Monday, August 31, 2015

I-5 to be Widened Near JBLM

If you drive to Olympia more than about once a year, you know what a cluster I-5 can turn into near Joint Base Lewis McChord. I make the drive about every six weeks, year round, always on Friday, and unless you hit I-5 before 1 p.m., it's bumper to bumper gridlock.

The Olympian is reporting that the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is hoping to cut down on this congestion by adding lanes to the freeway in this area. Click the map to view it full size.

The widening will include a new northbound lane from Mounts Road to Steilacoom-DuPont Road and another lane in each direction from there to Thorne. That's a total of eight lanes wide near most of the base.

The 11.9 cent gas tax increase approved in July will pay for the $494 million project.

Talking Transportation At Felts Field Neighbor Days

So despite the terrible air quality and the high winds, the Felts Field Neighbor Day event went on this weekend and we were there. As always, it was a fun event with a little of something for everyone. We were asking people about their transportation priorities and, surprisingly (I thought) for that particular event, a lot of people expressed a need for more bike lanes or even education to keep bicyclists safe.

Here are some of the pictures I took while there. Notice how bad the air looks in some of them.










Friday, August 28, 2015

Local Road Construction Update

For more information on all the projects below, and to see them in relation to each 
other on a map, check out SRTC's 2015 Spokane Regional Construction Map here. The map is updated as new projects start and existing ones wrap up.

You may notice that projects underway now are more prominent while ones that will start later this construction season are more in the background.

WSDOT

I-90/Sunset Hill to Barker Road- Sunday, Aug. 30 through as late as Thursday, Sep. 2, from about 6 a.m. until as late as 3 p.m., be alert for right lane restrictions with possible slow traffic for shoulder sweeping.  

I-90/Medical Lake Road Bridges to Four Lakes Interchange- Monday, Aug. 31 through Thursday, Sep. 3, from about 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. eastbound or westbound I-90 will be reduced to one lane for bridge maintenance and pavement patching. Be alert for slow traffic, congestion, and possible delays.

US 2-Division Street @ North River Drive- On Friday evening, Aug. 28 into Saturday morning, drivers on Division Street should expect lane restrictions as crews work on the adjacent sidewalk ADA ramps.

SR 206/Bruce Road to Mt. Spokane State Park Gate- Be alert for some delays with flaggers and/or pilot cars directing single-lane, alternating traffic to accomomodate paint striping. 

US 195-Southbound/I-90 to Excelsior Road (MP 95-87)- Be alert for southbound US 195 reduced to one lane in multiple work areas with possible slower traffic for pavement repairs. A temporary speed reduction of 45 MPH is in effect for the southbound lanes.  

US 395/North Spokane Corridor/Little Spokane River Bridge- On Tuesday, Sept. 1, from about 8 a.m. until as late at 2:30 p.m., be alert for right lane restrictions in the northbound lanes during the morning, then switching to southbound in the afternoon for a bridge inspection.

SR 290-Trent Ave./Sullivan Road to Idaho State Line- From about 6 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, paving, shoulder work, rumble strip installation, and pavement marking work will be underway along SR290 between Wellesley and the State Line. During these hours drivers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes with flaggers and pilot cars directing single lane traffic. 

SPOKANE VALLEY
Argonne from Appleway to Sprague - Lane closures from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. until early September. One lane will remain open at all times. 

Main at Mullan - Access from Main onto Mullan will be closed at times from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays through late August.

Mansfield Avenue between Pines Rd. and Houk Rd.- Narrow lanes from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. through late September for utility work and road reconstruction.  

Mullan from Sprague to Broadway- Lane closures from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. until early September. Two lanes will remain open at all times. Night work will take place from 8 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. on August 31 through September 2. Detour via Sprague, Vista and Broadway will be posted.

Sullivan from Trent to Wellesley - Reduced to one lane each direction through late August. 
Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Project Area:
·         The southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River is closed until spring 2016 for bridge demolition and replacement work.  Traffic is reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. 
·         Reductions to one lane southbound Monday through Friday between 5 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
·         Turns from Indiana onto northbound Sullivan are reduced to one lane.
·         Expect construction vehicles in the project area.
·       The Centennial Trail below the bridge remains closed with signs redirecting trail users onto surface streets. 

SPOKANE COUNTY
Christensen Road Bridge- Remove and replace bridge. Detour in place.

Old Trails/Inland Road from Riverside State Park to Marchand Road- Road closed and restrictions from Seven Mile Road to the State Park for reconstruction and paving.

Appleway/Spokane Bridge Road Trailhead Parking Lot- Parking lot closed for construction.

Elliot Road Culvert Replacement- Replace culvert under bridge. One lane on highway closed. Temporary traffic signal in place.

SPOKANE CITY
School Speed Zones- School is back in session for Spokane Public Schools on Monday, Aug. 31 so slow down and obey the reduced speed limits in school zones. 

Panorama Drive Water Main Replacement- Closed to traffic. Paving is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29.

Upriver Drive Closure- The north half of Upriver between Stone and Regal will be closed from Friday, August 28 until Tuesday, September 1 for asphalt repair.

Sunset Highway Lane Closure- Two lanes on Sunset Highway near Grove Road will be closed to install a water main until Monday, September 7.

Sprague Lane Closure- Avista will be closing the northern lane of Sprague from 1214 W Sprague to the intersection of Adams to install underground conduit until Monday, September 7.

Francis Avenue ITS Devices Installation Project- This project calls for installation of Variable Message Signs, Closed Circuit TV systems, fiber optic cables, and other related miscellaneous items from Division to the east city limits. Intermittent lane closures for the duration of the project.

Monroe/Lincoln Couplet Work- The project includes water main installation and reconstruction of the street from 2nd to 4th Avenues and will replace the asphalt surfacing, including ADA ramps as needed.  Cedar Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue has one lane available during road reconstruction. Jefferson Street from 3rd to 4th is closed for mainline installation. 4th Avenue from Jefferson to Monroe is also closed. Lincoln and Monroe Street both have limited access along the east half of the street from 2nd to 4th Avenue. 

First Avenue from Helena to Altamont- A residential grind and overlay pavement preservation project. Work includes subgrade repair, crack sealing, ADA ramps, striping and traffic control. Closure of 1st Avenue will last until September. The corner of Napa and 1st is closed with a detour provided.

Rowan Avenue Improvements- This project includes reconstruction of the street from Driscoll Blvd. to Monroe Street. The project also includes installation of bike lanes, filling sidewalk gaps and replacing water lanes. It will last until October.

Havana Street Improvements- Glenrose Road from 57th Avenue to Havana Street is closed. Work is underway at the intersection of Freya and 44th with traffic and pedestrian improvements. Improvements include full width pavement replacement, complete sidewalk gaps and porous asphalt bicycle lanes.  This project will also include installation of a water transmission main between 37th Avenue and the Brown Park reservoirs at 57th Avenue.

Indiana Avenue Roadway Replacement- Indiana is closed from Division to Dakota.This project will include full depth roadway replacement and change lane configuration to one lane each direction with bike lanes.

Residential Chip Seal Program- The project will be in three different locations; Regal Street from Rowan Avenue to Francis Avenue; 33rd Avenue to 36th Avenue from Grand Boulevard to Perry Street; and Elm Street from Broadway Avenue to Boone Avenue. Chip sealing consists of one-fourth chip repairs and a fog seal. This project also includes minor pavement repair and crack sealing. 

Residential Grind and Overlay Projects- 
o   Friday, August 28 till Friday, September 11-  Dakota Street from Montgomery Avenue to North Foothills Drive
o   Friday, September 11 till Tuesday, October 6- F Street from Rosamond Avenue to 6th Avenue

High Drive Sewer Overflow Project- This project includes pavement reconstruction, storm, sewer, swales, and water main replacement from Bernard Street to Grand Boulevard. 43rd Ave. from Garfield St. to Perry St. will be closed until late September with a detour via Perry.Construction is expected last through the fall. This week’s work includes;

o   43rd Avenue will include grading for paving
o   Friday, August 28 base lift paving
o   Curb and sidewalk installation
o   Landscaping and paver work will begin Monday, August 31

Wall Street and Main Avenue Intersection Work- Work in the intersection of Wall Street and Main Avenue continues. The intersection of Wall Street and Main Avenue is anticipated to reopen before Friday, September 4. Street closures for the intersection work include:
o   Main Street from Post to Howard Street
o   Post Street northbound from Riverside to Main Avenue 





Thursday, August 27, 2015

Woman Cited for Breast-Feeding and Driving on I-5

Okay, I've seen a LOT of stuff going on while people are driving. I've seen a guy brush his teeth, a woman blowing up balloons, a young woman changing her clothes and even a teenager eating cereal. But this is a new one. A Mountlake Terrace, WA woman was recently stopped on I-5 for breastfeeding while driving.

According to the Seattle PI,the woman was feeding her 1-year-old son to keep him from crying. She was written a $136 ticket for having an unrestrained child. And, that's not even the best part; the woman admitted that she had been pulled over before for the same infraction. 

Area Road Grading Delayed By Fire Season

Live on a dirt or gravel road in Spokane that is super dusty this summer? Well get used to it, it's not going to get better right away. Most summers, the Spokane County road department grades 1,100 miles of unpaved roads. So why not this year? Because of the risk of wildfires.

According to KXLY News, County officials don't want to risk a blade hitting rocks, causing a spark that could touch off a wildfire. The county acknowledges that this is the worst they have seen unpaved county roads on record but say crews will not be able to grade the roads until they are fully saturated in a rain storm.

For those asking why water trucks can't be used to saturate the roads, officials say there are simply too many miles of roads and only six water trucks.

Crews do monitor the unpaved roads to make sure they aren't dangerous though.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rutter Parkway Rocks to be Removed

In place for almost 80 years, the "dragon's teeth" rocks that line Rutter Parkway near the Little Spokane River will be removed this year.

According to the Spokesman-Review, members of the Civilian Conservation Corps spent the majority of 1937 embedding the jagged pieces of granite along Rutter as a safety feature.

They're not considered so safe now though. During a repaving project earlier this summer, Spokane County engineers determined the rocks impede grading projects and snowplows.

The rocks won't just be thrown away though. The city, county and state are all after the 400 rocks to be used on other projects. Spokane County representatives suggest using them to line the parking area of a trailhead along the north side of the river, where hikers park to visit the Indian Painted Rocks.

Location of Today's Transportation Technical Committee Meeting Changed

An FYI if you are planning to attend today's Transportation Technical Committee meeting- it has been moved to conference room 2B at the Spokane County Public Works Building. It still starts at 1:30 p.m. As always, everyone is welcome to attend.

Administrative Assistant Needed- NOW

Are you an administrative professional? Interested in transportation? Organized? Slightly mothering? Have a sense of humor? Willing to put up with my whining because I can't get clearance to buy an SRTC snow cone machine? Then you may be who we're looking for. SRTC has an opening for an Administrative Assistant effective immediately. Like yesterday. Because that was our previous admin person's last day.

Check out the job description and how to apply here then get on it. The position is open until filled, with the first review of resumes on Sept. 11 but we need someone ASAP. 

Changes Proposed to the Transportation Improvement Program

An amendment to the 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) proposes adding two Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) projects, removing one WSDOT project from the program and adding federal funds to a Spokane County project.

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

The TIP is amended regularly as SRTC’s member jurisdictions have projects to add, change or remove from the program. The latest proposed amendment consists of (click to view full size):



If you have thoughts on the proposed amendment to the TIP, we would appreciate hearing them. A public comment period runs until 4 p.m. on Friday, September 4, 2015. Comments can be submitted by emailing to
contact.srtc@srtc.org, mailed to SRTC at 221 W. 1st Ave., Suite 310, Spokane, WA, or by calling (509) 343-6370.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Local Road Construction Update

For more information on all the projects below, and to see them in relation to each 
other on a map, check out SRTC's 2015 Spokane Regional Construction Map here. The map is updated as new projects start and existing ones wrap up.

You may notice that projects underway now are more prominent while ones that will start later this construction season are more in the background.

WSDOT
I-90/Sunset Hill to Barker Road- Sunday Aug 23 through Thursday, Aug 27, from about 6 a.m. until as late as 3 p.m., drivers should be alert for left lane or right lane restrictions with possible slow traffic for shoulder sweeping.

I-90/Medical Lake Road Bridges- Monday, Aug. 24 from about 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. westbound I-90 will be reduced to one lane for bridge maintenance.  On Tuesday, Aug. 24, from about 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. eastbound I-90 will be reduced to one lane.  Drivers should be alert for slow traffic, congestion, and possible delays.

US 2-Ruby Street @ North River Drive & Indiana Intersections- Drivers on Ruby Street should expect lane restrictions as crews work on the adjacent sidewalk ADA ramps.

I-90/ Argonne, Liberty Lake Interchange Sidewalk ADA Ramps- Be alert for lane restrictions near freeway ramp/local street intersections for upgrades to sidewalk ramps at intersections.  No freeway mainline restrictions.  All ramps open.

SR 206/Bruce Road to Mt. Spokane State Park Gate- Be alert for long delays with flaggers and/or pilot cars directing single-lane, alternating traffic as crews chip seal the roadway. When loose gravel is present on the roadway, the legal speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph.  Drivers should be alert for speed limit signage.

US 195-Southbound/I-90 to Excelsior Road- Be alert for southbound US 195 reduced to one lane in multiple work areas with possible slower traffic as crews repair concrete in the southbound lanes. A temporary speed reduction is in effect. 

SR 290-Trent Ave./Sullivan Road to Idaho State Line- From about 6 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, paving, shoulder work and pavement marking work will be underway along SR 290 between Wellesley and the State Line. Expect delays of up to 20 minutes with flaggers and pilot cars directing single lane traffic. 

SPOKANE CITY
Wall and Main Intersection Work- Work in the intersection of Wall Street and Main Avenue continues. Crews are working 12 hour days and worked through the weekend in an effort to have Main Street open as soon as possible. Working conditions have been challenging and difficult due to the tight location of existing infrastructure pipes. Paving of the intersection is anticipated for Monday, August 25 and it is anticipated to reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

High Drive and Hatch Closure- This project includes pavement reconstruction, storm, sewer, swales, and water main replacement from Bernard Street to Grand Boulevard. Construction is expected last through the fall. Work on the intersection of Scott Street and 43rd Avenue will wrap up this week. The next two weeks grading, paving and curb work will be happening at this intersection. Mid-week drywell installation will be occurring between Thurston to 39th Avenue and Grand Blvd. to Garfield Street. 43rd Ave. from Garfield St. to Perry St. will be closed until late September. 

Monroe/Lincoln Couplet WorkCedar Street from 4th Avenue north to the alley is closed for work on Cedar. This work is for a drainage structure and piping installation. The project includes reconstruction of the street from 2nd to 4th Avenues and will replace the asphalt surfacing, including ADA ramps as needed. 

Residential Grind and Overlay- 
o   Tuesday, August 18 till Friday, August 28- Hartley Street from Royal Drive to Lyons Avenue
o   Friday, August 28 till Friday, September 11- Dakota Street from Montgomery Avenue to North Foothills Drive
o   Friday, September 11 till Tuesday, October 6- F Street from Rosamond Avenue to 6th Avenue 
o  First Avenue from Helena to Altamont

Sprague Avenue Lane Closure- Avista will close the northern lane of Sprague from 1214 W. Sprague to the intersection of Adams to install underground conduit starting Tuesday, August 25 to Monday, September 7.

Rowan Avenue Project- This project includes reconstruction of the street from Driscoll Blvd. to Monroe Street. The project also includes installation of bike lanes, filling sidewalk gaps and replacing water lanes. It is expected to last until October.

Francis Avenue ITS Devices Project- This project calls for installation of Variable Message Signs, Closed Circuit TV systems, fiber optic cables, and other related miscellaneous items along Francis from Division to the East City Limnits. Motorist will see intermittent lane closures for the duration of the project.

Havana Street from Glenrose to 37th- Glenrose Road from 57th Avenue to Havana Street is closed to thru traffic. Work has begun at the intersection of Freya and 44th with traffic and pedestrian improvements. Improvements include full width pavement replacement, complete sidewalk gaps and pilot project porous asphalt bicycle lanes.  This project will also include installation of a 36 inch water transmission main between 37th Avenue and the Brown Park reservoirs at 57th Avenue.

Indiana Avenue from Division to PerryIndiana is closed from Division to Dakota.This project will include full depth roadway replacement and change lane configuration to one lane each direction with bike lanes.

SPOKANE VALLEY
Argonne from Appleway to Sprague- Lane closures from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. until early September. One lane will remain open at all times. 

Main at Mullan- Access from Main onto Mullan will be closed at times from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays through late August

Mansfield Avenue between Pines Rd and Houk Rd.- Narrow lanes from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. through late September for utility work and road reconstruction. Traffic may be reduced to one lane at times with flaggers. 

Montgomery from University to Dartmouth- Narrowed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. until late August. Pedestrian route available on one side of Montgomery at all times.

Mullan from Sprague to Broadway- Lane closures from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. until early September. Two lanes will remain open at all times. 

Sullivan from Trent to Wellesley- Reduced to one lane in each direction around the clock through late August. 
Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Project Area:
·       The southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River is closed until spring 2016 for bridge demolition and replacement work. Traffic is reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. 
·        Reductions to one lane southbound Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
·         Turns from Indiana onto northbound Sullivan are reduced to one lane.
·       The Centennial Trail below the bridge remains closed with signs redirecting trail users onto surface streets. 

The following locations will be closed to through traffic around the clock until September 2015 for water main work:
·         25th Avenue (between Bowdish and University)
·         22nd Avenue (between University and Sunrise)
·         Chinook (between Sunrise and Oberlin)
·         Oberlin (between Chinook and 16th Avenue)
·         Sunrise (between University and Chinook)

Freya Sidewalk Work Starts Today

Work on the City of Spokane's Community Development (CD) Sidewalks begins on Freya Street from 20th to 21st avenues today.  Freya Street is currently closed from Hartson Street to 29th Avenue through the end of August for work on the Combined Sewer Overflow tank at Underhill Park. The closure will now include work on Freya from 20th to 21st Avenue for new sidewalk installation, driveway, and wheel chair ramps.  The closure will go through Friday, August 29 at 5 p.m.

Completing the sidewalk work on Freya during the existing closure for CSO work will allow the sidewalk work to complete 7 working days ahead of schedule and without further disruption to Freya. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Consider yourself notified. I'm out of here for vacation and there will be a hiatus in blogging. Posts
start again on Monday, Aug. 24 so check back then.

Local Road Construction Update

For more information on all the projects below, and to see them in relation to each 
other on a map, check out SRTC's 2015 Spokane Regional Construction Map here. The map is updated as new projects start and existing ones wrap up.

You may notice that projects underway now are more prominent while ones that will start later this construction season are more in the background.

WSDOT
I-90/Sunset Hill to Division Street- Sunday evening, Aug 16 through Thursday morning, Aug 20, from about 10 p.m. until as late as 5 a.m., be alert for left lane and center lane restrictions with possible intermittent on or off ramp closures for pavement and bridge joint repairs. On Tuesday evening (Aug. 18) from about 10 p.m. until as late as 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, the westbound Division/Browne Street on ramp and the westbound Lincoln Street off ramp will be closed. On Wednesday (Aug. 19) from about 10 p.m. until as late as 5 a.m. Thursday morning, the westbound Monroe/Jefferson on ramp and the westbound Maple/Walnut off ramp will be closed.

US 2-Division Street/North River Drive to Euclid Ave.; Wedgewood, Cozza Intersections-Through Friday, August 21, drivers on Division Street and/or Ruby Street should expect lane restrictions as crews work on the adjacent sidewalk ADA ramps.

I-90/Broadway, Argonne, Evergreen, & Sullivan Interchange Sidewalk ADA Ramps-
Through Sunday, Aug. 23, be alert for lane restrictions near freeway ramp/local street intersections for upgrades to ADA sidewalk ramps.  No freeway mainline restrictions. All ramps open.

SR 206/Bruce Road to Mt. Spokane State Park Gate- Be alert for long delays with flaggers and/or pilot cars directing single-lane, alternating traffic while crews chip seal the roadway. When loose gravel is present on the roadway, the legal speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph. Be alert for speed limit signage.

US 195-Southbound/I-90 to Excelsior Road- Be alert for southbound US 195 reduced to one  lane in multiple work areas with possible slow traffic while crews rehabilitate the pavement and replace pavement panels.

SR 290-Trent Ave./Sullivan Road to Idaho State Line- Beginning Aug. 17, from about 6 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, paving will be underway along SR290 between Wellesley and the State Line.  During these hours drivers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes with flaggers and pilot cars directing single lane traffic. Also, sections of this roadway between Wellesley and the State Line will be posted with an advisory speed limit of 35mph due to fresh oil.  

SPOKANE VALLEY
16th & Virginia Intersection - Closed from 6:30 a.m. on Monday, August 17 through 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18 for paving.  A detour via McDonald will be posted.

Argonne from Appleway to Sprague - Lane closures from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. until early September. One lane will remain open at all times. Access to businesses and residents will still be available with brief interruptions. 

Main at Mullan - Access from Main onto Mullan will be closed at times from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays through late August

Montgomery from University to Dartmouth - Narrowed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. until late August. Pedestrian route available on one side of Montgomery at all times.

Mullan from Sprague to Broadway- Lane closures from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. until early September. Two lanes will remain open at all times. Access to businesses and residents will still be available with brief interruptions.

Sullivan from Trent to Wellesley - Reduced to one lane in each direction around the clock through late August. 
Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Project Area:
·         The southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River is closed until spring 2016 for bridge demolition and replacement work.  Traffic remains reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. 
·         Expect reductions to one lane southbound Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
·         Northbound traffic is restricted to vehicles ten feet wide or less.  Oversized vehicles should use Barker or Pines as alternatives.
·         Turns from Indiana onto northbound Sullivan are reduced to one lane.
·         Expect construction vehicles in the project area.
·         Signs and buoys have been placed to redirect river traffic below the bridge. 
·         Flaggers may occasionally direct traffic on the Centennial Trail.

The following locations will be closed to through traffic around the clock until September 2015 for water main work:
·         25th Avenue (between Bowdish and University)
·         22nd Avenue (between University and Sunrise)
·         Chinook (between Sunrise and Oberlin)
·         Oberlin (between Chinook and 16th Avenue)

·         Sunrise (between University and Chinook)

This Traffic Engineer Never Sleeps (Apparently)

After ten years in government and transportation, I have dealt with many engineers, and several have turned into close personal friends. That doesn't keep me from teasing them about being engineers though. And while some have a few of the stereotypical "quirks" you see in Dilbert cartoons, all are everyday people and dedicated to their jobs. Most are very passionate about what they do and go all out for their jobs.

So I wasn't surprised to see this KING 5 video on Seattle traffic engineer Dongho Chang who uses his bike to get around and test transportation facilities long before the rest of us are out of bed. And that's before he goes to the office everyday.

Truck Clips I90 Overpass

I drove by this incident yesterday going the opposite direction and caught some of the backup that resulted from it.

A truck pulling a trailer that was carrying a backhoe on Interstate 90 clipped a pedestrian overpass near Havana Street yesterday morning.

Some westbound lanes were closed for about two hours. The collision knocked off chunks of concrete and displaced a steel rod.

Washington State Department of Transportation spokesman Al Gilson said crews took photos of the bridge and sent them to experts in Olympia, who determined that the damage is mostly cosmetic and the bridge is safe for normal use. Minor structural repairs are expected soon, he said.

Traffic Cameras Catch More Than Speeders, They Bust Cheaters Too

You may want to obey the law if you're doing something
wrong and see one of these.
Which is worse- having an affair or speeding? A man in India got busted for both, because he did the latter. The Times of India says Rajesh Kumar (name changed) was taking a trip with his girlfriend recently. He was speeding on the expressway in the city of Noida when a high definition camera installed along the road to catch speeders took his picture. A photograph of the speeding car and its occupants was sent to his home where his wife opened it and discovered that wasn't herself in the photo.

Now Kumar and several other people are complaining that the speed cameras ruined their marriages. A handful of people exposed as having extramarital affairs showed up at the office that manages these cameras earlier this week to say they're perfectly willing to pay the speeding fine but something needs to be done to keep the cameras from intruding on their personal lives.

Police reminded those folks that if they obeyed the law and didn't speed they wouldn't be in trouble- for anything. They also said that between March and July 2015, around 10,000 people were fined on the Noida expressway and the number of accidents declined. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Newest Thing In Personal Transportation Looks Like A Laptop You Stand On

It's not exactly a jet pack but a Japanese engineer's new invention will get you where you're going without driving. Dubbed the first "car in a bag," the "WalkCar" looks like a laptop, resembles a skateboard, is small enough to be carried in a backpack and is powered by a lithium battery.

The approximately five pound transporter holds up to 265 pounds and can go just over six miles per hour for about seven miles before needing charged.

It reaches top speeds of 10 kilometers per hour (6.2 miles per hour), for distances of up to 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) after three hours of charging. It's reportedly very simple to ride with the user simply standing on it to start the machine and stepping off to stop it. To change direction, the user just shifts their weight in the direction they want to go.

The WalkCar will be available for purchase on KickStarter this fall. It will cost about $800. 

Amish Authorization To Ride Bikes Causing Safety Issues

Areas with Amish populations are facing a new challenge. Amish bishops in many areas have
recently authorized the use of bicycles. While that adds to their transportation options and provides new opportunities for many people, it is also causing some safety problems.

In Kentucky's Daviess County, there are around 10,000 Amish residents. While not all those people are riding bikes, a large percentage are taking to the road. That means a huge number of inexperienced riders are on the roads all of a sudden at the same time.

County officials are reaching out to the Amish community to promote bike safety events. The Washington Times Herald has more on this story.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

50,000 Turn Out To Preview Portland's "Car-Free" Bridge

Portland's new "Tilikum Crossing" bridge opens in a couple weeks but this past weekend almost 50,000 people came out to walk or ride across it during a sneak preview day, according to Streetsblog.

The bridge is such a big deal because it's the first bridge in the United States to carry only buses, bikes, trains, streetcars and pedestrians, but no private vehicles.

Event organizers were shocked at how many people showed up to give the bridge over the Willamette River a try but figure it's a great sign as to how many people will probably use it when it's officially open.

One Pass For All Public Transit- The New Movement Across the Country?

Spokane Transit's Smart Card
When I was in Seattle recently, I relied solely on public transportation to get around. Which was easy in a city like that. What was kind of a pain though was that I used the lightrail to get downtown from the airport, then used a bus to get around the city and was planning to even ride the Sounder train but ran out of time. All great transportation options, but all ones that require separate tickets or passes to be purchased.

That could soon be a way of the past though, as some of the world's largest cities, such as in Japan, are updating the way you access transit, with one pass that lets you use trains, buses, the subway and taxis, according to Citylab. For instance, Hong Kong’s Octopus card gives access to all sorts of public transit options—trams, buses, ferries, trains—not to mention parking meters, shops and swimming pools. And the Dutch's OV-chipkaart pass covers all public transit nationwide. 

Now some in America are pushing to digitally integrate our transit systems and come up with passes that work across the country. Not only would this save time by having to purchase only one pass, but will open up transit modes to people who may not have used them before. For instance, if someone buys a bus pass, they're going to try to just use the bus instead of the lightrail, as that would cost more money to buy a lightrail pass. It would also save money for the transit agencies, who wouldn't need to spend as much purchasing and installing collection machines, or hiring armored cars to collect the coin and cash paid in fares. 

The argument is convincing, so is this actually going to happen? It's hard to say- there is the issue of political will and overhauling existing ticketing systems can be expensive so it's hard to say.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Work Starting Soon To Finish Downtown Bike Network

The City of Spokane this month will install a new kind of bike lane that will complete the downtown bike network. Nearly 12 complete blocks along Main and Spokane Falls Boulevard will get the new lanes, creating a mile-and-a-half loop of dedicated lanes circling the city’s core.


The new lanes will be "buffered," a conventional bike lane with a 3-foot buffer of empty space between cyclists and the traffic lane. Buffered lanes provide a safer experience for riders, allow cyclists to pass each other without entering traffic and give riders space outside the zone where drivers open doors on parked cars.

The $77,000 worth of work is being funded through the federal Congestion Management and Air Quality program, which is distributed through SRTC.

The Spokesman-Review has more on the bike network and other changes happening along with it on Main Street.




Weirdest Traffic Laws From Around the World

In Massachusetts, it's okay to have a gorilla in the car, but
only if it's in the passenger seat. No back seat allowed.
Ladies- is it too much trouble to get dressed to drive to the beach so you're just going to go in your swimsuit? Well if you live in Kentucky, state law says you have to carry a weapon for self-defense when driving in your swimsuit.

In the United Arab Emirates, you must yield to camels. In Croatia, a spare set of headlight bulbs are required to be carried in the car. And Austrian police officers are allowed to "guess" how fast you are going and issue speeding tickets based on this.

These are just a few of the weird and wacky driving laws from around the world included in this Daily Mail article. Check it out, there's some crazy stuff. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Local Road Construction Update

For more information on all the projects below, and to see them in relation to each 
other on a map, check out SRTC's 2015 Spokane Regional Construction Map here. The map is updated as new projects start and existing ones wrap up.

You may notice that projects underway now are more prominent while ones that will start later this construction season are more in the background.

WSDOT
I-90/Sunset Hill to Division Street- Sunday evening, Aug. 9 through Thursday morning, Aug. 13, from about 9 p.m. until as late as 5:30 a.m., eastbound drivers should be alert for left lane and center lane restrictions with possible intermittent on or off ramp closures as crews do bridge joint and pavement repairs.

US 2-Division Street/North River Drive to Euclid Ave. & Wedgewood, Cozza Intersections- 
Through Tuesday, Aug. 11, drivers on Division Street and/or Ruby Street should expect lane restrictions as crews work on the adjacent sidewalk ADA ramps.

I-90/Broadway, Argonne, Evergreen, & Sullivan Interchange Sidewalk ADA Ramps-Wednesday, Aug. 12 through Sunday, Aug. 23, be alert for lane restrictions near freeway ramp/local street intersections.  No freeway mainline restrictions.  All ramps open. Crews will be upgrading ADA sidewalk ramp features at intersections.

SR 206/Bruce Road to Mt. Spokane State Park Gate- Be alert for long delays with flaggers and/or pilot cars directing single-lane, alternating traffic due to work on the shoulder.

US 195-Southbound/I-90 to Excelsior Road- Be alert for southbound US 195 reduced to one lane in multiple areas with possible slower traffic. Crews are rehabilitating the pavement.

SR 290/Hamilton Street. & Trent Intersection- On Saturday and Sunday, August 8 & 9, drivers on Hamilton at the Trent Ave. intersection should expect lane restrictions with delays and congestion as crews work on the intersection sidewalk ADA ramps.

SR 290-Trent Ave./Sullivan Road to Idaho State Line- Beginning today, August 6, from about 6 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, paving will be underway along SR290 between Wellesley and the State Line  During these hours drivers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes with flaggers and pilot cars directing single lane traffic.  Also, sections of this roadway between Wellesley and the State Line will be posted with an advisory speed limit of 35mph due to fresh oil.

SPOKANE VALLEY
Argonne from Appleway to Sprague- Lane restrictions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning Monday, August 10th until early September. One lane will remain open at all times.

Montgomery from University to Dartmouth - Narrowed lanes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. until late August. Pedestrian route available on one side of Montgomery at all times.

Mullan from Sprague to Broadway- Lane closures from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. beginning Monday, August 10th until early September. Two lanes will remain open at all times.

Sullivan from Trent to Wellesley- Reduced to one lane in each direction through late August. 

Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Project Area:
·       The southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River is closed until spring 2016 for bridge demolition and replacement work.  Traffic is reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. 
·        Reductions to one lane southbound Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
·       Northbound traffic is restricted to vehicles ten feet wide or less.  Oversized vehicles should use Barker or Pines as alternatives.
·         Turns from Indiana onto northbound Sullivan are reduced to one lane.
The following Spokane River and Centennial Trail closures will be in effect while hazardous bridge demolition work is performed overhead:
o    The Spokane River will be closed to river traffic at Sullivan on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning August 6th until August 14th.  Signs and buoys will redirect river traffic around the construction zone during working hours and through the construction zone during non-working hours. 
o   The Centennial Trail will be closed at Sullivan from Monday, August 10 through Friday, August 14. Signs will redirect Trail users via Indiana between the Old Mission trailhead and Sullivan.

The following locations closed to traffic until September 2015 for water main work:
·         25th Avenue (between Bowdish and University)
·         22nd Avenue (between University and Sunrise)
·         Chinook (between Sunrise and Oberlin)
·         Oberlin (between Chinook and 16th Avenue)
·         Sunrise (between University and Chinook)

SPOKANE CITY
Wall Street Closure- The "Spokane Live at the Plaza" event on Friday, Aug. 7 will close Wall Street from Sprague to Riverside between 3-11 p.m.

Main Street Closure- The annual Gleason Music Fest on Saturday, Aug. 8 will close Main Street between Division and Pine Street.

Garland Street Closure- The annual Garland Street Fair will close Garland from Monroe to Howard Street on Saturday, Aug. 8.

Hillyard Parade and Car Show Street Closure- The annual Hillyard Hi-Jinx Parade and car show will close the following roads from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8:

  • Market from Wellesley to Francis
  • Greene between Queen and Broad
  • Broad between Haven and Market
  • Haven from Wabash to Market
Wall Street Sewer Work Closures- Work begins Monday, Aug. 10 in Wall Street between Spokane Falls Boulevard and the Main Street intersection on the installation of a sewer main and water main. Expect the following closures:

  • Wall Street from Main Street to Spokane Falls Boulevard from Monday, Aug. 10 to late October
  • Main Street from Post to Howard Street from Monday, Aug. 10 to Thursday, Aug. 13
  • Post Street northbound from Riverside to Main Avenue from Monday Aug. 10 – Wednesday, Aug. 12
Knox Street Closure- Closed from Howard to Stevens for sewer repair until Monday, Aug. 10.

Ivory Street Closure- Ivory is closed from Plateau to Rockwood Pines for street re-alignment until Monday, August 17. 

Division Sidewalk Closure- The sidewalk on the eastern side of Division from Mission to Augusta is closed until Tuesday, Aug. 18.

1st Avenue from Helena to Altamont- This project is a residential grind and overlay pavement preservation project.  The work will include repair, crack sealing, ADA ramps and striping. Closure of 1st Avenue starts Monday, Aug. 10 and lasts until September. The corner of Napa and 1st will be closed to thru traffic with a detour traffic route provided.

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 4th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Work to allow drainage structure and piping installation has begun on Cedar Street from 4th Avenue north. The project includes reconstruction of the street from 2nd to 4th Avenues and will replace the asphalt surfacing, including ADA ramps as needed.

Francis Avenue from Division to East City Limits- This project calls for installation of Variable Message Signs, Closed Circuit TV systems, fiber optic cables, and other related miscellaneous items. Motorist will see intermittent lane closures for the duration of the project.

High Drive, Bernard Street to Grand Boulevard- The road is closed from Bernard Street to Grand Boulevard. Storm and sewer work is underway. This project includes pavement reconstruction, storm, sewer, swales, and water main replacement from Bernard Street to Grand Boulevard. 

Havana Street from Glenrose to 37th Avenue- Glenrose Road from 57th Avenue to Havana Street is closed to thru traffic. Work has begun at the intersection of Freya and 44th with traffic and pedestrian improvements. Improvements include full width pavement replacement, complete sidewalk gaps and bicycle lanes.  This project will also include installation of a water main between 37th Avenue and the Brown Park reservoirs at 57th Avenue.

Indiana Avenue from Division Street to Perry Street- Indiana is closed from Division to Dakota. This project includes full depth roadway replacement and change lane configuration to one lane each direction with bike lanes.

Freya Street Closure and Thor Lane Restrictions- Freya will be closed from Hartson to 29th Avenue through the end of August. Lane restrictions in each direction on Thor Street at the intersection of 8th Avenue continue, to perform testing on a new mainline pipe until Saturday, August 8. Utility work and road reconstruction on Freya Street from 8th Ave. to 9th Ave. is underway. This project constructed a combined sewer overflow facility under the parking lot at Underhill Park. 

High Drive and Hatch Closures- 43rd Ave. from Garfield St. to Perry St. will be closed until late September. This project will construct a storage facility for CSO Basin 20, with connecting piping, interceptor inlet vault, flush systems, regulator and controls at 43rd Avenue and Garfield Street. 

Columbia Closure- Columbia from Downriver Drive to H Street and H Street from Columbia to Northwest Blvd is closed. The project includes the installation of a 900,000 gallon tank. New water mains will be added at H Street, Glass Avenue and Columbia Circle. Columbia Circle, H Street and Glass Avenue will be repaved and sidewalk repairs will happen in select areas. Many driveways will be replaced to match the new street grade. Construction is on schedule.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Christensen Road Bridge- Bridge closed for removal and replacment. Signed detour in place.

Old Trails/ Inland Road- Road closed for reconstruction and paving. Signed detour in place.

Elliot Road Culvert Replacement- Highway 206 reduced to one lane to replace the culvert under the bridge.

Rutter Parkway from Waikiki Rd to Indian Trails Rd.- Asphalt and shoulder work. Closed until Aug. 13 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

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.