Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blog Hiatus Starts... Now!

If all goes as planned, this will be me next week. So there won't be any new blog posts until Feb. 9. Check back then for new transportation developments.

Skymall- Gone But Not Forgotten By Travelers All Over The World

Sorry folks, but you're going to have to find a new place to get your talking cat litter boxes, 3D glasses for everyday use and other completely uneccessary but so cool items- Skymall is calling it quits. The airline catalog of unusual items is another victim of and other websites where you can order pretty much whatever you need. And lots of stuff you don't need.

The hugely popular catalog has somewhat of a cult status- including several Twitter accounts devoted to it and many mentions on television shows. It wasn't always a collection of quirky items though. In the beginning, it was a service where you ordered everyday items using the phone on the back of your plane seat, then picked up your purchase when you got to the airport.

Smithsonian has this homage to the magazine, and a look at it's fascinating history.

25 Years of the WA State Growth Management Act

SRTC's existence is a direct result of Washington State's Growth Management Act (GMA). Twenty-five years
ago, there was a large volume of growth in our state. This created competition and conflict among local governments over issues of turf and resources due to a lack of state laws about the roles for counties, cities, and special utility districts. Local land use and capital project decision-making were often ad hoc, piecemeal, and reactionary. There was no consistency. This was the case with transportation as well. There were a lot of projects on the books but no clear vision as to how the transportation system should develop.

With the passage of the GMA, Regional Transportation Planning Organizations were required for areas with populations over 200,000 to ensure coordination and make sure that state funds were distributed fairly.

Twenty-five years after the passage of the Growth Management Act and how are we looking?
The Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington looks at the changes since then, and what's coming.

Bill Would Scrap Giant Seattle Tunneling Project

Is it time to say goodbye to Bertha? That's what two state senators think. Spokane senator Michael Baumgartner partnered with Republican Doug Ericksen to introduce a bill yesterday that would scrap the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project.

The project is currently at a standstill as the giant drill (named Bertha) used to drill a tunnel under Seattle to replace the viaduct is broken down.

Despite large cost overruns caused by this delay, it looks like it may be harder to get rid of Bertha than that. Here's why the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee says the bill isn't going to be heard by his committee.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Community Meeting On Mission Avenue Project

Mark your calendar because Spokane Valley is hosting a community meeting to review updated plans for the Mission Avenue - Flora to Barker project. The workshop is Wednesday, February 11 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Greenacres Christian Church, 18010 East Mission Avenue.

A formal presentation at 6 p.m. will include project updates made as a result of earlier meetings with the community. The presentation will include diagrams and information on roadway widths, lane configurations, and bike/pedestrian enhancements, as well as curbing and stormwater drainage improvements to be made.

Participants will also be asked to share their preferences on options for appearance and landscaping of the existing roundabout at Mission and Flora, and the roundabout to be installed at Mission and Long.  Preferences for landscaping of roadside planting strips will also be discussed.

Everyone is welcome to attend, and are encouraged to bring their families, friends and neighbors.

You Think $1.69 Is Cheap For Gas? Try $0.002 A Gallon!

I filled my car's gas tank last night for less than $30, with the price being $1.69 a gallon. Cheap, right? At least compared to what we're used to. Well that is expensive to some people. In Venezuela, gas now costs about 0.2 cents (1/5th of a penny) per gallon. To put it in perspective- you cold buy 482 gallons of gas there for a dollar. So why so cheap? takes a look at the economy there and why gas is why less expensive than other parts of the world. And why it may not be for much longer.

Spokane City Considering Changes to Master Bike Plan

The City of Spokane's Planning and Development department is proposing changes to the Master
Bike Plan and is seeking public feedback on the changes.

The amendment affects both text in Chapter 4 (the Transportation Chapter) and to Map TR 2, the Planned Bikeway Network Map. One of the major changes calls for adding bicycle facilities to the Bike Plan. That includes already-completed facilities such as the Dwight Merkel Park trail loop and the Spokane International Airport bike lane loop and forthcoming projects on the Centennial and Fish Lake trails.  The amendment also provides text changes to describe a new Neighborhood Greenway classification.

·         See the full list of bike facilities in the Planned Bikeway Network Map
·         View the Planned Bikeway Network Map (TR 2)

If the amendments are approved, City planners will discuss how to incorporate the proposed changes to the bikeway map into the ongoing efforts to  redesign Spokane’s bike map

The period for public input on the proposed changes runs through 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23. Written comments can be sent via email to Assistant Planner Nathan Gwinn at To mail your comments, please visit the project page for the Master Bike Plan Comprehensive Plan Amendment at

An open house on the bike plan amendment is scheduled from 5-6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17 in the Chase Gallery, (Lower Level of City Hall), 808 West Spokane Falls Boulevard.

Subway Lines That Know Your Income

Who would have thought that the bus or subway line you ride could say something about your personal situation, such as your median household income? Well it can. Scientists and data junkies have started using the subway systems of New York, London and other large cities to map and visualize urban data such as median household income.

Using census data, MIT’s You Are Here project is creating visualizations of median household incomes by subway station. It graphs both the average median household income for each stop and the overall average for the line. So to give you an example, Washington D.C.'s Orange Line has the highest income overall, with an average median household income of $97,236. The Silver Line is next with $92,2015. Looking at the graphs, you can discern a sharp discrepancy in income between Washington’s eastern and western halves. These “wealthier” lines all run into the richer Western suburbs, bringing up the average for the whole line. To the east, the subway route goes through poorer neighborhoods with median incomes in the $30 thousands.

You can find out more here from this Washington Post article and links to more data.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Free E-Book On The Future of Transportation

The Best of CityLab's The Future of TransportationThere's a lot of new technology on the horizon that will change the way we get from place to place in the future. And a lot of questions about the future of transportation, of course. In 2014, CityLab attempted to answer some of those questions with a Future of Transportation series of articles that was fabulous. So popular in fact that they bundled the most-read pieces into a free e-book! Which you can get here. And did I mention it's free? That's reason enough right there to download it. Happy reading.

Kia Recalling 87,000 Fortes

Don't want to die in a fiery inferno? If you own a Kia Forte, have it checked. Kia is recalling nearly 87,000 of its 2014 Forte sedans because of faulty equipment that could cause the cars to catch fire.

Would You Watch A TV Show Set On A Public Bus?

I've always dreamed of having my own talk show called "The Dog and Pony Show." A guy in Calgary also has dreams of doing a talk show, but he wants to take his on the road. On a bus. Art Proctor is pitching an idea for a program that would be set on a city bus. He describes it as "Craig Ferguson on a bus." Here's why he wants to do it and how he would capitalize on a captive audience of bus riders.

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.