sullivan, and on northbound Sullivan between Sprague and I-90 from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm weekdays for signal conduit work.

Sullivan Rd. Street Preservation - Sullivan between the Spokane River and Trent Ave. reduced to one lane each direction weekdays from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm through mid-June for signal and stormwater improvements.
University Rd. between Trent and Fairview - University southbound will be closed between Trent and Fairview from 8:00 am to noon on Monday, April 29th for railroad crossing work.
Spokane City
Bloomsday street prep work- Citizens are asked to remove parked vehicles from the Bloomsday route so crews can clean it. Do not park on Riverside Ave. from Maple to Hemlock streets; cars will be towed. Cars will be towed from the south side of Riverside on Monday, April 29, and from the north side on Tuesday, April 30. Towing in other areas is possible on Wednesday; signs will be placed. Citizens should anticipate moving all parked vehicles off the course prior to the race on Sunday, May 5. At the start, vehicles should be moved Saturday night; for the rest of the course, vehicles need to be moved before 7 am.

Third Ave from Arthur to Division- Work to rehabilitate Third Avenue from Division east to Arthur is scheduled to begin Monday, May 6. The project includes replacing a water main. One lane of traffic will remain open during construction, and local access to businesses will be maintained.
Eighth and Ninth avenues water transmission main- This project is substantially complete, with only a few punch list items remaining. All streets have reopened. The overall project included replacing existing water transmission mains and line and installing new lines in Eighth and Ninth avenues from Division to Cowley streets; Eighth Ave. from Chandler to Hatch streets; Chandler St. from Eighth to Ninth avenues.
Lincoln Heights Booster Station- This project to replace the Lincoln Heights Booster is beginning. On April 30, Ray Street at 23rd Avenue will be reduced to one lane in each direction for two days. The majority of this project will not cause traffic disruptions.

Three Projects To Be Added To Or Changed In Transportation Improvement Program

We're making some changes to the plan that dictates what local transportation projects will get funded in the next few years, so you'll want to check them out. We're proposing to add a project to the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) that recently received Interstate Maintenance program (IM) funds, change an existing project, and add another project that may potentially be selected for a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program (CMAQ) grant.

The TIP is a document that identifies projects proposed to be undertaken or constructed during the upcoming four years. It includes project names and descriptions, the jurisdiction sponsoring them, funding attached to each project, and where the funding came from (local, state or federal funds).

The amendment we're proposing to it includes these projects:
  • I-90/Barker Rd to Idaho State Line – Paving
  • US 395/NSC BNSF Railway Structures/Realignment
  • Replace Eight 40' Fixed Route Coaches
Details on these projects can be found at http://www.srtc.org/tip.html. Once you look at them, let us know if you think this is a wise way to spend transportation money. There's info on that page on how to submit comments also.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Highway Trust Fund On Track To Run Dry In 2+ Years

Well this isn't the news I was hoping to hear; the money that the federal government uses to pay its share of transportation projects will run out in little more than two years, congressional forecasters say.
In a report to U.S. House members, the Congressional Budget Office said, “The current trajectory of the Highway Trust Fund is unsustainable.” So how to keep the Highway Trust Fund in the black? The report included a couple options, but none are very likely to happen.

Here are the details, from Stateline.

WSDOT Work For Next Week

US 2/395-Division Street-Browne Street & Ruby Street/I-90 to Euclid- Depending on weather, beginning on Sunday, May 5, from about 6:30 p.m. to as late as 6:00 a.m., drivers should be alert for lane restrictions in this corridor near the grinding and paving operations, with possible slow traffic and congestion. Crews will be doing pavement repair and crack-sealing at multiple locations.
I-90/Latah Creek to Havana-Illumination Maintenance- On Sunday, April 28, from about 4 a.m. to as late as 8 a.m., be alert for eastbound and/or westbound intermittent lane restrictions on Interstate 90. Crews will be doing maintenance on light poles.
SR 291/Lowell Rd. to Nine Mile- On Monday, April 28, from about 9 a.m. to as late as 3 p.m., expect single lane, alternating traffic directed by flaggers with some delays for survey work.

White Van Measuring Spokane Valley Road Conditions

If you live in Spokane Valley, you may have noticed a white van with the letters "IMS" travelling slowly through your neighborhood. Well, it's not the ice cream man and it's not a washed up motivational speaker looking for a place to park his van down by the river.

IMS a company working under contract with the City of Spokane Valley to assess the condition of the city's roadways.

The vehicle, which is equipped with cameras and lasers (lasers! cool!), is collecting data from about 167 miles of the city's 438 miles of roadways, looking for signs of deterioration and distress in the road surface to help analyze and rate the condition of the roads.

The data collected becomes part of the City's Pavement Management Program. Updated biannually, the PMP serves as a planning tool to determine which roadways are in need of attention, what types of maintenance are required to help prolong the life of the road surface, and maximize the community's investment in its roadways.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Road Closed For Toads

I'm not sure how I missed this gem last week but apparently I did.

About this time every year outside of Philadelphia, hundreds of toads migrate across a road to reach a pond. That road is pretty busy though, so a group of toad activists has worked with the city to get the road closed every day during times of "toadlet migration hours" which is apparently between 7-9 p.m. for some reason.

Some of the toads are even getting a ride across the street in buckets. Here's the story from Transportation Issues Daily.

There's Good News and There's Bad News About Countdown Signals

Spokane only started installing them a few years ago, and now a new study from the University of Toronto says pedestrian countdown timers might increase crashes!

The study showed that at at various intersections throughout Toronto over a four-year period, countdown signals resulted in a five-percent increase in crashes versus intersections without the special signals.

There is some good news though; the crashes were between cars, not cars and pedestrians for the most part, and at the most dangerous intersections the signals actually reduced crashes.

Here's more from Where the Sidewalk Starts.

Editorial Calls Proposed Fee Too Permissive

An editorial in the Spokesman-Review yesterday calls for stiffer fees for using snow tires than the proposed $15 fee included in the Senate transportation budget passed last Friday.

45% of the money raised from that fee would go toward maintenance and repair of state roads. But the article says that's not enough. The City of Spokane alone estimats its annual stud-related repair costs are almost $5 million, which would come nowhere close to being covered by a $15 fee.
So what does the Editorial Board propose? Find out here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

City Council Passes Resolution To Keep Air Traffic Control At Felts Field

Spokane City Council member Amber Waldref last night sponsored a resolution in favor of keeping the Felts Field air traffic control tower operations going, despite impending Federal sequestration cuts that would shut it down. The Council approved the resolution 6-0 as there is agreement that air traffic control at Felts is critical for safe operations, for defense and life safety, and other flight activities vital to our regional economy.
Today, Councilmembers will take the resolution to Washington, DC to speak to legislators there about it. This will happen as part of the annual delegation organized by Greater Spokane, Inc. that travels to D.C. to visit with federal legislators to advocate on behalf of Spokane issues.

New Study Says Text To Voice NOT Safer Than Typing Texts While Driving

Think you're being safe because you're using the voice-to-text option on your phone when behind the wheel? Guess what- new stats say dictating your texts is no safer than typing them out while driving.
A new study conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute is based on the performance of 43 research participants driving an actual vehicle on a closed course. Drivers first navigated the course without any use of cell phones. Each driver then traveled the course three more times performing a series of texting exercises – once using each of two voice-to-text applications and once texting manually. Researchers measured the time it took each driver to complete the tasks and how long it took for the drivers to respond to a light which came on at random intervals during the exercises.
Here are the results, from the Texas A&M website.

Seasonal Weight Restrictions Lifted On County Roads

Spokane County’s Engineering and Roads Department announced has lifted seasonal weight restrictions on county roads, effective immediately. During the annual cycle of freezing overnight temperatures, followed by warmer days and precipitation, roadway surfaces and the structures beneath the surface become weakened. As a result, roads are vulnerable to damage and weight restrictions reduces the need for increased road maintenance and auto repairs later.

Seasonal road restrictions usually go into effect in late February and last approximately six weeks, depending on weather.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Roadside Cleanup Yields Dozens Of CDs

Each year I take part in a cleanup day for my community where we divide up the area roads and head out with garbage bags and gloves to clean them up. I've been doing this for about 13 years now.

In that time, I've found that the types of trash I pick up from the roadside seems to go in trends. One year I found dozens of baggies of smoked cigarette butts. Another year there were empty whipped cream cans (the kind that projectile sprays out of the can) everywhere. One time I picked up probably a hundred of the little airline bottles of alcohol. All empty of course. And someone had an affinity for Red Dog beer one year in the early 2000s.

This year I found CDs. What, CDs? Yep, and I'm not sure why but I picked up dozens of them. Most of them like the one in the picture, recordable, not store bought. Who's "Her Majesty" anyway? I wanted to listen to it to find out but somehow misplaced the disc before I got back to my car to try it. And why was it on the roadside, along with a lot of others? Are CDs so outdated now that people just dispose of them by winging them out the window? Who knows but there were too many spread along about a two mile stretch, on both sides of the road, to be just one person's collection.

So, have you found anything good lately alongside the road?

Bike/Pedestrian Funding In Proposed Transportation Funding Package Increases

A proposed state transportation revenue package was proposed early this year that was divisive on several fronts. Some people felt it didn't go far enough to to meet the needs of kids walking to school, seniors trying to maintain their transportation independence, and bicycle users. A bike tax was also included in the package, which angered many bicyclists, who say they already pay taxes that help with road maintenance and construction, as most own vehicles in addition to bikes. 

A few months later and a new proposal is now on the table, which includes $100 million for Complete Streets grants, $15 million for trail projects, and it no longer includes the additional fee on the sale of new bikes. Also, a proposed amendment would provide an additional $250 million for bike/walk projects: an immediate $100 million for projects around the state, another $100 million over the life of the proposal for additional projects as they’re identified, and $50 million for Safe Routes to School.

While the Bicycle Alliance of Washington says this isn't a dream package by any stretch of the imagination, they acknowledge it is a move in the right direction and the group supports the package. If you agree and support this proposal, the Alliance is asking you to take a small action. Here's what they would like you to do.

I90 To Close At Snoqualmie Pass Four Nights This Week

More rock blasting is planned next week on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass, which will close the pass for an hour, so consider this if making plans to head to the west side of the state.
The Washington State Department of Transportation and crews plan to close I-90 both directions from 7 to 8 p.m., tonight through Thursday, April 25, from Gold Creek to the Price Creek Sno-Park. This work is weather dependent and subject to change.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spokane Bike Swap Even Bigger & Better This Year!

Just got some early numbers from last weekend's second annual Spokane Bike Swap and it looks like they had a great turnout!
  • Over 2,000 people attended
  • Sold over 450 bikes in the bike corral. Bike corral sales were up over 250% from last year. Last year, the bike corral broke even and this year made $6,700!
  •  A multitude of bikes were donated and portions of proceeds from customers bike sales donated for a total of $2,258!
Organizers are expecting to write a check to the Friends of the Centennial Trail for around $20,000, which is doubled from last year!

Transportation Technical Committee Meeting Next Wednesday

Next Wednesday is the monthly meeting of the Transportation Technical Committee. And this will be a barn burner because yours truly has two items on the agenda; Draft Public Involvement Policy and TIP Self Certification Form. It's going to be a real party so feel free to attend. I'd ask you bring your big foam finger to applaud my presentation if you come though, my evaluation is coming up and I need a little leverage with the boss.

There are a couple other items on the agenda too I guess you might want to know about. Here's the packet if you want to check it out, although I think we all know what the real main attraction will be. So be there if you can.

Don't Wait In Line At the DMV, Reserve Your Space In line- Online!

Sign me up for this one! Have I ever mentioned just HOW bad my drivers license photo is? (You're supposed to say, "How bad is it?" here). It's really bad. Because I had my 'angry face' on when the picture was taken. Why? Because I'd just waited THREE HOURS to renew my license. The wait was excessively long due to there only being two people working that day and other customers with some extremely complicated questions or situations.

To avoid these kinds of waits, New York's Department of Motor Vehicles is rolling out a new customer service initiative that will let you reserve a place in line- from home! And it does a bunch of other stuff too but I haven't gotten past that part yet, so here's where you can see what other services the new kinder, gentler NY DMV will offer.

Two Centennial Trail Projects Need Your Input

The group Friends of the Centennial Trail is asking for your input on two projects for the trail:

Spokane Public Facilities District Community Day

Thursday, April 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Spokane Convention Center, 2nd floor.

Drop in and view the 3 finalists design plans for the Convention Center expansion project. Let us know which project you feel best preserves and enhances our Centennial Trail with your email to friends@spokanecentennialtrail.org by Noon, Friday, 4/19.

Mission Gap Second Public Meeting
Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Northeast Community Center Assembly Room, 4001 N. Cook St.

View the updated design concepts, based on feedback from the first public meeting held in January, and ask questions of the stakeholders involved.

State Senate Passes Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill At Last Minute

The Washington State Senate passed the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill (HB 1045) 45-2, just in the nick of time last night! Spokane's Sen. Andy Billig (D-3) led the effort for a special order of business to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

It will save cities and towns money and cut red tape when they choose to set speed limits at 20 miles an hour on residential and business non-arterial streets; an estimated savings of $1,000-$5,000 for each traffic study requirement eliminated.

And it increases government efficiency. Here's how, from the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New "Bicycle Friendly" Universities Announced

When I was on the Gonzaga University campus not too long ago, I noticed there were a lot more students riding bikes, and a lot more bikes in the bike racks outside classrooms, than when I went to college many years ago.

Well, apparently that's a trend. Many colleges are making their campuses more bike friendly and starting bicycling programs to accomodate college students who either can't afford cars, or just don't want or need them for college life. Plus they're encouraging people to ride to class to save on the need for parking facilities and expenses.
In fact, the League of American Bicyclists recently announced the designation of 14 new "Bicycle Friendly Universities," expanding the program to 58 colleges in 30 states across America. Harvard is one of the new "inductees," as is the University of California, Berkley and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The rest can be found here.

Can I Try? Please?

I have no words to describe this so I'm just going to go directly to the video. Enjoy.

KHQ Right Now - News and Weather for Spokane and North Idaho

House Transportation Budget Has $ For Spokane, But Not Everyone Happy With It

House Democrats yesterday passed a two-year, $8.4 billion transportation spending plan for the state, described by Transportation Committee Chairwoman Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) as "not having a lot of frills."

The bill contains $79 million for projects in Spokane County, about $68 million of which will go toward the North Spokane Corridor, nearly $4 million for the State Route 290/Trent Avenue Bridge over the Spokane River and $1.3 million for the U.S. 195/Cheney-Spokane Road intersection.

While some feel it is a decent bill for Western Washington, there is a lot of indecision over it in general.
The Spokesman-Review tells us what issues are being debated.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Governor Releases Principles, Action Plan to Guide Transportation Investment

During a news conference yesterday, Governor Inslee announced his guiding principles for a transportation investment bill. The bill will center around creating and sustaining a thriving economic climate that spurs job growth, according to Inslee's camp and four principes will guide investments:

•Fix it first and maintain what we have.
•Finish what we’ve started and invest in the future.
•Explore new ways of funding a balanced and multimodal system.

Transportation Issues Daily takes a look at these guiding principles and a policy brief outlining an "action plan."

Valleyfest to Include "Cycle Celebration" This Year

Spokane Valley invites you to join them as they celebrate the City of Spokane Valley's Tenth Anniversary with a Bike Ride. The rides are part of the annual summer Valleyfest celebration and there's a route for every skill level, with a route as far as 50 miles and one as few as ten miles:
• 50 Mile "Hills Around the Valley Ride" starting 8:00-8:30AM

• 25 Mile "Adventure Ride" starting at 9:00-9:30AM

• 10Mile "Family Friendly Ride"starting at 9:30-10:00AM

No matter which ride you take, it's $10 per person (including a t-shirt) or $20 per family (up to 4, includes two t-shirts). For more information, to see ride maps, or to register, click here.

Transportation Advisory Committee Meeting Next Monday, April 22

April's Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting is next Monday, April 22 at 3 p.m. The agenda and packet is here. And we even have a guest speaker! A planner from Spokane County will make a guest appearance to talk about the Countywide Planning Policies and how they impact and guide SRTC's planning process and work plan. Should be an interesting time, so feel free to attend if you can and are interested.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Deadline To Apply For Board Positions Coming Up

Time is running out to apply for the two open positions on SRTC's Policy Board. We're looking for people interested in volunteer positions that give them a voice in developing local policies, working closely with area decision makers and helping to make transportation choices that shape and develop the regional transportation system.

The two open positions, to be filled with volunteers serving in management or executive level roles at area businesses or organizations, are:
• Representative from a major employer
• Representative from the rail/freight industry

More information can be found at http://www.srtc.org/srtc_board.html, along with the applications to fill out. The deadline to apply is this Friday though, at 4:30 p.m.

 Applications for the available positions are also available there. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 19 at 4:30 p.m.

14th Ave. Construction Project Open House

Residents living along 14th Avenue between Custer St. and Carnahan Rd. may wish to come to a public meeting to learn more about an upcoming road construction project in their area this summer. The public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Apr. 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Park Place Assisted Living Center, 511 S. Park Rd.

Staff members will present project details in the first half of the meeting, and plan on having time for discussion and questions afterward. The project calls for:
• Adding curbs to widen the existing roadway on 14th Ave. between Custer St. and Chronicle Rd. (Work may also include section of 14th Ave. between Chronicle Rd. and Carnahan Rd., pending funding approval);
• Installation of underground stormwater pipe system to improve stormwater drainage;
• Connecting driveways to the edge of the new curb; and
• Possible removal of privately installed improvements in the right of way.

The work is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-late summer and is estimated to take about 4-8 weeks to complete. The project is 100% funded by Aquifer Protection Area Funds.
There will also be an opportunity at the meeting to review the expected traffic impacts involving some narrowed lanes, detours and restrictions to driveway access. Those affected will be notified in advance. City staff are interested in hearing from residents and working with those who have special circumstances.

Sullivan Road Construction Project Starts Next Week

A road preservation project along Sullivan Rd. between Flora Pit Rd. and Trent Ave. is tentatively scheduled to begin Apr. 22 and may take approximately seven or eight weeks to complete. The project calls for:

• Patch work and resurfacing on Sullivan Rd. from Flora Pit Rd. to Trent Ave;
• Upgrading storm drainage, sidewalk ADA ramps, and signal loops; and
• Installation of a stormwater swale in the grass strip in front of the Sullivan Park parking lot.

Expect Sullivan Rd. between Flora Pit Rd. and Trent Ave. to be reduced to one lane in each direction at various times between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Sullivan Rd. between Kiernan Ave. and Trent Ave. will be closed during night hours, 11 p.m.-7 a.m. weekdays and 8 p.m.-5:30 a.m. on weekends, in approximately the last week of May or first week of June for paving.
The project is 90% funded by Spokane Valley Street Preservation funds and 10% funded by Spokane Valley stormwater funds.

Some City of Spokane Construction Items For This Week

  • City Street Department crews will close Strong Rd. at the top of the hill at Rustle St. and Strong Rd. at Indian Trail Rd. on Tuesday and Wedensday, April 16 and 17, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Lane closures on Third Ave. between Spokane and Scott streets are slated through April 15 for private utility work. Closures are possible between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Work to pave a short stretch of 44th Ave. from Ra to Freya has resumed.
  • Ohio St./Summit Blvd. from Nettleton St. west to Bridge Ave. will be closed beginning Friday, April 12 for demolition work on the curb/sidewalk in anticipation of the construction of an extension of the Centennial Trail through Kendall Yards.

Open House To Address Gap In Centennial Trail On Mission Avenue

The City of Spokane will hold an open house to update citizens on a study that is considering alternatives to address a gap in the Centennial Trail as it cross East Mission Avenue at North Perry Street. The open house is Wednesday, April 24, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Assembly Room at the Northeast Community Center, 4001 N. Cook St.
The goal of the study is to identify, develop, and evaluate alternatives to separate the Centennial Trail from motorized traffic, improve pedestrian mobility at the Mission Avenue crossing, and close the trail gap at that location. Alternatives that have been considered include tunnels, bridges, and at-grade crossings.
The open house will include information on the preferred alternatives going forward and allow citizens to provide input.
The Centennial Trail runs along the Spokane River beginning at Nine Mile Falls, crossing over the Washington/Idaho state line, and ending at Higgins Point on Lake Coeur d’Alene. A number of gaps along the trail remain.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Maps on Phones: Illegal While Driving. Paper Maps: Still Legal. What??

So what's the difference? Is holding one of those old style, fold out maps while driving better than holding your phone and looking at a map on it? A California court says yes.
A man is fighting over a $160 distracted driving ticket he got for viewing a map on his phone while sitting at a red light. He asked in court if he would have gotten the same ticket for looking at a paper map and was told no, which has set off debates as to whether you can even hold your phone while driving and whether distracted driving laws should be changed. The Santa Maria Times has the story.

Because the statute of limitations has long since run out, I'm going to share a story with you that supports this man's argument. Years and years ago, a friend and I were trying to navigate I-5 in busy rush hour traffic. We were actually going pretty fast for rushhour and my friend had a paper map spread across the steering wheel, trying to determine what exit we needed. Quicker than he could react, the map was sucked out the open window!

After the some initial swearing, and realizing that we had passed the exit we needed, we got off the freeway and got back on going the opposite direction to find the correct exit. Right about the spot where the map had blown out, there was a big accident with several cars involved in a chain reaction pileup. I don't know for sure that the map caused it, but sometimes I suspect it landed on someone's windshield, causing them to drive into the person in front of them.

So, long story short, in my experience, a paper map isn't necessarily a safer option than looking at your phone. Although I don't endorse either option of course. And yes, I still feel guilty about the whole thing, warranted or not.

Spokane Valley Construction Work For Next Week

24th Ave from Adams Rd to Sullivan Rd. - Expect narrowed lanes on weekdays between 7am and 5pm through mid-May for sidewalk work. Flaggers and signs will direct traffic through the work area.

Park Road - Reduced to one lane about 100 feet south of Valleyway on Tuesday, April 16 for utility work from 8:00am to 4:30pm. Signs and flaggers will direct traffic through the work area.

Pines Road between Alki Avenue and Olive Avenue - Expect Pines to remain reduced to one lane in each direction between 7:00am and 7:00pm on Monday, April 15 for stormwater drainage improvements. There will be no access between Alki and northbound Pines Road. Use Bowdish/Broadway for alternative access.

Sprague/Sullivan ITS project -Nothbound curb lane closures on Sullivan between Sprague and I-90 from 6am to 5pm Monday, April 15 through Thursday, April 18 or signal conduit work. Access to businesses will remain available throughout the project.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nonstop Flights From Spokane to Hawaii To Be Temporarily Suspended

The Spokesman-Review reports that Allegiant Air plans to “temporarily” halt flights to Hawaii from Spokane and several other U.S. cities, including Boise and Eugene. The last Spokane flight to Honolulu will leave on Aug. 10.

Allegiant launched the weekly nonstop flights to Hawaii from Spokane in February. The Las Vegas-based airline said the seasonal suspension of flights from Boise, Eugene, Phoenix, Fresno, Stockton and Santa Maria, CA is related to declining travel during the late summer and fall.

The flights to and from Hawaii are expected to resume in the winter and during the busy spring season.

US 2 Reduced to One Lane Next Week

On Monday, April 15, from about 9 a.m. to as late as 3 p.m., westbound US 2 will be reduced to one through lane at the Geiger Blvd. bridges for bridge maintenance. On Wednesday, April 17, from about 9 a.m. to as late as 3 p.m., eastbound US 2 will be reduced to one through lane at the Geiger Blvd. bridges. Drivers may see some slower traffic during these hours.

I90 Overpass Public Workshop

Spokane Valley will host a public workshop next week to disucss a proposed overpass crossing Interstate-90 along or near University Rd. The aim of the overpass is to improve car, bike and pedestrian access. As part of the University Rd. Overpass Study, Public Works staff want to hear what community members think about the project. The workshop is Wednesday, April 17 from 6-8 pm at the Spokane Valley Fire Administration Building, 2120 N. Wilbur Road.
Public Works staff members will discuss and present details on:
• The goals of the study;
• Types of crossings, estimated cost, environmental impact, and the feasibility of an overpass;
• The most current findings on traffic counts and patterns;
• Possible crossing locations;
• Improvement ideas for existing crossings; and
• Interviews from land owners, business people and agency staff.

Everyone is welcome to participate and share their ideas about the project and get answers to questions, so show up with some thoughts in mind.

Some Input I Heard At Last Night's Open House

I don't know this woman's name but
she was so fun to talk with and had
great input.
So I've been to a TON of public open houses and meetings over the years, both in a working capacity and as a concerned citizen. I have to say that last night's open house with Spokane Transit was one of the best though.

There was such a huge crowd that both our planner Ryan and I were busy talking to someone the entire time! Had I known, I would have roped another employee into coming with us.

We got lots of great input too. Last night seemed to be the evening for safety concerns- at least among the people I talked to. I talked to a nice lady about trying to get a crosswalk in front of the Goodwill store downtown. Another woman commented on the incidence of pedestrians being hit by cars in Airway Heights and a gentleman had concerns with a couple blind corners around there area.

While there were a lot of familiar faces attending the open house, I also talked to a lot of people I've never seen before. One woman from Boston was telling me how she and her husband didn't have a car while going to school in Boston and how it's shaped their worldview, especially now that they're living in Spokane. Another told me about her recent trip to Portland and riding the lightrail. And a third told me about her knee surgery. Well, believe it or not, it's applicable as it impacts what kind of transportation options are available to her.

Anyway, nice job planning and publicizing such a great event Spokane Transit! And the food was awesome too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Follow Along And You'll Reach the Prize Toward the Bottom

So those of you who are REALLY into transportation may remember the discussions a few years back leading up to the 2010 Census on Core Based Statistical Areas. Well, we just got new information on this from the Census and there are some changes for our area. This is complicated so first, a little background:
Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) are an umbrella term for Metro and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), Combined Statistical Areas (CSA), and a few other terms that don’t particularly apply to our area.

These areas (CBSAs, MSAs, CSAs) exist only for the purpose of statistical boundaries. I say this because their impact on policy importance is sometimes exaggerated.

MSAs are built by county, and the level of interaction with neighboring counties can create MSAs made up of numerous counties. In 2000, Spokane County made up the Spokane MSA and Kootenai County made up the Coeur d’Alene MSA.

Going to the next level, Combined Statistical Areas are made up of separate MSAs, that have a high enough level of interaction to create an additional area (CSA). Now here's the hook: while there was considerable conversation about Spokane and Coeur d’Alene's MSA becoming a Combined Statistical Area in 2000, this did not occur.
We have also just found out however, that based on 2010 info, Kootenai County will continue to make up the Coeur d’Alene MSA. Spokane's MSA has grown though, to include Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, to make up the Spokane MSA. All four of these counties make up the “Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene, WA-ID” Combined Statistical Area.

So what does this mean for us? Technically, nothing. Ultimately, as I said above, these are simply boundaries used for gathering statistical data. It is possible being a CSA will bring this area to the attention of businesses because we technically show up as a larger market now than in the past, but this is really the only impact expected as a result.

Questions? Did you follow along? Clear as mud? There are some maps that can probably help to clarify, posted on our blog site.

AK Town Proposes To Make Walking on Public Streets While Intoxicated A Crime

So you've had a few drinks and need to get home now. So how do you do it, jump in a car or take the "safe" route and walk home? Well, conventional wisdom suggests walking but a small town in Alaska says if you've been drinking, they don't want you on their streets as a pedestrian and are proposing to amend the town's public decency ordinance to prohibit walking on public streets while intoxicated.

Okay, no one likes to see a drunk staggering around, I'll give them that, but worried walking advocates say this might encourage intoxicated folks to get in a car instead. Where the Sidewalk Starts looks at the issue.

Train Nearly Severs Man's Legs

Okay kids, reason number 1 not to hop trains, from the Spokesman-Review: A man trying to jump onto a moving train in Spokane Valley on Monday slipped and fell under the boxcar, nearly severing his legs.

The 30-year-old man was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. It was unclear if medical personnel were going to be able to reattach his legs.

The train, which doesn’t reach more than 20 or 25 mph in that area, was coming to a stop when the man fell beneath the car.

Your Luggage Has A Better Chance Of Getting Where You're Going These Days

There's good news and there's bad news when it comes to your bags on airlines. The good news: airlines cut the rate of mishandled and lost bags in 2012 by almost 48%! The bad news: some of that drop is due to the fact that airlines are flying less flights AND handling less bags. With airlines now charging fees for your bags, many people are making due with just what they can carry on.

But there is evidence of increased effort to safely get your bag to the same place you're going, and there's new technology being used to make this happen. USA Today has the story.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Park Board To Look At How To Fund Centennial Trail Extention

The Centennial Trail is about to get a significant expansion. Work starts soon to extend the trail west along the Spokane River gorge near Kendall Yards.

There is currently a gap between Riverfront Park and where it meets up with T.J. Meenach Bridge, but this expansion will close at least a portion of the gap.

The only question now is how to cover the remaining gap. On Thursday, the Spokane Park Board will consider financing packages that will be used to finish the trail in Kendall Yards.

The Spokesman-Review has more details.

"Lost In Thought" Tops Phones As A Cause Of Fatal Accidents

You know how sometimes you drive someplace and when you get there you realize you've been spacing out the whole time and don't even remember the trip there? Oh come on, it happens to other people besides me, admit it! Anyway, new statistics show that drivers involved in fatal crashes were more often "lost in thought" than distracted by mobile phones, so try not to space out like that anymore.

Daydreaming and being “lost in thought" was the distraction 62 percent of the time, compared with 12 percent for mobile-phone use, according to an analysis of national crash data. The Bulletin has more on this and some other surprising statistics.

Don't Forget- Public Open House Wednesday Night

Don't forget- you've got plans tomorrow night to attend the joint public open house for Spokane Transit and SRTC. STA will be filling people in on their proposed High Performance Transit network while we at SRTC will be talking about our Horizon 2040 plan and the impact it could have on you in the future.

The open house is at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St., from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The beauty of holding "open houses" versus "public meetings" is that you can come anytime during the open house hours, get the information you need and leave at any time. There will be a series of "stations" you work your way around to so the informal format works a lot better for busy folks.

Monday, April 8, 2013

SpokeFest 2013 Coming Right Up

SpokeFest 2013 is coming up soon, the day that bikes take over downtown Spokane for rides for all skill levels.
Volunteers are a huge part of the success of the event and the SpokeFest organization is currently in need of 2 people to fill key volunteer positions:
1. Volunteer coordinator: Receives requests of prospective volunteers, makes assignments, and keeps in communication with the volunteers.

2. Course Marshal Captain: Coordinates and supervises Marshals placed at various locations on the course.

If you can fill one of these roles, please contact SpokeFest at spokefest@gmail.com to let them know you're interested.

Also, registration for SpokeFest is now open and you can win prizes for registering early. Here's more info:

We Need Two New Members For Our Policy Board

Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity that gives you a voice in developing local policies, working closely with area decision makers and helping to make transportation choices that shape and develop the regional transportation system?

Do you serve in a management or "leadership" position at your business or agency? Yes? Then we need you for our Policy Board.

SRTC has two open positions on its’ Board to be filled with volunteers serving in management or executive level roles at area businesses or organizations. The positions are:
• Representative from a private sector major employer

• Representative from the rail/freight industry

SRTC is governed by a Policy Board of voting and ex officio non-voting members. The Private Sector Transportation Services Representative is a voting position. The Rail/Freight Industry position is ex officio. Terms for both positions run through December 2015.

Board meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at 1 p.m. at 221 W. First Ave., Suite 310, Spokane, WA 99201. More info is here or give me a call at 509-343-6387.

Spokane Valley Construction For This Week

Sprague/Sullivan ITS - Westbound curb lane closures on Sprague between Evergreen and Sullivan, and northbound curb lane closures on Sullivan from Sprague to I-90 between 6am and 5pm Tuesday, April 9 into mid-May for signal conduit work. Access to businesses will remain available throughout the project.

24th Ave from Adams Rd to Sullivan Rd. - Lane shifts and narrowing on weekdays between 7am and 5pm for sidewalk work. Flaggers and signs will direct traffic through the work area.

Pines Road between Alki Avenue and Olive Avenue - Pines reduced to one lane in each direction between 7am and 7pm Monday, April 8 through Friday, April 12, and into Monday, April 15 for stormwater drainage improvements. Signs will direct traffic through the work area.

    • Tuesday, April 9 - no access between Olive and southbound Pines. Use Broadway/Collins for alternative access.
  • Wednesday April 10 through Friday April 12 and Monday April 15 - no access between Alki and northbound Pines Road. Use Bowdish /Broadway for alternative access.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

SRTC Board Meets Thursday, April 11

SRTC's monthly Policy Board meeting is next Thursday, April 11 at 1 p.m. The agenda is here. This could be an interesting one because the Board will be discussing indepth the draft first three chapters of Horizon 2040, our Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP). The plan includes information on the current state of the regional transportation system, such as pavement condition and how much it would cost to bring it up to a "good" state of repair. Considering that there's not enough money to fix everything, it could be interesting to hear Board members' reactions to that and how they propose to spread the money there is around.

Companies Targeting Bicycle Tourists

My friends and I always say we will take one of those bicycling wine tours some day. But with lots of other "bicycle tourism" options popping up, we may not stop there.

A former hunting ranch in Oregon has recently switched gears, reinventing itself as a vacation destingation for urban cyclists who want to experience the Old West by bicycle.

The 300 acre ranch is located near a ghost town about 190 miles east of Portland and is offering packages starting at $225 per person per night. This includes three meals a day, accomodations in a spacious guest house and full ride support (including a mid-ride picnic) when you're out on the roads riding. Sounds more cushy than most of my vacations. Here's more from the Bike Portland Blog.

Pay Attention In Area Of Market/Francis

Today, Thursday, April 4, the Market / Francis intersection will be controlled by flaggers for drainage work. The right turn from Francis to northbound Market Street will not be allowed until 3 p.m. today. In general, Left turn movements on Market to Francis are not allowed. The City of Spokane & WSDOT have closed Francis between Market and Crestline for resurfacing and other work.

As a result of the multiple projects, you can expect congestion and long delays near the Francis Avenue and Market Street intersection, especially during the morning and afternoon commute hours. Delays are also possible at the Francis and Freya intersection.

Crews are replacing the existing Francis Avenue Bridge over the railroad tracks with a longer structure to accomodate the North Spokane Corridor.

Spokane Valley Traffic Camera Project Starts Next Week

Work to install traffic management cameras and link signals along Sprague Ave. and Sullivan Rd. to the Spokane Regional Traffic Management Center is tentatively scheduled for April 9. Just to be clear, these cameras are NOT red light cameras, they are the live traffic cameras you can watch at www.srtmc.org.

Drivers can expect westbound curb lane closures on Sprague Ave. between Evergreen Rd. and Sullivan Rd. and northbound curb lane closures on Sullivan Rd. between Sprague Ave. and I-90 during work hours of 6am-5pm on weekdays. Signs will be posted to direct traffic through the work area.

Pedestrian access may be restricted at times and rerouted to the opposite side of the street. The $202,000 project cost is 86.5% funded by a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant and 13.5% funded by the City of Spokane Valley.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SRTC Planner Quoted In Coal Train Report

One of our Senior Transportation Planners, Ryan Stewart, made the big time with very detailed report from EarthFix, a public media project of NPR, Oregon Public Broadcasting and Boise State Public Radio, Idaho Public Television, KCTS 9 Seattle, KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio, Northwest Public Radio and Television, Southern Oregon Public Television and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The report is on the possibility of more coal trains coming through Washington and neighboring states and has good angles on vehicle and train congestion, impact to rail lines, bridges, passenger rail and more.
The audio report, below, is interesting, but also be sure to go to the link above to check out the graphics. Lots of information in those.

SRTC Joins With STA For Public Open House

We've been working on Horizon 2040 for about a year now at SRTC, our long term plan for the future of transportation in Spokane County. We're not the only ones looking down the road though. Spokane Transit is also going through a comprehensive planning process with their "STA Moving Forward" initiative.

They deal with transportation and we deal with transportation right? So it seemed to make sense that we join forces for a public open house so people can get information on both of our plans at one place, and see how they work together.
So mark your calendar. Next Wednesday, April 10 is the open house. STA will fill you in on their proposed High Performance Transit Network while we'll be talking about the area's where we feel transportation funds should be spent in the area over the next 20+ years.
The open house is at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St. from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Because it is an open house format, you can come anytime during that timeframe that works for you.
Here's a little more info in case you need it. See you Wednesday.

Airline Charges Not By The Seat But By The Pound

Here's a new concept in purchasing airline tickets; a Samoan airline is giving passengers
is selling tickets not by the seat, but by your weight. Samoa Air is now pricing flights based on the weight of its passengers and their bags. Depending on the flight, each kilogram (2.2 pounds) costs 93 cents to $1.06. And while there are some definite drawbacks to this (I have to disclose my weight when I buy a plane ticket??) I actually see a couple benefits to this:

1.) Every year I tell myself I'm going to lose weight before vacation so I can wear whatever I want and not have to worry about what I eat or drink while on vacation. This might actually encourage me to follow through on this one year. Not only to save some money, but also to save some embarrasment.

2.) I'm a serial overpacker. Going to Hawaii? Yeah, I probably don't need that evening gown and heels but I pack it anyway just to be safe. If I were paying for my luggage by weight though, changes are I'd throw a swimsuit and towel, shorts, sunscreen and a pair of Tevas in a carryon and call it good.

It also looks like it would be more economical. The average American man weighing 195 pounds with a 35-pound bag would pay $97 to go one-way between Apia, Samoa, and Pago Pago, American Samoa. Competitors typically charge $130 to $140 roundtrip for similar routes.

So how is this going to work out logistically? Oregon Live has the details.

Traffic-Heavy Village Removes All Traffic Lights And Signs. So How Did That Work Out?

On SRTC's Facebook page a couple days ago, I posted about a joke that Spokane Valley played on us for April Fool's Day. We were accepting applications for projects our member agencies wanted to construct using funds from what's called the "Congestion Management/Air Quality" program. The deadline was Monday and dozens of applications were coming in. Among them was one from Spokane Valley that requested funds, under their "Straw Hut Initiative," to remove traffic signals from all arterial intersections and add bike lanes, in an effort to get people to use more nonmotorized transportation such as bikes and horses. Wait a minute. Horses?? I read all the way through the application before noticing the "April Fools!" message handwritten at the bottom. Well played Spokane Valley, well played.

But it's no joke in the UK. One English village there has no traffic lights, no signs, no curbs and no painted lines on the roadway. And 26,000 vehicles passing every day through the area, which has heavy pedestrian traffic.

So how bad is the carnage on a daily basis? Not bad at all. And how do drivers know how to navigate the "roundels?" Watch the video.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spokane City Construction Season Off To Busy Start

While it's actually been going full steam ahead for a little while now, the City of Spokane just sent out  news release saying construction season in the City of Spokane is getting into full swing.
The City has scheduled 32 major street and utility projects for 2013, totaling $47 million in work. A variety of maintenance work is also scheduled, including pothole repair and other pavement repairs; street striping and sweeping; repairs to water services, valves, and hydrants; and work to reline sewer pipes.

For each $1 million in construction, about 25 jobs are created, which means this year’s construction projects will put nearly 1,200 people to work.
The City works to minimize disruption to motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists by coordinating street and utility projects and informing private utility companies when work is scheduled.

A couple of major construction projects already are under way are:

• Francis Avenue. The City will rehabilitate Francis from Division Street to Haven Street this year. Construction between Crestline and Haven is under way now.

• 29th Avenue. Work to rehabilitate 29th Avenue from High Drive to Bernard began in early March. This part of a larger project that started in 2012 to rehabilitate 29th from High Drive to Grand Boulevard.
Other big street projects scheduled this year include rehabilitating:

• 14th Avenue from Lincoln Street to Grand Boulevard.

• Rockwood Boulevard from Cowley to Southeast Boulevard.

• Third Avenue in east downtown from Division to Arthur Streets.
The City also will replace the Lincoln Heights water booster station, replace water mains in portions of Crestline Street, Euclid Avenue, and Kendick Avenue, and begin construction on two tanks to reduce outfalls to the Spokane River from combined stormwater and wastewater sewers, among other things.

There is a link to information on all the City's construction projects for 2013 at www.srtc.org on the home page.

Not Doing So Well At March Madness? Try Population Bracketology Instead

Not doing so well on your March Madness bracket? Well, there's an alternative. The U.S. Census recently released a bracket game of its own pitting 64 cities against each other by population size. Choose wrong and the government will leave that city out of 2020 census (well, OK not really, but you might be uninvited to your friends' next pub-trivia night).

"Population Bracketology" is being called an "addictive pastime for anyone who thinks they know the relative size of every major American city." So, I wasn't surprised at all when I asked my Geographic Information Systems (GIS) guy Kevin if he'd played it and he said yes, and he'd done pretty well.
Here's how it works: Start by choosing your geographic level: metro areas or states. Click on the name in each match-up that you think has the larger population. Green shows a correct answer, red indicates an incorrect answer. When you have opposing names picked for the next round, pick again. See how close you can come to a perfect score of 63. When you are finished, play again or mouse-over results to view the most current population estimates for each pair.

Click here to play. And if you do, let me know how you did. I'll tell you how you stack up against Kevin.

The 5 Greatest Roadblocks to Great Transportation In Our State?

What are the five biggest transportation challenges facing Washington state? That's what former Washington State Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald is asking, and providing his own opinion. His picks include reducing dependence on fossil fuels; using existing transportation assets more efficiently; finding alternatives to the gas tax; fixing the regional transportation planning, decision structures and processes; and embracing transformation through technology.

So how to do all this? Especially efficiently? Mr. MacDonals shares some interesting ideas in this Crosscut article.

Sprague Avenue Sidewalk Improvement Projects Starting Soon

Sidewalk ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) ramp improvements along Sprague Avenue between Havana Street and Fancher Road are expected to start around April 15. The improvements will be constructed in three phases with work hours from 7:00am-3:30pm, Monday through Friday, with overall project completion anticipated in mid-May.

The first phase along Sprague between Havana and the Costco/Lowe's intersection includes upgrading ADA curb ramps on the northeast and southeast corners of the Sprague/Havana intersection, the south side of Sprague at Dearborn Road and Chronicle Road, the southeast corner of Carnahan Road, and the southwest corner of the at Costco/Lowe's intersection.

The second phase involves upgrading ramps on the southeast side of the Costco/Lowe's intersection, the south side of the McKinnon Road and Howe Road intersections, and the southwest corner of the Sprague/Fancher intersection.

The third and final phase is expected to start in early May and will take about five days to upgrade ramps along the north side of Sprague at the Lowe's/Costco, McKinnon and Howe intersections.

The project is 80% funded by a Community Development Block Grant and 20% funded by the City of Spokane Valley. While construction is under way, drivers should expect closures of the curb lane near the work areas, and signs will redirect pedestrians to alternative crosswalks.

Bike Swap Volunteers Needed

The 2nd Annual Spokane Bike Swap is less than two weeks away and organizers are in need of volunteers. The Bike Swap is Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14 this year. If you can help out, you get to pick the dates, times and areas you prefer to work in. Volunteers are particularly needed on Sunday though.

If you can help out, go to http://www.mycommute.org/surveys/24/2013-spokane-bike-swap-volunteer-sign-up to fill out the volunteer signup form.
Proceeds from the event will be used to further the efforts of the Friends of the Centennial Trail.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Volunteer Sighted Guides Needed For Blind Inviduals

Getting from point A to point B can be challenging some days for anyone right? Well imagine being blind and trying to get to work or school or just go grocery shopping everyday. Or going to special events. Inland Northwest Lighthouse has an outstanding volunteer opportunity to become a trained Sighted Guide for individuals who are blind. This is really cool and I'd recommend you do it if you'd like to volunteer but don't have a lot of time to do it.

The contact person for this is Shawn Dobbs, who is on our Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC). I talked to him last week about this and he said they occasionally need sighted people to help folks like himself get to special meetings, especially when he is working as an advocate and talking to elected officials. The beauty of this is that you would get to go interesting places with an intersting person and it's not a full time or even part time job. And it would be immediately rewarding.

Training is April 17 from  1:00-3:30 p.m.   For more information contact Shawn at 509-487-0405 or sdobbs@seattlelh.org. He'll hook you up.

A Little of This, A little of That For Week of April 1

A couple well-traveled routes in our area will be closed for the summer, new data says there's more traffic on the nation's roadways and work on US 195 is moving along. The Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" column has a roundup of all that's happening in area transportation this week.

Snoqualmie Pass Construction Starts This Week

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) starts minor work on the remaining two miles of the Snoqualmie Pass project from Hyak to the Keechelus Dam tomorrow, Tuesday, April 2 through Friday, April 5. Most of the work will be on the shoulders and won’t impact traffic. Work will take place both day and night. This work includes building six new lanes, adding and replacing bridges and culverts, stabilizing rock slopes, extending chain-up and chain-off areas, and demolishing and replacing the snowshed.
More info can be found here.

About SRTC

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

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