Monday, March 31, 2014

STILL Haven't Tried Out the New 2014 Spokane Regional Road Construction Map?

A big thanks to the Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" column for helping us publicize our new 2014 Spokane Regional Road Construction Map in today's edition of the paper. The map has construction projects from all the jurisdictions across the county on it, and descriptions of what each project will accomplish. Here's a direct link to the map. Keep in mind that if you're viewing it in an older version of Internet Explorer, some of the project descriptions won't show up. Try Chrome, Firefox or Mozilla as an aternative.

Also in today's Getting There column, a staff member at our member agency Spokane Transit is recognized with an award, slowdowns are expected this week on Snoqualmie Pass, an expert on traffic is coming to the area to talk about a report on the potential increase in rail traffic through the Inland Northwest as a result of coal shipments from Montana and Wyoming, studded tires need to come off your car and more! Enjoy!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Road Construction Update

WSDOT
I-90, US 2, US 195, US 395/other state routes/Sweeping- Be alert for slow moving sweeping operations on most highway routes, especially in the Spokane metro area.  Sweepers and/or water flushing trucks followed by warning vehicles will be moving slowly along highway shoulders.  On multi-lane freeways and divided highways, sweeping may be taking place on the inside shoulder along the left lane.

SPOKANE CITY
Huntington Park Construction- Beginning March 27 through April 30, flaggers will be used to stop traffic at Spokane Falls Boulevard from turning onto Post Street to allow trucks to exit from the Huntington Park project.  The weight restrictions on the Post Street Bridge do not allow for large truck loads.  The flagged stops will cause intermittent traffic delays of 2 – 3 minutes on Spokane Falls Boulevard.

1st and Wall Work- The eastbound outside lane on West 1st Avenue at Wall Street will be closed March 28, for onsite concrete work at 705 West 1st Avenue. 

Francis and Madison Lane Closure- The westbound outside lane on West Francis Avenue at Madison Street will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, March 31 through Wednesday, April 2 for installation of private communication lines across Francis Avenue and along the north side of Francis.

Cured In Place Pipe (CIPP) Sewer Rehabilitation Project- Installation of a pipe liner to rehabilitate sanitary sewer pipes at various locations around town is underway at the following locations:

o   Work on Jackson Street from Perry east to Hogan is finishing.  The detour on Perry should be removed by Thursday, March 27.
o   Work in the area north of Rowan Avenue to Joseph Street on Pittsburg continues. Beginning late Thursday, March 27, the north side of Rowan Ave. between Magnolia and Helena will be closed.  Two-way traffic will be maintained on Rowan and shifted to the south. This restriction is expected to continue through Monday, March 31.
o   Work on Helena from Rowan south to Crown Avenue, near Whitman Elementary, will begin late in the afternoon Friday, April 4 and will include the closure of the intersection at Rowan and Helena.  Work will continue through the April 11.
o   Work in the residential area on one block of Crestline Street north of Upriver Drive to North Crescent will begin Thursday, April 3 with the street being closed beginning Friday, April 4 to accommodate the scheduled work.

Francis and Freya Signal Work- A signal removal and replacement will occur at the Francis/Freya intersection with construction continuing for approximately one month.  Flagging at the intersection will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  The right turn lane will be closed for southbound traffic on Freya Street in order to construct the new roadway at the northwest corner.  All traffic movements will still be allowed.   The right turn onto westbound Francis Avenue will be routed from the through lane. This traffic configuration will remain in place for approximately 1 month or until paving is complete. 

Chandler Watermain Reroute Project- Construct of a new 42 inch diameter water main on Chandler from 8th to 7th Avenue, on 8th from Chandler to Cowley, and on Cowley from 7th to 8th Avenue.  Cowley will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 26 – April 11.  Weather conditions may cause delays.

The 1980s Called, It Wants It's Bus Stop Signs Back

Photo credit: Zachary Ziegler
Admittedly, change is hard for me. The changeout of Spokane Transit bus stop signs is one I can live with though.

STA is starting work on replacing all the old bus stop signs with ones with a new look. Apparently it's been three decades (!) since the signs have undergone a change.

Zachary Ziegler of the Transit509 blog takes a look at local bus stops over the years, even before STA existed, and the history of transit in the area in general. I never thought bus stop signs would be this interesting but they are!




Delays Expected On Snoqualmie Pass Next Week

If you're headed across the state next week, get ready for some possible waits. To start, you may have to wait to use the restroom because the Indian John Rest Area will be closed to westbound travelers from 6 a.m. Monday, March 31 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 3. Crews will be upgrading and adding more lighting to the rest area.

  
Then, when you get to Snoqualmie Pass, a lane in each direction will be closed at night starting Monday, March 31 to Friday, April 4. Crews are preparing the project area for major closures that will reduce I-90 to a single lane in each direction for two weeks starting April 12. Drivers will also experience intermittent daytime rolling slowdowns.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

We're Taking This Meeting Off-Site

So April is going to be a little different when it comes to the monthly SRTC Policy Board meeting. We're going to get a little crazy and take it off-site AND combine it with a retreat for Board members.

The meeting/retreat will be held on the same day as usual- the second Tuesday of the month, April 10, at Enduris in Airway Heights, 1610 S. Technology Rd.

The meeting will be conducted in two parts. An abbreviated regular public meeting starts at 1 p.m. to address normal Board business. It will be followed immediately followed by the retreat, which will be facilitated by Dr. John S. Caputo of Gonzaga University, who will lead a discussion/training on “Managing in Turbulent Times.” 

As are all SRTC committee meetings, both parts of this meeting will be open to the public although the public will not be actively involved in the retreat segment. So feel free to attend. Dr. Caputo facilitated our staff retreat recently and it was really insightful. Plus he's a funny guy who makes it interesting.

More information can be found at www.srtc.org or by calling 509/343-6370.



Killer Pothole Claims Pothole Repair Truck

Thanks to my sister-in-law for forwarding this little gem on a killer pothole. An East Lansing, Michigan road crew showed up to patch a pothole earlier this week, only to have their truck fall through the pavement, creating a much bigger hole.

Ironic? Definitely.  Here's more if you're interested.


Company Claims They Can Move Your Goods Faster- By Bike

A bicycle faster than a motorized vehicle? Scoff if you must but a Swedish start-up says they can move your goods faster than the competition- by bike. Movebybike will transport anything up to around 660 pounds courtesy a fleet of bike trailers. Apparently it's working for them too, as they have expanded from one city to cover all three of Sweden's largest cities, Malmo, Stockholm and Gothenburg. Here's more on this movement to move by bicycle.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Try the 2014 Spokane Regional Road Construction Map. It's Interactive!

Construction season is officially underway. That means you're going to run into some delays if you don't plan things out. Why should I care if you get stuck in traffic? Besides the fact that I feel your pain, it also costs all of us money and time everytime there's a traffic jam. That's why there are agencies like the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center (SRTMC) that have almost 100 live traffic cameras to monitor traffic and make sure things are moving smoothly.

The 2014 Spokane Regional Road Construction Map can help also. This year it's got a new look. Because resources are tight, and times are changing, we opted to only do the map in an electronic format.  While that means no more paper map, it also means you no longer have to try to fold it up after using it. You can still take the map with you wherever you go on your smartphone or other handheld device though.

Another really cool thing about the map this year is that it's interactive. Check it out here. Then find the area where you live or commute to see if there are any projects planned for it. You can also zoom on smaller "neighborhood level" projects that we couldn't put on maps in the past because they were too small. And click on each project to read it's description.

There are other things you can do with the map too so we made an infographic to let you know about all it's capabilities. Click on the pic to see if full size. And give us feedback. We're trying to decide whether to use this format in the future so let me know if you like it or otherwise.


Nissan Recalls Almost 1 Million Vehicles

 KREM TV says the company is recalling almost a million cars, minivans and SUVs because the front passenger air bags may not inflate in a crash.
Own a Nissan? Listen up, because

The recall affects the Altima, Leaf, Pathfinder and Sentra models from 2013 and 2014, as well as the NV200 Taxi van and Infiniti JX35 SUV from 2013. Also covered is the 2014 Infiniti QX50 SUV.

The vehicles' computer software may not detect an adult in the passenger seat. If that happens, the air bags won't inflate. If you own one of these vehicles, you can expect a notification directly from Nissan or the dealership you bought it from. The dealer will update the software for free. The recall is expected to start in mid-April.

Amendment Would Add New/Updated Projects to Transportation Improvement Program

As happens most months, we're proposing to make an update to the 2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP is a programming document that identifies projects proposed to be undertaken during the next four years. The TIP includes project names and descriptions, the jurisdiction sponsoring them, funding attached to each project, and where the funding came from (local, state or federal funds).

This month's proposed amendment would add three new projects to the TIP and update the funding and scope for an existing project:
  • Cheney- N 6th St. Preservation Project (Update)
  • Spokane- Millwood Trail- Spokane Community College to Felts Field (New)
  • Spokane Tribe- Bus Facility (New)
  • WSDOT- SRTMC Website Update (New)
Detailsof each of those project can also be seen here. A public comment period for the proposed amendment goes through 4 p.m. on April 4, 2014. Comments can be submitted by emailing to contact.srtc@srtc.org, mailed to SRTC at 221 W. First Ave., Suite 310, Spokane, WA, or by calling (509) 343-6370.

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Council Makes Changes to Photo Red Regulations

The Spokane City Council last night passed a couple changes to the Photo Red regulations, according to Councilmember Jon Snyder's blog.

The first changes allows a Spokane Police Traffic Enforcement officer to be paid from funds raised by the red light cameras.  Provisions were also removed that used Photo Red funds for graffiti abatement and C.O.P.S. shops. Instead, an emergency budget ordinance was passed to increase C.O.P.S. fund from unappropriated reserves for 2014, with a promise to look at more sustainable future funding.

The Council also approved a resolution requesting the administration bring to the council for consideration a pilot project for using traffic enforcement cameras in a school zone.

TSA May Scrap Training To Read Body Language



 
Since 9-11, The Transportation Security Administration has spent about $1 billion training thousands of “behavior detection officers” to look for facial expressions and other body language that could identify terrorists.
 
But critics say these efforts have done nothing but inconvenience lots of passengers and the Government Accountability Office recommended cutting funds for the training.
The New York Times has the story.

So how good are you at spotting liars? We've always been taught that people will look away when lying or indicate that they're not telling the truth through other body language. University of Chicago study on body language puts you to the test. Take this test here and see how good you are at reading body language.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Forget Basketball, Playing Parking Madness

Not into basketball? Perhaps you'd like to wager on StreetsBlogUSA's annual "Parking Madness"
bracket instead. Each year, blog readers nominate cities with "parking craters" that take up more of the downtown area for parking than they probably should; areas where other businesses could be and that would make downtown more vibrant. Last year, someone even nominated Spokane as a contender, although I'm not sure how we did in the end.

You can check it out here, as well as pictures of each of the contenders' parking areas.

TIGER Funds Sought For Rail Spur Line Near Cheney

The Washington State Department of Transportation is seeking TIGER funds to upgrade seven miles of railroad track north of Cheney, the extension of Spokane’s Centennial Trail through Kendall Yards is being recognized for overall excellence by an environmental land use advocacy group in Washington, and Spokane Valley is asking for help in coming up with a plan for improvements to Mission Avenue from Barker to Flora roads.

The Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" column has a roundup of local transportation happenings.

Five Car-Free City Experiments

Many cities are looking for ways to cut down on driving to decrease congestion and air pollution. Many are building more bike and pedestrian facilities or offering incentives to find alternative transportation. Some are taking more radical measures though and actually banning cars entirely or only allowing them in certain areas on alternate days.

Thanks to my neighbor Bob for sending me this aritcle where the BBC takes a look at the five most radical car-free city experiments, including one that actually backfired and increased the amount of driving and pollution.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Road Construction Update

WSDOT
I-90, US 2, US 195, US 395, and selected state routes/Sweeping- Slow moving sweeping operations on most highway routes, especially in the metro area.  Sweepers and/or water flushing trucks followed by warning vehicles will be moving slowly along highway shoulders.  On multi-lane freeways and divided highways, sweeping may be taking place on the inside shoulder along the left lane.

North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- The right turn lane for southbound traffic on Freya Street is closed to construct the new roadway at the northwest corner.  All traffic movements are still allowed, but the right turn onto westbound Francis Avenue will need to be done from the through lane so additional traffic congestion is anticipated.  This configuration will be in place through mid-April. 

Market Street has single lanes in each direction through the Market/Francis intersection on the west half of Market Street.  Francis Avenue is operating as single lanes each direction on the new bridge. No left turns are allowed at the intersection from Market Street to Francis Avenue, but are allowed from Francis Avenue to Market Street, and right turns are allowed on all approaches. 

SPOKANE CITY
Cured In Place Pipe (CIPP) Sewer Rehab Project- Installation of a pipe liner to rehabilitate sanitary sewer pipes at various locations around town is underway at the following locations:

o   Work on Rowan Avenue between Nevada and Helena Streets will complete Saturday, March 22.
o   Work on Jackson from Perry Street east to Hogan will close the Perry/Hogan intersection from March 23 - 26.  A detour of Perry St will be set up around to the east via Carlisle, Madelia and Buckeye. Other local street restrictions will also occur in the area.
o   29th Avenue from Martin Street west about 700 feet, will have the center lanes (one in each direction) closed overnight after 7 p.m. March 23 through morning March 24.  The outside lanes, one in each direction will remain open at all times.
o   Work in the area north of Rowan Avenue to Joseph St. on Pittsburg will impact residential streets in that area beginning Monday, March 24.  Beginning Friday, March 28 the north side of Rowan Avenue between Magnolia and Helena will be closed but two-way traffic will be maintained on Rowan and shifted to the south through Thursday, April 3.

 Francis and Freya Signalized Intersection Work- A signal removal and replacement will occur at the Francis/Freya intersection Monday, March 17 with construction continuing for approximately one month.  Flagging at the intersection will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  The dedicated right turn lane will be closed for southbound traffic on Freya Street in order to construct the new roadway at the northwest corner.  All traffic movements will still be allowed. The right turn onto westbound Francis Avenue will be routed from the through lane.  Additional traffic congestion is anticipated. This traffic configuration will remain in place for approximately 1 month or until paving is complete. Traffic is encouraged to find alternate routes.

Chandler Watermain Reroute Project- Construct a new 42 inch diameter water main on Chandler from 8th to 7th Avenue, on 8th from Chandler to Cowley, and on Cowley from 7th to 8th Avenue.  Cowley will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 26 – April 11.  Weather conditions may cause delays.

SPOKANE VALLEY
Conklin Rd. south of Sprague Ave. - Center turn lane closed on Tuesday, March 25 from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Signs will direct traffic through the work area.

Sprague Ave. east of Conklin - Reduced to one lane in each direction on Tuesday, March 25 from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Signs will direct traffic through the work area.
 

Police Department Looking To Donate "Found" Bikes

It's amazing to me that people can just "lose" their bikes but I've seen it happen with many of my friend's children so somehow it doesn't surprise me that the Liberty Lake Police Department has a ton of unclaimed bikes to donate that have been "found."

This Spokesman-Review artcle talks about the wide variety of bikes they've been storing and are looking for new homes for.

Local Transportation Construction Spending Holds Steady In 2014

More than $140 million in new and continuing transportation-related construction projects are slated for 2014 across Spokane County, which is pretty much the same amount as last year.

The Journal of Business has a roundup of each jurisdictions major projects for the year, and even included a mention of our famous (just let me have my delusions please) Horizon 2040 plan.

The article is here. And keep checking this blog because we're going to be releasing our new and improved, more cool than ever, interactive Spokane Regional Road Construction Map soon! This year you can view it on your phone or handheld device (not while driving of course!) and you can play with it to zoom in to your particular neighborhood or the route you drive to work to see smaller neighborhood-level projects we couldn't put on the map in the past. Plus it will have pictures and web links embedded in it. This is exciting stuff for a transportation geek like myself so you have to at least humor me and check it out when it's ready. I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Transportation Technical Committee Meeting Next Week

The next meeting of the Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) is next Wednesday, March 26. The TTC is made up of engineers and transportation planners from area jurisdictions. Here's the agenda for the meeting. These meetings are open to everyone so feel free to attend.

 

Major Construction Delays To Take Place On Snoqualmie Pass

Construction is scheduled to start on Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass in early April and the Washington State Department of Transportation wants to give you an early heads up in order to avoid major construction-related delays.

Starting April 12, I-90 will be reduced to a single lane in each direction for two weeks, including weekends, in order for crews to build detours for the 2014 construction season. They will also remove the 64-year-old snowshed (that tunnel thingy you drive under that keeps avalanches from dropping snow on your car).

 Don Whitehouse, WSDOT regional administrator, recommends planning ahead. “During the single lane closures, drivers will need to change their travel plans in order to avoid delays of up to two hours. We suggest you travel early in the morning, go later at night, find an alternate route or postpone your trip until after April 25.”

The work is part of the $551 million project to build a wider and safer stretch of I-90 throught the mountains.

 

Amish Buggy Driver Sought In Hit and Run Accident

Pennsylvania police are searching for an unlikely suspect in a hit-and-run accident according to CBS News: the driver of an Amish buggy.

Witnesses say the buggy hit a passenger vehicle twice at a crossroads on a state highway in Wilmington Township Sunday, then left the scene.

Nobody was hurt in the crash.

San Francisco Transit Lanes Go Red To Keep Vehicle Drivers Out

Red generally means "stop" right? So if you saw a lane of the road painted red you wouldn't drive in it? that's what the folks at San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency is hoping. They're painting transit-only lanes red so the drivers of other vehicles know they're not supposed to be in the lanes.

The San Francisco Examiner takes a look at these colorful lanes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Say Goodbye to the Snoqualmie Snowshed

The trip over Snoqualmie Pass is going to look very different starting this week. The 'snowshed,' a tunnel that protected drivers from avalanches on the pass, is coming down this week, after 64 years in service. It's part of the plan to improve facilities on the pass and will be replaced with avalanche bridges.

More info on the Snoqualmie project, and what it means for your trip planning, and the interesting history of the snowshed, can be found on the Washington State Department of Transportation blog here.

Early 1900s Engineer Had Big Plans For NYC

A triple-decker boulevard that runs through Manhattan, with trains on its lower deck, cars in the middle and planes landing on top- now that's multimodal? But is it realistic for the future? Someone apparently thought it was realistic for the past.

Dr. T. Kennard Thomson, a New York City engineer and urban planner had lots of ideas like that for New York- in 1911. He also wanted to add more miles of land to the City and build up the waterfront for economic development reasons.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Transportation Advisory Committee Meets Next Monday

So what ever happened to the Bridging the Valley series of projects? Well you can find out if you attend the March 24 meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC). A presentation will be given to bring TAC members (and anyone else in attendance) up to date on the project. Plus there's lots of other fun stuff on the agenda, like a Code of Ethics, Key Messages for 2014 and more! The meeting agenda is here. If you can fit it into your busy schedule, join us; 3 p.m. March 24 at 221 W. 1st Ave., Suite 310.

Get Licensed to "Undrive"


Lots of people have drivers licenses, but how many have a license to undrive? You could soon, through a program Spokane County's Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program is bringing to Spokane.

Undriving is a campaign that encourages people to find alternatives to driving alone. SRTC will be a partner in this project, and as such, will be able to use Undriving materials when you see us out at events in the public. That means we can hook you up with your very own undriving license if you make a pledge to reduce automobile use.

Here's more info on Undriving from the Spokesman-Review.

Area Road Construction Update

SPOKANE VALLEY

Sprague at Conklin - Eastbound Sprague reduced to one lane at Conklin on Monday, March 17 from 7:00am to 4:30pm for roadwork.  Signs will direct traffic through the work area.

Pines Road north of Mansfield - Northbound traffic reduced to one lane just north of Mansfield on Monday, March 17 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, Mar. 17, Pines Rd. just north of Mansfield will be reduced to one lane each direction for driveway approach work.
SPOKANE CITY
St. Patrick's Day Parade- The annual St Patrick’s Day Parade is scheduled for Saturday, March 15. Vehicles parked at bagged meters by no parking signs will be towed starting at 7a.m. from Boone to Riverside and Bernard to Lincoln. No seating or standing will be allowed on the construction sides of street at the new convention center hotel. The area around the arena will start closing down around 8:45 a.m. Arena closures will be:
 
- Howard from Boone to Mallon
- Washington from Boone to Spokane Falls
- Mallon from Lincoln to Howard
- Cataldo from Howard to Calispel and
- Dean from Howard to Washington.

Downtown road closures will be:
 
- Main from Stevens to Bernard
- Spokane Falls from Bernard to Lincoln
-  Bernard from Riverside to Spokane Falls
- Washington from Boone to Riverside
- Stevens
- Howard
- Wall from Main to Spokane Falls
- Post from Spokane Falls to Bridge Avenue.
 
Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP) Sanitary Sewer Rehab project- Installation of a pipe liner to rehab sanitary sewer pipes at various locations around town is underway at the following locations: 
 
- Rowan Ave. east of Nevada along north side of street. Two-way traffic will be maintained on Rowan but shifted south between Nevada and Helena streets.
- Jackson St. from Perry east to Hogan will begin Saturday, Mar. 15, closing the Perry/Hogan intersection. A detour of Perry St. will take vehicles to the east via Carlisle, Madelia and Buckey.
- 29th Ave. from Martin St. west about 700 feet will have the center lane, one in each direction, closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The outside lanes will remain open.
 
Signalized Intersection Work Francis and Freya- A signal removal and replacement will occur at the Francis/Freya intersection Monday, March 17 with construction continuing for approximately one month.  Flagging at the intersection will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  The dedicated right turn lane will be closed for southbound traffic on Freya Street in order to construct the new roadway at the northwest corner.  All traffic movements will still be allowed.   The right turn onto westbound Francis Avenue will be routed from the through lane.  Additional traffic congestion is anticipated. This traffic configuration will remain in place for approximately 1 month or until HMA paving is completed at this location. Traffic is encouraged to find alternate routes. PCMS boards are running to alert motorists of this upcoming work.

Southbound Lane Closure North Division- The center southbound lane will be closed on North Division Street on the north side of the Francis Avenue intersection 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, March 12 – 13 to allow for maintenance and repairs to the Photo Red System.

North Division Street Lane Closure- Two lanes will be closed on North Division Street from East Sharpe Avenue to East Desmet Avenue, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday, March 14 to accommodate work associated with Bergan’s Block construction.

Chandler Watermain Reroute Project gets underway- Construction of a new 42 inch diameter water main begins on Chandler from 8th to 7th Avenue, on 8th from Chandler to Cowley, and on Cowley from 7th to 8th Avenue.

WSDOT
I-90, US 2, US 195, US 395, and selected state routes/Sweeping- Be alert for slow moving sweeping operations on most highway routes, especially in the Spokane metro area.  Sweepers and/or water flushing trucks followed by warning vehicles will be moving slowly along highway shoulders.  On multi-lane freeways and divided highways, sweeping may be taking place on the inside shoulder along the left lane.

North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- Road work activities resume Monday March 17th.  The temporary traffic signal at the Francis/Freya intersection will be complete and activated.  During this transition work crews will be flagging traffic at the intersection between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Drivers with time-sensitive travel may wish to find alternate routes to their destinations during this work.  In addition, the contractor will need to close the dedicated right turn lane for southbound traffic on Freya Street in order to construct the new roadway at the northwest corner.  All traffic movements will still be allowed, but the right turn onto westbound Francis Avenue will need to be done from the through lane so some additional traffic congestion is anticipated.  This traffic configuration will remain in place for approximately 1 month, and will be restored once the asphalt paving is completed at this location. 

 

Lincoln/Monroe St. Project Open House

The City of Spokane is hosting a public meeting next week to let people know about the upcoming Lincoln/Monroe construction project. The project will revise Lincoln and Monroe from 17th to 8th avenues from four lanes to three lanes. Instead of having two lanes in each direction, the road will have one lane each direction and a center two-way left turn lane from 8th to 14th. The road width will be narrowed to make room for stormwater swales and parking will be removed from 14th to 17th avenues.

The meeting to discuss the details is Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m. at Roosevelt Elementary, 333 West 14th Ave. Here's the meeting flyer.
 

Spokane City Kicks Off Construction Season 2014

It's official- the 2014 construction season has arrived. Spokane City this kicked off the season with a press conference from the Mayor last week talking about some of this year's projects.

In 2014, the City has more than 40 street and Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) projects scheduled; over $58 million in work.

Here's Mayor David Condon as he talks about construction, his geneology and the wet conditions.

We'll be having our own construction season unveiling soon. We're working on putting together a new interactive map showing construction projects throughout Spokane County that will be available soon, so check back.

Your Ideas to Improve Mission Ave. Wanted

Spokane Valley will host a community meeting Wednesday, March 26 to get your ideas for potential improvements to Mission Avenue between Flora and Barker. The meetings is from 6:30-8 p.m. at Greenacres Christian Church, 18010 E. Mission Avenue in Spokane Valley.

A 15-20 minute overview presentation at 6:45 p.m. will be followed by an open discussion and review of options.

The section of Mission to be discussed is a two-lane roadway that currently is mostly gravel-edged with no curbs or sidewalks. Improvements are needed to accommodate traffic flow as the community grows, and provide safe access for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Study Says Area Bad Roads Are Hitting You Where It Hurts- In the Wallet

Not to sound like a broken record, but our local roads aren't in great shape. We told you that when developing our long term tranpsortation plan Horizon 2040, and now a new study by national transportation research group TRIP is telling you that.

TRIP says damaged roads costs the average Spokane driver $1,423 a year in increased maintenance, fuel, traffic accidents and time lost in traffic. But there's also costs incurred by collisions and the cost to the economy that bad roads take.

The Spokesman-Review looks at the numbers.

Turn Here For Craft Beer

Sometimes you have to be creative to get ahead in business. So the owner of a Boise brewery put up a sign he knew would grab attention. And it did. The attention of the Idaho Transportation Department. Because the sign is next to the freeway and looks just like the other freeway signs. Oops. Here's the story from KTVB.

In What Part of the Country Are Bicyclists More Likely To Be Hit By Cars?

Bicyclists- in what part of the country are you most likeley to be struck by a car? Turns out you are
ten times more likely to be hit and killed by a car while biking in South Carolina than in in Oregon. And eight times more likely in North Carolina. Other southern states have similiar, or worse, numbers.

The south is warm and mostly flat. You would think that would encourage more people to ride and  drivers would be used to sharing the road with them. This Atlantic Cities article says that's not necesarily the case though and explains why the south has more bicycling collisions.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Man Saved In Water Rescue Threatens to Sue Emergency Responders

A Colorado man drives on a washed out road, has his car swept into a creek and survives for two
hours by sticking his head in a tiny air bubble in the back of the car before rescue crews drag the car from the water and save him! Inspiring rescue story? Not so much. Now that man is threatening to sue the people who saved him, saying they took too long and didn't even know he was in the car until it was pulled out of the creek.

KBOI has the details.

Seattle Creates Parking Zones Especially for Musicians

Here in Spokane we have taxi parking zones. In Seattle they have parking zones for musicians. Yes, people who make music,
The City of Seattle has launched a new pilot program to create priority parking for musicians in front of live music venues.

Apparently musicians were complaining that it was hard to get instruments out of the car and into the venue. And considering that Seattle's music scene is a large part of the city's draw- according to the Mayor- the powers that be decided to do something about it.

Mynorthwest.com has the story.

How the Interstate Highway Route Marker Came to Be

So who came up with the country's interstate highway system route marker? Some guy in Texas, as it turns out, but he had a lot of competition. Literally. That's how the interstate marker system came about- through a contest.

Back in the early 1950s, the American Association of State Highway Officials (now AASHTO) was discussing the need for “a distinctive interstate route marker” and decided to have a competition to design one.

And there were a lot of very interesting and creative submissions. WLRN takes a look at some of the contenders and the logo that won.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spokane City Plan Commission Work Plan Approved


Wondering what the City of Spokane has in the works for this year? Spokane City Council last night approved the Commission's Work Plan, which sets the priorities and timeline for the Plan Commission during the year of 2014. There are a lot of potential transportation projects on the list. You can view it here.

Annual Report Shows Traffic Congestion Increased in 2013

The "Traffic Scorecard Annual Report" was released this week, by INRIX, a provider of traffic data and traffic network information.

The report shows that congestion on the nation's roadways jumped in 2013 after two years of declines. Why the increase? Data shows that U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 2 percent in 2013, so it's a response to economic growth. So while traffic congestion isn't a good thing due to time lost and pollution created, it's a byproduct of a positive trend.

The report shows that metropolitan areas across the U.S. showing numbers above the national average in employment growth and national GDP saw congestion increases, such as Austin, San Jose, Seattle, and Boston. In all, 61 metro areas experienced increased traffic congestion last year.

If you'd like to view data from the Scorecard, INRIX's has complied it in some fabulous maps and charts here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

STA Taking All-Electric Bus For A Test Drive

There's a new bus on the streets of Spokane and it's run by a battery. The emmission-free bus is a loaner, but Spokane Transit could invest and buy some in the future.

The Spokesman-Review takes a look at some of the pros and cons of the bus.

WSDOT Secretary Talks Reform

Washington Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson says even if a state transportation package is approved this session, there won't be enough money to address all the needs and we need to have some ideas in mind to deal with the worst maintenance and preservation needs.

Peterson was interviewed by the Redmond Reporter recently and talked about cost overruns on mega projects on the west side of the state, reforms she would like to see enacted to save money and make the small transportation budget go further, bridge maintenance and overall maintenance of the transportation system.

The interview can be read here.

New Jersey Is Mapping Its Potholes

Both Spokane and Spokane County have "pothole hotlines" or web pages where you can report the location of a pothole in order to have it fixed. Many communities offer these options as a way for the public to help pinpoint the location of the craters. In New Jersey, they're taking the technology one step further and mapping the location of the holes reported, so people can check it out in advance to try to avoid potholes on their daily routes.
 
And the people reporting the potholes are adding comments too, to let people know how bad the holes are or one what side of the road.
 
If you'd like to check it out, the link is here. I wonder, if we did a map like this in our area, what it would look like?

A Couple Items from the City of Spokane

LANE CLOSURE ON 3RD AVENUE
Third Avenue will have one lane closed between Stevens Street and Arthur Street, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, March 11th extending through March 13th.  The lane closure is for mobile utility maintenance work that will be performed by Century Link.    

LANE CLOSURE NORTHWEST BOULEVARD

Northwest Boulevard will have one lane closed between Jefferson Street and Alberta Street, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday March 11th extending through March 13th.  The lane closure is for mobile utility maintenance work that will be performed by Century Link.    

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spokane City Obstructions for Next Week

First Friday Food Truck Rally On Wall Street
A food truck rally will be held on Wall Street between Riverside and Main, Friday, March 7, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Wall Street between Riverside and Main will be closed to traffic.

Southbound Lane Closure North Division
The center southbound lane will be closed on North Division Street on the north side of the Francis Avenue intersection 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, March 12 – 13 to allow for maintenance and repairs to the Photo Red System.

North Division Street Lane Closure
Two lanes will be closed on North Division Street from East Sharpe Avenue to East Desmet Avenue, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday, March 14 to accommodate work associated with Burgan’s Block construction.

SRTC Policy Board Meeting Next Week

This isn't what actually happens at our
Board meetings but I can always dream.
The March meeting of the SRTC Policy Board is next Thursday, March 13. The agenda is here. If you find something of interest on there, or would just like to attend the meeting, please do; everyone is welcome. The meetings start at 1 p.m. at 221 W. First Ave., suite 310 on the third floor.

Four-Year Surface Transportation Reauthorization Proposal

President Obama recently released his four-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal. According to the US Department Of Transportation, the President will include as part of his FY15 budget submission to Congress a four year, $302 billion transportation reauthorization proposal. It would provide an $87 billion increase over the current spending levels.

Some new programs in the proposal include:
  • New Freight Program
  • New Critical Immediate Investments Program (similar to the previous "fix-it-first" proposals)
  • New FAST (Fixing and Accelerating Surfact Transportation) Program Competitive Grants
Interested in more details and specifics? Here are the highlights from the USDOT.

Senate Showdown Over Project Budget Overruns

The Washington Senate Tuesday took on State Route 520 bridge budget overruns and possible overruns on the project to bore a tunnel under downtown Seattle.

The Senate was ready to vote on a routine supplemental transportation budget to adjust road, bridge and ferry maintenance work in 2014-2015 when Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, and Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, introduced amendments to the transportation bill that triggered alarms for some. And turned the entire vote into a showdown over who should pay for going over budget.

Crosscut tells us what happened.

Warm Temperatures Leave Some Area Roads Under Water

A pool of water threatens to overtake Farwell Rd. at Highway 2
Rain and rapidly melting snow is flooding roads around the region, including Farwell Road in North Spokane, and a rock slide temporarily blocked most of U.S. 195 near Rosalia.

The Spokesman-Review has a roundup of areas threatened by high water.

Driver Hits Pedestrian; Charged With Failure to Yield

A pickup truck hit a pedestrian crossing Grand Boulevard in a crosswalk at 14th Avenue last night, according to the Spokesman-Review.

A woman was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries around 6:15 p.m., Spokane Police say. Her son, who was with her, crossed the street ahead of her safely.

The road was closed briefly as emergency workers cleared the scene. The driver of the truck was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

2014 Northwest Bicycling Events


Listen up bicyclists. The Spokesman-Review has done the work for you and complies a list of bicycling events for the Northwest for all of 2014. And by Northwest I mean Washington, parts of Idaho and all the way up into British Columbia.

There's lots happening this year for riders, so check it out here.

Pedestrian Deaths Drop After Three Year Rise


Good news for pedestrians. After three years of increases , the number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the United States appears to be dropping.

Compared with the first six months of 2012, pedestrian deaths fell 8.7% during the first six months of 2013.

Why the drop? Experts aren't sure, just like they aren't sure what caused the initial increase in deaths at a time when other categories of road fatalities were dropping.

USA Today takes a look at the numbers.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Red Light Money Left Alone

Money from red-light camera tickets still must be used only on traffic safety projects. Spokane City Councilmembers made the decision last night to reject a proposal that would have removed restrictions on how red-light revenue is spent.

The decision means the city is out of compliance with the law though, after the council last year approved spending $20,000 of camera revenues on graffiti and $50,000 on the volunteer policing program.

The Spokesman-Review tells us how this discrenspancy will be handled.

Plug Spokane Valley Potholes

Legal Disclaimer: This pothole is merely a depiction of a
pothole, not necessarily a Spokane Valley pothole.
 
Spokane Valley is asking for your help to fill the potholes appearing as a result of the winter freeze/thaw cycle. The Public Works Department wants you report potholes in your area by calling 921-1000 or go online to www.spokanevalley.org/CARES and select the "Report a Pothole" link. Scroll to the "Create a new C.A.R.E.S Request" and select the "Report a Pothole" link from the Public Works options listed. You will be directed to the online form.

Be sure to provide the following information:
  • Location of the pothole - a street address closest to the pothole, or a description that includes the name of the street, nearest cross streets, side of the street (north, south, east, west) and the lane in which the pothole can be found (northbound, southbound, eastbound, westbound, curbside, turn lane, etc.);
  • The size or severity of the pothole;
  • Any additional information that may help fix it.
  • If you wish to be contacted about your report, please provide your name and an email address or daytime telephone number where you can be reached.

Can't Get To Montana From I90

Bad news if you're trying to get to Montana anytime soon. Interstate 90 at Lookout Pass remains closed this morning due to avalanche danger, according to the Spokesman-Review. The pass closed last night and a reopening time is uncertain, according to an Idaho State Police news release. Rumor has it the closure could last a couple days. If you HAVE to get there, use U.S. Highway 95 to state Highway 200 or U.S. Highway 2 as alternate routes.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Where Did the Pedestrians Go?

So what catches your attention about the pictures below? These pics, published in the Spokesman-Review today, show the same location in downtown Spokane, fifty years apart. For me, the huge number of pedestrians is what grabbed my attention in the earlier photo. Where did all these people go? We have more people in the region now than we did in 1963 so are they just not walking like they used to? Is it because businesses are so spread out these days instead of concentrated in the downtown area? Or is it just that particular block of downtown because the businesses that were there were torn down and a parking lot put in? Whatever the cause, it's a stark contrast.


Dec. 13, 1963: Shoppers crowd Howard Street and Riverside Avenue, where Densow’s Drug Store had announced it was closing after 55 years.


Jesse Tinsley photo
Present day: The southeast corner of Howard and Riverside has been a parking lot since the Rookery Block was torn down in 2005.


 

A Little of This, A Little of That

The head of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was in Spokane promoting expedited security screenings to those who don't want to wait through the usual security line. About half of Northwest drivers under 35 admit to texting while driving. Three Spokane-area residents are recognized by a national campaign and rewarded with free gas. And a food truck rally this Friday will close Wall Street between Riverside and Main avenues. The Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" article has a roundup of local transportation news.

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.