Thursday, October 29, 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

I90 and SR 904 Congestion- On Saturday, October 31, drivers on I90 between Spokane and Four Lakes, plus SR 904 from Four Lakes to Cheney, should expect congestion as fans travel to and from the EWU Eagle football game. Game time is 12:05 p.m.

US 195 and SR 27 Congestion- On Saturday, October 31, 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.  Game time is 7:30 p.m.

US 195-Southbound/I-90 to Excelsior Road- Work to rehabilitate pavement is wrapping up with possible lane and/or shoulder restrictions for final items.  The 55 MPH speed limit has been restored.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Elliot Road Culvert Replacement- Highway 206 in the vicinity of Elliot Road is reduced to one lane to replace asphalt on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Ladd Road Construction- Under construction half a mile north of Thorpe Road. Watch for flaggers in the area.

SPOKANE VALLEY
Dishamn-Mica from 8th to Appleway- Southbound lane reductions with signs and flaggers starting Monday, November 2 until Wednesday, November 4 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Project Area- The southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River is closed until Summer 2016 for bridge demolition and replacement work.  Traffic remains reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. Expect reductions at times to one lane southbound Monday through Friday between 5 a.m. and 2:30 p.mTurns from Indiana onto northbound Sullivan are reduced to one lane.

SPOKANE CITY
Addison/Standard Bicycle/Pedestrian Corridor from Buckeye to Holland- Work to install sidewalks and driveways is underway on Lincoln and Standard heading north to Magnesium. Traffic control is in place with possible lane restrictions. This project will add new bike lanes and sidewalks along the entire corridor and make improvements to existing bike lanes.

Community Development Sidewalks- Crews are working on Southeast Boulevard from Rockwood Boulevard to 27th Avenue to remove and reconstruct curbs, sidewalks and ADA ramps.  Traffic control is in place during the day.

Hartson Avenue from Altamont Street to Fiske Street Hartson is closed. It is expected to be paved November 2 and will tentatively open from Fiske to Smith Street November 5. Smith to Altamont will finish spring 2016. This project includes roadway reconstruction, filling sidewalk gaps, replacing curbing where needed and installing ADA curb ramps. 

Havana Street from Glenrose Road to 37th Avenue- Paving continues on Havana. Bike lane striping and a few other items are expected to be completed in spring 2016. Improvements include full width pavement replacement, filling sidewalk gaps and installation of a water transmission main between 37th Avenue and the Brown Park reservoirs at 57th Avenue.

High Drive and Hatch Road-  43rd Avenue from Scott to Garfield Street is closed. This project will construct a sewer overflow basin at 43rd Avenue and Garfield Street. 

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 4th Avenue to 2nd Avenue-  4th Avenue is open with one-lane access between Jefferson Street and Lincoln Street. The Lincoln Street work northbound has switched over with the east side lanes being closed for work at this time from 2nd to 4th Avenues.  Monroe Street work southbound continues along the east side from 2nd to 4th Avenues. The project includes reconstruction of the street from 2nd to 4th avenues, including ADA ramps as needed.

Indiana Lane Closure- Inland Asphalt will close the northern lane on west bound Indiana at Washington on 10/30 and 11/7 to grade and pave a parking lot.

Division Street Lane Closures- The left two lanes at Division on 3rd will be closed from 10/27 to 10/30 for a water connection. 
Northwest Boulevard and Columbia Circle- 
Columbia from Downriver Drive to H Street and H Street from Columbia to Northwest Blvd. is closed to install a sewer overflow 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 made in select areas.

       Ray/Thor Street from 17th to 29th Avenues- Ray Street will tentatively be paved November 2 and is scheduled to open November 10. Until then, Ray is reduced to one lane in both directions on the west half of the street with work being done on the east half. No left turns are permitted. Thor Street from 26th to 29th is closed to traffic. Improvements include preservation treatments like crack sealing and grind and overlay. Pedestrian improvements include upgrades to ADA curb ramps and curb and sidewalk repairs.


Rowan Avenue from Driscoll Boulevard to Alberta Street- The portion of this project from Driscoll Boulevard to Fotheringham will be completed in spring of 2016.  Rowan will reopen in early November. This project is for reconstruction work from Driscoll Blvd. to Monroe Street. The project also includes installation of bike lanes, filling sidewalk gaps and replacing water lines.

Spokane Clean Air Needs Citizen Representative

Transportation is a HUGE contributor to air pollution, whether from tailpipe emissions, dust from the sand used to make roads less slick in the winter, or dust from unpaved roads. That's why SRTC works very closely with the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.

Like many government agencies, Spokane Clean Air uses an Advisory Council or committee to provide transparency to their processes. They're now looking to fill a
 "Citizen Representative" position on its 9-member, volunteer Advisory Council.  Residents of Spokane County who are interested in air quality are encouraged to apply. 

To apply, submit a letter of interest, including relevant experience, by 4:30 p.m., on November 15, 2015, to:

Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency
Attn: Julie Oliver, Executive Director
3104 E. Augusta Avenue
Spokane, WA   99207

Members of the Advisory Council are appointed to 4-year terms by Spokane Clean Air's Board of Directors. Members meet on the fourth Thursday of each month, from 8-9 a.m., to advise and consult with Spokane Clean Air staff, Executive Director and Board of Directors, in their mission to protect, enhance and preserve Spokane County's air resources. Here's more info on the Council.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

App Could Change the Way Freight Movement Works

Freight movement has been a huge topic of discussion in recent years in the transportation business. We need trucks to get goods to and from trains and planes to take to stores so we can grab a chicken for dinner tonight or that new couch you've been wanting.

Unfortunately, with congestion increasing, trucks are being blamed for clogging roadways and a truck driver shortage is looming because many truckers are nearing retirement age. So trucking is facing some major challenges.

A Seattle man thinks he has the answer that will reinvent the $800 billion freight hauling industry. Dan Lewis recently launched "Convoy,"an on-demand service for arranging regional and local shipping.

Convoy is a business-to-business platform that connects truck drivers with freight that needs to be moved between distribution centers and retailers or from suppliers to job sites. It automates the process of third-party brokers making multiple phone calls and haggling over price. Truckers, who are often paid per load, will now be able to spend less time sitting empty and waiting for direction.

Using smartphones, companies can be instantly connected with companies that ship freight.
The shipper enters the pickup and drop-off locations, what needs to be moved, type of truck needed and any special instructions, and a price is instantly calculated based on distance, weight and other variables. An alert goes out to the closest driver available for the job who has the proper equipment.
The trucker can accept or decline. The shipper can monitor progress the whole way with GPS tracking, automatic alerts and photos sent by the driver.

Convoy takes a percentage of the sale of each delivery.

Portland Marriott Hotel Adds In-Room Bike Parking

Portland's Marriott Downtown Waterfront hotel just got a facelift. And the theme of the new decor is something very close to Portlander's hearts- bikes. There’s a bicycle-inspired mural above each bed and the main attraction is in-room bike parking.

KPTV News has a tour of the changes.

KPTV - FOX 12

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fake Craigslist Ad Seeks Roommate For Giant Seattle Tunnel Drill Bertha

Do you ever read the "Best Of" ads on Craigslist? Well apparently someone does because they found a parody ad posted last week that seems to indicated the tunnel-digging machine Bertha may have overstayed her welcome in Seattle.

KREM 2 News says the ad starts by stating that a single lady is looking for someone to share her spacious waterfront home and goes on to say that Bertha, never mentioned by name, has already stayed much longer than intended in this location.

Bertha is drilling the new State Route 99 tunnel under Seattle. This work was supposed to be complete by now, with the tunnel opening by the end of this year. Unfortunately Bertha broke down and has been sitting idle for nearly two years.

The ad describes Bertha's current location as "The unit itself could be described as a daylight apartment; it's technically below the ground, but it gets lots of light." It goes on to describe the rent ($350,000 for everyday that Bertha doesn't move) and some stats about her, such as that she is white, 7,000 tons and almost 60 feet tall.

New Members Needed for the Transportation Advisory Committee

Are you looking for a volunteer position that gives you a voice in developing local policies, works closely with area decision makers and lets you help shape and develop the area transportation system?

SRTC is seeking members for its Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC). As the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County, SRTC is charged with ensuring that transportation expenditures are based on a cooperative and comprehensive planning process.  

Federal and State funds for transportation projects and programs are channeled through this process and awarded to local agencies and jurisdictions that deal with transportation.

The TAC is a citizens’ advisory group that provides transparency and a community perspective to that process. The TAC advises the SRTC Board on plans, programs and activities to ensure consistency with policies.

TAC Members represent the general public and groups including, but not limited to, people with disabilities, senior citizens, youth, the business and freight moving communities, traditional automobile users and advocates for non-motorized transportation or public transit.

Those chosen for the TAC will serve three year terms, starting in January 2016 and finishing at the December 2018 meeting.

The TAC meets six times a year, on the fourth Monday of every other month at 3 p.m. Meetings are held at SRTC, 221 W. First Ave., Ste. 310, Spokane, WA 99201. All TAC 


TAC applications and more information on the committee are available at http://www.srtc.org/tac_page.html. The application period is October 27 through 4 p.m. on November 10. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

City Asking For Citizen Input On Wall Street Design Downtown

Citizens are invited to participate in a public meeting to discuss the design of a block of Wall Street downtown. The meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

The meeting follows a separate meeting on the design that was held in July. The November meeting will look at concepts and materials that resulted from earlier input.

The City of Spokane is looking to update Wall Street from Main Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard, following a project to install a sewer main. Crews are currently installing the pipe and plan to cover the construction area with a temporary surface. In a second phase, planned for spring of 2016, the City will install a new surface on the street and add lighting and landscaping. 

Wall Street from Spokane Falls Boulevard to Riverside Avenue is a brick street, designed for greater pedestrian activity.  The need for utility work in the block between Spokane Falls and Main provides an opportunity to update the street design, improve its pedestrian appeal, further activate its use for events, and help lead people to a renovated Riverfront Park.  The City eventually would like to extend the new design on the block between Main and Riverside.

Council Approves Sprague Makeover Plan

Sprague Avenue
Sprague Avenue will be getting a face lift between Hamilton and Fiske streets. According to KREM 2 News Spokane's City Council recently gave the green light on a plan where businesses along Sprague would each chip in money to make neighborhood improvements. Businesses will pay a fee based on their property values and the overall square footage of their shops.

That money will be used for things like adding trees along the street and installing security lights.

there are reports that Hillyard may also use the "Parking and Business Improvement Area" program to pay for upgrades to the business district along Market Street.

Friday, October 23, 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 Eastbound/US 2 Interchange-Sprague Ave. Interchange-  Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 26-28, from as early as 8:30 a.m. until as late as 3:30 p.m., be alert for eastbound I-90 right or left lane and/or shoulder restrictions for drain cleaning. All on-off ramps open. Be alert for slow traffic and congestion. 

I-90 Eastbound/Vicinity of Division Street Interchange- On Saturday evening, Oct. 24, from about 9 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. Sunday morning, eastbound I-90 will be reduced to two lanes with the right lane closed for bridge rail repairs.  All on and off ramps will be open.

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 for pavement rehabilitation. A temporary speed reduction of 45 MPH is in effect for the southbound lanes. 

SPOKANE VALLEY

Sullivan Road Bridge Replacement Project Area- The southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River is closed until Summer 2016 for bridge demolition and replacement work.  Traffic is reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. 
·         Expect reductions at times to one lane southbound Monday through Friday between 5:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
·         Turns from Indiana onto northbound Sullivan are reduced to one lane.
·         Expect construction vehicles and flaggers in the work area weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.


SPOKANE CITY
Addison/Standard Bicycle/Pedestrian Corridor from Buckeye to Holland- Work is underway on Lincoln and Standard heading north to Magnesium to complete a major bicycle and pedestrian corridor.  This work will be for sidewalk and driveway installation.  Traffic control is in place with possible lane restrictions.

Community Development Sidewalks- Crews are starting work on Southeast Boulevard from Rockwood Boulevard to 27th Avenue. This project is the removal and construction of concrete curb, sidewalk and ADA curb ramps.

Erie Street from 1st Avenue to the BNSF Overpass/Front Avenue Sewer Repair from Erie to Helena Street- Paving on Erie and Front Avenue has begun and  Erie is closed from 1st Avenue to the BNSF overpass. Improvements include installing 60 feet of new sewer main, spot repairs on existing sewer main and lining existing sewer main with CIPP (cured in place pipe) technology. This project will connect to a future CSO tank at approximately Crestline Street and Riverside Avenue.

First Avenue from Helena Street to Altamont Street- First Avenue will be paved Wednesday, October 28. 1st Avenue is closed through October. The corner of Napa and 1st is closed with a detour route provided. This project also includes grind-and-overlay pavement preservation.  

Francis Avenue from Division to the East City Limits- This project will install Variable Message Signs, Closed Circuit TV systems, fiber optic cables, and other related miscellaneous items. There will be intermittent lane closures through the end of November. 

Hartson Avenue from Altamont Street to Fiske Street-   Hartson is closed throughout the duration of the project, which is expected to be paved tentatively November 2.  Hartson will open from Fiske to Smith Street tentatively, November 5, weather permitting.  Smith to Altamont will finish spring 2016. This project includes rebuilding the roadway, filling sidewalk gaps and replacing curbing where needed.

Havana from Glenrose Road to 37th Avenue- Paving of Havana starts October 26. Improvements include full width pavement replacement, filling sidewalk gaps and installing bicycle lanes.  

High Drive and Hatch Road- 43rd Avenue from Scott to Garfield Street is closed. 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. This work is part of the Combined Sewer Overflow program.

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 4th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- 4th Avenue is open with one-lane access between Jefferson Street and Lincoln Street. The Lincoln Street work northbound has switched over with the east side lanes being closed for work at this time from 2nd to 4th Avenues. Monroe Street work southbound continues along the east side from 2nd to 4th Avenues.  The work on the 5th Avenue water main installation has been delayed to spring 2016 due to complications. The project includes reconstruction of the street from 2nd to 4th Avenues and will replace the asphalt surfacing, 

Northwest Boulevard and Columbia Circle- Columbia from Downriver Drive to H Street and H Street from Columbia to Northwest Blvd are 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. 

Ray/Thor Street from 29th Avenue to 17th Avenue- Ray Street will be paved November 2.  Traffic Islands will be replaced after paving.  Ray Street will open tentatively November 10. Until then, it has been reduced to one lane of traffic in both directions on the west half of the street with work being done on the east half of the street. Thor Street from 26th to 29th is closed. Improvements include preservation treatments like crack sealing and grind and overlay.

Rowan Avenue Improvements from Driscoll Boulevard to Alberta Street- The portion of this project from Driscoll Boulevard to Fotheringham will be completed in spring of 2016.  “A” Street is currently open, but will be closed again for the paving operation beginning around October 26.  Rowan will reopen for traffic in early November.

Sprague Avenue CSO Facility- This project will construct a combined sewer overflow facility on City property across from the City’s Sewer Maintenance Facility. Work is scheduled to complete tentatively at the end of November, weather permitting.

SPOKANE COUNTY

Elliot Road Culvert Replacement- Highway 206 reduced to one lane at intersection with Elliot Road. 

Ladd Road- Under construction 1/2 mile north of Thorpe Road. Watch for flaggers.

   

Liberty Lake 2016 Budget Includes

Liberty Lake's draft 2016 budget has been revealed and it includes several large-scale street projects. According to the Liberty Lake Splash, including a renovation of Liberty Lake Road. The work will include surface and signalization improvements at the intersection of the intersection with Country Vista. The intersection of Appleway and Liberty Lake Road will also get new signals to improve the flow of traffic.

The budget allocates $2.2 million of the $2.8 million allotted under the Capital Improvement Plan to transportation improvements. The balance will go toward projects at city parks, Trailhead Golf Course, Town Square and community signage. 

The Liberty Lake City Council is expected to pass the (possibly amended) budget on Dec. 15.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What Do Americans Buy With Their Saving From Cheap Gas? More Gas

Gas prices are fairly low right now. So what are you spending your savings on? The New York Times reports that a new study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute says most people spend it on more gas. And better gas.

The report, which aimed to look at the impact of lower gas prices on consumer spending, finds the average American would have saved about $41 a month last winter by buying the same gallons and grades of gas as they do when prices are higher. Instead, Americans took home roughly $22 a month instead. That's because they not only traveled by car more often but also bought the more expensive grades of gas.

So why did they do this? Researchers say people treat money as earmarked for particular kinds of spending. For instance, a certain amount per month is allocated to the mortgage, entertainment, gas, etc. If that amount isn't spent, people still seem to find a way to spend it in each category.

The JPMorgan looked at spending on gas between December 2013 and February 2014, when prices averaged $3.31 a gallon. They looked at the gas spending of the same one million people in the same time period one year later, when average prices were a dollar lower. Results say that the average American spent $136 per month on gas during the high-price period and $114 per month on gas during the low-price period. While the price of gas fell about 30 percent, spending on gas declined by only 16 percent.

Hands Free Voice Commands Can Distract You For Up To Almost 30 Seconds While Driving


So when you talk to your car "infotainment" system or your smartphone, you're only distracted for a second or two right?

Wrong! New studies by University of Utah researchers for the AAA Foundation found that it takes up to 27 seconds to regain full attention after issuing voice commands.

Even if you are using hands-free voice commands, one of the studies showed that it's still a big distraction. The details can be found in this article by Phys.org.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Getting There Blog Asks Candidates How They Feel About Bike Lanes

Bike lanes- love 'em or hate 'em? How about your elected officials; how do they feel about them? Since it's election season, the Spokesman-Review's "Getting There" blog asked just that question.

Some answers were predictable, others not so much, but overall, bike lanes are pretty much supported by candidates for office in the City of Spokane. Check out the link to see how the candidate in your district would treat bike lanes if elected.

Some Residents Say New Street Lights Are Too Bright

It's a catch-22. You want to feel safe walking on your street after dark in a well-lit environment, but According to the Spokesman-Review, some Spokane residents are complaining that new LED streetlights recently installed by Avista are too bright.
you also want to be able to sleep at night without having your room lit up like it's daytime.

Avista is replacing 3,000 of the company-owned sodium orange streetlights across the state this year, including in eight Spokane neighborhoods and several small towns around the area, including Tekoa, Clarkston, Colfax and Deer Park. The replacements are more energy efficient (they are estimated to reduce energy usage by 40-50 percent, and last three times longer than the old style) and "greener" in general. LED lights are recyclable and do not contain mercury, like the sodium lights being replaced.

Avista says that the energy saved by the bulb replacement project could power 2,300 homes.

Not everyone is happy with the lights though. Some residents in the neighborhoods with the new lights say they could read easily in the street. There have been complaints from residents of other cities that have switched to LED also. In Davis, California, residents were so upset by the glare of the new lights that city officials replaced them with lower-wattage LEDs with a warmer glow.

It's not clear at this time what will happen but Avista officials say they are willing to work with citizens on the issue.

Street Sweeping Starts In Spokane Valley This Week

Spokane Valley officials want to let you know that you will be seeing street sweeping vehicles throughout the city starting this week.

To help crews efficiently complete fall street sweeping, please keep vehicles, trailers and portable basketball hoops out of the right of way. It's also important to trim vegetation away from curbing and out of the right of way, and to trim overhanging branches to at least 14 feet above the public street. 

Also, know raking or sweeping leaves from your yard into the street. You can haul them to the Spokane Valley University Road Transfer Station, or dispose in yard waste containers available to Waste Management's curbside solid waste pickup subscribers.

Information about the City's Street Sweeping Plan is available in the City of Spokane Valley website at www.spokanevalley.org/streetmaintenance.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tell Us How You Would Spend Local Transportation $$

You've got a couple more weeks to let us know how you would spend $50 million on local transportation if it was your choice. SRTC webtool let's you weight in about your transportation priorities by basically voting with your (imaginary) dollars.

New federal and state regulations require Metropolitan Planning Organizations like SRTC to create and track performance measures and targets to ensure the transportation system is developing as planned. This is being done through a project called the Horizon 2040 Implementation Toolkit.

Horizon 2040 is the region’s long-term transportation plan that guides how our transportation system will grow between today and the year 2040. The Horizon 2040 Implementation Toolkit will identify measures and targets that can be measured using available data that relate to Horizon 2040’s Guiding Principles.

The web tool will help you understand how investments and outcomes are related and also allows you to identify priorities of the region that will help develop those targets. The tool allows users to choose an estimated level at which they would like to fund categories such as roadway preservation and management, congestion management, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, transit improvements and transportation safety.

As you allocate money to each category, graphics show just how far that amount would go. For instance, for roadway preservation, the amount of lane miles repaired changes as you change the funding for that category. For bicycle and pedestrian improvements, the percentage of people commuting by bike or walking increases or decreases as you add or subtract money. Screen shots on the following page give an idea what you will see when using the web tool.

Just like in real life, the hard part is not blowing your budget. The $50 million available for distribution on the web tool is based on the approximate amount of money projected to be invested in the local transportation system by SRTC over the next five years.  Once you have made your budgeting decisions, you can compare your results to others who have used the web tool and learn about the next steps in the performance measurements development process.

A Bike That Plays Records On It's Wheels- What More Could You Need?

If you like vinyl and riding bikes, here's something to put on your Christmas list; the "Feats per Minute" bike that plays records on it's wheels. This is nothing new though- it's a 30 year old bike that was modified and had a speaker added to it. You just pedal the thing to generate the music.

Council Votes to Support John Wayne Trail

Spokane's City Council is taking a stand for the John Wayne Trail. The Spokesman-Review says that the Council last night unanimously agreed to support the “preservation, maintenance and improvement” of the John Way Pioneer Trail. This follows threats from state legislators to abandon ownership of some parts of the trail that crosses the entire state.

The 253-mile-long trail, which connects to Spokane via the Fish Lake and Columbia Plateau trails, is the former rail bed for the old Milwaukee Road, which connected Spokane to Seattle. Idaho’s Route of the Hiawatha trail also sits on the road.

Legislators will likely discuss selling off parts of the trail in the upcoming legislative session.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mall Uses Holograms to Keep Non-Disabled People From Parking In Disabled Spots

Expanding on the article below, apparently a lot of people in Russia don't even acknowledge the handicap symbol and park in handicap spots whether they are or not. To combat this, at one mall, holograms of disabled people appear if you try to park in a disabled parking spot without the correct permit.

Move Underway to Update the Handicap Symbol

Editorial: Change To Livelier Handicapped Sign WelcomeWe're all familiar with the handicap symbol. Well, it's getting an update that emphasizes ability rather than disability.

The Harford Courant says the changes started as a street art project  and gained momentum. Even so, some aren't comfortable changing the symbol that has become so well known over the past 40 years and acceptance has been slow.

New York adopted it last year, and Connecticut could soon become the second state to do so. Other cities around the country including Phoenix and El Paso, Texas, are also on board.

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.

SPOKANE VALLEY

32nd and Collins- Narrowed lanes from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. through late October. A pedestrian detour is posted for students arriving and departing from University High School.

Argonne and Valleyway- Lane reductions on Argonne and a portion of Valleyway at Argonne from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. through late October. Pedestrians are redirected to use the existing crosswalk on the north side of the intersection.

Carnahan Hill- Reduced lanes with signage and flaggers beginning Monday, October 19 from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. until Tuesday, October 20.

Cataldo and Willow- Reduced lanes with signage and flaggers on Tuesday, October 20 from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Indiana at Spokane Valley Mall Entrance #2 - Reduced to one lane in each direction on weekdays from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. until late October. At least one lane will remain open at all times and access to the mall will remain available.

Mullan and Valleyway - Lane reductions on Mullan and a portion of Valleyway at Mullan from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. until late October. Pedestrians will be redirected to use the existing crosswalk on the north side of the intersection. 
·         The southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River is closed until Summer 2016 for bridge demolition and replacement work.  Traffic remains reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. 
·         Expect reductions at times to one lane southbound Monday through Friday between 5 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.
·         Turns from Indiana onto northbound Sullivan are reduced to one lane.
·         Expect construction vehicles and flaggers in the work area weekdays from 7 a.m.-6 p.m.


SPOKANE COUNTY
Old Trail/Inland Road Paving- The road opened Saturday. Items like guardrail installation and striping are being finished up.

Elliot Road Culvert Replacement- Highway 206 is reduced to one lane at the interesection with Elliot Road in order to replace a culvert under the highway that will make fish passage easier. 

Ladd Road- Under construction half a mile north of Thorpe Road. Watch for flaggers.

Cheney-Spokane Road Closures- Scribner Road will be closed at it's intersection with Cheney-Spokane Road on Wednesday, Oct. 21. Marshall Road will be closed at it's intersection with Cheney-Spokane Road on Thursday, Oct. 22.

CITY OF SPOKANE
Indiana Avenue from Division Street to Perry Street- This project to reconstruct the roadway is substantially complete. Indiana from Ruby to Dakota will open on Tuesday, Oct. 20. This roadway will now have one lane in each direction and bike lanes on both sides.

Division Street Triangle- Work to beautify the median is expected to be complete by Oct. 22. The right lane heading west on Spokane Falls Boulevard is closed until then. 

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 4th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- 4th Avenue is open with one-lane access between Jefferson Street and Lincoln Street. The Lincoln Street work northbound has switched over with the east side lanes being closed for work at this time from 2nd to 4th Avenues.  Monroe Street work southbound continues along the east side from 2nd to 4th Avenues. The project includes reconstruction of the street from 2nd to 4th Avenues and will replace the asphalt surfacing, including ADA ramps as needed.

Addison/Standard Bicycle/Pedestrian Corridor from Buckeye to Holland- Possible lane restrictions.  This is approximately a 5 week project. This project will complete a major bicycle and pedestrian corridor.  It will install missing bike lanes and sidewalks along the entire corridor and make improvements to existing bike lanes.

Ray/Thor Street from 17th to 29th Avenue- Ray Street is reduced to one lane in both directions on the west half of the street with work being done on the east half of the street. No left hand turns permitted. Improvements include preservation treatments like include crack sealing and grind and overlay. Pedestrian improvements include upgrades to ADA curb ramps and curb and sidewalk repairs.

Rowan Avenue Improvements- “A” Street is closed through Friday, September 25 between Wellesley and Francis and includes work for waterline infrastructure and storm components. This project is for reconstruction work from Driscoll Blvd. to Monroe Street. The project also includes installation of bike lanes, filling sidewalk gaps and replacing water lines.

Erie Street from 1st Avenue to the BNSF Overpass- The south end of Erie is closed for the installation of a concrete trail crossing through Oct. 22.  Access to Brown Building Supply will be from Trent Avenue.  Front Avenue is closed east of Erie. Erie is closed from 1st Avenue to the BNSF overpass for sewer repairs.  This work will pave the unpaved portion of Erie Street from 1st Avenue to the BNSF overpass, which connects to the future Martin Luther King Jr. Way alignment.  

First Avenue from Helena to Altamont- This project is a residential grind and overlay pavement preservation project from Crestline to Madelia.  The Street is closed with local access only. Closure of 1st Avenue will last through October. The corner of Napa and 1st will be closed to thru traffic with a detour traffic route provided.  This project had delays due to an addition of a stormwater system.

Front Avenue Sewer Repair- Improvements include installing a new sewer main, spot repairs on existing sewer main and lining existing sewer main with CIPP (cured in place pipe) technology. This project will connect to a future CSO tank at approximately Crestline Street and Riverside Avenue, scheduled for 2017.

Hartson Avenue from Altamont Street to Fiske Street- Hartson is closed for a full depth roadway reconstruction and filling sidewalk gaps, replacing curbing where needed and installing ADA curb ramps. The project will also include replacement of water lines.

High Drive, Bernard Street to Grand Boulevard- This integrated project includes pavement reconstruction, storm, sewer, swales, and water main replacement from Bernard Street to Grand Boulevard. Phase Two construction is expected last through the fall. The road is closed from Bernard Street to Grand Boulevard

Havana Street from Glenrose to 37thImprovements include full width pavement replacement, complete sidewalk gaps and bicycle lanes. This project will also include installation of a water transmission main between 37th Avenue and the Brown Park reservoirs at 57th Avenue.

High Drive and Hatch Road- As part of the Combined Sewer Overflow program, 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. 43rd Avenue from Scott to Garfield Street is closed. 

Wall Street ClosureSpokane Falls Boulevard has lane restrictions between Howard and Wall Street.  Traffic control begins at Washington to move traffic towards the north side lanes. The south left turn lane at Howard Street is open.  This work is part of the Wall Street Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project and will include the installation of a manhole, catch basins, and a clean water drain.  This work continues through the end of the month. Wall Street from Main Street to Spokane Falls Boulevard is closed.  

WSDOT
I-90/Latah Creek Bridge- On Tuesday, Oct. 20, from about 9 a.m. until as late as 3:30 p.m., westbound I90 will be reduced to two lanes for bridge inspections. On Wednesday, Oct. 21, from about 9 a.m. until as late as 3:30 p.m., eastbound I90 will be reduced to lanes.
US 195-Southbound/I-90 to Excelsior Road- Be alert for southbound US 195 reduced to one lane in multiple work areas for pavement rehabilitation.  A temporary speed reduction of 45 MPH is in effect for the southbound lanes. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Church Says Bike Lane Would Infringe Upon Rights of Religious Freedom

I've heard a lot of reasons that people didn't want bike lanes on roads in their area, including that they're not attractive, but now one Washington, D.C. church is saying they don't want a bike lane near their church because it could infringe up
“its constitutionally protected rights of religious freedom and equal protection of the laws.”

Huh? According to the Washington Post, a letter from an attorney for The United House of Prayer says the proposalo to add bike lanes is
ADVERTISINThe United House of Prayer is located in the 600 block of M Street NW and three of the four possible bike lane routes would run along at least parts of Sixth Street NW between Florida and Constitution avenues NW. (There is currently a bike lane going northbound on Fifth Street NW starting where the street becomes one way in that direction at the intersection of Fifth Street, New York Avenue and L Street NW.)
“unsupportable, unrealistic and particularly problematic for traffic and parking.”

The church claims that, with over 800 members and the Convention Center in the area, there are already congestion and parking issues and the parking removed to put in the lane would place an unconstitutionally undue burden on people who want to pray.

They claim other churches have moved from the suburbs due to parking restrictions.

Increased Fees Mean Many New Projects for ID, But Some Drivers Still Mad

Meanwhile in Idaho, fee increases passed by the Legislature last spring have just funded $49.2 million in transportation projects, with construction just wrapping up, but some people are mad because they didn't realize they would be paying more for gas and their car's registration.

This Coeur d'Alene Press article, written by former SRTC employee Jeff Selle, says the fee increases are going to pay for a backlog of road and bridge projects. The legislation raised registration fees by $25 for private vehicles and $25 for commercial vehicles starting on July 1, 2015. In addition, it increased the state gas tax to 32 cents per gallon, up from 25 cents a gallon. Fees were also raised on electric hybrid vehicles because, while they don't use as much fuel as a standard car, they still affect our infrastructure with wear and tear to our roadways.

This has some people upset who bought them to save money on gas. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fetch Fido! And Bring the Car Around While You're At It

I have long said that a typing monkey could replace me. Well now it turns out that a driving dog could do. The Huffington Post reports that a New Zealand dog trainer has taught dogs to drive. Probably better than some people I know too.

The lessons are part of a campaign by the New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), meant to clear up "common misconceptions" about rescue dogs. The trainer figures that if he can show people he can teach dogs to drive, maybe people will realize they're really cool and adopt the older dogs, and some with maybe tiny behavioral issues, that many people don't want.

So far, the animals have driven only with some human guidance, in the form of verbal commands and the occasional steering wheel readjustment, but I suspect they'll be making trips to the Walmart for Kibbles and Bits on their own any day now.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Salt Lake Experiments With Putting Buildings In the Median of Roadways

Before
Besides putting a road on a road diet to narrow it down and add bike lanes and sidewalks, what else can you do with wide roads? Gizmodo reports that Salt Lake City has been testing an idea of “median development,” or building retail and residential space in the median.

Salt Lake City has very wide roads, allegedly because Brigham Young wanted a team of oxen and a cart to be able to turn around in the street.

This leaves a lot of wasted space, so Salt Lake officials have been experimenting with ideas by using shipping containers to build what they're calling "Granary Row," temporary structures meant to mimic potential development for the area.
After

The group behind this idea, Kentlands Initiative, is now working with the city to lease the median for 99 years to permanently build retail and residential space.

America's Truck Driver Shortage is Increasing

Need a job? America has a giant shortage of truck drivers due to the aging of the workforce.
As a result, truck driving salaries are expected to increase 8% to 12% annually.

According to the website Money, a new report from the American Truckers Association (ATA), the industry needs to fill 48,000 jobs—and that shortage could go up to 175,000 by 2024 as drivers continue to retire  and the demand for shipping and deliveries grows due to online retail.

The average salary of a private-fleet trucker is $73,000, with the industry-wide median beingound $40,000. But apparently those numbers haven’t been enticing enough to draw qualified applicants into the field.

Part of the problem, according to the ATA report, is the long hours and weeks away from home. to counteract that, the ATA is discussing increasing driver pay and increasing driver time at home. They have also considered recruiting veterans, attempting to lower the driving age from 21 to 18.

Monday, October 12, 2015

UK Police Ban Self-Balancing Scooters

They're the newest personal transportation option- and British police are banning them, except on private property. 

Self-balancing scooters are kind of like a sideways skateboard, only they're electric and users lean forward or backward to control them. So why don't police like them?

Gizmodo reports that law enforcement authorities are trying to figure out how to regulate this affordable and futuristic form of transportation. According to the Metropolitan Police, section 72 of the United Kingdom’s Highway Act 1835 classifies the scooters, along with “personal transporters” like Segways “as motor vehicles, subject to road traffic laws.” That means you need a license and registration to ride one on public roads. That also means you can’t ride the on sidewalks. 

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.