Thursday, May 30, 2013

Area Construction Work For Next Week

Sullivan Rd. between Kiernan and Trent - The closure originally scheduled for the nights of May 30 and 31 has been rescheduled for Friday, May 31 and Saturday June 1 nights between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for resurfacing.  Detour via Flora and Euclid will be posted. 

Cheney Spokane Road- Lane closed various times for guardrail repair, signage and vegetation clearing.

Farwell Rd. Sewer- Farwell (Market to North South Corridor) closed for summer, starting in late May.

Cheney Spokane Road Safety Project- One lane of Cheney Spokane Road closed at various times from the Cheney County limit to Spokane City limits for safety improvement.   

I-90 Westbound/US 195 Off Ramp- On Saturday evening, June 8, beginning at about 10 p.m., until as late as 6 a.m. Sunday morning, June 9, the westbound off ramp on I-90 to southbound US 195 will be closed. To access southbound US 195 from westbound I-90, drivers will be detoured via westbound I-90 to the Geiger Blvd. off ramp, then to eastbound I-90 back to the US 195 off ramp. Crews will be making repairs to the bridge deck in that area.

SR 291/Division Street to the Stevens County Line- Sidewalk and utility work is on the schedule over the next couple weeks. Be alert for lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. Pedestrians should be alert for sidewalk restrictions near intersections when ADA ramps are under construction or curing. Paving work may get underway the evening of June 6 with grinding and paving between Royal Drive and Nine Mile Falls. All major roadwork on this project will be underway during evening and overnight hours. No major daytime restrictions planned.

I-90/Railroad Bridge Deck Repair (just west of the Four Lakes/SR 904 Interchange) - Beginning on Tuesday, June 4, eastbound and westbound freeway traffic will be reduced to one lane. Drivers should expect slow traffic and possible congestion. The legal speed limit will be reduced to 60 mph.

I-90/Sunset Hill Pavement Rehab- Beginning Friday, June 7, between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., be alert for eastbound and/or westbound lane restrictions for lane stripe installation, shoulder work and pavement repair.

I-90/Division Street to Liberty Park- From Monday, June 3 through Sunday, June 9, the inside lane on eastbound and westbound I-90, between Sherman and Hamilton, will be closed for barrier illumination support base installation. During this work, I-90 will be reduced to two lanes. Drivers should be alert for slow traffic and possible congestion, especially during commute hours. Also, intermittent lane restrictions on City streets in the vicinity of I-90 and shoulder restrictions on I-90.

Spokane City

LGBTQA Pride Parade- the 100 and 200 block of North Wall Street will be closed June 8, 2013 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the parade. More street closures will follow, with the following closed from noon to 1 p.m.:

- Washington southbound at North River Street
- Spokane Falls Boulevard at Washington Street to Post Street
- Stevens from Spokane Falls Boulevard to Riverside
- Riverside westbound from Washington Street to Post Street
- Howard from Riverside to Spokane Falls Boulevard
- Wall Street from Riverside to Spokane Falls Boulevard
- Post Street from Riverside to Main Street
- Main Street from Lincoln to Howard Street

City of Spokane/Kendall Yards Joint Stormwater Facility & Monroe Street Bridge- Excavation for Monroe Street begins June 3, 2013. The project is a combined effort between City of Spokane and Greenstone Communities Development. The project consists of re-routing the storm water infrastructure that is within Monroe Street. Water will be plumbed to the new underground facility. The construction of the facility is a buried concrete structure that is 56’ long and 31’ wide and 23.5’ deep. Within the facility are four submersible pumps that will pump the effluences through a force main to a filtration/evaporation pond on the Kendall Yards property. Monroe Street Bridge will be closed from June 3 to June 17, during the construction. Traffic will be re-routed to Washington.

Two Week Monroe Street Bridge Closure

The Monroe Street Bridge will be closed for about two weeks starting on Monday, June 3. Motorists will be detoured to the Washington Street Bridge, and you should expect delays.

The closure is for utility work for a project that will manage stormwater from some City streets and from streets within the Kendall Yards development. The project requires significant excavation work at the north end of the bridge.

The $1.6 million joint City of Spokane-Kendall Yards project catches stormwater that is currently flowing, untreated, into the Spokane River. It will now direct runoff to a retention tank, then pump it to a treatment area in a new park being built on the Kendall Yards site.
The park will include grass-lined swales that store and filter the stormwater, then percolate it into the ground.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TSA Finds Record Number of Firearms In Carry-On Bags Last Week

What's up members of the flying public? The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) found a record 65 guns in carry-on luggage last week. And the crazy part, in my opinion, is that most of them were loaded and many had rounds chambered!
Plus there were stun guns, grenades, razor blades and a lot of other weapons found- some in some pretty strange places.

The TSA Blog has details, lists of what was found at which airports, and pictures of a lot of crazy stuff they confiscated last week.

Bridge Collapse Could Do Major Harm To Economy

The Interstate 5 bridge collapse in Skagit County wasn't just a close brush with tragedy and cause some major detours, it also represents a threat to the economy.

As much as $20 billion in freight travels to and from Canada and along the busy north-south corridor each year on that route.

Gov. Inslee announced a plan Sunday to have temporary spans installed across the Skagit River but that will take a minimum of three weeks and probably longer, and detours around the bridge slow freight significantly. And then there's also the issue of tourism- both in and out of Canada.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spokane City, Spokane Valley & WSDOT Construction Projects For Next Week

Spokane Valley

Pines ITS project - Curb lane and sidewalk closures on northbound Pines between Broadway and Mission Tuesday through Friday from 6:30am to 5:00pm for signal conduit work.

HOLIDAY TRAVEL ALERT- Most WSDOT construction work will be suspended by noon on Friday, May 24th through Monday, May 27th in anticipation of increased holiday traffic.

SR 291-West Francis Avenue near Monroe Street- Francis Avenue is reduced to one lane each direction between Wall Street and Cedar Street 24/7 until mid-June. In addition, the traffic signal at Francis & Monroe has been adjusted by the City of Spokane to accommodate left turns with the reduced lanes. Drivers should expect slow or stopped traffic, heavy congestion, and delays, possibly of about 15 minutes.

I-90/Railroad Bridge Deck Repair just west of the Four Lakes/SR 904 Interchange- Beginning Tuesday, June 4th, eastbound and westbound freeway traffic will be reduced to one lane for repair of overpass bridge decks. Drivers should expect slowing traffic and possible congestion. The legal speed limit will be reduced to 60 mph.

I-90/Thor Street Overcrossing Bridge-On Thursday, May 23 (today), until as late as 3 p.m., drivers should expect lane restriction on the Thor Street bridge over I-90 with delays and congestion for repairs to bridge joints. No mainline freeway impacts.

Spokane City

Fairchile Air Force Crew Memorial- Tuesday, May 28th, there will be traffic congestion in the area of the INB Performing Arts Center for the Fairchild Air Force Crew Memorial. The area of Spokane Falls, Browne Street and Division should be avoided from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Meters on the south side of Spokane Falls from Bernard to Washington will be bagged for emergency vehicle parking only at 7 a.m.
Francis Paving- A major paving project gets underway on SR 291/Francis Avenue Tuesday, May 28 in the vicinity of Royal Drive, working toward the Nine Mile area concentrating on sidewalk ramps and utility access adjustments in preparation for paving. The following week, they will work on sidewalk ramps to the east from Royal Drive toward Division.

Avista Utilities has a major gas line project on Francis Avenue between Monroe and Madison Streets. Their work has Francis reduced to one lane each direction, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through mid-June. This is not a part of the WSDOT paving project.

Lots Of Holiday Travellers

I don't know what this place is,
but I want to travel there.
Leaving town after you get off work tonight? You're not alone. The AAA Auto Club says 34.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day travel weekend, a 0.9 percent decrease from the 35.1 million people who traveled a year ago.
During the travel period defined as Thursday, May 23, through Monday, May 27, AAA says nearly nine of 10 holiday travelers, or 31.2 million, people will drive to their destinations. That represents a small increase from the 31.1 million who drove a year ago.

Air travel will account for 7 percent, or slightly more than 2.3 million of all holiday travelers. That’s about an 8 percent decline from a year ago when 2.5 million flew. Other modes of travel—buses, trains, watercraft and multi-modal—will account for the remaining 4 percent—or 1.3 million travelers.

Gasoline prices are expected to have less influence on the majority of travelers this holiday, based on a nationwide survey. Sixty-two percent of intended travelers surveyed said gas prices would have no impact on their travel plans for Memorial Day. That compares to 53 percent a year ago.
Of the remaining 38 percent of travelers who said gas prices would impact their travel plans, 27 percent plan to economize in other areas. Eight percent are planning to take a shorter trip and 3 percent will travel by alternate mode of transportation.

Are Spokane's Bridges Going To Collapse? Not Likely. Do They Need Work. Yes, Just Like Most Bridges In America

In light of the I5 bridge collapse in Skagit County last night, here are some facts about Spokane Co. bridges.

We want to stress that we're not trying to alarm anyone and there is very little chance any of our bridges are going to fall down, but the fact remains that maintenance is a necessity and the funds to do it are very limited. What I'm getting at is that an alternative source to fund transportation maintenance is needed ASAP. Will that mean we have to quit building new roads or adding lanes to existing roads to pay for upkeep instead? It's a very real possibility. The state has shifted to a "fix it first" mentality, meaning the priority is now on maintenance rather than new construction.

  • There are 377 bridges or "spans" in the County
  • 21 are structurally deficient, or need repairs to decks, girders, etc.
  •  65 are functionally obsolete, meaning they were built for the traffic of the past and may have weight restrictions as they can't support the monster semis of today.
  • Being structurally deficient or functionally obsolete does NOT mean that those bridges are going to collapse anytime soon.
  • 140 of the bridges were built before 1962 and are over 50 years old.
  • Total estimated cost for bridge "improvements" is $1.9 billion.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Some Things You Probably Didn't Know About Our Next U.S. Transportation Secretary

USDOT Secretary Nominee Anthony Foxx had his confirmation hearing yesterday before the U.S. Commerce Committee and we learned some things about him we didn't know.

For instance, Foxx had his first job at the age of 12 (!) that he rode the bus to after school. And he wants the next federal transportation bill to be longer than the current MAP-21 two-year bill.

GPS- Powered Handlebars Connect To Your Smartphone

It was only a matter of time and now it's happened. Cars have had GPS capabilities for a while now, and now your bike can too.

The new Helios handlebars allow you to plug in your smartphone, input a destination into Google maps, then  follow lights on the bike that light up to show you which way to turn to reach your end point. By following the lights (they light up like turn signals so you know which way to turn), you don't have to take the time to look at your phone.

Now here's the kicker- these handlebars aren't actually in production yet but there's a Kickstarter campaign underway to raise money to have them produced. Here's the details from Mashable.

All Government Offices Closed Monday

With the Memorial Day weekend coming up, all government offices and services will be closed Monday, May 27, including SRTC.

Offices will reopen with regular business hours on Tuesday, May 28.  We look forward to serving you then.

And if you plan to spend the holiday downtown, parking meters don’t have to be plugged on Monday.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Report Says 60 Year Driving Boom Is Over

Is the driving boom over? A new report by the Frontier Group says yes. The Frontier Group is a think tank aimed at promoting a cleaner environment and a fairer and more democratic society. They say that Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did eight year ago, and it's due to a number of things, such as high gas prices, less people driving to work with baby boomers retiring and younger people being less dependent on driving.
The report says Americans took nearly 10 percent more trips via public transportation in 2011 than we did in 2005. The nation also saw increases in commuting by bike and on foot. For more numbers, charts and graphs, read the executive summary, which does a great job laying out the numbers and the impact they will have on our future.

I Better Not Hear Mr. Wendell Complaining About The Condition Of Our Streets

Spokesman-Review Letter to the Editor
Too Many Fees

Once again, the politicos have stomped on the will of the people. Didn’t we, in fact, vote for $30 vehicle license tabs?
Now, we have a filing fee in addition to the road construction and maintenance fee, a vehicle weight fee? Does that include overweight people? How does my motorcycle compare to a fully loaded pickup or RV? Shouldn’t a weight fee be based on the actual weight of the vehicle?
Then a license service fee to support the computer system (I bet you thought that computers were saving us money) and a Transportation Benefit District fee (sounds like double jeopardy to me). And, of course, asking for a parks donation (good luck with that!).
Please note that I did purchase a Discover Pass on my own.

Tim Eyman, help! Where are you? We need someone to tackle these fees.
Wendell Smith

Thoughts? Comments?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Does A Propsed Transportation Funding Package Even Address Our Major Issues?

I have had two different transportation planners now send me this Crosscut article on whether a transportation funding package proposed in Olympia would really meet our needs. So that must mean it's a very relevant article right?

The article, authored by former Washington State Secretary of Transportation Doug MacDonald, is the first in a four-part series. It discusses how the proposed package does little to pick up the pace of maintaining our transportation infrastructure, although that's what would need to happen to prevent further deterioration of our roadways and other facilities.
Considering that Washington Governor Jay Inslee allegedly adopted a "fix it first" attitude, many are also surprised to see the proposed package includes funding for a bunch of new projects.

The comments following the article are worth a read too, so enjoy.

And just a heads up, we've been crunching the numbers in our office as part of the Horizon 2040 planning effort to see what it would cost locally to get ahead of the deterioration of our transportation infrastructure and the numbers are truly mind numbing. You'll be hearing more about that soon.

10 Things That Annoy People In Wheelchairs

I saw this post and thought it was interesting because most of us never think of the small things that would drive us crazy if we were to "become" disabled- we just think of the overall devastation it would initially have on our lives.

A young woman in a wheelchair, who has very obviously gotten past the devastation to lead an active life, wrote this post on the top ten things that really annoy people in wheelchairs. It includes a couple of transportation items so I thought it was fitting blog material.

Who knew? I thought Walmart scooters only bothered people who can walk. Although it makes perfect sense...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lots Of Transportation Happenings This Week

A possible new airport in Spokane's future, lots of road construction projects and the annual Click It or Ticket campaign starts today. Those items and more in the Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" column today.

You May See Very Low Flying Planes In The Area Over The Next Month

The U.S. Geological Survey wants to warn you not to be alarmed if you see very low-flying planes around Spokane and North Idaho in the coming weeks.

The planes are piloted by experienced pilots specially trained for low-level flying and will measure the magnetic field of the Earth. The work is part of an ongoing USGS program to identify hidden geologic features, such as changes in rock types, ultimately providing a better understanding of the geology and hydrology of the area. For example, the survey may help map shallow faults responsible for a sequence of small earthquakes that occurred during the summer and fall of 2001 in Spokane.

The Coeur d'Alene Press has more information.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Construction Alerts For Next Week

The annual Lilac Festival Armed Forces TorchLight Parade- is set for Saturday, May 18 at 7:45 p.m.

Road Closures, Saturday May 18, starting at:

8 a.m. Spokane Falls from Stevens to Post
Howard from Main to Spokane Falls
Wall from Main to Spokane Falls

4 p.m. Spokane Falls from Browne to Post
Bernard northbound from Main to Spokane Falls
Washington northbound from Riverside to Spokane Falls
Main from Stevens to Bernard

4:30 p.m. Washington from Riverside to Boone
Howard from Mallon to Boone
Mallon from Post to Howard
Cataldo and Dean from Howard to Washington

5:30 p.m. Downtown will shut down for the Parade
From 2nd to Boone and from Browne to Lincoln
2nd, Boone, Browne, and Lincoln will remain open

The suggested alternative route for non-parade attendees is to use Maple or Hamilton Corridors to avoid Parade congestion.

Francis Ave. west of Monroe- Gas line work starts, Monday, May 20 on Francis Ave. just west of Monroe St. Francis will be reduced to one lane each direction between Wall and Cedar for 3 to 4 weeks.
This work is in addition to a Washington State Department of Transportation project that will pave Francis Avenue from Division Street to Stevens County Line, which is expected to begin on Tuesday, May 28.

Citywide- Expect brief lane closures as crews conducting crack sealing throughout the city into late May.

Pines ITS project- Curb lane and sidewalk closures on northbound Pines from Sprague to Mission Monday through Thursday from 6:30am to 5:00pm into July for signal conduit work.

Pines from 16th to 24th- closed around the clock from 6:30am Monday, May 20 through 7:00pm Wednesday, May 29.
Sullivan Rd. Street Preservation- Sullivan between the Spokane River and Trent Ave. remains reduced to one lane each direction weekdays from 5:00am to 10:00pm through mid-June for signal and stormwater improvements.

Holiday travel alert- Most construction work will be suspended by noon on Friday, May 24th through Monday, May 27th in anticipation of increased holiday traffic.

US 2-Division Street, Ruby, & Browne Street/I-90 to Euclid- Today only, Thursday, May 16, until as late as 6 p.m., Browne Street reduced to two lanes between 2nd Ave. and 3rd Ave. for paving. Otherwise, in general, beginning at about 7 p.m. in the evening until about 5 a.m. the following morning, on weekdays, and continuing for about a week, Division, Ruby, and/or Browne Streets may be reduced to two lanes (or possibly one, if needed) at various times and locations.

I-90/Thor Street Overcrossing Bridge- On Wednesday and Thursday, May 22-23, beginning around 8 a.m. to as late as 3 p.m., drivers should expect lane restriction on the Thor Street bridge over I-90 with delays and congestion. Crews wukk be repairing bridge joints.

Intl. Migration Project To Become Primary Driver of U.S. Population Growth

Here's something interesting for those who follow demographics: The U.S. Census Bureau says international migration is projected to surpass natural increase (births minus deaths) as the principal driver of U.S. population growth by the middle of this century.

This would mark the first time that natural increase was not the leading cause of population increase since at least 1850, when the census began collecting information about residents' country of birth.

Why? Census officials say its due to a mix of our nation's declining fertility rates, the aging of the baby boomer population and continued immigration.

An interesting note though; immigration from Mexico has decreased significantly in the last few years.

So what does this mean for us? A couple things; a faster growing, more diverse, and younger U.S. population.  And what does that mean? PR Newswire looks at the potential impacts.

Transportation Technical Committee Meeting Next Wednesday

The May meeting of the Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) is next Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. The agenda is here. All of SRTC's Board and committee meetings are open to the public, so feel free to attend. You would be amazed at some of the stuff you learn at these meetings.

Bike To Work Week Wrap-Up Celebration

If you've been taking part in our local Bike to Work Week, don't forget that the wrap-up celebration is tomorrow night. The party starts at 5 p.m. at NoLi Brewery, at 1003 E. Trent.

There will be refreshments, snacks, give-aways and no doubt other shenanigans so don't miss it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bicycle Superhighway Planned in 1897 Apparently Wasn't the Future of Transit

Some people say that high speed rail is the future of transportation in our country. In 1897, people were saying the same thing about a Bicycle Superhighway in California.

The highway, a for-profit bicycle superhighway that would stretch from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles, was called the California Cycleway and was essentially a bicycle toll road.
So what happened to the plan? Here's the story and some cool old pics to go with it.

We've Come A Long Way Since 1918

Check this craziness out. It doesn't really have anything to do with us locally but this picture was included with an article on Iowa's Department of Transportation turning 100 and I thought it was pretty effective in illustrating how easy we have it these days.
The funny part to me was the picture caption: Model T on the Lincoln Highway between Ames and Nevada, 1918

Wow, can you imagine driving on that highway?

NTSB Suggests Dropping Legal Limit For Impaired Driving

The National Transportation Safety Board yesterrday said many countries have a lower blood alcohol limit for impaired driving and suggested the U.S. follow suit and drop ours to .05.
Spokane County's Sheriff supports the idea but Kootenai County's Sheriff wonders if the change would really make a difference. KREM 2 News has the story.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Start Fasting Now; Spokane Valley's Bike to Work Week Pancake Feed Is Thursday

Legal Disclaimer: Spokane Valley
is not legally required to provide pancakes
that look like this.
So here's how I get through the holiday season: I make my way around to all the open houses and parties almost nightly and take advantage of the free food. So here's your chance to capitalize on my idea; the official kickoff for Bike to Work Week in the City of Spokane was a pancake breakfast held yesterday at Riverfront Park.

If you really like pancakes, or you really like free food, or you just really like bicycling, or you live in the Valley, or any of the above, there's another pancake feed this week to mark Bike to Work Week. This one is hosted by the City of Spokane Valley.

It's Thursday morning, May 16 starting at 7 a.m. at CenterPlace, which is adjacent to Mirabeau Point on the Centennial Trail. Wow, how convenient is that if you're already riding the trail? And if you're not, go a little out of your way for some free pancakes. You're going to burn off those extra calories anyway.

Open House For Proposed Appleway Trail

The Draft Master Plan for the proposed Appleway Trail will be available for you to view at a Spokane Valley open house on Wednesday, May 22 from 4-6 pm at CenterPlace Regional Event Center (2426 N. Discovery Place). Developed with input from the community, the draft plan includes ideas that will help provide an alternative commuting route and recreational area for community members to meet and enjoy the outdoors.
The proposed trail would run down the old Milwaukee railroad right-of-way, which starts at the east end of Appleway Blvd. at University Rd. and continues east to Evergreen Rd. Features and amenities of the trail, include:
•A meandering pathway;
•Casual seating areas;
•Space for potential community gardens;
•Grasses and wildflowers;
•Shade trees;
•Birdhouses, and more.

The pictures are from the plan, by the way.

Francis Ave. Construction Starts Monday

Avista is scheduled to begin natural gas line work on Francis just west of Monroe on Monday, May 20. Francis will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Wall and Cedar for 3 to 4 weeks. Avista crews will work seven days a week until the project is done. Some traffic impacts will start Sunday afternoon, May 19, with crews placing signs, cones, temporary striping, and barriers for the project.

This work is in addition to work planned by the Washington State Department of Transportation on West Francis. WSDOT will repave Francis from Division Street west to the Stevens County line. That work currently is expected to begin on May 28.

Amendment Proposed to Two Construction Projects In the Transportation Imrpovement Program

We're looking for feedback on a proposed amendment to the 2013-2016 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP is a document that identifies projects proposed to be undertaken or constructed during the upcoming four years. The TIP 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 most recent proposed amendment includes a request to increase the amount of Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program (CMAQ) funds awarded to one project and a request to utilize unspent Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds from preliminary engineering and design to fund right-of-way acquisition on another project.

All the details you need are on our website. Find out which projects would be affected, background info on the TIP and how to give us your thoughts on the proposed amendment.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Francis Avenue Project Open House

The Washington State Department of Transportation invites you to an informational open house to learn details of a project to pave and repair State Route 291 this season. That job includes Francis Avenue west of Division to the Stevens County Line. From Division to about Lowell Road, near the Sundance Golf Course the existing roadway will be resurfaced. From there to the county line, (excluding the section rebuilt a few years ago near Nine Mile Falls) the surface will be crack sealed and minor repairs made. To reduce the effects on traffic, paving work will be scheduled for evening and overnight hours. Other work includes updating the curb ramps to current ADA standards.

The open house is Tuesday, May 21, from 5-7 p.m. in the Salk Middle School Cafeteria, 6411 N. Alberta. Engineering staff will have displays and be on hand to answer questions about the work.

Is Cycling The New Golf Of Making Business Connections?

How do you conduct business? A lot of people used to do it over a round of golf, a round of drinks or lunch.  This Economist article claims road cycling is the new golf when it comes to networking and getting business done. A growing number of corporate-sponsored charity bike rides and cycling clubs are providing ideal opportunities to talk shop with like-minded colleagues and clients while discussing different bike frames and tricky headwinds. And some believe its better than golf for building lasting working relationships, or landing a new job, because it is less competitive.

One architecture firm out of London even estimates that as much as 75% of the practice’s workload has come directly or indirectly from contacts made on the road. Very interesting. I know the Spokane Regional Health District has done some 'walking meetings' for staff in the past, so maybe they're on to something.

Survey Says Many Passengers Don't Turn Off Electronic Devices

So you ALWAYS turn off your electronic devices when told to do so on a flight right? Uh, a lot of people don't, as it turns out. A new survey says that as many as 30 percent of all passengers accidentally left a device on during takeoff or landing. Another 21% said they just switch their electronics to "airplane mode," even when the pilot specifically asks for them to be turned off.

The New York Times has more on this survey and how dangerous it may be to leave electronics on during flights.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Nevada May Allow Motorcyclists To Legally Drive Between Two Traffic Lanes

Nevada could become the first state to allow motorcyclists to legally drive between two lanes of traffic.

The maneuver, called lane splitting, is now illegal in 49 states. California "unofficially" allows it, with no law specifically allowing or prohibiting the practice.
Supporters argue lane splitting reduces the likelihood of a motorcycle hitting a car in front, and vice versa, especially in heavy traffic. Detractors argue lane splitting is inherently dangerous and distracts from other safety issues such as mandatory helmet laws. has the full story.

City of Spokane Construction For Next Week

29th Ave. from High Dr. to Bernard St.- Work to rehabilitate 29th Ave. from High Dr. to Bernard St. is nearly complete. 29th Ave from High Drive to Bernard St. is scheduled to reopen the week of May 13. The overall project rehabilitated 29th Ave. from High Drive to Grand Blvd., replaced a water main and completed other work.

Rockwood Boulevard Rehab Begins Monday- A project to rehabilitate Rockwood Boulevard from Cowley to Southeast Boulevard and Upper Terrace Road from Rockwood Boulevard to 17th Avenue begins Monday, May 13. Initially, crews will begin work on Rockwood from Southeast Blvd to Garfield and on Upper Terrace Road. Those sections will be closed to traffic; local access will be maintained.
Queen residential rehabilitation project begins Monday- The project will rehabilitate Queen, Crow, and Olympic avenues from A to Nettleton streets, and Milton and Nettleton streets from Olympic to Rowan Avenues. The project starts Monday, May 13 and continues until early August.

Division and Glass/Division and Weile Intersection Closures- Lane closures near the intersections of Division & Glass and Division & Weile as crews work to upgrade traffic islands to provide greater pedestrian protection.  The work will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily.   Additional lane closure, Monday, May 13, at 7 p.m. North and southbound traffic on Division St. will be restricted to a single lane at Weile Avenue, Everett Avenue, Walton Avenue, and Glass Avenue, to accommodate striping.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

WSDOT & Spokane Valley Construction for Next Week

Division Street, Ruby, & Browne Street/I-90 to Euclid- Beginning at about 7 p.m. in the evening until about 5 a.m. the following morning, on weekdays, and continuing for about 2 more weeks, during the work week, Division, Ruby, and/or Browne Streets may be reduced to two lanes (or possibly one, if needed) at various times and locations. Crews will be patching and repairing asphalt.

I-90/Harvard Road/Liberty Lake Interchange Bridge- On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, May 14-16, beginning around 8 a.m. to as late as 3 p.m., drivers should expect single-lane alternating traffic on the Harvard Road bridge over I-90 with delays and congestion. Crews will be repairing bridge joints.


Citywide - Expect brief lane closures as crews crack seal throughout the city into late May.

Knox just west of Vista - Closed from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 13 through Wednesday, May 15 for utility work. Signs will redirect traffic via Dick, Indiana and Vista.
Vista just north of Knox - Nrrowed lanes from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Wednesday, May 15 through Friday, May 17 for utility work.

Bike To Work Week Starts Monday

Don't forget, Bike to Work Week is May 13-19 (next week) and the annual Commute Challenge starts Monday. There are lots of other things happening throughout the week too, such as a pancake breakfast Monday, energizer stations throughout the week, a National Ride of Silence and a wrap-up party at the end of the week.

Plus, if you are part of the Commute Trip Reduction program, you can use your commute calendar to track your bike riding this year, rather than filling out two separate calendars like in past years. And, the best part yet, Bike to Work Week is aligning with some really nice weather, also unlike some past years. More info on the Spokane Bikes website so hurry up and get registered.

Police Re-Enact Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ Scene In Pedestrian Safety Crackdown

I love the dude in the suit with no shoes.
 A New Jersey community is going back in time to get people's attention about pedestrian safety.

After a series of accidents where walkers were hit by cars, police in Wycoff are starting a safety campaign, and to help get the point across, members of the police department assigned to crosswalk detail reenacted the Beatles iconic crossing for the cover of “Abbey Road.”

A couple things you may notice in the picture to make things "authentic:" There's a man in the background  in kilt and with bagpipes. That's Wyckoff's Township Administrator.
And a local car dealer even supplied a Volkswagen Beetle to represent the one in the original August 1969 photo. The Cliffview Pilot tells how police hope their use of humor in this case increases safety.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Sleeping Pods Mean No More Crashing On Airport Floors

I can't decide if this is cool or creepy. The days of sleeping on the airport floor or uncomfortable waiting area chairs are over in Abu Dhabi, with the installation of "sleeping pods" in its airport terminals.

The pods are high-tech chairs that can converted in to private beds in the airport terminal for times when your flight is cancelled. They boast partial or fully enclosed sliding shades to separate you from the airport crowds, internet access, storage for your luggage and a place to charge your electronics.

But will people pay to use them? has more.

Could Stick Shifts Be The Answer To Teen Distracted Driving?

Worried about your teen using his or her phone while driving? KING 5 News says providing them with a manual transmission car to drive could be the key to keep this from happening.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Oregonians May Soon Be Able To Show Digital Proof Of Insurance

Oregon is on its way to allowing digital proof of motor insurance. House Bill 2107 allows drivers to show proof of insurance by smart phone, as opposed to paper. Motorists can be cited for driving without proof of insurance, although fines are usually dismissed once evidence of current insurance is produced. Still, it can be a hassle.

The Bill yesterday was passed unanimously by the Senate. The Oregonian has more.

West Plains Arterial Plan Workshop

The City of Spokane is hosting a workshop to discuss alternatives for an updated arterial plan that would coordinate transportation improvements connecting the various jurisdictions that make-up the West Plains area of Spokane County. The workshop is set for Thursday, May 16th, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the library at Sunset Elementary School, 12824 12th Ave. in Airway Heights.
This workshop is the second in an effort to identify and plan for the infrastructure needed to support growth and development on the West Plains. The resulting arterial plan will be used to prioritize transportation projects and will be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plans and other planning documents.

Besides the City, the project’s partners include Spokane County, the Spokane International Airport, the City of Airway Heights, WSDOT, Fairchild Air Force Base, the Spokane Tribe, the Kalispel Tribe, Spokane Transit Authority, the City of Cheney, the City of Medical Lake, Cheney School District and others.

The group also will define other infrastructure needs in the area, including water, wastewater, and stormwater projects.

Review Plan For Valley's Appleway Trail

Spokane Valley staff asks you to review the Draft Master Plan for the proposed Appleway Trail at an open house on Wednesday, May 22 from 4-6 p.m. at CenterPlace Regional Event Center (2426 N. Discovery Place).

A meeting seeking public input on the trail was held in March. That input was used to develop the draft plan, which includes ideas that will provide an attractive alternative commuting route and recreational area for community members to meet and enjoy the outdoors.

The proposed trail would run down the old Milwaukee railroad right-of-way, which starts at the east end of Appleway Blvd. at University Rd. and continues east to Evergreen Rd. Features and amenities of the trail include:

• A meandering pathway;
• Casual seating areas;
• Space for potential community gardens;
• Grasses and wildflowers;
• Shade trees;
• Birdhouses, and more.

Monday, May 6, 2013

SRTC Board Meeting This Week

The SRTC Policy Board meets this week. Thursday, May 9 at 1 be specific. The agenda for the meeting is here. Take a look and feel free to attend if you can. These meetings never fail to be interesting.

New Spokane City Construction Work For This Week

Third Ave. from Division to Arthur- Work to rehabilitate Third Avenue from Division east to Arthur begins today. The project includes replacing a 12-inch water main. One lane of traffic will remain open during construction, and local access to businesses will be maintained. Work will continue into October.

Wall Street from 3rd to 6th Avenues- Work to rehabilitate Wall Street from 3rd to 6th avenues is scheduled to be completed and reopened to traffic by Friday, May 3.

Atlantic from Sharp to Boone- The City's Grinder/Inlay crew starts work today on Altantic from Sharp to Boone. That stretch of roadway will be closed from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in both directions.

Assembly at Broad- Restrictions on Monday and Tuesday of this week for street repair following a water main break last week.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

WSDOT Construction For Next Week

US 2-Division Street, Ruby, & Browne Street/I-90 to Euclid- From about 7 p.m. until about 5 a.m. the following morning, starting on Sunday, May 5, and continuing for about 3 weeks during the work week, Division, Ruby, and/or Browne Streets may be reduced to two lanes at various times and locations. You may experience slow traffic and congestion near work areas. Crews will be patching and repairing pavement.

I-90/Stateline Interchange- Spokane Bridge Road (under the freeway) will be limited to single-lane, alternating traffic for gas line work by Avista. No mainline freeway impacts.

US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange- Northbound US 195 is reduced to one lane in the vicinity of Cheney-Spokane Rd. Northbound drivers should be alert for congestion and slowing traffic. The southbound off ramp to Cheney-Spokane Road is now closed so drivers will need to be alert for southbound highway traffic slowing to make right turns into Cheney-Spokane Road. This is a long-term construction configuration to accommodate the new northbound Cheney-Spokane Road northbound on ramp.

WA Is Most Bike Friendly State Sixth Year In A Row!

Can we get some of
these to celebrate please?
We've done it again folks- Washington has taken the top spot as the most bicycle friendly state in the country for the sixth year running!

Colorado and Oregon rounded out the top three, as ranked by the League of American Bicyclists’ annual Bicycle Friendly States appraisal.

While we've been holding steady for several years now, there were some shake-ups down the list.

DC Streets Blog has the list, and the methodology behind it.

Bike To School Day Next Wednesday

So make the appropriate arrangements because next Wednesday, May 8 is National Bike to School Day. I haven't heard anything specific that's happening locally to mark the date but I'm sure some area schools are doing something.

If not, oh well, take it upon yourself to get your kids to school via bike that day. Heck, ride with them. The exercise and time spent with the kids can't hurt.

Let me know if your child's school has something organized please.

Spokane City Parking Getting A Makeover

Looking toward the future, and maybe brining in a couple bucks, the City of Spokane is overhauling its on-street parking system. Under new Business and Developer Services Director Jan Quintral, the City is installing new technology that will let people pay for parking easier, but also for the City to give tickets and collect on them.

It's not all about shaking down drivers though- in an effort to rebrand parking, parking enforcement officers have been renamed "parking ambassadors" and there is a movement to get stickers put on meters informing drivers that the money they pay for parking will go to sidewalks and landscaping, rather than the general fund.

So when does the new technology come into play and how will two hour meters give the City extra revenue? The Inlander has the story.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ray Street Closed at 23rd For Two Weeks

Ray Street is scheduled to be closed at 23rd Avenue for two weeks, starting on Monday, May 6. A signed detour route will take motorists to Freya Street.
The closure is needed for water main work related to the replacement of the Lincoln Heights Booster Station, which helps deliver water to residents and businesses located on the upper South Hill.
The $1.8 million booster station project is being funded by City of Spokane Water Department. The new station will be much more energy efficient than the existing station, which includes some pumps that are as many as 80 years old. The new station will have five pumps, compared to the eight pumps needed to do the same job today.

Transportation Benefit District To Pay For Improvements To 6.5 Miles of City Streets

Street construction season is in full swing in the City of Spokane. In addition to the big rehabilitation projects, street maintenance work paid for through the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) is happening as well.
For 2013, the TBD Board approved projects that will improve about 6.5 miles of streets. Grind and overlay work is planned on:

• Normandie from Garland Avenue to Rockwell Avenue.
• Fifth Avenue from Lincoln Street to Stevens Street.
• Colton Street from Magnesium Road to Jay Avenue.

Chip seal projects will be completed on:

• Sinto/Sharp from Napa to Regal and adjacent blocks.
• Carlisle Avenue from Maple Street to Jefferson and adjacent blocks.
• Chestnut Street from Sunset Blvd. to Second Avenue and adjacent blocks.

Crews also will apply about 350,000 linear feet of crack sealing material in residential areas, and sidewalks and curbing will be repaired and replaced in each of the three City Council Districts.

The TBD Board, consisting of the City’s seven Council Members, approved the projects at a meeting in December. They were recommended by the Citizens Transportation Advisory Board (CTAB) that advises the TBD Board on how to spend the dollars raised by the TBD.
The TBD was created to pay for street maintenance and pedestrian improvements. It is funded through a $20 vehicle license tab fee. The TBD raises about $2.5 million a year. There's more info about the TBD and the projects for this year in this video the City produced:

May Is National Bike Week

May is National Bike Month so get your bike out and get on it. This year, the local Bike to Work Week is May 13-19 and there are lots of activities to mark it.

Like pancakes? There's a pancake feed to kick off Bike to Work Week. There's also a party to wrap it up at the end of the week and several events in between. To register, and find out all the things that are happening, go to the Spokane Bikes website.

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.