Tuesday, September 30, 2014

GAO's Office Study Looks At Freight Movement In Spokane Region

Last Friday, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on freight transportation and related congestion. The GAO did this study because projected increased in freight transportation by truck and train is expected to increase traffic congestion in coming years. Already, many people I've talked to are complaining about the increase in trains locally, which comes with an increase in wait times at railroad crossings. Personally, I've missed my bus several times recently because a train has come between me and the bus stop.

Government studies like this are published every day, so why do we care right? Well this particular study reviewed freight-related traffic congestion issues and mitigation projects at 12 communities to understand the types of local impacts communities are experiencing. Spokane was one of those communities. The GAO's office studied our Bridging the Valley project from the early 2000s and talked extensively to our Transportation Planner Ryan, as well as visiting the area to check out the situation in person.

It's interesting reading. Here's the report if you'd like to check it out.


The School Bus Is Too Mundane For These Kids

So you drive your child to school every morning why? Because it's too far? Or it's raining? Or they'd have to get up ten minutes earlier to walk or catch the bus? Well suck it up because kids are doing everything they can to get an education in other parts of the world. These are just a couple examples of some of the crazy commutes kids are making, and boy do they really need a Safe Routes to School program. Check out more here. It's pretty amazing what they're doing to get to school.




Marijuana-Impaired Driving On The Rise In WA

This guy throws off the curve for everyone.
THC tests are on the rise in Spokane County after traffic stops for impaired driving.

According to the Washington State Toxicology Lab, there were 34 positive tests in 2012 for active THC in drivers thought to be impaired. That number rose to 89 in 2013. Statistics show positive THC tests also increased statewide from 2012 to 2013 in drivers.

KHQ News has more on this increase that local law enforcement agencies say is a problem.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rate The City Of Spokane On Performance

The City of Spokane wants to ask you how they're doing? They're asking you to take a survey indicating how the community rates the city's performance in all areas. How important is it for the City to prioritize replenishing its savings account ahead of taking on new obligations? How well is the City maximizing the use of resources to deliver better outcomes for citizens? What areas should the City of Spokane focus on next? Just a few of the questions you'll be asked to answer.


The survey can be found here and it's not super tedious or lengthy so spend a few minutes helping the folks at the City of Spokane improve their services.

Ford Recalls Vehicles Due To Potential Safety Defect

Ford is recalling almost a million of its 2013-2014 vehicles in North America due to a potential airbag and safety-belt defect. A short circuit in the control module could prevent airbags from deploying in a crash, prevent the belt pre-tensioners from working when a crash is imminent, and could prevent the stability-control system from working properly. KREM 2 News tells us which cars are being recalled.

Are Smartphones to Blame For Trucks Stuck Under Bridges?

You see it occasionally, a semi truck stuck under a local bridge that was too low for them to get under. It snarls traffic and causes damage to the bridge. Well one news outlet says it's happening more and more often. And they're blaming it on Smartphones. CBS Boston has the story on how phones and truck crashes may be linked.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Local Road Construction Update

SPOKANE CITY
Division Sidewalk Closure- The sidewalk closure at 1120 N. Division has been extended until Sept. 30 for demolition work.

Railroad Crossing Closure- BNSF crews will be working on the rail crossing at Regal/Nelson Street Wednesday, Oct. 1. Nelson at Desmet will be closed. Access to Nelson will be restricted southbound.

Ruby Lane Closures- Two eastern lanes on Ruby at Boone will be closed Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 to install a flashing crosswalk system.  

Residential Grind and Overlay Project- Crews are working on the Excell Ct. section, getting ready to pave. Workers have also begun removals and stormwater structure installs on Arthur Street from 13th to Newark Avenues. There will be limited local access. The project calls for completion of grind and overlay repair on the following streets:

o   Pittsburg Street from Heroy Avenue to Wellesley Avenue and Heroy Avenue from Helena Street to Pittsburg Street. Work is substantially complete.
o   Arthur Street from 13th Avenue to Newark Avenue (excluding 9th Avenue west to 9th Avenue east)
o   Excell Avenue from G Street to the beginning of the cul-de-sac east of Audubon Drive. Removal work has begun.

East Sprague Lane Closures- One lane will be open each direction on Sprague from Hatch to Scott Streets.  This project will construct a combined sewer overflow facility on City property across from the City’s Sewer Maintenance Facility.

Addison Street from Columbia Avenue to Dalke Avenue- There is limited local access on Addison as work grind and overlay work continues. Crews will also replace a steel water main with ductile iron in Calispel Street from Wellesley Avenue to Queen Avenue.

Kendick Avenue Water Main- Crews will replace an 8-inch water main in Kendick Ave. from approximately 1,200 feet west of Nine Mile Road to Nine Mile road. Traffic control is in place with road closure signs at both ends. Detour signage is in place on State Route 291.

Greene Street Bridge Lane Closures- Greene Street from Marshall Avenue to Carlisle Avenue will be reduced to one lane each direction until late October. Carlisle at Greene will also be closed and a detour put in place.  This project is for work on the existing 30” steel water main that is suspended under the bridge.  This project will pull a 24” pipe through the existing 30” main. The new pipe will not add weight to the bridge due to the smaller amount of water that will flow through the new pipe.

High Drive Construction-  This project includes pavement reconstruction, storm, sewer, swales, and water main replacement from 29th Avenue to Bernard Street. Phase One construction is expected to last until mid-October. Phase Two of this project, Bernard Street to Hatch Road, will begin in the spring of 2015.

Francis Avenue from Division to Crestline- Crews are proceeding with traffic island construction mainly from Division Street to Nevada. Asphalt patching behind sidewalks is wrapping up. This project will rehabilitate Francis Avenue from Division to Crestline Streets.  The work is curb to curb and includes installation of ADA curb ramps, where needed. 

WSDOT
US 2/Espanola Road to Interstate 90- Between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., Monday through Friday, be alert for lane restrictions for lane striping.

North Spokane Corridor/Francis Avenue Bridge and Intersection Improvements- A lane closure on northbound Market Street near the intersection with Francis Avenue will be needed all day on Monday 9/29. The southbound Market Street left-turn lane will be closed all day on Tuesday 9/30 and the southbound right-turn lane on Freya Street will be closed in the morning on Wednesday 10/01. The remainder of the week will consist of intermittent short-term lane closures at both intersections and along Francis Avenue.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Bruce Road Bridge- Closed to be replaced.

Country Homes Boulevard- Southbound lanes closed from Cedar to Wall streets.

Shady Slope Road- Bridge is closed and a detour in place between Leona and Little Spokane Drive.

Wandermere Pathway from Dartford south to the Children of the Sun Trail- Construction begins Monday, Sept. 29 on work on the pathway, shoulder and guardrail. Expect delays. There will be flaggers directing traffic.

SPOKANE VALLEY
Sprague Avenue and Vista- Closed south of Sprague Ave. today, all day on Monday, September 29, and all day on Wednesday, October 1 for paving and utility work.  Signs will redirect traffic via Appleway, Mullan, and Park.

Vista Road at the BNSF tracks (south of Trent Rd)-  Beginning Wednesday, October 1 there will be a narrowing of lanes for sidewalk and median curb installation. Hours of work are 7 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Appleway Boulevard from Thierman to Park- Reduced to two lanes through early October for landscaping improvements. The new sidewalk on the south side of the road will be available for pedestrian use for the remainder of the project.

Eastbound and westbound East Indiana Avenue from Sullivan Road to East Desmet Court - Beginning Monday, September 29 to Friday, October 3 alternating left and right lane closures for pavement marking modifications and installation of project traffic control signs. Hours of work are 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.


Northbound Sullivan Road from I-90 to East Flora Pit Road - Beginning Wednesday, October 1 to Friday, October 3 from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., the right lane will be closed for installation of project traffic control items. 

Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Kicked Off


It was a who's-who in the world of transportation at the kickoff for the Sullivan West Bridge Replacement project yesterday. Tons of elected officials and some pretty funny engineers talked about the upcoming project to replace the aging, 60-year-old bridge that goes southbound over the Spokane River at Sullivan Road. It's currently temporarily reinforced and the City of Spokane Valley has been working for several years to put together funding to completely replace it as it is a major corridor for both private vehicle traffic and freight movement of semi trucks.

The construction will also include better access to the Centennial Trail in that area.

The total cost of the project will be more than $50 million and the new bridge isn't expected to open until about this time in 2016. There are plans in place to keep traffic flowing over the river while construction is underway though so you will still be able to cross there. Traffic will soon be moved to the northbound bridge, which will be striped for three narrow lanes and have a sidewalk suspended from the side of the bridge. 

Input Needed On Plan That Addresses Improvements For People With Special Transportation Needs

We've just finished with an update to the Spokane County Coordinated Public Transit – Human Services Transportation Plan (HSTP) and want to make sure we're on the right track. The reason the HSTP is so important to get right (not that every document we do isn't) is because it's purpose is to  improve transportation services for people with disabilities, youth, older adults, and individuals with lower incomes in Spokane County. In other words, those who may be vulnerable, disadvantaged or have special transportation needs. Without transportation options, they could very likely be stranded and isolated. 

The HSTP provides guidance to aid communities, agencies and service providers in coordinating transportation resources provided through federal and state programs. It includes an overview of population demographics in Spokane County, inventory of services that provide transportation, common origins and destinations for people with special transportation needs, an assessment of transportation issues and “gaps” in the system, and implementation strategies for addressing those gaps.

We'd like to hear from you if this document is on the right track and if we missed anything- whether it's challenges we didn't consider or transportation providers we don't know about. We're hosting a public meeting to provide members of the public a chance to review and provide input on the HSTP. It's from 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 14 at SRTC, 221 W. 1st Ave., Suite 310. The meeting will be an open house format so you can come at any time during those hours.

If you can’t attend the meeting, the draft HSTP can be reviewed at http://www.srtc.org/. Comments may be emailed to contact.srtc@srtc.org, or mailed to SRTC at 221 W. 1st Ave., Suite 310, Spokane, WA 99201. The comment period is September 26 through 4 p.m. on October 24, 2014


Lining Up To Buy Phones Vs. Lining Up To Catch The Bus

People line up in downtown
Spokane last week to buy
the newest iPhone.
So you can line up for two days to buy an iPhone but you can't line up for a few minutes to catch the bus? That's the premise of Shawn Vestal's article in today's Spokesman-Review article accusing the downtown Spokane business community of elitism when it comes to the Spokane Transit Authority Plaza.

Here's the article. Check it out and let me know if you have any thoughts on the topic.


This Could Be Your 15 Minutes Of Fame

Are you a bus rider in Spokane? Want to share your commuting story?

Spokane Transit is looking for bus riders that would be interested in participating in their “I’m Driven” ad campaign including video and print. Your ad would look like the one to the left, only with your face and story on it.

If you think you've got something to share, and are willing to have your face used, contact Terri Putney at Spokane Transit at tputney@spokanetransit.com.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spokane Pageant Queen Promotes Safe Driving

A Spokane-area pageant queen could bring some awareness to the topic of roadway safety. Miss Nine Mile Falls USA Rebecca Delong plans to compete in the Miss Washington USA pageant in October.  Each contestant picks a platform that they feel needs to be addressed.  Delong’s platform is the dangers of distracted driving.

                       

New Study Says WA Roads Among Worst In The Nation

Well, here it is in black and white. A new study suggests the condition of roads in Washington state
are among the worst in the nation. The study by the Reason Foundation says Washington is 42nd in the nation in highway performance and cost-effectiveness. It also ranks the state as 47th in the nation for rural interstate pavement condition.

The Reason Foundation's Annual Highway Report is based on spending and performance data submitted by state highway agencies to the federal government.

Among the worst stretches of road according to KING 5 viewers polled, is Interstate 5 through Seattle, State Route 167 at I-405, and State Route 18.

As we've told you repeatedly, the Washington State Department of Transportation struggles with funding needs for road improvement projects. State lawmakers have failed to pass a comprehensive transportation bill to fund much needed projects throughout the state and our roads are showing it.

Here's more on this study.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thief Returns Bike and Apologizes

Well here's a happy ending you don't hear often. A Coeur d'Alene employee restaurant got his bike back, and an apology, after a thief took it last weekend!

                       

Proposed Amendment Would Change Construction Years of Four Projects

SRTC is seeking public comment on a proposed amendment to the 2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP is a document listing projects to be undertaken or constructed during the upcoming four years. The TIP includes project names and descriptions, the jurisdiction sponsoring them, funding attached to each project, and where the funding came from (local, state or federal funds).

The proposed amendment would change the construction year for three projects already included in the TIP and change the project name, termini, length and schedule of another existing TIP project.
Details on the proposed changes are on our website here. Scroll down to "TIP Amendments" under the map. 


A public comment period for the proposed amendment goes through 4 p.m. on October 3, 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, September 23, 2014

Spokane Transit Looking For Your Input On 10 Year Plan

Spokane Transit Authority is entering the final stage of developing a 10-year plan consisting of two dozen transit projects.  The STA Moving Forward plan will provide greater access to jobs, schools and medical appointments, as well as reduce traffic congestion, improve regional air quality, and correspond with changing transit trends among all age groups.

STA is seeking your feedback through a Telephone Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, September 24 at 6:30 p.m.  You can participate through a an automated phone dialing system. Just call the toll free number  877-353-4701 during the live event to join.

Investigation Shows That Washington Ferry Wasn't Overloaded

A state investigation has found that a Seattle ferry that was forced to turn around before a preseason
Seahawks football game last month wasn’t overloaded, according to an article in the Spokesman-Review.

The ferry Cathlamet was en route from Bremerton to Seattle on Aug. 15 when the captain returned to dock over fears that it was overloaded by nearly 500 passengers. Some 484 passengers left the vessel before it disembarked again for Seattle.

But a report from the Washington Department of Transportation, released Monday under a public records request, said video surveillance showed about 1,073 passengers boarding before the ferry left Bremerton – below the boat’s capacity of 1,200, and well below the 1,684 passengers officials believed were on board.

The investigation suggested that a malfunctioning hand-clicker used to count the passengers was to blame for the erroneous count.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Where Your Tax Dollars Will Be Spent On Transportation In The Next Four Years

Many people aren't familiar with SRTC and what we do because our role in the transportation game comes before heavy equipment is ever rolled into a neighborhood to pave a street or fix sidewalks.

We distribute state and federal funds to local transportation projects. This often happens years before the project is ever constructed, due to state and federal requirements. 

The good news about this process is that you can also know a few years in advance what's coming up and let us know if you think it's a good use of public tax dollars. How do you find out what's on the schedule for coming years?

The draft 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a document that lists federally and/or regionally significant transportation improvements proposed to be constructed or undertaken during the upcoming four years. The big change to the TIP each year (besides the date on the cover) is that we add new projects annually.

Check out the TIP at http://www.srtc.org/tip.html to see what's slated for construction or implementation. Then give us your feedback. You can either do that by attending a public meeting Wednesday, September 24 from 4-6 p.m. at 221 W. 1st Ave., Suite 310 or you can email them to contact.srtc@srtc.org, mail to SRTC at the address above, or phone them in to (509) 343-6370.

Roundup of Local Transportation Topics

People under 30 are four times more likely to ride transit than people over 60, according to a national report from the TransitCenter organization. STA is hosting a telephone town hall meeting to take questions and comments about developing the central city line and high-performance transit. And Airway Heights landed a $363,000 loan and a $175,000 grant to build a half-mile rail siding and a 60,000-square-foot building to support expansion of Seaport Steel and Brown Strauss Steel. The Spokesman-Review has a roundup of local transportation news in today's Getting There column. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Local Road Construction Update

WSDOT
US 195 and SR 27 Congestion- On Saturday, Sept. 20, expect congestion on US 195 and SR 27 between Spokane and Pullman, plus SR 26 between Vantage and Colfax, as fans travel to and from the WSU Cougar football game. 


US 2/Espanola Road to Interstate 90- The Flint Road signal that was just installed is scheduled to be activated the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 23.  Later that morning, the Flint Road detour will be removed. Until then, expect intermittent lane closures in the vicinity of Flint Rd.  Flint Road is closed from US 2 to the south. A detour is available.  

US 2/Airport Interchange Vicinity- Today, Thursday, Sept. 18, until as late as 3 p.m., be alert for lane restrictions on US 2 in the vicinity of the airport interchange for bridge joint and deck repairs.  

I-90/Vicinity of University Road- Tonight, Thursday, Sept. 18, from about 9 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, westbound I-90 will be reduced to one through lane for repairs to message signs. Be alert for slow traffic, congestion, and delays.
I-90 Westbound near Stateline- Tonight, Thursday, Sept. 18 and possibly Friday, Sept. 19, from about 7 p.m. until 4 a.m. the following morning, westbound I-90 at the Washington/Idaho state line will be reduced to one through lane for repairs. Be alert for slow traffic, congestion, and delays.

SPOKANE VALLEY
Sprague Avenue from University to Vista- Reduced to two lanes westbound for resurfacing, stormwater drainage improvements, and sidewalk work.
Appleway Boulevard from Thierman to Park- Reduced to two lanes through early October for landscaping improvements. The new sidewalk on the south side of the road will be available for pedestrian use for the remainder of the project. 

SPOKANE CITY
Lincoln Street Closure- Lincoln will be closed between 4th and 5th for crane hoisting on Sept. 20 and 25. 


3rd Avenue Sidewalk Closure- The sidewalk on the south side of 3rd and east side of McClellan will be closed for replacement from Sept. 17 until Sept. 26. 

2nd Avenue Closure- The southwest lane on 2nd between Arthur and Sprague Way will be closed from Sept. 18-22 to paint the Comfort Inn.

Main Sidewalk Closure-  A portion of sidewalk will be closed on Main Avenue between Wall St. and Post St. to place dumpsters. This closure will last until Sept. 27.

Grind and Overlay Project- Pre-leveling and paving on Excell Ct. Monday, and crews will begin "removals" (nope, I don't know what that is either) on Arthur Street from 13th to Newark Avenues. 
 The project calls for completion of grind and overlay repair on the following streets:

o   Pittsburg Street from Heroy Avenue to Wellesley Avenue and Heroy Avenue from Helena Street to Pittsburg Street. Work is substantially complete.
o   Arthur Street from 13th Avenue to Newark Avenue (excluding 9th Avenue west to 9th Avenue east)
o   Excell Avenue from G Street to the beginning of the cul-de-sac east of Audubon Drive. Removal work has begun.

Addison Street from Columbia to Dalke- Roadway reconstruction is in progress on Calispel. Removals on Addison begin next Monday. This project is for grind and overlay on Addison Street from Columbia Avenue to 525 feet north of Dalke Avenue. Crews will also replace a water main with  in Calispel Street from Wellesley Avenue to Queen Avenue.

Greene Street Bridge Water Main Replacement- Greene Street from Marshall Avenue to Carlisle Avenue will be reduced to one lane each direction starting Sept. 8. for six weeks. Carlisle at Greene will also be closed and a detour in place.  This project is for work on the existing 30” steel water main suspended under the Greene Street Bridge. This project will pull a 24” pipe through the existing 30” steel main. The new pipe will not add weight due to the smaller amount of water flowing through the new pipe.

High Drive from 29th to Bernard Street- This project includes pavement reconstruction, storm, sewer, swales, and water main replacement from 29th Avenue to Bernard Street. Phase One construction is expected to last until mid-October. Phase Two of this project, Bernard Street to Hatch Road will begin spring of 2015.

Community Development Sidewalk Project- Crews are currently working in the North Hill, West Central, Browne’s Addition, and Peaceful Valley neighborhoods. All street obstructions are minor due to moving equipment. This project involves construction of concrete curb and sidewalk, concrete curb and sidewalk removal.

Francis Avenue from Division to Crestline- Paving is scheduled for the top/final lift of asphalt on the southern half of Francis this Thursday and Friday, followed by traffic island construction next week with touch-up work behind the curb and sidewalks.  On Friday, Sept. 19, there will be a detour affecting eastbound traffic. The detour will take eastbound traffic from Nevada to Wellesley, and from Wellesley to Crestline, before returning to Francis. This project will rehabilitate Francis Avenue from Division to Crestline Streets.  The work is curb to curb and includes installation of ADA curb ramps, where needed. 

SPOKANE COUNTY
Bruce Road Bridge- Closed for replacement.

Country Homes Boulevard- Southbound lanes closed between Cedar and Wall.

Shady Slope Road- Closed between Leona and Little Spokane Drive until mid-October.

Look For A "Mini Park" to Pop Up Near Riverpark Square Tomorrow

Tomorrow is international PARK(ing) Day, an event to celebrate urban design by allowing "pop-up
parks" to be built temporarily in city parking spaces. It's intended to raise awareness about important issues like creating walkable, livable, healthy cities and helps people re-think how streets can be used.

The picture is from a couple years ago when Futurewise
staked out a parking space in front of their building and set up shop- er- park for a little bit of urban greenery in downtown Spokane. I love it that there park even involves an urban deer.

Traditionally, Spokane has had very few participants in PARK(ing) Day but this year I received a news release that Spokane members of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) will be installing a "mini park" in a parking stall downtown adjacent to the Main Street entrance to River Park Square, so stop by and check it out. 
And if you're really into it,  ASLA representatives will be available to discuss what landscape architecture is, what Landscape Architects do, and the many roles Landscape Architects play in our region.


This Stickman Really Knows How To Get Down

Rather than a sign that says "Don't Walk," would a dancing traffic icon keep you from walking against the red light? That's what one company in New York is hoping for. The thought is that watching the little stick figure guy on the pedestrian signal dance will keep people entertained, and therefore on the curb longer, rather than crossing against the light. Watch the video; it IS oddly entertaining.

Two Committee Meetings Next Week

Next week is going to be a busy week for committee meetings. On Monday, we have the monthly meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) at 3 p.m. You can check out the agenda for that here. 

Then on Wednesday, the Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) meets at 1:30 p.m. Here's the agenda for that meeting. 

Both meetings are open to the public and have time alotted for public comment, so if you have something on your mind that pertains to transportation, show up and share it. Both meetings are also held in our conference room at 221 W. 1st Ave., Suite 310.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Groundbreaking Ceremony For Appleway Trail Today

This is last minute on my part but sounds like fun. You're invited to celebrate a groundbreaking for the new Appleway Trail in Spokane Valley today. The is at 4 p.m. today at the Trail's University Plaza site, located on the east side of University where it intersects with Appleway.

Spokane Valley Mayor Dean Grafos will be on hand for the celebration along with City Councilmembers, project coordinators and staff members.  In addition to a formal groundbreaking ceremony, attendees will be able to learn more about the Trail project and enjoy light refreshments at the event.

Designed in collaboration with Spokane Valley community members, the Appleway Trail will include a paved multi-use pathway that will eventually connect all the way from Appleway and University to Liberty Lake.

Earthwork is already under way for the section of the Trail that will run between University and Pines.  Paving of the asphalt pathway as well as construction of the University Plaza is expected to begin in late September/early October, depending on the weather.

Development of the Trail is possible as the result of a collaborative agreement between the City of Spokane Valley and Spokane County, which owns the former Milwaukee Railroad right-of-way where the Trail is being built.  The agreement allows development of the right-of-way for enjoyment by the community while reserving the ability to accommodate future transportation needs. 

STA Officials Consider Electric Buses


Spokane Transit is considering using electric power for a proposed central city line that would run from Browne's Addition to Gonzaga University and yesterday officials there got an up-close look at an electric bus that's touring the country.


The Spokesman-Review tells us how these buses are different than the ones currently being used.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Where Should Transportation Dollars Be Spent Locally In The Next Four Years

What will you be doing in four years? No idea? Unless you have a crystal ball, most people have no clue what will be happening between now and 2018. But when it comes to transportation programs and construction, I do. That's because I've read the draft 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), and so can you. The TIP is a funding document that lists federally and/or regionally significant transportation improvements proposed to be constructed or undertaken during the upcoming four years. The big change to it each year (besides the date on the cover) is that we add new projects annually.

So do you have a project that you feel should be completed sooner rather than later? Check out the TIP at http://www.srtc.org/tip.html and see if it's in there. If it's not, or you think there are projects in there that shouldn't be, or you have any other comment on the document, give us your feedback. You can either do that by attending a public meeting Wednesday, September 24 from 4-6 p.m. at 221 W. 1st Ave., Suite 310 or you can email them to contact.srtc@srtc.org, mail to SRTC at the address above, or phone them in to (509) 343-6370.



Sunday's closure of Interstate 90 at Stateline, ID was a rare event, but how rare is it to have trucks carrying hazardous materials travel through our area on the freeway? Not rare at all, according to KHQ News. In fact, there are hundreds every day. How big of a risk does this pose for our area? And how are these trucks regulated? KHQ has the answer in the video below.

Spokane, North Idaho News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lincoln/Monroe Project, Phase II, Open House This Week

With major improvements currently underway on the Lincoln/Monroe Street couplet from 8th to 17th Avenues, the City of Spokane is looking forward to work that will happen in 2015.

Phase II of the Lincoln/Monroe Street Project will take place next year between 2nd and 8th avenues and you are invited to an open house this week to learn about the project. It's Wednesday, Sept. 17 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Roosevelt Elementary School, 333 West 14th Ave.

Phase II of the project will include full-depth pavement rehabilitation, minor curb realignments, improved pedestrian facilities which meet ADA standards, and the installation of trees and landscaping to address stormwater runoff. There will be a short presentation at the Open House and staff will be taking community feedback.

Spokane Valley Council Adds Second Lefthand Turn Lane At Theirman Road

Spokane Valley is adding a second lefthand turn lane at Thierman Road onto Sprague Avenue despite warnings from traffic engineers that it would increase the risk of sideswipe collisions. The City Council last week decided to proceed with the $14,000 plan to convert the inside northbound lane to a turn-only lane and give drivers in the outside lane the option of either making a left turn onto Sprague as well or continuing through the intersection.

It’s supposed to ease potential traffic buildup at the intersection but engineers say it could cause sudden lane changes as it forces drivers into a lane that quickly becomes part of an I90 onramp.
Here's more on this issue and why some councilmembers say they're not worried about added safety issues despite what staff recommends.

A Little of This; A Little of That

A project to replace lighting along I-90 from the Latah Creek Bridge to Havana Street on the east with modern light-emitting diode lamps is almost complete. Repaving continues on the west plains along U.S. Highway 2 from I-90 westward to Espanola Road. And a bunch of other transportation happenings from around the region. It's all included in the Spokesman-Review's weekly Getting There column.

Interstate 90 Open to Traffic At Stateline Again

Interstate 90 has reopened this morning, according to the Spokesman-Review, after crews sealed the leak in a tanker hauling hazardous liquid that shut down the highway for 18 hours.

The Idaho State Police reported the interstate was open in both directions just before 8:20 a.m. Multiple agencies determined the risk posed by the leaking chemical required the interstate to be shutdown around 1 p.m. Sunday.

The tanker truck, which belongs to a company in Florida, was traveling to Moses Lake carrying 7,000 pounds of anhydrous trimethylamine. The truck is back on the highway this morning after workers determined efforts to seal the chemical inside the tanker were successful.

The leaking truck was parked at the port of entry just east of the Washington-Idaho state line and a 350-foot evacuation zone was ordered because of the hazardous nature of the chemical, which is highly flammable, highly combustible and poisonous if inhaled. A shelter-in-place order was also given for Liberty Lake homes within a half mile of the leaking tanker.

Several workers and law enforcement officials were evaluated after experiencing throat irritation.
The interstate closure affected the morning commute, with some drivers reporting travel times of up to two hours on their way to work.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Your Phone- All You Need To Get Where You're Going

In your opinion, what is the most important innovation of the decade when it comes to transportation? Self-driving cars? Bike share programs? Electric cars? According the The Atlantic, it's the smartphone.

Yep, your phone can help you choose a bus route and see what time the bus comes, hail a taxi, unlock your bike lock, direct your car and provide directions.

While that's all great and good, even with all these options, the Atlantic says the smartphone is being underutilized in the transportation arena. Here's why.

Centennial Trail Closure and Upgrade


An email from the Friends of the Centennial Trail says that upcoming closures on the trail at the Convention Center will take one month's less time than previously planned and, when complete, the trail will have brand new asphalt from the Division Street Bridge to Washington Street Bridge.  
Beginning September 22, the existing Trail will be shut down, with pedestrian access maintained by using the south concrete walk along the INB and West Convention Center (see map below).  The new span of Trail will open October 24.



Local Road Construction Update

SPOKANE VALLEY
8th Ave from McKinnon to Fancher - Closed through mid-September for paving, striping and shoulder-work. Signs redirect traffic via Carnahan, 16th and Bettman/Dickey.  

Sprague Ave from Vista to Herald - Reduced to two lanes westbound through early September for resurfacing, stormwater drainage improvements, and sidewalk work.

Appleway Boulevard from Thierman to Park - Reduced to two lanes eastbound through early October for resurfacing, stormwater drainage improvements, and sidewalk work. The new sidewalk on the south side of the road will be available for pedestrian use for the remainder of the project.

Sprague Avenue between University and Pines - Closed Friday, September 19 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. for the Valleyfest Hearts of Gold parade.

SPOKANE CITY
Ruby from Desmet to Boone- One lane and sidewalk closed from Sept. 15-19 for demolition work.

Hawthorne and U.S. 2- Replacement of a damaged signal pole starts Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 8:30 a.m. Work is expected to be completed by 3 p.m.  The signal will be placed in red-red flash during this time. Both the northbound and westbound dedicated right turn lanes will remain open, but the adjacent northbound and westbound through-lane will be closed.  As a result, both the northbound and westbound will have only one through lane open.

Main Sidewalk Closure-  The sidewalk on Main between Browne and Division will be closed until Sept.17 for sidewalk repairs.



Main Sidewalk Closure, Take 2- The sidewalk on Main and Howard and a traffic lane on Main will be closed until Sept. 22 to replace sidewalks. 

Main Sidewalk Closure, Take 3- A section of sidewalk on Main between Wall St. and Post St. is closed until Sept. 27 to place dumpsters. 

Howard Street from 1st Ave. to railroad tracks-  Blocked for crane work at the Wells Fargo building.

Division Street Sidewalk Closure- The sidewalk closure at 1120 N. Division has been extended until Sept. 30 for demolition work.

Grind and Overlay Project- Work has resumed on the Excell portion of the project. This will be followed up with asphalt patching, along with new curb and sidewalk construction. The project calls for completion of grind and overlay repair on the following streets:

o   Pittsburg Street from Heroy Avenue to Wellesley Avenue and Heroy Avenue from Helena Street to Pittsburg Street. Work is substantially complete.
o   Arthur Street from 13th Avenue to Newark Avenue (excluding 9th Avenue west to 9th Avenue east)
o   Excell Avenue from G Street to the beginning of the cul-de-sac east of Audubon Drive. Removal work has begun.

East Sprague Lane Closure- One lane will be open each direction on Sprague from Hatch to Scott Streets for construction of a combined sewer overflow facility on City property across from the City’s Sewer Maintenance Facility.

Kendick Water Main Installation- Crews will replace an 8-inch water main in Kendick Avenue from approximately 1,200 feet west of Nine Mile Road to Nine Mile road. Detour signage is in place on State Route 291. Current residents will be allowed access to their property.

Greene St. Bridge Lane closure- Greene Street from Marshall Avenue to Carlisle Avenue will be reduced to one lane each direction for six weeks. Carlisle at Greene will also be closed and a detour in place. This project will pull a 24” pipe through the existing 30” steel main suspended under the Greene Street Bridge. The new pipe will not add weight to the bridge due to the smaller amount of water that will be flowing through the new pipe.

Lincoln/Monroe Intersection Construction- A new 4-way stop has been installed at 10th and Madison to help with traffic in and out of Huckleberry’s Natural Market. Crews expect to have the intersection at 14th and Lincoln open in the coming weeks. The project includes reconstruction of the street by replacing the asphalt surfacing, including ADA ramps as needed. Lincoln/Monroe street will be closed from 7th-17th Avenues. The closure is expected to last through mid-October.

High Drive Construction- Roadway excavation and subgrade preparation are nearly finished. Aggregate placement is beginning and curb and gutter will follow.  This project includes pavement reconstruction, CSO storage facilities, storm, sewer, swales, and water main replacement from 29th Avenue to Bernard Street. Phase One construction is expected to last until mid-October. Phase Two of this project, Bernard Street to Hatch Road will begin spring of 2015.

Community Development Sidewalk Project- Crews are working in two neighborhoods: Logan and Emerson-Garfield.  All obstructions are sidewalk related and are barricaded by the contractor.  All street obstructions are minor due to moving equipment. This project involves construction of concrete curb and sidewalk, concrete curb and sidewalk removal.

Francis Ave. from Division to Crestline- Crews expect to finish paving the north half of Francis within the week. Traffic is scheduled to be flipped Sunday night while crews transition to the southern half.  This project will rehabilitate Francis Avenue from Division to Crestline Streets.  The work is curb to curb and includes installation of ADA curb ramps, where needed. 

WSDOT
US 2/Espanola Road to Interstate 90- Between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., Monday through Friday, expect intermittent lane closures in the vicinity of Flint Rd. for highway resurfacing and the installation of a traffic signal system. Flint Road is closed from US 2 to the south.  A detour is available.   

US 2/Airport Interchange Vicinity- Monday through Thursday, Sept. 15-18, from about 9 a.m. until as late as 3 p.m., be alert for lane restrictions on US 2 in the vicinity of the airport interchange for bridge joint and deck repairs.  All on and off ramps open.

I-90/Liberty Park to Havana Street- Be alert for evening and overnight lane and ramp closures for replacement of light poles.  

I-90/Vicinity of University Road- On Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 15-16, from about 9 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, westbound I-90 will be reduced to one through lane for repairs to message signs. Be alert for slow traffic, congestion, and delays.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Bruce Rd. Bridge- Closed for reconstruction. A detour is in place.

Country Homes Blvd.- The southbound lanes are closed from Cedar to Wall.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Car Voice Control Systems Not Comprehending Many Accents

New technology that allows you to issue voice commands to your car are a nice option when you buy a new car, but what if your car can't understand you? Automakers are getting complaints that the expensive cars people spent their hard earned money on aren't able to decipher many accents. In fact, J.D. Powers and Associates say voice-control failures are new car owners' top complaints now.

Bloomberg.com tells what automakers are doing to try to fix the problem. And fast.

Driver Hits Bicyclist With Truck, Then Shoots Him

Bicyclists have complained for years about being yelled at and threatened by drivers in vehicles but this is an extreme case. The Spokesman-Review reports a driver over the weekend struck a bicyclist with his car, then shott him!

Gary J. Courtney, 56, was booked into Spokane County Jail on assault with a firearm and drive-by-shooting charges. Witnesses said Courtney hit the cyclist, a 30-year-old man, with his truck, then argued with him. Courtney pulled out a pistol and fired once in the man’s direction as he pedaled away, hitting him in the arm.

Judge Linda Tompkins set Courtney’s bail at $5,000. He has no other listed felony history in Washington.

Keller Ferry Out Of Service Until Further Notice

Thanks to the Spokesman-Review
for the use of their map.
The Keller Ferry across the Columbia River on State Route 21 is out of service until further notice.

Water is seeping into one of the Sanpoil’s internal compartments through a hairline crack below the waterline. 

Divers from the vessel builder, Foss Maritime of Seattle, inspected the boat yesterday and located the crack but have not determined it's cause.


WSDOT is working with Foss Maritime to determine what repairs will be required.  There is no estimate on costs or when ferry service will resume.  Drivers will need to use alternate routes to reach their destinations.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Help Shape Washington's Transportation Future

Don't forget the Washington Transportation Plan public meeting tonight. The Washington State
Transportation Commission is asking for public comment on it's Washington Transportation Plan 2035 (WTP 2035) and is hosting a public forum tonight at the downtown Spokane Library from 4-7 p.m. to let people review the plan and provide their input. If you'd like to review the plan in advance, you can check it out here. Then come to the library and talk to folks from the Commission about what it includes.

SRTC staff will also be on hand to answer any local transportation questions or take comments.


Spokane City Council Approves Crosswalk Safety Ordinance

An update on the proposed crosswalk safety ordinance. The Spokane City Council last night voted in favor of the ordinance. This means new crosswalks in areas of town with heavy foot traffic. KHQ News has the story.

Spokane, North Idaho News

Monday, September 8, 2014

Existing Versus Proposed Crosswalk Ordinance

I just received a reminder email that the hearing on the proposed City of Spokane crosswalk ordinance is tonight. If you have an interest in crosswalks and pedestrian facilities for our community, you may want to consider being there to support it. The hearing takes place during the City Council meeting that starts at 6 p.m. in the lower level of City Hall.

Check out the new ordinance versus the old. Wow, there's quite a difference in detail.

Here's the current Municipal Code item addressing crosswalks.

And here's the proposed one. 

Quite a difference huh? Like I said, you may want to show your support tonight if you can.

Spokefest Sheds Light On Bicycling Movement

With over 2,000 people hitting the streets yesterday for Spokefest, there's been a lot of attention on Here's the article.
bicycling in our area. An article in today's Spokesman-Review sums up work being done on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and projects that still need completed. It even quotes SRTC's Bicycle Master Plan.

Guest Writer Says Trolley System Not A Good Idea For Spokane

A trolley system in Spokane
might look something like this.
The Eastern Washington director for Washington Policy Center calls STA's proposal for an electric trolley in downtown Spokane "electric folly" in an opinion piece in today's Spokesman-Review. Chris Cargill says the trolley plan is unrealistic for Spokane’s transit needs, especially considering there are much less expensive options.

Read the piece and let me know if you have any thoughts on the subject.

Local Road Construction Update

WSDOT
US 2/Espanola Road to Interstate 90- During the following days and hours, single-lane segments of on and off ramps leading to and from Spokane International Airport (SIA) on US 2 and Sunset Hwy. will be closed for construction.  Detours will direct drivers to and from SIA. Expect delays and allow plenty of extra time to reach your destination to avoid missing flights.

Letters in parentheses correspond to ramp location on diagram.

Thursday evening, September 4 into Friday morning, September 5
7 p.m. until as late as 5 a.m.
(C) Westbound off-ramp from US 2 (& I 90 Spokane) to Westbound Airport Dr. (to the airport) Paving within the multiple lane portion
(D) Eastbound Airport Drive (from the airport) to US 2 (& I 90 Spokane) Paving within the multiple lane portion
Midnight until as late 5 a.m.
(D)-Eastbound Airport Drive (from the airport) to US 2 (& I 90 Spokane)—Closed for paving the single lane portion

Friday evening, September 5 into Saturday morning, September 6
7 p.m. until as late as 4 a.m.
(B)-Westbound US 2 off-ramp to Westbound Sunset Hwy.—Closed for paving
9 p.m. until as late as 5 a.m.
(A)-Westbound Sunset Blvd. to westbound US 2 on-ramp—Closed for paving
(E)-Eastbound Airport Drive off-ramp to Eastbound Sunset Hwy. (to Spokane)—Closed for paving

Saturday evening, September 6 into Sunday morning, September 7
9 p.m. until as late as 5 a.m.
(G)-Eastbound US 2 off-ramp to Westbound Airport Dr. (to the airport) or Eastbound Sunset Hwy.—Closed for paving
(F)-Westbound Sunset Hwy. to Westbound Airport Dr. on-ramp (to the airport)—Closed for paving
  
Flint Road resurfacing and signal system installation- Between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., Monday through Friday, expect intermittent lane closures in the vicinity of Flint Rd. Flint Road is closed from US 2 to the south. Flint Road is closed to the north between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., Monday through Friday.  Grinding and paving will continue between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. from FAFB through Airway Heights and towards I-90. 

US 2/Airport Road Overpass Bridges- Through Thursday, Sept. 4,  until as late as 3:30 p.m., US 2 may be reduced to one through lane in the vicinity of the airport interchange for bridge deck repairs.  All on and off ramps will be open.

I-90 Eastbound/Liberty Park Area- Sunday through Tuesday, Sept. 7-9, from about 9 p.m. until as late as 5:30 a.m. the following morning, eastbound I-90 will be reduced to one through lane for bridge joint repairs.  Be alert for slow traffic and congestion.

I-90/Liberty Park to Havana Street- During evening and overnight hours, from about 9 p.m. until the following morning at 5 a.m., be alert for possible on and off ramp closures to replace light poles. Also watch for outside lane closures from 7 p.m. to the following morning at 6 a.m.

I-90/Broadway Interchange- On Wednesday, Sept. 10, from about 9 a.m. until as late as 12:30 p.m. drivers should be alert for eastbound or westbound lane restrictions with possible congestion and slow traffic.
Project Description:  Routine bridge inspection.

I-90/Mullan Road Bridge- Wednesday through Thursday, Sept. 10-11, from about 9 p.m. until as late as 5:30 a.m., drivers on northbound Mullan Road over I-90 should be alert for lane restrictions, congestion, and possible delays due to bridge deck repairs.  

SPOKANE CITY
Spokefest 2014- On Sunday, Sept. 7, Spokane Falls Boulevard will be closed from Stevens to Monroe from 7-11 a.m. Monroe will be closed at Spokane Falls Blvd. intermittently between 8-10:30 a.m. Bicyclists will ride through Peaceful Valley and out Government way before continuing along the Centennial Trail.  The riders will finally cross Lincoln at Bridge and head into Riverfront Park. 

Main Street Sidewalk Closure- A portion of sidewalk will be closed on Main Avenue between Wall St. and Post St. to place dumpsters. This closure will last until Sept. 27.

Another Main Street Closure- Avista will be close the alley south of Main St. between Post and Lincoln to replace a roof top and transformer vault starting Sept. 8. The work will periodically close a portion of the sidewalk for loading and unloading. 

Central Avenue Closure- Central will be closed between Myrtle and Florida for sewer and water connections. Work is expected to last from Sept. 8-10.

Division Street Sidewalk Closure- The sidewalk closure at 1120 N. Division has been extended until Sept. 30 for demolition work.

Residential Grind and Overlay Project- This project will complete a grind and overlay repair on the following streets:
o   Arthur Street from 13th Avenue to Newark Avenue (excluding 9th Avenue west to 9th Avenue east)
o   Excell Avenue from G Street to the beginning of the cul-de-sac east of Audubon Drive. Removal work has begun.

Work is underway on the Pittsburg and Heroy portion with removals of existing curb and sidewalk complete. New curb and sidewalk with ADA ramps have been placed.  

Combined Sewer Overflow Construction- One lane will be open in each direction on Sprague from Hatch to Scott Streets. This project will construct a combined sewer overflow facility on City property across from the City’s Sewer Maintenance Facility.

Addison from Columbia Avenue to Dalke Avenue/Calispel Street from Wellesley Avenue to Queen Avenue- This project is for a grind and overlay on Addison Street from Columbia Avenue to 525 feet north of Dalke Avenue. Crews will also replace a water main in Calispel Street from Wellesley Avenue to Queen Avenue.

Kendick Avenue Water Main- Crews will replace a water main in Kendick Avenue from 1,200 feet west of Nine Mile Road to Nine Mile road. A detour is in place.

Greene Street Bridge Water Main Replacement- Greene Street from Marshall Avenue to Carlisle Avenue will be reduced to one lane each direction starting Sept. 8. for six weeks. Carlisle at Greene will also be closed and a detour put in place. This project will pull a 24 inch pipe through an existing 30 inch pipe suspended under the bridge. The new pipe will not add weight to the bridge due to the smaller amount of water that will be flowing through it.

Lincoln/Monroe Construction- This project includes reconstruction of the street by replacing the asphalt surfacing, including ADA ramps as needed. Lincoln/Monroe street will be closed from 7th-17th Avenues. The closure is expected to last through mid-October.

High Drive Construction- Roadway excavation and subgrade preparation continues through the end of next week. Landscaping and irrigation system installation is expected to take several weeks. This project includes pavement reconstruction, sewer overflow storage facilities, storm, sewer, swales, and water main replacement from 29th Avenue to Bernard Street. Phase One construction is expected to last until mid-October. Phase Two, Bernard Street to Hatch Road, will begin spring of 2015.

Division Street Sidewalk Project- This project will construct missing sidewalk in gaps adjacent to Division between Empire and Lyons. Work has begun on North Division from Lyons to Houston.  There will be a right lane closure from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Grand Boulevard Construction- Paving on Grand Boulevard takes place Thursday, Sept. 4. McClellan Street between 8th and 9th Avenue has one lane southbound. Northbound is detoured onto 9th Avenue over to Cowley.  9th Avenue/Rockwood Boulevard between Grand Boulevard and the hospital tower is closed with driveway access.  There is local access only at Cowley and 9th to the hospital.  Southbound on Stevens has access to the medical building on 9th Avenue. 

Work south of 14th is being done by the Wastewater Department.  This project will apply preservation treatments that consist of crack sealing, grind and overlay and some pavement rejuvenation techniques.  Upgrades to ADA ramps and minor curb and sidewalk repairs will also be done.

Francis Avenue from Division to Crestline- Crews are ready to pave the north side of Francis. Paving should be done within a week. The transition to paving the south side will happen after that.

SPOKANE VALLEY

8th Ave from McKinnon to Fancher - Closed to all but local traffic through mid-September for paving, striping and shoulder-work. Signs redirect traffic via Carnahan, 16th and Bettman/Dickey. 

Eastern between Nixon and Valleyway - Rolling closures with restrictions to local access at times from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for stormwater drainage improvements.  Access to businesses will remain available.

Sprague between University and Vista - Reduced to two lanes through mid-October for resurfacing, stormwater drainage improvements and sidewalk work. Overnight closures will occur each evening between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday, Sept. 8 into the morning of Thursday, September 11: 
·         Sprague from Willow to Marguerite  - signs will redirect traffic via Farr, Broadway and Vista
·         Mullan from Appleway to Sprague - signs will redirect traffic via Appleway, Farr, and Broadway

·         Argonne from Main to Appleway - signs will redirect traffic via Broadway, Vista and Appleway to Dishman-Mica

SPOKANE COUNTY
Country Homes Restoration Project - The southbound lane of Country Homes Blvd. from Cedar Rd. to Wall St. is closed. The northbound lane is open with occasional restrictions. 

Bruce Rd. Bridge Replacement/Road Work - The bridge is closed to be replaced.

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.