Friday, July 29, 2016

Local Construction Update

SPOKANE VALLEY
32nd Avenue from Dishman-Mica Road to University Road - Closed through mid-August for street preservation work. Signs detour traffic via Dishman-Mica Road and University Road.

32nd Avenue from University Road to Pines Road - Reduced to one lane each direction through mid-August. The south sidewalk is closed. Anticipate brief interruptions to side streets and driveways from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Flora Road between Mission Avenue and Boone Avenue - Reduced to one lane with flaggers directing traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8 and Tuesday, Aug. 9; then closed to all but local traffic from Wednesday, Aug. 10 through Thurs., August 26 for utility and access work. A detour via Boone Avenue, Arc Street and Mission Avenue is posted.

McDonald Road from Sprague Avenue to 16th Avenue - Closed to all but local traffic through Friday, Sept. 2 for resurfacing and other improvements. Intersections at 4th Avenue and 8th Avenue are closed.  Detours are posted.  Access to businesses remain available.  Expect brief interruptions to driveway access with those affected notified directly in advance.  Signs redirect pedestrians.

Mission Avenue between Lilly Road and Park Road - Expect narrow lanes through the end of August. Full closures to be announced. Signs will detour traffic via Thierman Road, Broadway Avenue and Park Road. Anticipate brief interruptions to driveway access, those affected will be contacted directly in advance.

Park Road between Nora Avenue and Mission Avenue - Expect narrow lanes through the end of August. Expect a full closure to be announced near the end of August. Signs detour traffic via Mission Avenue, Vista Road and Trent Avenue. Anticipate brief interruptions to driveway access, those affected will be contacted directly in advance.

Pines Road at Mirabeau Parkway intersection - Reduced to one lane southbound. Expect the driveway on the west side of Pines Road at Mirabeau Parkway to Trent Elementary School and Mirabeau Chapel to be closed. Access remains available at other driveways.

Southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River- Traffic remains reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. Turns from Indiana Avenue onto northbound Sullivan Road are reduced to one lane. Southbound Sullivan Road at Flora Pit Road will be reduced to one lane August 1-5, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.


SPOKANE CITY
1st Avenue Et Al, Erie to Helena- 
Work on the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Ivory Street has started. Other streets involved include: 1st Avenue from Erie Street to Helena Street,  Perry Street from 1st Avenue to Sprague Avenue, Ivory Street from 2nd Avenue to Sprague Avenue, Helena Street from 1st Avenue to Sprague Avenue,  Perry Street from 2nd Avenue to Hogan Street. This project will provide storm water conveyance to Pacific and Perry Infiltration Facility and replace old water distribution lines. The project also includes associated street construction.


37th Avenue, Regal Street to Custer Street- 37th Avenue from Freya to Custer Street is closed.  37th is closed at Havana Street. The detour route is Glenrose to Palouse Highway to Regal Street. This work is to reconstruct the road, include pavement replacement, curbs, sidewalk, bike lanes, stormwater piping, and a 36 inch water main.


Residential Grind and Overlay Project- The following 2016 Grind and Overlay residential pavement preservation projects have started.  This work includes subgrade repair, crack sealing, ADA ramps, and striping.  These projects require a full closure during the work:

  • Garfield Street from 26th Avenue to Rockwood Boulevard.
  • Madison Street from Boone to Sinto, Sharp from Madison to Jefferson and Cedar Street from Boone to Sharp
  • Lee Street from Mission to Nora, Nora from Lee to Crestline, Crestline from Mission to Nora.
  • Cannon Street from Kieran to Garland.
  • Arthur Street from 37th to 39th Avenue
Ben Burr Trail and Connection to the Centennial Trail- Work continues along the trail at 3rd Avenue and Arthur and 2nd Avenue and Perry. This project will design and construct a shared use paved trail connection for bicyclists and pedestrian as well as security lighting installation. The project will be from the Centennial Trail at the Gonzaga Bridge southeast of Erie Street and continuing to Liberty Park where a connection will be made to the existing Ben Burr Trail. The trail will then continue on the existing Ben Burr Trail to the trailhead immediately south of Underhill Park.

Bridge Avenue and Monroe Street CSO Work- Summit Blvd/Bridge Avenue is closed to traffic. Lincoln has one northbound lane open. Lincoln southbound is closed at Broadway with local access maintained. This project will construct a Combined Sewer Overflow Tank (CSO) tank and the necessary piping for our Cleaner River Faster Program.


Bridge Inspection Work- Inspection of the Washington North Bridge is scheduled for Thursday, August 4th. The south bound curb land will be inspected first from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. The north bound curb lane will be inspected from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Hatch Road Grind and Overlay Work- Hatch Road opens today from Hangman to Hwy 195.

Crews are grinding Hatch, working downhill from 57th Avenue to Hwy 195. Crews are working on the mid-section currently with the section nearest Hwy 195 being the last segment to be completed.  

Hazel's Creek Stormwater Treatment Project- Work continues on Freya south of 37th Avenue on a stormwater treatment system with disposal ponds and stormwater piping. 


Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry Street- Work continues along Indiana Ave., beginning at Perry St. and proceeding from East to West.  Indiana Ave. from Ruby St. to Perry St. is closed with East-West traffic detoured to Mission Ave., Montgomery Ave. and Illinois Ave. North-South arterials within the construction zone at Hamilton Ave. and Perry St. are open. This project will include curb ramps, storm swales, new curb, waterline replacement, signal installation work and some parking removal.


Main Avenue and Division Street Intersection Improvements- Work begins on the east corners of the intersection of Division and Main on Monday, August 1. The work includes sidewalk removal and excavation for underground storm water improvements.  Pedestrian detours will be in place and business access will be maintained. Throughout the project there will be lane restrictions on both Main and Division. Work on this project involves curb bumpouts at all four corners of Division Street and Main Avenue, the removal and replacement of existing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, ADA upgrades, installation of planter boxes and planting.

Martin Luther King Jr. Way Phase 2A Sherman to Erie Street- Work on the Martin Luther King Jr. Way extension has started. Phase 2A is an extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Sherman to Erie Street. This is a continuation of the Riverside Extension Phase 1 project. This project will provide an efficient transportation route that eliminates several safety issues and increases capacity into and out of the downtown area while passing along the south edge of the University District. These improvements include a new asphalt pavement street, utility infrastructure, storm drainage improvements, street lighting, street trees, and re-vegetation with native species. In lieu of sidewalks, the project proposes to construct a section of the Ben Burr trail to provide pedestrian circulation. The trail will be separated from the roadway traffic and aligned parallel to the Spokane River, allowing pedestrians through access with greater aesthetic experience. The right-of-way area for the sidewalk will be used to provide bike lanes and planting/storm water treatment areas.

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 8th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Work on Monroe Street from 4th Ave. south to 8th Ave. continues. One lane southbound on Monroe Street has reopened. Northbound traffic will continue to be detoured until the project is complete. Lincoln Street is closed for 6 weeks. 5th Avenue will be open to east and west traffic late Thursday, July 28. There will be intermittent closures at the intersection of Lincoln and 5th Avenue as the City works on storm and water lines. The on ramp for eastbound traffic at Monroe is open. Traffic exiting Maple Street eastbound will be detoured off of 4th at Jefferson Street. This project reconstructs the roadway from 8th to 2nd Avenue and installs storm water and water facilities. 

Monroe and Lincoln Street, Main Avenue to 2nd Avenue- This is a full depth roadway replacement between curbs on Lincoln Street and Monroe Street; Main Avenue from Monroe Street to Lincoln Street; and Monroe Street from Spokane Falls Boulevard to Main Avenue. Some minor curbing and ADA curb ramps will be installed where necessary. Traffic control is in place to minimize the effects of backups during peak traffic hours.  Drivers are asked to be patient and to exercise caution when in the construction zone. Both Monroe and Lincoln have lane restrictions with four way stop signs located at the intersections of 1st, Sprague, and Riverside Avenues.

Pettet Drive/TJ Meenach Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO 12) Project- Pettet Drive is closed until November. The clover leaf that services TJ Meenach, Down River and Pettet Drive (three out of the four legs) is open. The leg that comes off of Pettet, northbound will re-direct citizens to Northwest Blvd. Vehicles traveling southbound on Down River Drive have two options; enter onto TJ Meenach or continue under the bridge and turn uphill to Northwest Blvd. This project will build a 690,000 gallon storage facility and connections to existing CSO Basin 10 outfall.  Work also includes repaving of Pettet Drive and pedestrian/bike trail construction.

WSDOT
US 2/Sunset Blvd. to I-90- Weekday evenings from about 7 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, be alert for possible lane restrictions for guardrail upgrades.

US 2-Division Street/Curb and Sidewalk- Northbound Division Street is reduced to one or two lanes for curb and sidewalk improvements.

I-90 Eastbound/Hamilton Street Ramp- Monday and Tuesday, August 1-2, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the eastbound I-90 off ramp to northbound Hamilton Street will be reduced to one lane for pavement repairs.

I-90/Westbound Freya Off-Ramp- On Friday, July 29, beginning at 7 p.m. until Monday, August 1 at 6 a.m. westbound I-90 will be reduced to two lanes.  Westbound drivers should be alert for slow traffic, congestion, and some delays. The westbound Sprague Avenue on-ramp and westbound Freya off-ramp will remain open. The Fancher Road westbound on-ramp will be closed with a signed detour in place.  In addition, from 11 p.m. Friday, July 29 until 3 a.m. Saturday, July30, westbound I-90 will be reduced to 1 through lane for setup of temporary concrete barrier.  This will be repeated for temporary barrier removal on Sunday evening, July 31, into Monday morning at 3 a.m. Second Avenue is now closed between Havana Street and Freya Street. Also, on Saturday, July 30, during the day in non-commute hours, northbound Freya Street will be reduced to two lanes between Third Avenue and Second Avenue. Crews are constructing a new westbound Freya Street off-ramp approximately ¼ mile to the east of the current one.

US 395-Division Street/Hawthorne Rd. Intersection- Hawthorne Road is closed east and west of Division.  Division Street turn lanes are closed.  All mainline lanes of Division are open. Crews are working on intersection improvements and a new signal system.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Market Street (Parksmith to Farwell)- Finishing up project, shoulder work, clean up
Road Open to traffic, Watch for flaggers and possible lane restrictions.

Seven Mile Bridge & Seven Mile Road- Bridge deck work, bypass Road in Place with a reduced speed limit of 25 mph.

Hawthorne Road West (Waikiki to US395)Road reconstruction, stormwater drainage swales, trees, irrigation, curb, signal improvement, bike lane, striping. The road is closed until the end of August. There is a marked detour.

Hawthorne Road East (US395 to US2)- Road reconstruction, stormwater sand filters, curb, signal, bike, striping. The road is closed and on-street parking prohibited.

Local Construction Update

SPOKANE VALLEY
32nd Avenue from Dishman-Mica Road to University Road - Closed through mid-August for street preservation work. Signs detour traffic via Dishman-Mica Road and University Road.

32nd Avenue from University Road to Pines Road - Reduced to one lane each direction through mid-August. The south sidewalk is closed. Anticipate brief interruptions to side streets and driveways from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Flora Road between Mission Avenue and Boone Avenue - Reduced to one lane with flaggers directing traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8 and Tuesday, Aug. 9; then closed to all but local traffic from Wednesday, Aug. 10 through Thurs., August 26 for utility and access work. A detour via Boone Avenue, Arc Street and Mission Avenue is posted.

McDonald Road from Sprague Avenue to 16th Avenue - Closed to all but local traffic through Friday, Sept. 2 for resurfacing and other improvements. Intersections at 4th Avenue and 8th Avenue are closed.  Detours are posted.  Access to businesses remain available.  Expect brief interruptions to driveway access with those affected notified directly in advance.  Signs redirect pedestrians.

Mission Avenue between Lilly Road and Park Road - Expect narrow lanes through the end of August. Full closures to be announced. Signs will detour traffic via Thierman Road, Broadway Avenue and Park Road. Anticipate brief interruptions to driveway access, those affected will be contacted directly in advance.

Park Road between Nora Avenue and Mission Avenue - Expect narrow lanes through the end of August. Expect a full closure to be announced near the end of August. Signs detour traffic via Mission Avenue, Vista Road and Trent Avenue. Anticipate brief interruptions to driveway access, those affected will be contacted directly in advance.

Pines Road at Mirabeau Parkway intersection - Reduced to one lane southbound. Expect the driveway on the west side of Pines Road at Mirabeau Parkway to Trent Elementary School and Mirabeau Chapel to be closed. Access remains available at other driveways.

Southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River- Traffic remains reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. Turns from Indiana Avenue onto northbound Sullivan Road are reduced to one lane. Southbound Sullivan Road at Flora Pit Road will be reduced to one lane August 1-5, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.


SPOKANE CITY
1st Avenue Et Al, Erie to Helena- 
Work on the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Ivory Street has started. Other streets involved include: 1st Avenue from Erie Street to Helena Street,  Perry Street from 1st Avenue to Sprague Avenue, Ivory Street from 2nd Avenue to Sprague Avenue, Helena Street from 1st Avenue to Sprague Avenue,  Perry Street from 2nd Avenue to Hogan Street. This project will provide storm water conveyance to Pacific and Perry Infiltration Facility and replace old water distribution lines. The project also includes associated street construction.

37th Avenue, Regal Street to Custer Street- 37th Avenue from Freya to Custer Street is closed.  37th is closed at Havana Street. The detour route is Glenrose to Palouse Highway to Regal Street. This work is to reconstruct the road, include pavement replacement, curbs, sidewalk, bike lanes, stormwater piping, and a 36 inch water main.

Residential Grind and Overlay Project- The following 2016 Grind and Overlay residential pavement preservation projects have started.  This work includes subgrade repair, crack sealing, ADA ramps, and striping.  These projects require a full closure during the work:

  • Garfield Street from 26th Avenue to Rockwood Boulevard.
  • Madison Street from Boone to Sinto, Sharp from Madison to Jefferson and Cedar Street from Boone to Sharp
  • Lee Street from Mission to Nora, Nora from Lee to Crestline, Crestline from Mission to Nora.
  • Cannon Street from Kieran to Garland.
  • Arthur Street from 37th to 39th Avenue
Ben Burr Trail and Connection to the Centennial Trail- Work continues along the trail at 3rd Avenue and Arthur and 2nd Avenue and Perry. This project will design and construct a shared use paved trail connection for bicyclists and pedestrian as well as security lighting installation. The project will be from the Centennial Trail at the Gonzaga Bridge southeast of Erie Street and continuing to Liberty Park where a connection will be made to the existing Ben Burr Trail. The trail will then continue on the existing Ben Burr Trail to the trailhead immediately south of Underhill Park.

Bridge Avenue and Monroe Street CSO Work- Summit Blvd/Bridge Avenue is closed to traffic. Lincoln has one northbound lane open. Lincoln southbound is closed at Broadway with local access maintained. This project will construct a Combined Sewer Overflow Tank (CSO) tank and the necessary piping for our Cleaner River Faster Program.

Bridge Inspection Work- Inspection of the Washington North Bridge is scheduled for Thursday, August 4th. The south bound curb land will be inspected first from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. The north bound curb lane will be inspected from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Hatch Road Grind and Overlay Work- Hatch Road opens today from Hangman to Hwy 195.
Crews are grinding Hatch, working downhill from 57th Avenue to Hwy 195. Crews are working on the mid-section currently with the section nearest Hwy 195 being the last segment to be completed.  

Hazel's Creek Stormwater Treatment Project- Work continues on Freya south of 37th Avenue on a stormwater treatment system with disposal ponds and stormwater piping. 

Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry Street- Work continues along Indiana Ave., beginning at Perry St. and proceeding from East to West.  Indiana Ave. from Ruby St. to Perry St. is closed with East-West traffic detoured to Mission Ave., Montgomery Ave. and Illinois Ave. North-South arterials within the construction zone at Hamilton Ave. and Perry St. are open. This project will include curb ramps, storm swales, new curb, waterline replacement, signal installation work and some parking removal.

Main Avenue and Division Street Intersection Improvements- Work begins on the east corners of the intersection of Division and Main on Monday, August 1. The work includes sidewalk removal and excavation for underground storm water improvements.  Pedestrian detours will be in place and business access will be maintained. Throughout the project there will be lane restrictions on both Main and Division. Work on this project involves curb bumpouts at all four corners of Division Street and Main Avenue, the removal and replacement of existing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, ADA upgrades, installation of planter boxes and planting.

Martin Luther King Jr. Way Phase 2A Sherman to Erie Street- Work on the Martin Luther King Jr. Way extension has started. Phase 2A is an extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Sherman to Erie Street. This is a continuation of the Riverside Extension Phase 1 project. This project will provide an efficient transportation route that eliminates several safety issues and increases capacity into and out of the downtown area while passing along the south edge of the University District. These improvements include a new asphalt pavement street, utility infrastructure, storm drainage improvements, street lighting, street trees, and re-vegetation with native species. In lieu of sidewalks, the project proposes to construct a section of the Ben Burr trail to provide pedestrian circulation. The trail will be separated from the roadway traffic and aligned parallel to the Spokane River, allowing pedestrians through access with greater aesthetic experience. The right-of-way area for the sidewalk will be used to provide bike lanes and planting/storm water treatment areas.

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 8th Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Work on Monroe Street from 4th Ave. south to 8th Ave. continues. One lane southbound on Monroe Street has reopened. Northbound traffic will continue to be detoured until the project is complete. Lincoln Street is closed for 6 weeks. 5th Avenue will be open to east and west traffic late Thursday, July 28. There will be intermittent closures at the intersection of Lincoln and 5th Avenue as the City works on storm and water lines. The on ramp for eastbound traffic at Monroe is open. Traffic exiting Maple Street eastbound will be detoured off of 4th at Jefferson Street. This project reconstructs the roadway from 8th to 2nd Avenue and installs storm water and water facilities. 

Monroe and Lincoln Street, Main Avenue to 2nd Avenue- This is a full depth roadway replacement between curbs on Lincoln Street and Monroe Street; Main Avenue from Monroe Street to Lincoln Street; and Monroe Street from Spokane Falls Boulevard to Main Avenue. Some minor curbing and ADA curb ramps will be installed where necessary. Traffic control is in place to minimize the effects of backups during peak traffic hours.  Drivers are asked to be patient and to exercise caution when in the construction zone. Both Monroe and Lincoln have lane restrictions with four way stop signs located at the intersections of 1st, Sprague, and Riverside Avenues.

Pettet Drive/TJ Meenach Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO 12) Project- Pettet Drive is closed until November. The clover leaf that services TJ Meenach, Down River and Pettet Drive (three out of the four legs) is open. The leg that comes off of Pettet, northbound will re-direct citizens to Northwest Blvd. Vehicles traveling southbound on Down River Drive have two options; enter onto TJ Meenach or continue under the bridge and turn uphill to Northwest Blvd. This project will build a 690,000 gallon storage facility and connections to existing CSO Basin 10 outfall.  Work also includes repaving of Pettet Drive and pedestrian/bike trail construction.

WSDOT
US 2/Sunset Blvd. to I-90- Weekday evenings from about 7 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, be alert for possible lane restrictions for guardrail upgrades.

US 2-Division Street/Curb and Sidewalk- Northbound Division Street is reduced to one or two lanes for curb and sidewalk improvements.

I-90 Eastbound/Hamilton Street Ramp- Monday and Tuesday, August 1-2, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the eastbound I-90 off ramp to northbound Hamilton Street will be reduced to one lane for pavement repairs.

I-90/Westbound Freya Off-Ramp- On Friday, July 29, beginning at 7 p.m. until Monday, August 1 at 6 a.m. westbound I-90 will be reduced to two lanes.  Westbound drivers should be alert for slow traffic, congestion, and some delays. The westbound Sprague Avenue on-ramp and westbound Freya off-ramp will remain open. The Fancher Road westbound on-ramp will be closed with a signed detour in place.  In addition, from 11 p.m. Friday, July 29 until 3 a.m. Saturday, July30, westbound I-90 will be reduced to 1 through lane for setup of temporary concrete barrier.  This will be repeated for temporary barrier removal on Sunday evening, July 31, into Monday morning at 3 a.m. Second Avenue is now closed between Havana Street and Freya Street. Also, on Saturday, July 30, during the day in non-commute hours, northbound Freya Street will be reduced to two lanes between Third Avenue and Second Avenue. Crews are constructing a new westbound Freya Street off-ramp approximately ¼ mile to the east of the current one.

US 395-Division Street/Hawthorne Rd. Intersection- Hawthorne Road is closed east and west of Division.  Division Street turn lanes are closed.  All mainline lanes of Division are open. Crews are working on intersection improvements and a new signal system.

SPOKANE COUNTY
Market Street (Parksmith to Farwell)- Finishing up project, shoulder work, clean up
Road Open to traffic, Watch for flaggers and possible lane restrictions.

Seven Mile Bridge & Seven Mile Road- Bridge deck work, bypass Road in Place with a reduced speed limit of 25 mph.

Hawthorne Road West (Waikiki to US395)Road reconstruction, stormwater drainage swales, trees, irrigation, curb, signal improvement, bike lane, striping. The road is closed until the end of August. There is a marked detour.

Hawthorne Road East (US395 to US2)- Road reconstruction, stormwater sand filters, curb, signal, bike, striping. The road is closed and on-street parking prohibited.


Which Cities Have the Most/Least Cars Per Household?

If you were to guess, which city would you suspect has the most cars per household? According to Streetsblog USA , Ann Arbor, MI has the most cars per household. Conversely, car ownership is lowest in cities with robust transit systems and high parking prices such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia San Francisco and Washington. These numbers are from a table included in an analysis of car and bike share programs that you can see below (click to view full size). Some interesting data distilled from the table:
  • The average household in Seattle owns more cars than the average household in sprawling Atlanta.
  • Car ownership is higher in Boulder, CO (known for it's bike-friendliness) than in Las Vegas.
  • Portland households typically own more cars than in Miami, and the rate isn’t much lower than in Houston. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

New "Look" For The Maple Street Bridge

Photo courtesy the Spokesman-Review
You will have something new to look at soon if you drive the Maple-Ash corridor north of the Spokane River. Or maybe it will be looking at you.

According to the Spokesman-Review, a new mural, consisting of several pairs of eyes, has been painted on the retaining walls at the north end of the Maple Street Bridge.

The creation was commissioned by the city of Spokane to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Spokane Waste-to-Energy Plant.

So what do eyes have to do with the Waste-to-Energy plant? The artist, Todd Benson says they represent the people of Spokane and the environment they all share. The city’s logo and another logo commemorating the anniversary of the plant were painted on the walls beneath the Broadway Avenue overpass.

Funding for the $10,000 mural is from a budget for celebrating the Waste-to-Energy Plant’s 25th anniversary and is intended as a gift back to the community. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Looking To The Future of Transportation in our Area

A local planning commissioner examines a map of the area.
Every four years, SRTC is required by the federal government to update our long-range transportation plan, Horizon 2040. The plan was accepted by the SRTC Board in 2013, so we will be updating it in 2017. Before that though, SRTC staff is trying to get an idea on what has changed locally in the past four years, such as new trends (self-driving cars, electric vehicle highways, etc.), planning methods, land use ideas and rules, and more. We are doing this by sitting down with members of the public in a series of "roundtable" discussions with various groups.

Yesterday we met with members of local plan commissions, including the Liberty Lake, Millwood and Spokane County commissions, and heard some pretty interesting things. Here is a sample of what we heard:
  • There are more single-family households than households with children in Spokane County now. One plan commissioner pointed out the houses on the market today are too big for single people.
  • In 1976, Spokane County had the largest percentage of single-family homes in the country (which means there were few multi-family homes such as apartments).
  • Oil prices in 1950 were the same as in 2000.
  • Make STA bus rides free. A half-full bus costs just as much to run as a full bus.
  • At $300 million, a light rail line isn't such a crazy idea when you consider what it will cost to complete the North Spokane Corridor ($1.5 billion total).
  • We should be moving oil via pipeline rather than train.
  • The North Spokane Corridor (NSC) is going to bring industry and all the vacant land along it will fill up.
  • The NSC would have been built years ago but there was a "Stop the Corridor" coalition in the 1960s that didn't want the freeway because it feared it would split the Gonzaga neighborhood and cause economic hardship, similar to what happened in the East Central neighborhood as a result of the construction of Interstate 90.
  • I90 was constructed so that the off-ramps would force people into downtown rather than away from it.
  • Southeast Boulevard was originally planned to connect to a bridge that would go over I90.
  • Downtown is hopping at night now, where it didn't used to be.
  • Why not combine Fairchild Air Force Base and Spokane International Airport since SIA controls all the air space anyway?
More roundtables will be held throughout the summer and fall and we will present what we learned to the SRTC Board in approximately November. After that, the information will be used to shape the update to Horizon 2040 as we get to work on it in early 2017.

Creepy Traffic Safety Campaign Is Strangely Fascinating

This is Graham. He has the perfect body. The perfect body for what, you ask, being used as a
battering ram? Nope, Graham is a simulation by the Victoria, Australia traffic safety campaign Towards Zero, of what the human body would have to look like to cope with the impact of a traffic crash.

The human body can only withstand certain amounts of force in a car accident- the impact forces of less than 20 miles per hour are enough to be fatal if a pedestrian was struck or a car collided with a tree.

The campaign's aim is to remind people how vulnerable our bodies are and to show them what they would look like if we were built to survive car crashes. Kind of creepy right? Well here's more if you want to see Graham in all his 360-degree glory and find out more about this campaign.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Do Walkable Communities Attract Smart People

Do you prefer walking or driving? Your answer may suggest something about your education level, according to results from a study just released by Smart Growth America. The BBC reports that study results say metropolitan areas in the United States that were found to be more pedestrian-friendly also often had higher levels of Gross Domestic Product — and their citizens were better educated.

The Smart Growth America study looked at the 30 biggest metro zones in the US, and ranked them by how much office, retail, and residential area was conducive to walking.

Christopher Leinberger, study author and professor at the George Washington University School of Business, says that walkable urban places "have a much higher propensity to have highly educated people — about one third higher than drivable metro areas, like Orlando, Tampa, and Phoenix."

The question is though, do walkable places attract educated people, or do educated people move to certain places that then become more walkable?

The top three cities in the study with the highest percentages of office, retail, and residential spots in walkable areas — New York, Washington, and Boston — had a lot of citizens age 25 and up who hold a least a bachelor’s degree. Washington had the most of those citizens in the entire study (51%), and Boston had third most (42%).

To date, there’s not enough data to definitively say why these urban areas are filled with educated people but the article has some interesting ideas. Click the "BBC" link above to read the full article.




City Council Asks Voters to Determine if Coal and Oil Trains Should Be Banned

A coal train travels through downtown Spokane. Photo
courtesy Spokesman-Review archives.
Spokane's City Council last night voted 6-0 to ask voters if they want to fine railroads for running
coal and oil trains through the city.

According to the Spokesman-Review, the November ballot initiative would impose a $261 fine for each rail car of crude oil and uncovered coal that passes through downtown.

Opponents say passing the ordinance would snarl the city in unnecessary lawsuits but supporters believe it will protect the aquifer from coal dust or oil that could seep into the water supply in the event of a spill.

Is this move even legal? The Spokesman-Review reports that the Federal Railway Safety Act, first passed by Congress in 1970, permits local governments to adopt rules to “eliminate or reduce an essentially local safety or security hazard” if the Department of Transportation has not taken action.

City Councilmember Breean Beggs, also an attorney, said Spokane’s unique aquifer would likely withstand a legal challenge as an “essentially local” hazard, though the courts have struck down local regulations pertaining to rivers because they are more prevalent near railroad tracks than aquifers.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tuning A Car Radio Was Considered Distracted Driving in the 1930s

Speaking of distracted driving, according to Mental Floss, in 1930, laws were proposed in Massachusetts and St. Louis to ban radios while driving. Opponents of car radios apparently argued that they distracted drivers and caused accidents by taking the driver's attention away from the road.

The first car radio was introduced in 1922 by Chevrolet. It cost $200 and had an antenna that covered the car’s entire roof, batteries that fit under the front seat and two huge speakers attached behind the seat.

By the early 1930s, the more streamlined built-in Motorola radios were standard features in cars.  By 1946, 9 million cars had radios. By 1963, 50 million cars – over 60 percent – were outfitted with radios. By then, over one third of America’s radio listening occurred in the car.

Anti-radio laws were signed in small municipalities but were mostly ignored. In 2002, the NHTSA blamed 66% of the 43,000 fatal car crashes on “Playing with the radio or CD.”Conversely, here are some statistics from Mental Floss on another distracted driving practice; texting and driving:

  • According to tests conducted by the University of Utah, a driver is four times more likely to cause an accident while driving drunk or talking on a cell phone and eight times more likely to cause an accident while texting. 

  • A 2009 study by Car and Driver magazine measured two drivers’ reaction times to the onset of a simulated brake light on their front windshields. The unimpaired driver took .45 seconds to brake and traveled 4 feet before stopping. The texting driver took .57 seconds to brake and traveled 41 feet before stopping. 

  • According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,870 people died in texting-related car crashes in 2008 and 515,000 people were injured in various car crashes in the United States. Around 28 percent of all crashes in 2008 were caused by drivers in the age group of 18 and 29, who admitted to texting while driving.

Local Construction Update

WSDOT
US 2/Sunset Blvd. to I-90- Weekday evenings from about 7 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. the following morning, be alert for possible lane restrictions as crews are upgrading guardrails.

US 2-Division Street/Curb and Sidewalk- Northbound Division Street is reduced to two lanes for curb and sidewalk improvements. You may experience congestion and some delays.

I-90 Eastbound/Hamilton Street Ramp- Monday through Wednesday, July 25-27, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the eastbound I-90 off ramp to northbound Hamilton Street will be reduced to one lane for pavement repairs.

I-90 Eastbound/US 195 Off Ramp- On Wednesday, July 27, beginning at about 5 a.m. for up to 24 hours, the eastbound I-90 to southbound US 195 ramp will be closed with a signed detour in place for guardrail upgrades.

I-90/Westbound Freya Off-Ramp- On Friday, July 22, beginning at 7 p.m. until Monday, July 25 at 6 a.m., westbound I-90 will be reduced to two lanes. Westbound drivers should be alert for slow traffic, congestion, and some delays. The westbound Sprague Avenue on ramp and westbound Freya off ramp will remain open. The Fancher Road westbound on-ramp will be closed with a detour in place.  In addition, from 11 p.m. Friday, July 22 until 3 a.m. Saturday, July 23, westbound I-90 will be reduced to one lane for setup of temporary concrete barrier.  This will be repeated for temporary barrier removal on Sunday evening, July 24, into Monday morning at 3 a.m. Second Avenue is now closed between Havana Street and Freya Street.  A signed detour will be in place.  Also, westbound I-90 may have intermittent nightly  lane restrictions during the week. Crews are constructing a new westbound Freya Street off-ramp approximately ¼ mile to the east of the current one.

US 195/Hatch Road Intersection Vicinity- Beginning Monday, July 25 through Friday, July 29, northbound US 195 at Hatch Road may be reduced to one lane at times for paving.  In addition, Hatch road will be closed.

US 395-Division Street/Hawthorne Rd. Intersection- Hawthorne Road is closed east and west of Division for intersection improvements and a new signal system.  Division Street turn lanes are closed.  All mainline lanes of Division are open.

SPOKANE VALLEY
32nd Avenue from Dishman-Mica Road to University Road- Closed through mid-August for street preservation work. Signs detour traffic via Dishman-Mica Road and University Road.

32nd Avenue from University Road to Pines Road- Reduced to one lane in each direction through mid-August. The south sidewalk is closed. Anticipate brief interruptions to side streets and driveways from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

32nd Avenue at the 13800 Block- Reduced to a single lane for utility work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, July 25. Flaggers will direct traffic through the work area.

Broadway Avenue between Sullivan Road and Conklin Road- Reduced to a single lane in each direction through the end of July. At least one lane in each direction will remain open except during possible overnight closures July 25-29 from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Signs detour traffic via Conklin Road and Sprague Avenue. Expect additional overnight closures to be announced. 

Indiana Avenue and Evergreen Road Intersection- Effective through July 29, Indiana westbound will be reduced to one through lane and one left turn lane, with Indiana eastbound reduced to two lanes with right turns permitted from the curb lane.  Evergreen northbound will be reduced to a single lane with turns permitted in both directions.

Southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River- Traffic is reduced to one lane northbound and two lanes southbound. Turns from Indiana Avenue onto northbound Sullivan Road are reduced to one lane. Southbound Sullivan Road at Flora Pit Road will be reduced to one lane July 25-29, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Centennial Trail below the bridge is open.

SPOKANE COUNTY

      Market Street (Parksmith to Farwell)- Finishing up project, shoulder work, clean up. Road Open to traffic, Watch for flaggers and possible lane restrictions.

      Seven Mile Bridge & Seven Mile Road- Bridge deck work. Bypass Road in Place, Speed Limit 25mph.

      Hawthorne Road West (Waikiki to US 395)- Road reconstruction, stormwater drainage swales, trees, irrigation, curb, signal improvement, bike lane, striping. Full Road closure until 8/30. Whitworth University remains open.
     Hawthorne Road East (US 395 to US 2)- Road reconstruction, stormwater sand filters, curb, signal, bike, striping. On Street Parking Prohibited.

     SPOKANE CITY
     1st Avenue Et Al, Erie to Helena- Work on the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Ivory Street has startedThis project will provide storm water conveyance to the Pacific and Perry Infiltration Facility and replace old water distribution lines. It also includes associated street construction. The streets impacted include 1st Avenue from Erie Street to Helena Street,   Perry Street from 1st Avenue to Sprague Avenue, Ivory Street from 2nd Avenue to Sprague Avenue, Helena Street from 1st Avenue to Sprague Avenue, and Perry Street from 2nd Avenue to Hogan Street.

      37th Avenue, Regal Street to Custer Street- 37th Avenue from Freya to Custer Street is closed. The detour route is Glenrose to Palouse Highway to Regal Street. This work is to reconstruct the road, include pavement replacement, curbs, sidewalk, bike lanes, stormwater piping, and a 36 inch water main.

       Ben Burr Trail and Connection to the Centennial Trail- Work continues along the trail at 3rd Avenue and Arthur and 2nd Avenue and Perry. This project will design and construct a shared use paved trail connection for bicyclists and pedestrian as well as security lighting installation. The project will be from the Centennial Trail at the Gonzaga Bridge southeast of Erie Street and continuing to Liberty Park where a connection will be made to the existing Ben Burr Trail.  The trail will then continue on the existing Ben Burr Trail to the trailhead immediately south of Underhill Park.

      Bridge Avenue and Monroe Street CSO Work- Summit Blvd/Bridge Avenue is closed to traffic for construction of a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) tank and pipingLincoln has one northbound lane open.  Lincoln southbound is closed at Broadway with local access maintained to Anthony’s restaurant and parking lots.

Hatch Road Grind and Overlay Work- Hatch Road will be closed from Hangman to Hwy 195 beginning the week of July 25 – 29 for work between Hangman and on Hatch Bridge.  Hangman will remain open. Crews are grinding Hatch Rd. working downhill from 57th Avenue to Hwy 195.  The top of Hatch Road has been completed.  Crews are working on the mid-section currently with the section nearest Hwy 195 being the last segment to be completed. 

Hazel's Creek Stormwater Treatment Project- Work continues on Freya south of 37th Avenue.  Construction of a stormwater treatment system with disposal ponds and stormwater piping is beginning.  This system will be an extension of the existing Hazel’s Creek Facility on 42nd Avenue.

Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry Street- Work continues along Indiana Ave., beginning at Perry St. and proceeding from East to West.  Indiana Ave. from Ruby St. to Perry St. is closed with East-West traffic detoured to Mission Ave., Montgomery Ave. and Illinois Ave. North-South arterials within the construction zone at Hamilton Ave. and Perry St. are open. This project includes curb ramps, storm swales, new curb, waterline replacement, signal installation work and some parking removal.

Main Avenue and Division Street Intersection Improvements- Work continues on the southwest corner of the intersection of Division and Main on sidewalk removal and excavation for underground storm water improvements. Work on this project involves curb bumpouts at all four corners of Division Street and Main Avenue, the removal and replacement of existing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, ADA upgrades, installation of planter boxes and planting.

Martin Luther King Jr. Way Phase 2A Sherman to Erie StreetWork on the Martin Luther King Jr. Way extension has begun. Phase 2A is an extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Sherman to Erie Street. This is a continuation of the Riverside Extension Phase 1 project. This project includes a new asphalt pavement street, utility infrastructure, storm drainage improvements, street lighting, street trees, and re-vegetation with native species. In lieu of sidewalks, the project proposes to construct a section of the Ben Burr trail to provide pedestrian circulation. The trail will be separated from the roadway traffic and aligned parallel to the Spokane River, allowing pedestrians through access with greater aesthetic experience. The right-of-way area for the sidewalk will be used to provide bike lanes and planting/storm water treatment areas.

Monroe/Lincoln Street Couplet, 8th Avenue to 2nd AvenueWork on Monroe Street from 4th Ave south to 8th Ave continues. Landscape and sprinkler work continues on Monroe Street and in the swale pond along 4th Avenue5th Avenue is open to local and business access between Lincoln and Monroe. Monroe and Lincoln are closed completely to through traffic. The detour is along 14th Avenue and Bernard/Washington/Stevens and 2nd and 3rd Avenue. When complete, this project will reconstruct the roadway from 8th to 2nd Avenue and install storm water and water facilities.  

Monroe and Lincoln Street, Main Avenue to 2nd Avenue- Traffic control is in place to minimize the effects of backups during peak traffic hours.  Drivers are asked to be patient and exercise caution when in the construction zone. Both Monroe and Lincoln have lane restrictions with four way stop signs located at the intersections of 1st, Sprague, and Riverside Avenues. This is a full depth roadway replacement and full depth replacement between curbs on Lincoln Street and Monroe Street; Main Avenue from Monroe Street to Lincoln Street; and Monroe Street from Spokane Falls Boulevard to Main Avenue. Some minor curbing and ADA curb ramps will be installed where necessary.

Pettet Drive/TJ Meenach Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO 12) ProjectPettet Drive is closed to traffic until November. The clover leaf that services TJ Meenach, Down River and Pettit Drive (three out of the four legs) is in service. The leg that comes off of Pettit north re-directs citizens to Northwest Blvd. Vehicles traveling southbound on Down River Drive have two options; enter onto TJ Meenach or continue under the bridge and turn uphill to Northwest Blvd. This project will build a 690,000 gallon storage facility and connections to existing CSO Basin 10 outfall.  Work also includes repaving of Pettet Drive and pedestrian/bike trail construction.

      Residential Grind and Overlay Project- The following Grind and Overlay residential pavement preservation projects have begun.  This work includes minor subgrade repair, crack sealing, modifying ADA ramps, and adding striping.  The roads will be completely closed:

o   Garfield Street from 26th Avenue to Rockwood Boulevard.
o   Madison Street from Boone to Sinto, Sharp from Madison to Jefferson and Cedar Street from Boone to Sharp
o   Lee Street from Mission to Nora, Nora from Lee to Crestline, Crestline from Mission to Nora.
o   Cannon Street from Kieran to Garland.
o   Arthur Street from 37th to 39th Avenue



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Spokane Reduced Carbon Monoxide Pollution

The Spokane Clean Air Agency has recently gotten federal approval for a limited plan to keep the air clean when it comes to carbon monoxide (CO) emissions, due to work done here to reduce CO pollution. Spokane has not violated federal standards for CO pollution since 1996, but at one time, the area had hundreds of violations a year.

Carbon monoxide in concentrated amounts is lethal. But it is also harmful in smaller amounts because it reduces the flow of oxygen to the body’s vital organs and tissues, according to the regional clean air agency.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the new plan may end mandatory vehicle emission testing by the end of 2019 at the earliest.

In 1976, Spokane saw 404 violations of the standard that limits CO to no more than 9 parts per million over eight hours. It was declared a “non-attainment” area and had to undertake a strict program to get the problem under control. Since then, CO levels have dropped steadily since; Spokane hasn’t seen a reading of 3 parts per million or higher since 2009.

Most of that reduction is due to improved fuel mileage, new vehicle pollution technology and blended fuels that reduce emissions.

The city of Spokane also synchronized stoplights and installed one-way streets to reduce vehicles idling at stoplights downtown. SRTC conducts air quality modeling that simulates the impact transportation projects and programs will have on air quality before they are constructed or implemented.

Spokane County was deemed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to have attained the carbon monoxide standard in 2005, and was required to develop two 10-year maintenance plans. The second of those two plans was approved recently.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hazardous Materials Consultant Says Oil Train Derailment Could Be Extremely Challenging

Photo courtesy the Spokesman-Review
Two to three oil trains a day travel through the area on over a mile of elevated train tracks that run right through downtown Spokane. An article in today's Spokesman-Review says the proximity of the tracks to Spokane’s most densely populated area makes downtown particularly vulnerable in the event of an oil train derailment.

A hazardous materials and emergency planning consultant for the city of Spokane testified last week before the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which is reviewing a proposed oil terminal in Vancouver, Washington. If built, the terminal could mean up to four additional oil trains daily through Spokane.

The Spokane Fire Department and mutual aid crews might be able to control a derailment in sparsely populated areas of the city but a downtown derailment would pose “extreme challenges. There is a lot more to this story at the link above.

Summer Committee Meeting Schedule

Summer at SRTC always means changes to our schedule of committee meetings. We like to give committee members a break when we can so here is what the schedule looks like for the next couple months. Everything gets back to normal in September:

  • There WILL be a Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting on Monday, July 25. The agenda can be found here. This could be a really interesting one if you are interested in how construction projects happen, from beginning to end. Guest speakers from partner agencies will explain the process, and the timeline.
  • TTC meeting scheduled for July 27 has been canceled
  • The Board meeting scheduled for August 11 has been cancelled

Friday, July 15, 2016

Workshop Ideas Include Changes to North Spokane Corridor

A workshop on ways to make the area transportation system friendlier to neighborhoods came up
with an interesting idea on changing the design of the southern part of the North Spokane Corridor into a boulevard rather than a freeway.

The freeway, currently under construction, is designed to be a high-speed, multilane freeway with elevated sections south of the Spokane River, with a connection to I-90.

According to the Spokesman-Review, participants at a workshop funded by an Every Place Counts Design Challenge grant (a special program of the U.S. Department of Transportation) were charged with finding ways to  “reconnect neighborhoods and improve community health, mobility and opportunity.”

Spokane was one of four cities selected to participate in the program with workshops led by the federal engineers and consultants. About 60 local officials and neighborhood leaders attended.

Besides changing the scope of the new freeway, there was also the suggestion of building a land bridge over I-90 at Liberty Park to connect the two sides of the freeway and create new recreation and opportunities linked to a trail network.Another idea was to start construction of the Children of the Sun trail planned for the North Spokane Corridor as soon as possible and use it to create small parks.

A final report from the workshop is expected in a couple weeks.

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.