Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vancouver Even Has Cool Alleys

It's hard to mock Canada when they have cool stuff like this. Even the alleyways in Vancouver are cute, and considered community gathering places. About ten years ago, the city of Vancouver launched an initiative aimed at converting garbage strewn alleys into “livable laneways” and you can see the results in the picture.
Streetsblog has more.

New App Lets Politicians Know You're Stuck- And Angry

Stuck in traffic and just want to share your frustration? There's an app for that. And you may want to get it. A new, free mobile app lets commuters and airline passengers delayed by travel headaches to send email messages to their elected officials demanding upgrades to the nation's crumbling and outmoded transportation networks. And what's cool is that you don't even have to know who your congress people are.

The "I'm Stuck" app is the creation of a bipartisan coalition of former and current elected officials who advocate increased spending to modernize transportation and infrastructure in the U.S.

Here's more on the app and where you can get it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Map Shows Improvements To Spokane Valley Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities

I think it's been a couple years now since staff at the City of Spokane Valley developed, and City Council members adopted, the Bike and Pedestrian Master Program (BPMP). Staff recently put together a map showing bike and pedestrian improvements that have been accomplished since the BPMP  came out.

A paragraph that announced the map says that, in many instances, the BPMP has strengthened the City's ability to leverage grant dollars to develop bike and pedestrian facilities. 

Here's the map. Looks like the Valley has been pretty busy the past couple years. Zoom in on the map to see the "balloons" that tell what improvements have been made.

Grant Will Improve Downtown Spokane Sidewalks

Here's a news release the City of Spokane sent out confirming that SRTC had awarded them with grant funds:

A plan to improve downtown sidewalks has been selected for funding by the Spokane Regional Transportation Council through a grant that targets pedestrian improvements.

The Downtown Spokane Core project designs and builds pedestrian repairs and improvements.  These improvements are intended to reduce barriers for disabled persons and encourage walking by making the walking environment safer, more comfortable and enjoyable. These needed improvements to the downtown pedestrian environment were first identified in the Downtown Plan update.

Downtown sidewalks were prioritized for replacement because of their overall condition, their proximity to other planned improvements and pedestrian heavy areas such as the entertainment district and the STA plaza.   Sidewalks on Howard were also prioritized because it is a designated major pedestrian corridor.   The project will also include new street trees, replacement of damaged street tree grates, installation of bike racks, planters and garbage cans, minor sidewalk repairs and other pedestrian improvements throughout the entire Downtown Core.

With the creation of the unified Parking Fund in July of 2013, the City of Spokane now has an ongoing mechanism to fund these types of grant applications for the downtown pedestrian environment.

The total project cost is: $1,335,600

Funding comes from four parties:

CMAQ                                                                        $1,112,390

Parking Fund                                                              $100,000

Arterial Street Fund                                                   $73,610

Downtown Spokane Partnership                                $49,600

Initiative Proposes Naming Failed Bridge After Tim Eyman

Initiative guru Tim Eyman is getting some attention for his work- but not in a positive way. An initiatives to the Legislature was filed last week that would name the Skagit River bridge, which collapsed earlier this summer, for Eyman in honor of his tax-control efforts.

The measure "Commemorate the Tim Eyman Memorial Bridge" initiative from Nicholas Santos of Bothell says it is "dedicated to the efforts of Tim Eyman to reduce Washington State tax revenues and the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge on May 23, 2013."

 Each measure needs 246,372 valid voter signatures by Jan. 3 to be presented to the 2014 Legislature for consideration.

Here's what Eyman has to say about it.

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2013/07/25/2638697/tim-eyman-critic-wants-to-name.html#storylink=cpy

Committee Studying Abuse Of Disalbed Parking Permits


After years of hearing complaints, a state committee is taking a closer look at abuse of disabled parking permits, acording to KREM 2 News.

The group reportedly wants to figure out how widespread the problem is and come up with a strategy for curbing abuse. There has been discussion of monitoring physicians closer who decide who gets a permit.

The state Department of Licensing was assigned to lead the effort.

 
 
 
 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Construction Update For Next Week

SPOKANE VALLEY

4th Avenue between Progress and Sullivan - closed to traffic from 7 a.m. Monday, July 29 until 5 p.m.Wednesday, July 31 for utility work.  Signs will redirect traffic via Progress, Sprague and Sullivan.

Bettman Rd between 11th & 14th - Lane reductions from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays through the end of August for storm water drainage improvements.  At times, 12th Avenue traffic will be redirected via 8th and Eastern.

Montgomery Drive just east of Pines - Lane reductions and minor delays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Thursday, August 1 for utility work. 

Portions of University Rd between 4th and 16th - Reduced to one lane each way on Tuesday, July 30 and Wednesday, July 31 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. for utility work.  Expect congestion.

SPOKANE CITY

Market from Wellesley to Francis- Closed for the Hi Jinx Parade August 4 from 8 a.m. to noon. From noon to 4 p.m., Market from Wellesley to Joseph will be closed for a car show.
 
Spokane Falls Boulevard from Stevens to Post- Closed for the Color Run from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.
 
Napa St. between East Trent Ave. and East Main Ave.- Closed bridge structure maintenance from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Wednesday, July 24 to Tuesday, July 30.
 
Monroe St. Bridge- Traffic will be for reduced to one lane beginning at the Northwest end and finish in the southbound lane on Friday, July 26 for an inspection that starts at 7 a.m. and goes to 12 p.m.

Trent Ave. and Napa Street- Burlington Northern Santa Fe plans to start work on a structure that crosses Trent Avenue just west of Napa Street. Traffic will be reduced to one lane each direction. Delays are expected between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Alternative routes are recommended.

Burgan's Block on Division- Two southbound lanes will be closed Tuesday, July 30 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for utility work near 1101 N. Division.

25th Ave. Construction- Work on 25th Avenue from Freya Street to Rebecca Street continues for paving and curb repair and sidewalk and swale installation.

Crestline Rehabilitation Project- This project will replace a 24-inch steel water main with a 36-inch ductile iron water main in Crestline St. from 57th Ave. to Thurston Ave. then continuing to 37th Ave. via Stone and Lee Streets.  In addition, Crestline St. from 44th to 53rd will be brought up to complete streets standards, including curb, sidewalk, and storm drainage.

Third Ave. from Division to Arthur- Work to rehabilitate Third Avenue from Division east to Arthur continues.  Sherman at 3rd street will be closed.  Arthur will be the detour route.  The project also includes replacing a 12-inch water main.  One lane of traffic remains open, and local access to businesses is maintained.  Work will continue into October.

14th Ave. from Lincoln to Grand- The project will rehabilitate 14th Avenue from Lincoln to Grand Boulevard.

Euclid Ave. Water Main Replacement- One lane open each direction from Napa to Crestline. The project will replace a 28-inch water main with a 30-inch water main in Euclid Avenue.  The new main will begin at Euclid & Mayfair and continue to Crestline, with a jog to the north around Gonzaga Prep.

Rockwood Blvd. Rehabilitation- A project to rehabilitate Rockwood Boulevard from Cowley to Southeast Boulevard and Upper Terrace Road from Rockwood Boulevard to 17th Avenue continues.  Base lift paving on Phase 1 is expected to be completed by the end of next week.  Installation of catch basins has started on Phase 2 between Garfield and Cowley.  Traffic restrictions apply in those areas.  Phase 1work continues on Rockwood from Southeast Blvd to Garfield and on Upper Terrace Road.  Those sections are closed to through traffic; local access will be maintained.

Springfield Lift Station- Springfield is closed between Columbus and Superior.  North bound traffic on Columbus continues north to Cataldo.  South bound on Superior is also directed to Cataldo.

WSDOT

I-90/SR 290-Hamilton Interchange- Beginning Monday, July 29 through Friday, August 2, between the hours of 7 p.m. to as late as 6 a.m., be alert for lane restrictions on the Hamilton Street/SR 290 on and off ramps and Spokane River Bridge for striping.

US 2/SR 206-Mt. Spokane Park Drive Intersection- Beginning Tuesday, July 30 through Friday, August 2, between the hours of 7 p.m. to as late as 6 a.m., be alert for lane restrictions at this intersection for striping.

SR 27/32nd Ave. to Trent Ave.- Be alert for lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.  Pedestrians also should be alert for sidewalk restrictions when ADA ramp work is under construction or curing.  Grinding operations and traffic loop installation is underway.  Possible side road access restrictions during pavement grinding.  Work on the I-90 Interchange bridge deck is expected to be underway July 29-30 during evening and overnight hours.

SR 291/Division Street to the Stevens County Line- 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.  Grinding and/or paving work is underway at multiple locations between Assembly St. and Division St.  All major roadwork on this project will be underway during evening and overnight hours.  Utility cover work is also underway.  No major daytime restrictions planned.  Motorists should be alert for rough pavement in some locations.

North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- Left turn movements at the Market/Francis intersection are not allowed. Expect congestion and delays near the Francis Avenue/Market Street intersection and the Francis Ave./Freya Street intersection. In addition, westbound motorists on Francis should be alert for flaggers directing traffic near the BNSF railway crossing.  The flaggers may be in place to make sure westbound vehicles waiting for the traffic signal don’t block the nearby rail tracks.  Drivers should be alert for trucks entering the roadway and occasional train traffic that may cause delays. 

I-90/Division Street to Liberty Park- Be alert for lane restrictions with mobile operations on I-90, both eastbound and westbound, in downtown Spokane, during evening and overnight hours, Monday through Wednesday, July 29-31.  There will be intermittent shoulder closures on I-90 between Division and Hamilton during daytime hours.

US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange- Be alert for trucks crossing the highway during evening and overnight hours.  Northbound US 195 is reduced to one through lane in the vicinity of Cheney-Spokane Road.  Northbound drivers need to use Qualchan Road to access Cheney-Spokane Road.  Northbound drivers should be alert for possible 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. 

 

 

Washington State Bike Tour Book to Launch with Kickstarter

So here's a book that you need- the Bicycle Alliance of Washington's "Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Bike Tours in Washington" is now availalbe online. The book not only showcases great riding around the state, but one of the co-authors is Spokane’s own Katherine Widing, an experienced bike tour book author who volunteers with Spokane Summer Parkways.
 The book can be found at http://bit.ly/WAbiketourbook, where a Kickstarter campaign is underway to fund it. Five Washington authors were recruited to write sections of the book, including Widing. It includes 10 multi-day tours from all over the state from islands and river valleys to mountain climbs and the rolling hills of the Palouse. With detailed cue sheets and maps, as well as information on food, lodging, attractions, activities, and how to arrive by train, the book provides high-quality, in-depth coverage for riders with all budgets and all levels of cycle touring experience. 

What's so cool about the book though is that the five authors use storytelling, local history, and humor to elevate the book beyond an everyday guidebook.

Royalties from the book will support the efforts of the Bicycle Alliance to increase investments in bike infrastructure for everyday riders as well as bike travelers.

In addition to the content in the book, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington will create additional bonus tours for download.
 

Where Is It Safer to Live? The City or the Country?


Big cities are dangerous places. Due to crime and congested traffic they could be hazardous to your health right? Not true says a new study published in the Journal of Injury Prevention. In fact, you're more likely to suffer fatal injries if you live in a rural area. And the further you live from a city, the more likely you are to die from injury.

Why? Because of transportation and land use patterns. While people who live in urban areas are more likely to killed by gun violence, people who live in rural areas are far more likely to die in a car crash. And overall, many more people are killed in traffic than are killed with guns.
DC Streetsblog has more on the study and the numbers to support it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wine Flies Free On Alaska Air

You have to pay for your luggage but your wine flies free. How does that work?? Alaska Airline's "Wines Fly Free" program lets you not only fly your wine home from Oregon free but also provides you with complementary wine tastings at participating wineries in the state.

The program is partnership between the airline and the tourism group Travel Oregon aimed at promoting the state and it's wine region. Oregon Live has details on the program.

L.A. Plans 51 Mile Path Along River


Holy cow, Los Angelese is getting some big ideas! The Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp. yesterday announced a huge plan to build a on a continuous 51-mile greenway and bike path along the Los Angeles River by the end of the decade.

The 2020 Greenway plan would use money from a public-private partnership to improve the existing 26 miles of bike paths along the river while adding another 25 miles of paths.
 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Ride on the New York Subway Circa 1905

Here's something cool- a 1905 tour of the New York City subway ride from Union Square to Grand Central Terminal. There's a map here of the layout and expected travel times of the subway system as of 1906.

Council Approves Grant $ To Extend Centennial Trail


The Spokane City Council voted last night to use almost $2 million in state grants to buy four acres of land from Greenstone Corp. to extend the Centennial Trail near the Kendall Yards development.

As part of the land deal, Greenstone will do the building, adding almost 3 miles of trail, 12 feet wide and not part of any road. Two other projects are also in the works to fill in gaps in the trail or connect amenities to it.

The Spokesman-Review has the story on all three projects.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Some Really Interesting Stuff Heard at the Perry Street Fair This Weekend

I was impressed by all the people who attended the Perry Street Fair at Grant Park this past weekend. Generally at these kinds of events, many people are just there for the bounce houses, music, games and food and don't want to think too hard about the tough topics like transportation. At the Perry Street Fair though, I was busy all day with people wanting to know what our booth was about and most were eager to give me their thoughts and suggestions regarding the Horizon 2040 plan we're working on. While some of the ideas are not feasible, a lot of the comments were funny. So thanks for keeping me entertained. Here is a sampling of what I heard:
  • STA should offer area businesses the opportunity to sponsor bus stops to raise additional revenue. The businesses could place advertising at the stop and in buses.
  • The Industrial Park in Spokane Valley needs a more regular bus route. A woman who helps refugees get jobs said she has many clients placed at jobs there. Most don't have cars and the route that serves the area doesn't work with many of the shifts.
  • Heard LOTS of requests for lightrail.
  • For STA routes with low ridership, somehow use Smartphone technology to let bus drivers know when you're at a stop. This way maybe two routes with low ridership could be combined for an 'on demand' system. This concept needs some development but it seems like there could be something there. 
  • Police should give out courteous driver citations to people they see obeying the law, in an effort at positive affirmation. This reminds me of the commercial below, which I saw for the first time recently and thought was pretty funny, considering I'm a transportation nerd and all.
  • Pass a bond to specifically fund transportation for seniors and disabled people.
  • Have sponsors pay for bus trips that take seniors to certain destinations. For instance, Rosauers could pay for the gas one day for a bus to bring a load of seniors to Rosauers to do their shopping. Another day they might go to the mall or a casino, but the costs to transport the passengers would be paid for by the destination.
  • Implement a luggage fee on buses. This one kind of makes sense to me as there have been several times I've had to stand because the last seat was taken up by someone with a purse, gym bag, laptop, stroller, etc. in the seat next to them.
  • Law enforcement needs to start ticketing people who jaywalk.
  • Put a bus stop or small satellite park and ride lot somewhere in the vicinity of Hatch and 395.
  • Widen bike lanes a little so power wheel chairs can travel in them.
And finally, I heard a story from a man who says when he travels by air, he keeps a rubber chicken in his pants to surprise the person manning the body scanner. He said he does this because the TSA has a sign that says joking is discouraged while in line, but this is more of a sight gag so he doesn't get in trouble for it. I don't know if it's true folks, I'm just passing it along.


China Considering Expanding Restrictions On How Many Cars Can Be Sold


China already limits how many cars can be purchased in certain cities, and is considering expanding the restrictions to other cities as well. China is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and is hoping to cut down on air pollution and traffic congestion by only allowing citizens to purchase vehicles through a lotterly system and by releasing a limited number of license plates.

China is the biggest car market in the world and opponents of limiting car purchases say cutting back on how many cars are sold could severely impact the economy.

Here's more on what's turning out to be a very sensitive topic in China.

Sometimes Timing Is Everything

This video of a live news report that caught an accident as it happened is kind of crazy.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Road Construction Update For Next Week

SPOKANE COUNTY

Little Spokane River Bridge- Bridge open but minor punch list items may restrict traffic to one lane with flagging.

Farwell Road- Farwell from Market to the North Spokane Corridor is closed for the summer. Wilson Road from Farwell to Hastings is closed for sewer installation.

Upriver Drive- Lane restrictions on Upriver Drive from Dick Road to Marguerite start the week of July 22 for curb installation and to repair damaged sidewalks

Jackson Road- Jackson Road between SR 27 and Elder Road will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, July 24-25 to replace a culvert.

SPOKANE COUNTY

Hatch Road Bridge- Will be inspected July 19.  Traffic will be reduced to one lane beginning at the East end and ending in the West bound lane.  The inspection will last approximately 4 hours, beginning at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

High Bridge Lane Encroachment- Tuesday, July 23 to Thursday, July 25, High Bridge will experience lane encroachments 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Burlington Northern Bridge Maintenance- BNSF will close Napa St. between Trent Ave. and Main Ave. for bridge structure maintenance activities, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 24 to Friday, July 26.  Northbound and Southbound traffic will be detoured using North Helena Street and North Freya Street during closure.  Advance warning will be placed 48 hours in advance onsite. 

Monroe Street Bridge- The Monroe Street Bridge will be inspected July 26, 2013.  Traffic will be reduced to one lane beginning at the Northwest end and finish in the southbound lane.  The inspection will last approximately 5 hours, beginning at 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

25th Avenue Construction- Work continues on 25th Ave. from Freya to Rebecca for paving and curb repair and sidewalk and swale installation.
 
Crestline Rehabilition Project- This project will replace a 24-inch steel water main with a 36-inch ductile iron water main in Crestline St. from 57th Ave. to Thurston Ave. then continuing to 37th Ave. via Stone and Lee Streets.  In addition, Crestline St. from 44th to 53rd will be brought up to complete streets standards, including curb, sidewalk, and storm drainage.

Freya Sidewalk Construction- Freya from Ben Burr to 18th Street has traffic restrictions for sidewalk construction. There will be delays due to one way direction of traffic at a time.

 Third Avenue from Division to Arthur- Work to rehabilitate Third Avenue from Division east to Arthur is continuing.  Sherman at 3rd street is closed.  Arthur is the detour route.  The project also includes replacing a 12-inch water main.  One lane of traffic remains open, and local access to businesses is maintained.  Work will continue into October.

14th Avenue from Lincoln to Grand- This project will rehabilitate 14th Avenue from Lincoln to Grand Boulevard.

Euclid Avenue Water Main Replacement- One lane will be open in each direction from Napa to Crestline. The project will replace the current 28-inch water main with a 30-inch water main in Euclid Avenue.  The new main will begin at Euclid & Mayfair and continue to Crestline, with a jog to the north around Gonzaga Prep.

Division Street DMS, Maple/Ash and 3rd Avenue- This project involves the construction of digital information signs over the roadway at 9 locations.  There will be intermittent lane closures at these locations during installation now through mid-September.

o   Division and Cozza
o   Waverly Place and Division
o   Gordon and Division
o   Joseph and Division
o   Broadway and Maple
o   Dean and Maple
o   Country Holmes Boulevard and Cedar
o   3rd and Adams
o   3rd and Bernard

Rockwood Boulevard Rehabilitation- A project to rehabilitate Rockwood Boulevard from Cowley to Southeast Boulevard and Upper Terrace Road from Rockwood Boulevard to 17th Avenue continues.  Base lift paving on Phase 1 is expected to be completed by the end of next week.  Installation of catch basins has started on Phase 2 between Garfield and Cowley.  Traffic restrictions apply in those areas.  Phase 1work continues on Rockwood from Southeast Blvd to Garfield and on Upper Terrace Road.  Those sections are closed to through traffic; local access will be maintained.

Springfield Lift Station- Springfield closed between Columbus and Superior.  North bound traffic on Columbus will continue north to Cataldo.  South bound on Superior also will be directed to Cataldo.

SPOKANE VALLEY

4th Avenue between Progress and Sullivan - closed to through traffic from 7:00am on Wednesday, July 24 until 5:00pm on Saturday, July 27 for utility work.  Signs will redirect traffic via Progress, Sprague and Sullivan.

8th between Barker and Long - remains closed to through traffic around the clock through Friday, July 26 for paving and sidewalk work.  Signs will redirect traffic to 4th Avenue.

Bettman Rd between 11th & 14th - Expect lane reductions and brief driveway access restrictions from 7:00am to 5:00pm Mondays through Fridays, starting July 22 through the end of August for storm water drainage improvements.  At times, 12 Avenue traffic will be redirected via 8th and Eastern.

Portions of University Rd between 4th and 16th - will be reduced to one lane each way on Tuesday, July 23 and Wednesday, July 24th from 6:00am to 5:00pm for utility work.  Expect narrowed lanes and congestion.

WSDOT
 
SR 27/32nd Ave. to Trent Ave.- lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.  be alert for sidewalk restrictions when ADA ramp work is under construction or curing.  Grinding operations and traffic loop installation is underway.  Possible side road access restrictions during pavement grinding.

SR 291/Division Street to the Stevens County Line- lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.  Be alert for sidewalk restrictions near intersections when ADA ramps are under construction or curing.  Grinding and/or paving work is underway at multiple locations.  All major roadwork on this project will be underway during evening and overnight hours.  Utility cover work is also underway.  No major daytime restrictions planned. 

North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- Left turn movements at the Market/Francis intersection are not allowed.  Right turns are OK.  Expect congestion and long delays near the Francis Avenue/Market Street intersection and the Francis Ave./Freya Street intersection, especially during commute hours.  In addition, westbound motorists on Francis should be alert for flaggers directing traffic near the BNSF railway crossing. 
 
I-90/Division Street to Liberty Park-Lane restrictions on I-90, both eastbound and westbound, at the Hamilton I/C during evening and overnight hours July 23 & 24th.  There will be intermittent shoulder closures on I-90 between Division and Hamilton during daytime hours.

I-90/Liberty Lake Interchange Westbound Off Ramp at Harvard Road/Mission Ave.- Possible intermittent lane restrictions on the westbound off ramp, Mission Ave. and/or Harvard Road for survey work.  No mainline freeway impacts.

US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange- Drivers should be alert for trucks crossing the highway during evening and overnight hours.  In general, northbound US 195 is reduced to one through lane in the vicinity of Cheney-Spokane Road.  Northbound drivers need to use Qualchan Road to access Cheney-Spokane Road.  Northbound drivers should be alert for possible 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. 

SR 290-Trent Avenue/Just east of Hamilton Street in Spokane- On Sunday, July 21st, beginning at around 4 a.m. until as late as noon, Trent Avenue will be reduced to single-lane, alternating traffic, directed by flaggers for bridge deck repairs.  Drivers should be alert for possible congestion.

 

Forget the Local Newspaper, Start With the SRTC Newsletter First Today

So what have you been doing this summer? So far we've written a major plan, distributed millions of dollars in federal funding to local transportation projects and done a lot of coordinating to get our staff out into the public to talk with people like you about your transportation concerns. And it's only July. Here's SRTC's July 2013 newsletter so you can catch up on what we've been up to.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

SRTC At South Perry Street Fair This Saturday

Nothing to do this weekend? Maybe you should take the kids to the free South Perry Street Fair on Saturday. It's from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. near Grant Elementary. If you're in the area, you can't miss it. There will be all kinds of activities, the area businesses will have specials and there will be vendors in the park. One of those vendors will be SRTC of course. We'll be asking people about their transportation issues, concerns and priorities. So if you have some, come say hi. And if you don't, come say hi anyway. Myself and our Senior Planner Anna will be working the booth and love to talk to people.

Here's more info on the fair itself.

Does The Growing Trend of Living Alone Lead to More Sustainable Cities?

As part of our process to develop the Horizon 2040 long-term transportation plan, we've been talking a lot lately about the changing face of our population. Local demographics have shifted in the past couple decades, and the 2010 Census says there are now more single person households in Spokane County than households with children. In just twenty years, the percentage of households with children decreased from 34% to just over 28%. Single person households make up 28.6% of the population.

Overall, Census data shows that housesholds are getting smaller and the population is getting older. The median age of our population is now 36.8 and the average household size is 2.44 persons.

This shift isn't just happening in the Spokane area though. In 1950, single person households accounted for only about 9% of all U.S. households. Today that figure is right around 28%, which is in line with Spokane's numbers. So why should we care or what impact will this change have?

For one thing, people living alone seem to prefer to live in central cities, which some analysts say leads to a more sustainable lifestyle. Single people are more likely to commute using transit as well.
More implications are included in this Atlantic Cities article.

Locally we are examining the potential impacts in the Horizon 2040 plan. The link is above if you'd like to take a look. One thing we've recognized about people living alone is that many of them are seniors, and with the baby boomers aging quickly, we need to find ways to meet their transportation needs after they can no longer drive themselves.

 
 
 

Lingerie Espresso Stands Could Cause Traffic Safety Issues

While I agree that it's not the City Council's job to define the values of the it's citizens, and it's not exactly a transportation issue, I do kind of see Mike Fagan's "safety issue" point on this one. Fagan is pushing an ordinance that would crack down on coffee stands featuring women wearing bikinis or lingerie. This Spokesman-Review article has the details.

About a month or two ago, I was driving down east Sprague near the stand that I believe is called "Busty's Espresso" or something like that. I was heading east in the far right lane, meaning there were three lanes of traffic and about a 15 foot stretch of parking lot between me and the espresso stand. Traffic was moving fine- then about five feet later came to a screeching halt. I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw a car swerve and come near to rear-ending me. I couldn't see anything blocking the road but I saw a lot of heads turning to the north. I looked to see what everyone was looking at and it was a young woman leaning out the window of the coffee stand wearing nothing but green pasties! Traffic had come to a complete stand still and there were several near-accidents because people were gawking at the nearly naked lady!

So, there's my reasoning for agreeing they cause safety issues. I don't know the answer, but maybe move the stands further from the road or only have the window facing away from the road?


 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

And Now For More Vigilante News...


Being a pedestrian shouldn't require a superhero to keep you safe, but it couldn't hurt I guess. According to the Where the Sidewalk Starts blog, Mexico City has one. Peatonito ("Little Pedestrian" in Spanish) and his friends roam the city in Lucha Libre costumes, blocking cars, painting crosswalks and righting other wrongs against pedestrians. Intrigued? Here's Little Pedestrian's Facebook page where you can learn about his exploits. If you can read Spanish that is. Otherwise there are some pretty funny pictures. I've got a Wonder Woman costume I could contribute to the cause...
 

Seattle Thanks It's Vigilantes For Making A Statement About Road Safety

I've been hearing a lot in the past couple years about "guerrillas" that take matters into their own hands in the name of public safety and paint their own crosswalks or bike lanes. In most cases, the city where they're located removes the homemade "improvements" but Seattle recently took a different tack.

This spring, a group of activists calling themselves “Reasonably Polite Seattleites” made some major improvements to a bike lane on Cherry Street.

Instead of freaking out, the City Engineer proved to be sympathetic to the group's cause. Here's what he did.

WSP Claims Texting Is Causing Low Speed Collisions

People who text and drive may be causing low speed collisions.
KREM 2 News reports that the Washington State Patrol says they've seen an increase in accidents happening at low speeds and that people seem to feel comfortable checking their phones when they're travelling slow.

Troopers say this is only a suspicion at this point. They don't have the data to back it up because they don't  have legal authority to search cell phones for evidence in minor collisions. And of course drivers deny it when asked if they were texting and driving.

Washington troopers cited over 1,000 drivers last year for texting at the wheel. Over 6,600 drivers were cited for talking on phones without using a hands free device.  Cell phone violation fines are $124 and possibly more if the violation results in a collision.


 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Board, Committee Meetings Cancelled For Summer Break

Too bad it doesn't apply to me...
So it's official- we're giving the members of our Board and committees a summer break. The July 22 Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting, the July 24 Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) meeting and the August 8 Policy Board meeting have all been cancelled just to give members a little more time to enjoy for themselves this summer.

Check our website for the next meeting dates, at http://www.srtc.org/.

Road Construction Update For Week of July 15

SPOKANE COUNTY

Little Spokane River Bridge- Closed to traffic but expected to reopen this week after guard rail work and grass seeding.
 
Farwell Road Sewer- Farwell Rd. closed from Market to the North South Corridor for the summer. Road reconstruction begins Monday July 15.

Argonne Road Reconstruction- Argonne Road from Wellesley to Bigelow Gulch restricted to one lane each direction starting July 29, 2013. 

Greenwod Road- Greenwood Road from Grove to Flint is closed to traffic.

Upriver Drive- Upriver Drive from Dick Road to Marguerite will have lane restrictions the week of July 15 for curb installation and to repair damaged sidewalks.
 WSDOT
SR 27/32nd Ave. to Trent Ave. - Be alert for lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. as crews grind the top layer of the roadway and resurface it.  Pedestrians also should be alert for sidewalk restrictions when ADA ramp work is under construction or curing. 

SR 291/Division Street to the Stevens County Line- 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.  Grinding and/or paving work may be underway and multiple locations. 

North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- Left turn movements at the Market/Francis intersection are not allowed.  Right turns are OK.  Expect congestion and long delays near the Francis Avenue and Market Street intersection. Westbound drivers on Francis should be alert for flaggers directing traffic near the BNSF railway crossing. 

US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange-  Be alert for trucks crossing the highway during evening and overnight hours.  In general, northbound US 195 is reduced to one through lane in the vicinity of Cheney-Spokane Road.  Northbound drivers need to use Qualchan Road to access Cheney-Spokane Road.  Northbound drivers should be alert for possible congestion and slowing traffic.  The southbound off ramp to Cheney-Spokane Road is now closed so be alert for southbound highway traffic slowing to make right turns into Cheney-Spokane Road. This is a long-term construction configuration.  The US 195/Inland Empire Way intersection is now closed.  Inland Empire Way traffic is directed to the Thorpe Road intersection.  This is a permanent closure to accommodate the new northbound Cheney-Spokane Road northbound on ramp

Spokane Valley

8th between Barker and Long - Closed around the clock through Friday, July 26 for paving and sidewalk work.  Signs redirect traffic to 4th Avenue.

Pines between Trent and Mansfield - Southbound right curb lane and sidewalk closed 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday through July for signal work.  Pedestrians should use the sidewalk on the East side of Pines.

Spokane City

Hatch Road Bridge- Will be inspected July 19, 2013.  Traffic will be reduced to one lane beginning at the East end and ending in the West bound lane.  The inspection will last approximately 4 hours, beginning at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Monroe Street Bridge- Will be inspected July 26, 2013.  Traffic will be reduced to one lane beginning at the Northwest end and finish in the southbound lane.  The inspection will last approximately 5 hours, beginning at 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

 25th Ave. Construction- Work to pave and install sidewalks and swales from Freya Street to Rebecca Street.

Crestline Rehabilitation Project continues- This project will replace a 24-inch steel water main with a 36-inch ductile iron water main in Crestline St. from 57th Ave. to Thurston Ave. then continuing to 37th Ave. via Stone and Lee Streets.  In addition, Crestline St. from 44th to 53rd will be brought up to complete streets standards, including curb, sidewalk, and storm drainage.

Third Ave. from Division to Arthur- Work to rehabilitate Third Avenue from Division east to Arthur is continuing.The project also includes replacing a 12-inch water main.  One lane of traffic remains open, and local access to businesses is maintained.  Work will continue into October.

14th Ave. from Lincoln St to Grand Blvd.-  Will rehabilitate 14th Ave. from Lincoln to Grand Boulevard.

 Euclid Ave. Water Main Replacement- The project will replace the current 28-inch water main with a 30-inch water main in Euclid Avenue.  The new main will begin at Euclid & Mayfair and continue to Crestline, with a jog to the north around Gonzaga Prep.
 
Division Street DMS, Maple/Ash and 3rd Ave. - This project involves the construction of digital information signs over the roadway at 9 locations.  There will be intermittent lane closures at these locations during installation now through mid-September.

o   Division and Cozza
o   Waverly Place and Division
o   Gordon and Division
o   Joseph and Division
o   Broadway and Maple
o   Dean and Maple
o   Country Holmes Boulevard and Cedar
o   3rd and Adams
o   3rd and Bernard

Rockwood Blvd. Rehabilitation- A project to rehabilitate Rockwood Boulevard from Cowley to Southeast Boulevard and Upper Terrace Road from Rockwood Boulevard to 17th Avenue continues.  Installation of catch basins has started on Phase 2 between Garfield and Cowley.  Traffic restrictions apply in those areas.  Phase 1work continues on Rockwood from Southeast Blvd to Garfield and on Upper Terrace Road.  Those sections are closed to through traffic; local access will be maintained.

Springfield LIFT Station-
Traffic is closed on Springfield between Columbus and Superior.  North bound traffic on Columbus will continue north to Cataldo.  South bound on Superior also will be directed to Cataldo.

States Not Jumping On The Wagon For Lower Blood Alcohol Level

The National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) push to lower legal blood-alcohol limits for drivers appears headed for a dead end.

States are showing little, if any, interest in revisiting the issue, industry groups are lining up against the plan and even the most vocal opponents of  drunk driving have declined to endorse it.

The NTSB says the move would severely reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes in the U.S., but even Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) aren't showing much interest. Why?

Spokane Valley Cycle Celebration Coming Up

I wanted to remind you about the upcoming Spokane Valley Cycle Celebration that is part of the annual Valleyfest in Spokane Valley.

The celebration of riding is Sunday, July 28 and has three routes you can chose from, including a family-friendly 10 mile ride, a 25 mile "adventure ride" and the 50 mile "Hills Around the Valley" ride.

Sounds like fun? Then here's where you go to register: http://www.valleyfest.org/bikeJuly28.html. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Public Transit- A Good Place To Meet Singles Or Bad Idea?

I love public transit too but this is a
different kind of love we're
talking about
So there's this guy on the bus that I've had my eye on for a while. But I'm not sure if he's single. Mostly because he wears a clown suit and makes balloon animals for the women and children. So what do I do? If I approach him and he's married I'm going to feel like an idiot. But if I don't, am I missing out on the amn of my (circus) dreams?

If I lived in Prague, I wouldn't be in this conundrum. Because transportation officials there have come up with an idea to get single riders together. They are introducing cars on the metro specifically for singles. The reasoning behind it is that single people today don't have the time to meet people and it's hard to meet quality people in bars, so why not meet doing something you already do- ride public transit?

There are some obvious issues to work out to keep the cars from becoming rolling hookup spots though, and to address potential liabilities. The Atlantic Cities has the story.

Our GIS Analyst Is Hobnobbing With The Stars

Apparently I'm going about this wrong. I've been at SRTC for seven years now (as of next week- happy anniversary to me) and the only training I ever get sent to are in Boise or the Tri Cities. Yet our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst Kevin is at a the annual ESRI conference in fabulous San Diego right now where he's playing computer games and hanging out with musician will.i.am.
Okay, I made that last part up, but it's somewhat based on reality. Kevin was able to work it this year so that he could attend the conference, with his only expense being airfare. We don't usually attend conferences, as money is obviously VERY tight in the government world and we find we get better results from attending training sessions versus conferences. But with plane tickets being pretty affordable these days, we decided to take advantage of it, as the conference is reported to be a pretty intense learning experience.

Every year, about 12,000 GIS users gather for this conference to learn new ways that geographic information system (GIS) is integrating hardware, software, and data for managing, analyzing, and displaying all kinds of different information. In our office, Kevin and our other GIS Analyst Sylvia, use GIS to make maps and other kinds of displays for any of the reports and documents we create. We also use their visuals at all of the public meetings and events you see us out at.
While GIS technology can be used on any kind of data, Kevin is sitting in on mostly just the transportation sessions at the conference. Don't feel bad for him though. He said he's met a lot of talented staff from other Metropolitan Planning Organizations and that at the opening session will.i.am from the musical group the Black Eyed Peas showed up!

I asked what a hip guy like that was doing at a technical conference and Kevin said will.i.am
stumbled onto GIS through non profit work he was doing and felt he had to get in on it and figure it out. So if you want to be hip and figure it out as well, here's more info on the ESRI GIS conference.

 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Delaware Enlists Walking Dead In Pedestrian Safety Campaign


Delaware has joined the zombie bandwagon with a new traffic-safety campaign called “Don’t Join the Walking Dead: Cross at Marked Crosswalks.”

Officials are looking to reduce an uptick in pedestrian deaths, which rose by 6.4 percent last year to 30 fatalities.

Delaware Online has the story.

City Council Votes To Complete Downtown Bike Loop- This Summer!


Been thinking about commuting downtown by bike but don't like the idea of fighting the  traffic? Riding your bike downtown should be a lot more comfortable for riders who aren't seasoned veterans by the end of summer. That's because the Spokane City Council on Monday accepted a bid to complete the Downtown Bicycle Network, which will add six miles of new bike routes.
Construction is expected to begin soon and will include improvements such as a separated bike lane near Fourth Avenue and Browne Street. The Spokesman-Review looks at the other bike lanes and signage that will be included in the project.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Paper Helmet Could Be Answer To Bike Share Program's Helmet Issues

Bike share programs have been successful around the world, except for one area that continues to stump Bike share creators- helmets. No one has been able to figure out a way to provide a helmet to people who take part in bike share programs, without having them disapear. And requiring the people who rent or check out the bikes doesn't seem to work either because sometimes they leave the house not expecting or planning to be riding a bike that day. There may be an answer though.

A new helmet made from paper pulp was designed for short periods of use and are produced using recycled paper and water. They can be thrown away when done with and re-pulped into a new helmet and a very affordable price. The question though, which the video below doesn't answer, is how much protection do these helmets offer your head?

Letter Writer Blames Studs For Condition of North Foothills/Hamilton Intersection

Spokesman-Review Letter to the EditorStudded tires the culprit


Regarding Ray Moss’ letter on the condition of the intersection at North Foothills Drive and Hamilton Street. He purports poor concrete. Nonsense. It’s poor judgment on the part of inexperienced drivers who mask their inept driving ability with studded tires.
Eventually, the concrete has to succumb to the superior strength of the hardened steel studs. Therefore, he sees the result and, of course, being a logical person, can bring judgment against studs.
 
Dary Liepelt
Colbert

Thanks for saying it Mr. Liepelt so I don't have to. With lots of issues with our transportation infrastructure, and few ways to fund fixing them, we're going to have to take a look at issues like studded tires and weigh the pros and cons of still using them.

Opportunity To Review & Comment On Public Involvement Policy Ends Next Week


The public comment period for SRTC's updated Public Involvement Policy (PIP) is in the final stretch. The document has recently been updated with additional and new strategies for outreach to members of the public, including minorities and low income populations.  The draft document is available for public review and comment through Saturday, July 20, 2013. 

 The PIP guides how SRTC reaches out to the public to inform people of our activities and solicit input; and the “tools” and resources used in this process. Primary goals of the PIP include:

   Articulating how the agency approaches public engagement.

    Ensuring early and continuous public involvement in major activities and decisions by SRTC.

   Receiving meaningful public input to guide the decision-making process.

Specifically, the PIP addresses how the public is notified of SRTC meetings, projects and activities; when and where public meetings are held; how public comments are handled; how access is provided to people with disabilities and those who speak limited English; and what materials, such as maps, brochures, videos, newsletters, etc., are used to promote and explain SRTC’s activities.


Your help in reviewing it is welcomed, and we ask that you let us know if you think of any outreach methods or tools that may not have been recognized in the plan. You can find it at www.srtc.org on the home page.  Comments can be submitted by emailing contact.srtc@srtc.org or mailing to SRTC at 221 W. First Ave., Suite 310, Spokane, WA 99201. 
 

Monday, July 8, 2013

SRTC Policy Board Meeting & Brown Bag Session This Week


SRTC's Policy Board meets for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting this Thursday, June 13 at 1 p.m. The meeting will be immediately preceded, starting at 11:30 a.m., by a brown bag lunch session to discuss development of SRTC’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan, Horizon 2040.

Horizon 2040 is a long-term, multimodal “blueprint” for transportation aimed at meeting the mobility needs of the area through the year 2040. It is based on projections for growth in population, housing and jobs and takes into consideration every mode of transportation. The strategies in Horizon 2040 will be instrumental in sustaining and growing the quality of life and economic health of our region.

Specifically, the brown bag session will give staff an opportunity to discuss with the Board a scenario analysis process used to help develop portions of Horizon 2040. This process uses land use and financial scenarios to identify potential future projects and programs to improve key area transportation corridors in the future.

More information and the first three draft chapters of Horizon 2040 can be found at http://www.srtc.org/mtp_2040.html.
 
The public is welcome to attend both sessions and, as always, there will be opportunity at the Board meeting for public comment on transportation-related topics. 

The Board meeting agenda is 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.