Friday, August 30, 2013

Watch Out For Kids On the Street Headed Back to School

Students have headed back to school in some districts and the rest go back next week. Spokane City Mayor David Condon has proclaimed September Back to School month and is partnering with the community on education and student safety issues this month.

The City and the "Stickman Knows" safety campaign, is asking for your help to keep children safe. Slow down around schools and look out for kids crossing the street. Don’t compete. Share the street.

Most vehicle-pedestrian collisions occur in crosswalks, marked or unmarked. By following the rules of the road, we can prevent most collisions. Drivers: drive 20 miles per hour in school zones and stop for children at crosswalks. Pedestrians: cross the street on a “Walk” signal, and if there isn’t a signal look left, right, and left again before crossing at marked crosswalks or intersections.

Law enforcement officers will be keeping an eye out for people not following the rules of the road and may issue an infraction or ticket. Tickets can run from $56 for not crossing the street at a crosswalk up to $124 for a motorist failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

 

Public Meeting For New Sidewalks Around Hamblen Elementary

If you're the parent of a Hamblen Elementary School student, live in the area or just walk or drive in the area, you may want to attend a public meeting September 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Hamblen to discuss the installation of sidewalks in various areas around the school.

The City of Spokane received State money to fill in areas of missing sidewalks and wants to keep the public informed of their construction plan.

City Council member Jon Snyder has the details on his blog, including a map of affected areas and a letter sent home to Hamblen parents.
 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tiny Kittens Have the Power To Shut Down Subway

Photo of Kitten on Coney Island-bound tracks at Church Ave which caused delays, service suspensions on #B #QKittens are like crack, in my opinion. They're just so darn cute that you can't get enough of them. Until they grow into cats, that is.

So here's your eye candy for the day: kittens on the tracks shut down Brooklyn's subway service for two hours.

"Straddling Bus" Could Reduce Traffic Jams, Improve Air Quality

This is so cool. So say you need to get more people places, but you don't want to put more cars on the road. And while public transit is always encouraged, buses in high traffic areas can snarl traffic with their stops and have a negative impact on air quality.

This is the dilemma China is facing now. They think they've found a solution though, with something called the "straddling bus," a cheaper, greener and faster alternative to buses and subways.

The bus is cool in that it is basically like a moving bridge; it spans the roadway like a bridge, allowing cars to go underneath, while passengers sit on the second level above the traffic. This keeps traffic from jamming up traffic every time the bus stops to pick up or drop off riders.

Powered by electricity and solar energy, the bus can speed up to 40 miles an hour carrying 1200-1400 passengers at a time without blocking other vehicles’ way. Also it costs about 10% of what it would cost to build a subway. Watch the video- pretty impressive.

Road Construction Updates For Next Week

WSDOT
Most construction work will be suspended by noon on Friday, August 30 in anticipation of increased holiday traffic.  Work resumes Tuesday, September 3rd.  Most of the other projects underway on state highways in the Eastern Region will not affect Labor Day weekend holiday travel.

I-90/Salnave-SR 902 Interchange to Four Lakes-SR 904 Interchange- Tuesday through Thursday, September 3-5, eastbound or westbound I-90 reduced to one through lane at various work locations for crack sealing.

SR 27/32nd Ave. to Trent Ave.- Striping lane lines and placing other pavement markings starts after Labor Day weekend.  Be alert for lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. as crews grind out top layer of roadway and resurface with Hot Mix Asphalt. 

SR 291/Division Street to the Stevens County Line- Mainline paving is complete.  Paving of the side street approaches continues between Rifle Club Rd. and Division St.  Pavement repair at the Seven Mile/SR 291intersection is scheduled for the week of September 3-6.  Surface grinding will also commence in spot locations for the entire job. 

North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- Expect congestion and long delays near the Francis Avenue/Market Street intersection and the Francis Ave./Freya Street intersection, especially during the morning and afternoon commute hours. The south shoulder is designated for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

I-90/Division Street to Liberty Park- Lane restrictions on I-90, both eastbound and westbound in downtown Spokane during evening and overnight hours on Tuesday, September 3. There will be intermittent shoulder closures on I-90 between Maple and Hamilton during daytime hours to
replace conduit, poles, wiring, and light fixtures including installing luminaires on I-90 from Latah Creek to the Hamilton Interchange.

I-90 Westbound/Liberty Lake-Harvard Road Interchange Roundabout- Lane restrictions, rough roadway, slow traffic, and congestion with possible delays as crews construct a roundabout. Southbound Harvard Rd. is reduced to one lane.  Mission Ave. is open.  Bicycles and pedestrians using the sidewalks and trail should be alert for construction activity and slight detour around the work area at various times, with possible gravel surface in some locations. 

US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange- Northbound US 195 is reduced to one through the vicinity of Cheney-Spokane Road.  Northbound drivers need to use Qualchan Road to access Cheney-Spokane Road.  The southbound off ramp to Cheney-Spokane Road is now closed. 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 CITY
Washington Bridge Lane Restrictions- Lane restrictions on the northbound Washington Bridge for joint repair Sept.4. Restriction in place overnight.

14th Ave. from Lincoln to Grand Rehabilitation- Unanticipated additional work, including a water main repair and gas line repair, has delayed this project. Paving of 14th from Bernard to just west of Division is complete.  The crosswalk striping and permanent sign installation has been completed as well.  This does not include the Division intersection. 
 
Crestline Rehabilitation Project- This project will replace the water main in Crestline from 37th to 57th avenues; provide curb-to-curb rehabilitation of the street from 44th to 53rd avenues; and add bike lanes, sidewalks and stormwater swales along the 44th to 53rd avenue stretch. 
 
Third Ave. from Division to Arthur- Arthur is closed at Third Avenue; Sherman Avenue 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.


 
25th Ave. Construction- Work on 25th Avenue from Freya Street to Rebecca Street continues for paving and curb repair, and sidewalk and swale installation.
Euclid Ave. Water Main Replacement- Lane restrictions continue on North Foothills Drive with one lane open each direction from Napa to Crestline. The project will replace the current water main with a larger one in Euclid Avenue. 
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. Phase 2, from Cowley to Garfield, is closed to through traffic and is under full construction.  Phase 1work continues on Rockwood from Southeast Blvd to Garfield and is open to local traffic on base lift asphalt.  Traffic restrictions apply in all areas with local access provided.
SPOKANE VALLEY
Sullivan Rd UPRR bridge just south of Marietta - Reduced to one lane each direction Monday through Friday for southbound bridge resurfacing.  Expect congestion and delays.  Those whose destinations are outside the project area are encouraged to use alternative routes such as Flora Road or Pines Road.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Farwell Rd from Market to North Spokane Corridor- Closed for summer.

Argonne Rd. Reconstruction- Restricted to one lane each direction between Wellesley and Bigelow Gulch.

Greenwood Rd from Grove to Flint- Closed to traffic. Anticipated paving Sept. 5 and 6.

Labor Day Closures

Chances aren't good you forgot it's a holiday weekend coming up, but if you did, here's your reminder.

In observance of Labor Day, all area government offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 2, including SRTC.

Most state construction work will be suspended by noon on Friday, August 30 in anticipation of increased holiday traffic.  Work will resume on Tuesday, September 3rd


If you're coming downtown for Pig Out In The Park, parking meters don't have to be plugged Monday.

Offices open again Tuesday, most at 8 a.m

Spokane Drivers Rated Safest In Washington

Spokane has somewhat of a reputation for it's drivers being red light runners. So it's kind of surprising that a new study says our drivers are much better than those in the rest of the state.

The annual survey by Allstate Insurance named Spokane drivers the best in the state, but and 45th among the nation’s 200 largest cities. So who has the best drivers? It's in our neck of the woods. And the worst drivers? You probably won't be surprised by the answer to that one. The Spokesman-Review has the answers.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2013 Transportation Symposium; Inland Empire at a Turning Point

Locally and nationally, communities are facing new challenges that drive our transportation investment choices. Forces such as the aging baby boomer generation, the rising obesity rate and fewer young people getting drivers licenses are increasing demand for public transit options while shrinking budgets and deteriorating roadways are limiting our resources to deal with issues like these.

The Spokane Regional Health District is partnering with the Inland Empire chapter of the American Planning Association for a symposium to discuss how to address our issues and what other communities are doing to proactively address their problems.

Andrew Dannenberg, Co-editor of "Making Healthy Places: Desinging and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability" will discuss how transportation planning impacts the health of our communities. Chris Comeau, with the City of Bellingham, will about talk multimodeal transportation levels of service and Bob Bengfor of MAKERS Architecture and Urban Design will share strategies for using transportation infrastructure for place making. There will also be several other professionals speaking on a variety of topics.

If you're interested in attending this symposium on September 12, here is more information and how to register.

Dial "S" for Sharrow

Those marks on the road showing a bike with arrows under it? I get asked about them all the time and people are sometimes confused because they're painted in the middle of what is obviously a lane for cars. Well, they're called "sharrows" and they mean the lane is designated to be shared by cars AND bicycles. We have several in downtown Spokane that were painted in the past couple years.

Turns out folks in Edmonton, Alberta Canada had some questions about them too. So the folks at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Council there got out the Legos and set about showing people how to use them. Brilliant work and there's nothing I love more than a Lego stop-motion video. And where do you find hippie Lego people, by the way?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Young People Say They're Too Busy To Drive

Throughout the developmen of our Horizon 2040 plan this year, I've mentioned repeatedly that fewer young people are driving. There's been a lot of speculation as to why this is. Many think that kids are more concerned about the environment than in the past so pass on driving. Others believe it is the expense that comes along with a drivers license. And still others feel it is because young people are moving into urban places like downtown areas where they don't need to be able to drive.

Well, the University of Michigan wanted to get to the bottom of this and did a survey. Turns out, the majority of young people who don't  drive say it's because they're too busy. What?? Yep, they say they just don't have the time to get a license.

Here are more results from this interesting study.

Denmark Encourages Hitchhiking- On the Back of Bikes

Hitchhiking spot for cyclists in UtrechtHitchhiking may be discouraged in the U.S., but it's encouraged in Denmark. If it's on the back of a bike, that is. The Dutch Cyclists’ Union  has designated public hitchhiking spots for bicycle riders in the city of Utrecht.

People who want to get a lift on the back of a bike stand close to the signs and use the international  sign for needing a ride with their thumb. And apparently it's working; lots of people are allegedly getting rides all over the city on the back of bikes.

Here's more from Pop Up City.

 

Causes of Distracted Driving And How Dangerous They Really Are


We all know that checking your phone is probably the most distracting activity you can do behind the wheel. But what are some other distractions that hurt your driving skills? Listening to the radio? Talking to others in the car? Making an omelet like Homer Simpson in the picture? A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety looked at how likely a number of activities are to cause  your brain to wander while driving. I was surprised at some of the results, especially because one of the technological innovations designed to make driving safer may do the opposite.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Richard Branson Talks About Community


I've heard Virgin Airlines founder and millionaire extrordinaire Richard Branson talk about a lot of issues (let's face it, the man's not shy about expressing his opinion) but here's a new one; Branson is talking on his blog about community design and roads.

He advocates for designing cities in circles around something resembling the traditional village green. Okay, that's cool. But then he suggests closing off the majority of residential streets to traffic; only allowing the people who actually live on them to park there. And he goes on to suggest covering many residential streets with grass to create greenspace. Hmmm... okay, but where will the people that live on those streets park?

Here's the rest of Branson's thoughts on community from his blog.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spokane City Construction Update For Next Week

Team Gleason Block Party- Main Ave. will be closed from Division to Pine from 9 p.m. Aug. 23 to 8 a.m., Aug. 25.
 
Stevens Bridge Lane Restrictions- Lane restrictions begin on south bound Stevens Bridge for joint repair August 26 and will be in place overnight. 

14th Ave. from Lincoln to Grand- The project will rehabilitate 14th Avenue from Lincoln to Grand Boulevard. Unanticipated additional work, including a needed water main repair and a gas line repair, has delayed this project. Paving of 14th from Bernard to just west of Division is complete.  Waterline work will complete by, August 30, 2013. 

Crestline Rehabilitation Project- This project will replace the water main in Crestline from 37th to 57th avenues; provide curb-to-curb rehabilitation of the street from 44th to 53rd avenues; and add bike lanes, sidewalks and stormwater swales along the 44th to 53rd avenue stretch.  Paving will begin Thursday, August 22, 2013 at the Thurston/Crestline intersection to accommodate traffic to Hamblin Elementary.

Post Street Pedestrian Detour- A temporary detour to the east side of Post is in place for pedestrian traffic.  Drivers should expect delays on Post Street.  Flaggers are in place to direct motorists as needed.

Third Ave. from Division to Arthur- Work to rehabilitate Third Avenue from Division east to Arthur continues.  Arthur is closed at Third Avenue; Sherman Avenue is the detour route.  The project also includes replacing a water main.  One lane of traffic remains open.

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

Euclid Ave. Water Main Replacement- Lane restrictions continue on North Foothills Drive with one lane 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. 

Rockwood Blvd. Rehabilitation- A project to rehabilitate Rockwood Boulevard from Cowley to Southeast Boulevard and Upper Terrace Road from Rockwood to 17th Avenue continues. Phase 2, from Cowley to Garfield, is closed to through traffic and is under full construction.  Phase 1work continues on Rockwood from Southeast Blvd to Garfield and is open to local traffic on base lift asphalt. 

Springfield Lift Station- Traffic will be impacted with full closure on Springfield between Columbus and Superior.  Northbound traffic on Columbus will continue north to Cataldo.  Southbound on Superior also will be directed to Cataldo.

Funding to Replace Sullivan Road Bridge Finalized

Good news for Spokane Valley drivers! Funding has been finalized to replace the aging southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River.  The bridge is the westernmost of the two that cross the river at that location. 

Funding for the $15,349,000 needed to replace the bridge includes:
  • $8,000,000 - Federal Bridge Program
  • $1,529,000 - Washington State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board (FMSIB)
  • $3,500,000 - Washington State Transportation Improvement Board, as well as a commitment of up to $500,000 in contingency funding, and
  • $2,320,000 - City of Spokane Valley.
Replacement of the 62-year-old bridge became a priority when an inspection in 2009 rated it as "Structurally Deficient" due to cracking in the girders and deterioration of the concrete driving surface.  Weight restrictions were posted in June of 2011 to prolong the bridge's life and temporary repairs made in 2012, allowing the bridge to stay open without weight restrictions until it can be replaced.

The bridge is a part of a key transportation corridor in the city of Spokane Valley, carrying about 26,000 vehicles each day, including semi trucks traveling to and from the industrial area north of the bridge.  In addition to carrying traffic across the Spokane River, the bridge links the industrial area with I-90 as well as the commercial areas located north and south of the freeway.

The bridge replacement project is expected to go out for bid in January of 2014, with construction likely to begin sometime in 2014. 

 

Least and Most Expensive States To Own A Car


13133414-mmmain.jpgIf you had to guess, which state would you say is the least expensive in which to own a car? The answer is Oregon, although many people would suspect it's actually more expensive than many states to own a car there, based on how many people use alternative transportation.

A new study by Bankrate.com looked at the cost of repairs, insurance premiums, gas and taxes and fees in all fifty states.
 
In Oregon, the average annual cost of operating a car is $2,204, significantly lower than the national average. Where does Washington come in? After being told yesterday that the spark plugs for my Honda are $27 each (!!) I'd think it would be at the top of the 'expensive' list, but

Vancouver Editorial Illustrates Similarities to Spokane's Infrastructure Issues

I've never seen the Spokesman-Review use an editorial from another newspaper, so I was surprised to see an article today from Vancouver's Columbian newspaper in our newspaper. It's right on though, about how investment in infrastructure is needed, and not just in Vancouver. You could almost substitue "Spokane" for "Vancouver" in some of the sentences and they would still be accurate.

For instance, the editorial says:
  • The city is millions of dollars short on its goals for reconstructing streets. Sound familiar?  Same story in our region.
  • Two city-owned bridges are expected to fail within 20 years. Only two? 
  • There is an estimated $120 million backlog of deferred street maintenance. We're still trying to figure out exactly what the pricetag is for our local backlog but we know it's going to give everyone sticker shock.
  • Vancouver is considering a license tab fee increase. Spokane City already did it here and now it's being considered countywide.
And the similarities continue. Read the editorial here.

The lesson? This problem isn't unique to any community. Nationwide, we're all seeing the effects of fifty years of car culture and little maintenance to keep it safe and updated. It's time to make some investments, folks.
 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Transportation Technical Committee Meeting Next Wednesday

Not only is next week the August TAC meeting (see below), but also the Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) meeting. The TTC meets for their monthly meeting Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 1:30 p.m. The agenda and packet are here. Everyone is welcome so come talk transportation if you like.

Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) Meeting Monday

The August meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) is next Monday, August 26. The agenda and packet are here. As always, TAC meetings are open to all so feel free to attend if you can.

Editorial Says It's Time To Get Rid Of Emissions Law

An editorial in the Spokesman-Review calls for an end to Washington's auto emissions testing program. The program technically expires at the end of 2019, but the article says the emissions testing law is no longer applicable, what with more efficient vehicles and cleaner fuel sources being produced. It even suggests the money funding the program might be better spent on other transportation improvements. Here's the Spokesman-Review article.
 

That Crab Is So Happy Because He's Helping Pedestrians

So you're familiar with Spokane's Stickman Knows safety campaign right? Well a similar campaign in Ocean City, Maryland has been hugely succesful.

The ocean-front town is using a new mascot, a traffic safety-obsessed crab dressed as a lifeguard, to convey safety messages. Sound cheesy? Apparently people are eating it up (Okay, that pun was cheesy), because the crustacean is being crediting with a 56% reduction in pedestrian crashes so far this year.

Below is a video example of the campaign and here is more info on it.

City Council Cracking Down On Sidewalk Loitering

While most are respectful, I've had a few run-ins with people hanging out on the sidewalks of downtown asking for money, to use my phone, for a ride somewhere or even saying lewd things to me.

I feel this can hurt the image of our downtown, which, in-turn, hurts economic development. So I'm glad to see Spokane City leaders are making some changes to a law that would help control this behavior. KREM 2 News has the story on a change to the law that Council members are hoping will make a difference.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Francis Avenue Construction Scheduled For 2014

You asked for it and now you're getting it; more improvements on Francis Avenue. I've been hearing forever from people that Francis is in terrible shape and have even heard it referred to as a "goat trail" in the past. Yesterday the City of Spokane sent out word that two additional phases of the Francis Avenue project will begin early next spring, stretching from Crestline to Division.

Construction will include the replacement of a water main from Perry Street to Pittsburg Street. Handicap access will be improved at intersections from Division Street to Crestline Street and new pavement will be laid over the length of the project. Construction is expected to be completed next fall.
 

Police Defend Sign That States The Obvious

"Don't Hit Car in Front of You" Electronic Road SignAn electronic sign in Virginia is being criticized as an example of government waste and a distraction to drivers. The sign sits just outside Washington, D.C. and offers the seemingly obvious advice of “Don’t hit the car in front of you.”
 
The sign cost $13,000 but the Arlington County Police Department defend it's purchase, and the message it conveys, saying the area is one of the highest accident areas in the County.
 
Here's the whole story, from "The Blaze."

New York Times Features Spokane In Article On Coal Train Debate

Spokane made the New York Times yesterday, for our coal train debate. Nothing new here but you may want to check out the article anyway.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Skagit Bridge Collapse Had Huge Impact On Canadian Shoppers


The numbers are in and the Skagit Bridge collapse had a huge impact on the number of Canadian shoppers venturing into Skagit and Snohomish county stores.

The Marysville Costco had an 80 percent decrease in the proportion of Canadian license plates observed in its parking lot in June compared to a survey done in March, according to a study from Western Washington University.

The study used students to observe and write down the number of Canadian and U.S. vehicle license plates at more than 25 spots along the I-5 corridor and in Lynden.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/08/18/3151739/bridge-collapse-has-big-impact.html?#storylink=cpy
The Bellingham Herald has a look at the results.?

Unity in the Community Attendees Had Lots to Say About Public Transit, Bicycling

It was a great weekend to be outside and it seemed like a lot of people were taking advantage of it at the 19th annual Unity in the Community event at Riverfront Park on Saturday. SRTC had a booth there and we talked to all kinds of people. Many of them had comments regarding bicycling or public transit. We heard from people who requested everything from more bus shelters to transit to Coeur d'Alene to someone who said she has started riding her bike because the conditions of the roads are so bad and she can get around most of the potholes and cracks on her bike.

One gentleman requested a bike lane on the Maple Street Bridge because when he rides through the designated pedestrian area, it dead ends at a set of steps that he has to carry his bike down. And he said while going down isn't too much of a strain, it's on the way back when he has to carry his bike up the stairs that is a pain.

Several people told us they have a hard time getting home from work because their bus route only runs until 9 p.m. or a little later. One young man even said he had to quit his job because he couln't get home from downtown. In all though, most said they realize the value of our public transit system and use it regularly. In fact, I was surprised at how many people we talked to who said they are making do without a car in Spokane. And most said they do okay most of the time, although they run into the occasional challenges.

Then there were they kids that just stopped by to grab some free candy from us. But even they had somnething to share. Our planner Eve asked one of these kids if she rides her bike much and she told us that she rode her bike to school one day without telling her parents and got in big trouble. But she said she had a lot of fun doing it.

 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Snoqualmie Closure Sunday Morning

On Sunday, Aug. 18, Washington State Department of Transportation crews will temporarily close I-90 in both directions near the snowshed of Snoqualmie Pass sometime between 5 to 8 a.m., so plan accordingly. Crews are transporting bridge girders for the SR 522 Snohomish River to US 2 widening project. Closure times and closure durations are subject to change.

Start Walking, You've Got Some Ice Cream To Burn Off

Get in my belly ice cream sandwich!
A friend recently introduced me to these fabulous frozen coconut and chocolate bars and I've been eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner (hey, it's summer right?). At the same time, I've upped my exercise regimen to account for this. How did I know how much more exercise was required to burn off an ice cream bar versus my usual meal? I used the Living Streets Ice Cream Calculator. Try it yourself and see how far you'll have to walk to burn off a drumstick. Or a creamsickle. Or a regular popsickle. Living Streets is a British website so some of the names of the treats are different, but the illustrations give you a good idea what you're dealing with.

Instead of Getting Their Own Cars, Teens Do "Cyber-Hitchhiking"


While the kids of the 70s and 80s hitchhiked, today's kids have a new way to "rideshare"- using social media. A lot of young people are apparently using Twitter and Facebook to post a message saying something like, "I'm going from ____ to _____ at __:00 a.m. Can someone give me a ride?" And it's working! Not only with friends, but strangers are offering rides too.
When using Twitter, people even use has tags to say where they're going, such as #AshleysPoolParty, and look for others headed to the same destination. But is it dangerous? NPR takes a look at the "cyber-hitchhiking" trend.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Road Construction Update For Next Week

WSDOT
US 2/Airway Heights Crosswalks- On Sunday, August 18, beginning at about 6 a.m. until as late as 3 p.m., crews will be painting crosswalk striping at Lawson Street, Garfield Road, and Hayford Road.  Drivers should be alert for lane restrictions, congestion, and possible delays at these intersections.
I-90 Eastbound/ Thor/Freya to Custer- On Tuesday and Wednesday, August 20 & 21, from about 9 a.m. until as late as 3 p.m., eastbound I-90 will be reduced to two through lanes, the eastbound right lane will be closed.  In addition, the eastbound Freya on-ramp will be closed.  Drivers will need to continue east on 3rd to the eastbound Custer on-ramp to access I-90. Crews will be doing landscape maintenance.
 
US 2-Division Street/Francis to the “Y”- Through tonight, Thursday, August 15, be alert for evening and overnight lane restrictions for pavement patching.

SR 27/32nd Ave. to Trent Ave.-  Paving has resumed.  Be alert to lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.  Paving, utility adjustments and replacing traffic signal loops is underway.  Work on the I-90 bridge deck is also scheduled.

SR 291/Division Street to the Stevens County Line- Be alert for lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.  All major roadwork on this project will be underway during evening and overnight hours.  Paving work on side street approaches may be underway between Alberta and Division.  Utility cover work is also underway.  No major daytime restrictions planned.

North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- 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. 

I-90/Division Street to Liberty Park- On Monday, August 19, from 9 p.m. until 10 p.m., the Division/Browne westbound I-90 on ramp will be closed.  Also on Monday, August 19 from 9 p.m. until midnight, the I-90 westbound Lincoln Street off ramp will be closed.  Crews will be removing the old lighting system. 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, August 19-21. 

I-90 Westbound/Liberty Lake-Harvard Road Interchange Roundabout- Beginning on August 17, drivers on Harvard Road should be alert for lane restrictions, rough roadway, slow traffic, and congestion with possible delays as crews install a roundabout.  Southbound Harvard Rd. is reduced to one lane.  Mission Ave. is open.  Bicycles and pedestrians using the sidewalks and trail should be alert for construction activity and slight detour around the work area at various times, with possible gravel surface in some locations.  No mainline freeway impacts.

US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange- Girder setting continues tonight, Thursday, August 15.  Expect single-lane traffic with pilot cars directing traffic from 7 p.m. until and late as 6 a.m. Friday morning. 
 
SPOKANE VALLEY
Bettman Rd between 11th & 14th - Lane reductions and brief driveway access restrictions from 7:00am to 5:00pm 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.

Sullivan Rd UPRR bridge just south of Marietta - Reduced to one lane each direction through the end of August for southbound bridge resurfacing.  Expect congestion and delays. 

SPOKANE CITY
Garland Block Party- Streets in the Garland District will close beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17.

Cops N Kids Car Show- Riverside will be closed from Bernard to Washington from 6:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Aug. 17. 

Heals for Healing Stiletto Spring-1st Avenue will be closed from Madison to Monroe from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18 to accomodate this run.

14th Ave. from Lincoln to Grand- The project to rehabilitate 14th Ave. from Lincoln to Grand continues. Unanticipated work, including repairing water and gas mains, has delayed the project. Paving of 14th from Bernard to just west of Division started today.

Crestline Rehabilitation Project- This project will replace the water main in Crestline from 37th to 57th avenues, provide curb-to-curb rehabilitation of the street from 44th to 53rd, and add bike lanes, sidewalks and stormwater swales along 44th to 53rd.

Post Street Sidewalk Work- A temporary detour on the east side of Post will be in place for pedestrian traffic for landscape work.

Third Ave. from Division to Arthur Rehabilitation- Arthur is closed at Third Ave., Sherman is the detour route. The project also includes replacing a water main. One lane of traffic remains open.

25th Ave.- Paving and curb repair, plus sidewalk and swale installation continues on 25th Ave. from Freya to Rebecca.


Euclid Ave. Water Main Replacement- Lane restrictions on North Foothills Dr. with one lane open each direction from Napa to Crestline. The project will replace the current water main with a larger one.

Rockwood Blvd. Rehabilitation- Rockwood is closed from Cowley to Garfield.

Springfield Lift Station- Springfield is closed between Columbus and Superior.



 

 

 

Post Street Project Open House

Spokane residents are invited to an open house Monday, Aug. 19 to learn about changes planned for Post Street near City Hall and related projects in west downtown along the Spokane River.

The open house will be held in the Chase Gallery in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.  The following projects and proposals will be discussed:

·         Post Street improvements.  In the coming weeks, Post Street between Spokane Falls Boulevard and the Post Street Bridge will be converted to a one-way, northbound street.  Additionally, North Lincoln Street from the Post Street Bridge north to Broadway Avenue will be converted to a three-lane street with parallel parking on both sides. The area will be more pedestrian friendly and provide a good link to a Centennial Trail extension through Veterans Park and Kendall Yards on the north side of the River.  Parking in the area will increase through the addition of angled parking on Post and the changes on Lincoln Street. Post Street will be closed from Sept. 10 to Oct. 15 for work related to the changes.

·         Huntington Park and City Plaza improvements.  Avista is working to upgrade its 3.8-acre Huntington Park area on the south side of the Spokane River between Post and Monroe streets and adjacent to the river’s lower falls.   In addition, Avista is creating a new public plaza in what has been a small parking lot to the north of City Hall. The plaza will be gifted to the City of Spokane when complete as part of Avista’s 125th anniversary celebration in 2014.  These projects are managed and paid for by Avista. The Post Street enhancement, which is a City project, will support this work, by increasing pedestrian access and calming traffic.

·         Riverfront Park Master Plan.  The changes on Post and at Huntington Park will tie into work to create a new Master Plan for Riverfront Park.  The Master Plan process is designed to guide plans for a major reinvestment in Riverfront Park as the 40th anniversary of Expo 74 nears.  More information on the master plan process can be found here: http://spokaneriverfrontpark.com/index.php/RFP/page/1319 .

·         Glover Field concept and Integrated Clean Water Plan.  Meanwhile, additional investment also is being considered for this area.  The City has developed conceptual plans for a tank in Glover Field in Peaceful Valley that would prevent flows from combined sewers from entering the Spokane River.  The project would be part of a significant effort to improve the health of Spokane River and reduce stormwater and combined stormwater and wastewater from entering the River.  The City’s goals for this work include gaining multiple public benefits when building infrastructure.  For Glover Field, as a result, the City has developed a concept to improve the park and add a trail that would connect Huntington Park to Glover Field.  Ultimately, this project could include a trail loop between Monroe Street and the Sandifur pedestrian bridge. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Who's Got The Worst Road Rage?

Who do you think are the angriest drivers on the road? Personally, I would say school bus drivers but new research claims it's male drivers of blue BMWs.

 A study by website VoucherCodesPro suggested males between 35-and-50-years-old are the most likely to suffer from "road rage", with BMW drivers ranked the most aggressive. And drivers of blue cars were rated the worst road rage offenders.  CNBC has more details on this study.

Hackers of the Future May Be Able to Disable Your Car- While You're Driving

Hackers are all over the internet, taking over your accounts and having fun with your credit cards. And soon, they could take over your car too. While you're driving. That's according to security experts who say car hacking could be the next big thing. Apparently, someone with enough know-how may be able to hack into your car's computer in the future and disable your ability to drive it. There aren't many ways to do this now but as more and more cars get internet connections, there is expected to be more incidents of these kinds of attacks.

The Boston Globe has the story.

Proposed Transportation Improvement Program Amendment Would Add New Projects, Update Others

SRTC is proposing an amendment to the 2013-2016 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) that would change the details of a couple projects and add six new Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) projects that recently received federal funding. We're looking for input on the proposed amendment.

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

 The proposed amendment includes changes to existing projects from the City of Spokane and Spokane County, and adding the following new WSDOT projects:

SR 27/Indiana Jct. – Union Pacific Railroad Crossing – Safety Improvements

SR 902/Medical Lake Railroad Crossing – Safety Improvements

US 195/Plaza Rd. to Cornwall Rd. – Paving

ER Region Wide Basic Safety – Signing

ER Region Wide Basic Safety – Guardrail

ER Low Cost Pavement Repair and Region Wide Crack Sealing

For details, or to submit comments on these projects and the others proposed to be changed, go to http://www.srtc.org/tip.html. The public comment period runs through 4 p.m. on August 27.

 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Legs Together Law" Would Require Women To Ride Bikes Sidesaddle

I understand cultural differences, but I'm not sure how I feel about this. A proposed law would ban Kenyan women from straddling motorcycles or bicycles because it is “demeaning” and allegedly undermines traditional culture. Instead, they would be required to sit sidesaddle.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has the story.

Downtown Getting Sidewalk Improvement/Beautification

They got the name of SRTC wrong when referring to where the funding came from for this project, but at least KXLY is covering the dowtown sidewalk improvements.

North Cascades Highway Still Closed From Mudslide

KXLY News is reporting that a 10-mile section of the North Cascades Highway that was hit by mudslides over the weekend remains closed. The Washington State Department of Transportation says there's no estimate on reopening Highway 20, which is closed at Rainy Pass, west of Mazama. Road crews needed more equipment to remove all the mud, rocks and trees.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Seattle Bus Driver Shot By Passenger


A Seattle Metro bus driver was shot multiple times Monday morning by a passenger while on his route. The incident unfolded just before 9 a.m. One witness said the suspect was disputing the fare with the driver, then pulled out a gun and opened fire. The driver was hit multiple times but his injuries are not considered life-threatening.

The gunman fled, eventually boarding another bus, where he was shot and critically wounded by police. KOMO News has the entire story.

State Transportation Package and New STA Projects and Programs

The state Senate Transportation Committee is taking a proposed  package of transportation reforms on the road this fall, including to Spokane, to get input from the public on plans to raise more funds for transportation improvements. Bus service at Spokane Community College is being revamped. And a new program through Spokane Transit aims to reduce demand for parking at the Spokane campus of WSU. The Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" column has a look at what's happening in the region this week in transportation.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Road Construction Update For Next Week



SPOKANE VALLEY
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.

Conklin between Valleyway and Broadway - Closed through Friday, August 17 for utility work. Signs redirect traffic via Moore Road.

Sullivan Rd UPRR bridge just south of Marietta - One lane each direction from Monday, August 12 through the end of August for southbound bridge resurfacing.  Expect congestion and delays. 

WSDOT
US 2/Farwell Rd. to Deer Rd.- Lane restrictions weekday evenings from about 7 p.m., until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning for striping. US 2 may be reduced to one lane in each direction.

SR 27/32nd Ave. to Trent Ave.- Lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.  Paving, utility adjustments and replacing traffic signal loops is underway.  Work on the I-90 southbound bridge deck is schedule for next week.

SR 291/Division Street to the Stevens County Line- Lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. to grind top layer of roadway and resurface.  All major roadwork on this project will be underway during evening and overnight hours. 

North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- Congestion and long delays near the Francis Avenue/Market Street intersection and the Francis Ave./Freya Street intersection, especially during the morning and afternoon commute hours. Westbound drivers on Francis should be alert for flaggers near the BNSF railway crossing. 

I-90/Division Street to Liberty Park- Lane restrictions on I-90, both eastbound and westbound, in downtown Spokane, during evening and overnight hours, Monday through Wednesday, August 12-14.  There will be intermittent shoulder closures on I-90 between Division and Hamilton during daytime hours.

I-90 Westbound/Liberty Lake-Harvard Road Interchange Roundabout- Beginning August 17th, drivers on Harvard Road should be alert for lane restrictions, rough roadway, slow traffic, and congestion with possible delays as a roundabout is constructed at the intersection of Harvard, Mission and the westbound I-90 off ramp. Bicycles and pedestrians using the sidewalks and trail should be alert for construction activity.

US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange- Northbound US 195 is reduced to one lane in the vicinity of Cheney-Spokane Road.  Northbound drivers need to use Qualchan Road to access Cheney-Spokane Road. The southbound off ramp to Cheney-Spokane Road is closed so drivers will need to be alert for southbound highway traffic slowing to make right turns into Cheney-Spokane Road. The US 195/Inland Empire Way intersection is 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

I-90 @ Geiger Blvd., Division, Custer/Variable Message Signs- Possible short lane restrictions on westbound I-90 between Pines and Argonne for overhead sign work.  The exact day and time has not yet been set.

SPOKANE CITYGarland Block Party- Streets in the Garland District will close beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 17.

Hatch Road Bridge- The Hatch Road Bridge at Hwy 195 will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily from Tuesday, Aug. 13 through Friday, Aug. 16 for bridge deck repair.
Third Ave. from Division to Arthur- Work to rehabilitate Third Ave. from Division east to Arthur is continuing. Arthur is closed at Third; Sherman Ave. is the detour route. The project also includes replacing a water main. One lane of traffic remains open.

25th Ave. from Freya to Rebecca- Paving and curb repair continues, and sidewalk and swale installation.

Crestline Rehabilitation Project- This project will replace the water main in Crestline from 37th to 57th avenues; provide curb-to-curb rehabilitation of the street from 44th to 53rd avenues, and add bike lanes, sidewalks and stormwater swales from 44th to 53rd.

14th Ave. from Lincoln to Grand- Will rehabilitate 14th from Lincoln to Grand. Unanticipated work, including a needed water main and gas line repair, has delayed this project. Paving of 14th from Division to Bernard will happen prior to the start of school to accomodate traffic to Roosevelt Elementary. The street is closed to traffic.

Euclid Ave. Water Main Replacement- Lane restrictions on North Foothills Drive with one lane open each direction from Napa to Crestline. The project will replace the current water main with a larger one.

Rockwood Blvd. Rehabilitation- Cowley to Garfield is closed to traffic. Rockwood from Southeast Blvd. to Garfield is open to traffic.

Community Development Sidewalk Work Continues- A city-wide project to add curb and sidewalk continues in the Nevada-Lidgerwood, Hillyard and Logan neighborhoods.


Springfield Lift Station- Full closure on Springfield between Columbus and Superior. Northbound traffic on Columbas will continue north to Cataldo.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Farwell Rd.- Closed for the summer from Market to the North Spokane Corridor. Wilson Rd. is closed from Farwell to Hastings for sewer installation.

Argonne Rd. Reconstruction- Restricted to one lane between Wellesley and Bigelow Gulch. Columbia Dr. intersection closed for drainage work.

Wellesley Ave.- Restricted to one lane from Murray to Starr for widening.

Greenwood Rd.- Closed to traffic from Grove to Flint for paving
 
 
 

 

Toyota Recalls Trucks For Seat Belt Malfunction

Toyota is recalling 342,000 Tacoma midsize pickup trucks because the front seat belts can malfunction. The recall affects 2004 to 2011 Access Cab models with a small door to the rear passenger compartment.

Toyota says screws that attach part of the seat belts to the mechanism that retracts the belts can come loose if the rear door is closed repeatedly and forcefully. If that happens, the belts may not work properly for the driver or front passenger.
 
 
The company will notify owners of the pickups by mail and dealers will fix them free of charge.

Owners can call Toyota at (800) 331-4331.

Help Out At Centennial Trail Volunteer Days


Sontag Park Trailhead
 Centennial Trail Volunteer Days are August 11, 17, 25 and 31 and your help is needed to keep the trail clean. Join the Friends of the Centennial Trail for some light volunteer work to improve the trail heads by painting gates and bulletin boards, clearing asphalt, picking up litter, weed-eating, pulling weeds, etc.

The plan is to start at the State Line and work west to Mission Park, finishing 2 trail heads each weekend through August.  Earn a Discover Pass with 24 hours of volunteer time!

Click here to register to help.

 

Celebrate Inaugural Run of the New Keller Ferry

You know how new ships get a bottle of champagne broken across their bow? Well, that's what's going to happen for the inaugural run of the new Keller Ferry next week, and you're invited to be there. The 116 foot long boat, named the Sanpoil, will go into service crossing the Columbia River next Wednesday, August 14.
Everyone is invited to join the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and Washington State Department Of Transportation representatives as they formally Christen the new 20-car ferry. In addition, members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation will provide a blessing for the new boat.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 14 at the Keller Ferry south shore terminal (16 miles north of Wilbur, WA on SR 21). If you go,  carpooling is strongly encouraged as parking at the terminal is extremely limited.

Following the ceremony and public viewing of the new boat, the Sanpoil will begin her regular service, crossing the Columbia River (Lake Roosevelt) between Lincoln County and Ferry County on SR 21. The ferry will be in operation seven days a week, from 6 a.m. until midnight.

Construction of this new ferry vessel was made possible through a funding partnership between WSDOT and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.
The Sanpoil will replace the Martha S., which has served the route since September 1948. The

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.