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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Don't Mix Drunk Driving With Bad Road Conditions

Area law enforcement are gearing up for a crazy night. As if poor driving visibility and snowy and icy roads aren't bad enough, they suspect mixing in drinking and driving will make things even worse. Here's the Coeur d'Alene Press story.

I'm walking to a party around the corner from me for New Year's eve. What do the rest of you have in mind?

Holiday Closures

- Coeur d'Alene City Hall and other city offices and facilities will be closed for the New Year’s holiday.

- Post Falls City Hall will be closed New Year’s Day.

- KMPO will be closed starting and noon today through Thursday. We'll be back and ready to roll again on Friday.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some CDA Streets Closed To Traffic

Coeur d'Alene police are closing some specific streets in the city to parking until snow piles can be cleared.

Areas where parking is not allowed until the snow can be cleared include:

• Second Street between Sherman Avenue and Lakeside Avenue
• Fifth Street from Front Avenue to Sherman Avenue
• Sixth Street north between Sherman Avenue and Lakeside Avenue
• Sixth Street south
• Seventh Street between Sherman Avenue and Front Avenue

Here's the rest of the story.

CDA Police To Tow Hazard Cars

Move it or lose it. Your car, that is. Due to a large number of complaints about abandoned and snowed-in vehicles, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department is towing vehicles that are a hazard to other drivers. And it's going to be spendy to get them back. Here's the story.

Anyone out there have a car they've 'misplaced' in all this snow?

Monday, December 29, 2008

2009 KMPO Meeting Dates Set

Dates have been set for KMPO Board meetings and Kootenai County Area Transportation Team (KCATT) meetings in 2009, and posted to the KMPO website. Here's a link for all you meeting junkies out there. And remember, all KMPO Board and KCATT meetings are open to the public.

US95 Study Open House Rescheduled

In case you haven't heard, our US95 Access Management Study Open House has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 6 from 5-7 p.m. at the Idaho Transportation Department District 1 Headquarters Office, District Conference Room, 600 W. Prairie Avenue, in Coeur d'Alene.

The meeting will be a chance to present recommendations that came out of the study to the public. If you're not familiar with the US95 Access Management Study Here's a link to the project page on the KMPO website. The study report is posted there, which includes the recommendations.

Besides Shovels & Snowblowers, Snowmobiles Also Selling Out

You can't ride them on city streets, but snowmobiles seem to be the new prefered mode of transportation. Local retailers say you wouldn't know the economy is bad the way people have been buying snowmobiles lately. ATV's are also selling like crazy. Here's the story from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

P.M. Rush Hour More Dangerous Than A.M.

According to 'Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us', by Tom Vanderbilt (Alfred A. Knopf, $24.95), the morning rush hour is twice as safe as the evening rush hour, in terms of traffic accidents. That's because, when you're driving home in the evening, drivers are out shopping, picking up kids, etc. and not concentrating on driving as much as they should be. They are also more likely to have had a drink or two on the way home from the office.

So remember that on your drive home tomorrow and be especially observant.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snowzilla: Public Enemy #1 For Tying Up Traffic

KMPO in no way endorses this, but here's an idea from Ryan in our office of what you can do with all that extra snow in your yard: build a 'Snowzilla' snowman. Better ask the authorities first though, Anchorage officials have given the builders of Snowzilla a cease and desist order, saying so many people are coming to see the snowman that traffic has increased to the point of endangerment in the neighborhood and that the snowman itself was unsafe. Oh well, it's not like he's permanent.

ITD Wants Your Bike/Ped Thoughts

Most people aren't thinking about biking or walking right now, considering the weather, but the Idaho Transportation Department is. They're asking for your input on bike and pedestrian mobility through a survey.

Completing the survey will enable you to participate in establishing a new vision for non-motorized mobility within Idaho and provide needed insight to all agencies that make non-motorized mobility decisions.

Here's a link to the survey.

This Just In: KMPO Closure

Well we finally did it. We convinced the boss to let us leave the office for a couple days (although my ankle bracelet gives me a shock if I'm off the premises for more than 72 hours at a time).

KMPO will closed this afternoon (Wednesay), Thursday, and Friday. We'll be back and (hopefully re-energized) on Monday. I know I'll be feeling better after four days of dressing the cat up for the holidays.

Watch Where You Put Your Snow

In anticipation of businesses and individuals shoveling roofs, the City of Coeur d’Alene reminds citizens to remove snow shoveled off of roofs from alleys, sidewalks, and streets. With city crews working around the clock to keep roadways clear, and citizens trying their best to create pedestrian pathways during this record-breaking snow season, the city appreciates the extra help of citizens in this matter.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

US95 Study Open House Rescheduled For Jan. 6

Due to the snow armageddon, we were forced to cancel our US95 Access Management Study Open House last Thursday. We have rescheduled it for Tuesday, Jan. 6 from 5-7 p.m. at the Idaho Transportation Department District 1 Headquarters Office, District Conference Room, 600 W. Prairie Avenue, in Coeur d'Alene.

The meeting will be a chance to present recommendations that came out of the study to the public. If you're not familiar with the US95 Access Management Study Here's a link to the project page on the KMPO website. The study report is posted there, which includes the recommendations.

Snow Removal Help For Disabled People

If you are disabled, or know someone who is, and need help clearing snow, the City of Post Falls would like to help. Here's a link to a form to fill out and submit requesting snow removal help. After the main streets are cleared, the City will do their best to get someone out to help you.

Has anyone used this service?

Area Trails Open For Winter Sports

So what happens to area trails when we get this much snow? Charlie Miller, Director of the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation, says the Centennial Trail is being plowed by the Coeur d'Alene Parks Department any day we receive more than two inches of snow fall. Monte McCully can be spotted most days at 6 a.m. doing his part. The Post Falls and Kootenai County sections of the trail are not being plowed, however.

The Prairie Trail is also being cleared, also by Monte, but Miller it looks like he's only been able to make progress as far as Woodland Middle School so far.

Miller says that both trails are great for cross country skiing and snowshoeing but he'd like to remind snowmobilers and ATV-ers the trails are for non-motorized use only.

Also, thanks Monte for all your hard work! And to the Spokesman 'Huckleberries' blog for the picture of the Centennial Trail above.

Holiday Closures

Here are a couple closures for this week from area government agencies:

- Coeur d'Alene City Hall and most other city offices and facilities will be closed this Thursday for Christmas. They'll be open again on Friday.

- Post Falls City Hall will be closed Christmas Day, Thurs., Dec. 25 and New Year’s Day, Thurs. Jan. 1.

Monday, December 22, 2008

No Holiday For ITD Crew Members

The Idaho Transportation Department just announced that their crews in north Idaho won't be taking Christmas day off; they'll continue around-the-clock winter maintenance operations.

In the five northern counties, there are 92 employees covering 1,846 lane miles of the state highway system. They are working 12-hour shifts and cover a road section at least four times per day, more often during storms.

I90 Condition Report From Someone Who Was Just On It

Just got an update on the condition of I90 from a consultant visiting our office from Coeur d'Alene. She said I90 is in great shape on the Idaho side, but as soon as you hit State Line, it all goes to heck. She said after that, the freeway is covered with compact ice and snow and the going is sssslllooowwww from State Line all the way to downtown Spokane. Consider yourself warned.

Free The Fire Hydrants!

The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department is asking for your help to remove the snow around fire hydrants. The Water Department will be out today cleaning around hydrants. However, they will not be able to get to all hydrants due to the sheer number of them.

A buried fire hydrant can cause a 3-5 minute delay in attaching fire hoses to the hydrant, which can mean the total loss of a business or home.

So adopt a fire hydrant; just shovel out roughly a three-foot diameter clearing around hydrants near your home or business. You don’t have to dig all the way down to bare soil, just a few inches past the hose caps so firefighters can get a hydrant wrench turned.

KMPO Is Back Open!

It took me 1 1/2 hours to get to work today, but I'm here! And glad to be here too. Was starting to get cabin fever and a little looney. I think my pets are glad I'm working today too, I was considering dressing the cat up in doll clothes just for something to do. Bob wasn't very happy about that.

Anyway, a couple things I observed on my death march into work this morning:

- The good news: people were taking it very easy on the freeway. I think we only got up to 40 mph, and I only saw two slide-offs. The bad news: Drivers weren't moving over to let people merge as they were trying to get onto the freeway at the on-ramps. This caused some scary moments.

- If you are stopping to help pull someone out of a snowdrift or their driveway, PLEASE get as far off the road as you can before getting out to hook up their car with your tow chain. One clown stopped in the middle of Harvard Road in Liberty Lake this morning to help someone. That's great, but he also left his door wide open, leaving no room for people to get around. They were going into the median, which bogged things down even worse.

- Thanks to all the people who took it upon themselves to plow public roads! A very nice man in a big pickup was plowing Harvard this morning when I came through.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Open House for US 95 Access Study Cancelled

Good morning everyone, The Kootenai County Metroploitan Planning Organization has cancelled a public open house for the US Highway 95 access study that was scheduled for this afternoon from 4-7 p.m. at Centennial Distributing in Hayden, Idaho. A new open house will be resceduled at a later date. Watch this blog for more information when it comes available.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Check The SRTMC Website For Accidents & Delays

Don't forget, on days like today, when the weather is making the commute to Spokane rough, check the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center (SRTMC) website before heading out on the roads. The site shows accidents, delays, backups and any other incident that could cause you problems in Spokane County. You can also watch live cameras to determine the conditions of local roadways. Here's a link to the SRTMC site. And here's a video about the SRTMC that City Cable 5 put together for us:

Weather Causing Accidents & Delays

This morning’s snow has triggered rush hour accidents across the region, including several on Interstate 90. Take it easy, especially if you're heading into Spokane. Here's some of those accidents:

- Idaho State Police reported slide-offs and an accident partially blocking Interstate 90’s westbound lanes at Post Falls.

- A two-car wreck at the eastbound Freya Street exit on I-90 was slowing traffic in eastbound lanes toward downtown Spokane. Some traffic was taking the Freya exit and clogging Second Avenue.

- Another incident was reported at I-90 and Exit 277-A where the right lane was blocked.

- A refuse truck and automobile had collided on westbound I-90 at U.S. Highway 195.

- Traffic cameras showed vehicles on the freeway moving, but at some places such as Freya and Havana streets, it had slowed to about 25 mph.

Alternative Jet Fuel To Be Put To The Test

The Japanese are trying an alternative fuel in a commercial airliner they will test next month. Camelina is a biofuels crop that has received strong backing from Montana officials. It will be put to the test in January by a company out of Seattle and Boeing. Here's the story.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advocates Saying Disabled Parking Spots Being Abused

Advocates say that Idaho's parking-permit system is being taken advantage of by people who aren't disabled. 32,000 disabled parking permits and license plates are in effect in the state, but many disabled people say there are a lot more people than that parking in reserved spots. Here's the Idaho
Statesman story.

What's your experience? Have you seen people without a disabled parking permit or license plate parked in disabled spots? If so, do you say anything to them?

Cold Weather Causing Problems

The cold is causing problems all over North Idaho. Here's a roundup from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

ITD Crews Switching To Sand Due To Extreme Weather

The Idaho Transportation Department says the unusually cold temperatures are creating some challenges in keeping roads safe. Crews are using sand on the roadways instead of salt, as salt is less effective in extremely cold temperatures.

The problem with sand though is that it is easily blown off the roadway by traffic. State crews are working around the clock, seven days a week to keep the roads sanded. They cover a road section at least four times per day and will do so more often during storms.

So take it easy out there and remember that the roads may be even more slick than normal in the winter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Is A New One By Me

US95 Open House Reminder

A reminder to make room in your busy schedule this week for the US95 open house KMPO is hosting this Thursday evening from 5-7 p.m. We are completing a study on how to make US95 flow better, while still maintaining access to local businesses, and we'd like the people who drive it to come look at the recommendations that came out of the study. The meeting is at Centennial Distributing, 701 W. Buckles, Hayden, ID.

Here's more info on the study.

Drop In Santa Barbara Accidents Attributed To Hands-Free Law

I couldn't find the article when digging around on the internet this morning, but I heard a news story this morning that said traffic accidents have dropped by almost 40% in Santa Barbara County, CA since the hands-free cell phone law went into effect earlier this year. And fatal accidents dropped by 72%!!! Wow, those are some results. I'll keep digging and post it if I can find it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Driving At Its' Best

This video is making the email rounds right now. I'm not sure where it's from, but I have a feeling we have some of this fun to look forward to this weekend. And if it does, don't be like the woman here who jumps out of her car. She could have been hit by another car.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gas Drops Below $1.50 Mark

That sign is no longer accurate, gas prices dropped below the $1.50 mark in Coeur d'Alene yesterday. I saw two stations along US95, one right off I90 and one in Hayden, that were changing their signs to say $1.49 as I drove past.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Citylink Numbers Down From Last Month, Way Up From Last Year

The November 2008 Citylink ridership numbers are available. They are down a little from previous months, but still a large increase from the same time last year.

Alan Eirls with Citylink says ridership numbers usually drop a little at this time of year each year, and this year there was the added element of very low gas prices to get more people back into their own cars. Here's a link to the numbers.

Do you ride Citylink?

US95 Access Management Study Open House

KMPO is in the process of wrapping up the US95 Access Management Study and we have some recommendations on how to make US95 flow better, safer, and maintain access to the businesses that we want you to look at. We're hosting an open house next week, Dec. 18 from 5-7 p.m. at Centennial Distributing, 701 W. Buckles Ave., Hayden, in the Warren K Industrial Park.

Here's more info on the study. If you can't make the meeting, or have comments, email them to us here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Are Pedicabs A Good Fit For CDA?

According to the Inlander, Spokane will soon be getting a new form of transportation; pedicab.
Here's the scoop.

I was thinking this would be perfect for Coeur d'Alene in the summer. Tourists could be pulled around downtown while enjoying the sunny weather and pretty views. Anyone want to start a petition to get Mr. Eggum to start up business in Coeur d'Alene?

ITD Disputes Criticism On Bypass

The Idaho Transportation Department says criticism about work on the Sand Creek Bypass are off base. Here's the story from the Bonner County Daily Bee.

Roundup For the Week of Dec. 8

North Idaho may be joining Spokane's Transportation Management Center network of online traffic cameras and Idaho State Police want to teach you to drive in the snow and ice. Here's what's happening this week in the local transportation world from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' Column.

Friday, December 5, 2008

For the most part, I hate winter because of what a pain it is to try to get around in the ice and snow. One thing I do like about the season though is that you get some beautiful sunsets, like this north Idaho sunset we experienced yesterday. Thanks to the boss man, Glenn Miles, for this picture.

Groups Call For Green Investment To Repair Economy

A report compiled by 29 of the country's biggest 'green' groups calls for green investment to achieve economic growth, such as investment in infrastructure like public transportation.

The list of actions and policies the groups would like President-elect Barack Obama to adopt stresses the need for an approach that unites environment, energy, and economic policies. Here's the story and a link to the document.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Slow Down On SH97, The Eagles Are Back

The eagles are back on Lake Coeur d'Alene, which means that if you drive State Highway 97, you need to be extra careful. When I've been over there in past years, it's a mob scene of people stopped in the middle of the road, parked with cars halfway in the roadway, and people running back and forth across the highway, darting between cars. SH97 is already a scary stretch of road, so slow down and pay attention.

Thanks to the Spokesman's Huckleberries blog for the eagle picture, by the way.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Otter Wants To Raise Transportation-Related Taxes & Fees

Gov. Butch Otter told legislators today that Idaho needs to raise its gas tax, increase car and truck registration fees, tax rental cars and more to fund transportation maintenance needs around the state.

Here's the story.

Selkirk Loop Gets Scenic Byway Grant

This doesn't affect us in Kootenai County, but I thought it was really interesting and wanted to blog about it.

Boundary/Bonner Counties found out last week that they got a scenic byways grant to continue developing a scenic route in partnership with British Columbia. The route of the Selkirk Loop is between Newport, WA, Sandpoint, ID, Bonners Ferry, ID, and British Columbia.

$114,800 in federal scenic byway funds will be provided for the project.

The Loop has a very impressive website with maps, business listing, photos, and even testimonials from people who have driven it and made a mini-vacation of the trip. Here's a link. I'll remind you again about this in the summer as it would make a nice trip for a long weekend. In the meantime, has anyone driven it yet?

Public Transportation In New York

I stumbled across this video called 'Public Transportation; It's Not So Bad' on YouTube. I had a hard time paying attention to the actual form of transportation in the video though because I was too busy looking at the amazing amount of graffiti on the buildings. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Airlines Say The Will Cut More Flights & Jobs

Executives of major U.S. airlines announced today they will be cutting more flights and jobs. Here's the Spokesman-Review story.

CDA Public Hearing Tonight On Parking And Other Fees

A proposed change to the price of parking for downtown and midtown businesses could mean fee increases for the residents of Coeur d'Alene.

A public hearing is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. in the Community Room at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library on the proposed parking in lieu fee increase. The proposed formula would give midtown business owners the option of paying $5,000 per stall they couldn't provide customers at their business, while for downtown stores it would be around $10,000 -- a jump from the previous $1,500 cost.

A number of other increased rates could be ushered in too, including: First time police fingerprinting fees; fines for dog at large and having an unlicensed dog, garbage service fees, and water hook up fees.

Here's the story and how much those fines/fees could be increasing.

Monday, December 1, 2008

How About A Drive To Harrison?

I know we just got done with a weekend, and the next one is five days away. But here's a little something to help you plan what you're going to do next weekend. With the warm weather, the roads are still in good driving condition, so how about a road trip to beautiful Harrsion, ID? This upcoming weekend is the annual 'Winter Fest Celebration' in downtown Harrison. There are all kinds of events and fun for the whole family.

And while you're there, you can find out everything else going on in the area by checking out the South Lake Coeur d'Alene website. It's got listings of all kinds of entertainment happening in the area, upcoming educational classes, and even info on area tree farms where you can harvest your own Christmas tree. So have fun.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Some Things Carole, Jeff, and I Are Thankful For This Thanksgiving

- That more and more people are opting to walk and bike in Kootenai County as a form of transportation.
-That ridership on Citylink is continuing to increase despite the drastic drop in gas prices.
- That Carole came to work for KMPO and is super-organized.
- That the US95 Access Study is almost over (this was Carole's submission).
- That we all have jobs still.
- That Carole moved into our 'annex' in the office. Although I'm sure she's not Thankful for that. Jeff and I yell at each other over the cubicle walls. Unfortunately for Carole, her cubicle is between Jeff's and mine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm guessing this lady will never fail to stop at a railroad crossing again.

Price To Fly Coming Down

Airfares are falling rather than rising as the holiday travel season approaches. Due to the bad economy, many travelers are paying about $100 less per trip than people who locked in tickets months ago.

The holiday bargains come after financially strapped airlines shrank U.S. operations by about 10 percent this fall. Analysts predicted the capacity cuts would keep planes full but carriers are still struggling to fill seats, as many people are saving their money, unsure what to expect of the economy.

CDA City Hall Closed Thursday and Friday

Don't plan to conduct any Coeur d'Alene City business this Thursday or Friday. In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, Coeur d'Alene City Hall will be closed Nov. 27 and 28.

Other city offices and facilities will be closed as well. City Hall and other city facilities will open Monday, December 1st, at 8:00 a.m.

Monday, November 24, 2008

AAA Predicts Holiday Travel Won't Drop Much

Despite layoffs, foreclosures and stock losses, AAA is predicting that holiday travel won't drop much, and that 41 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here's are the numbers.

Do you plan to travel this week?

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Signals To Be Activated Monday

Using the Prairie Trail and crossing Kathleen Avenue or Atlas Road will soon be a lot safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, and anyone else using the trail. That’s because the newly installed signals at these two crossings will be activated next Monday, November 24th.

The Prairie Trail is a 4 mile, 16-foot wide, asphalt trail that links Bluegrass, Ramsey, and Riverstone parks, ties them into the Centennial Trail system, and is adjacent to the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.

If you're not doing anything this weekend, get out and try the trail. We're still having great walking/biking/skateboarding weather considering it's late November!

Be careful out there...

That's right. The roads iced up last night and several drivers failed to pay attention to that on their way to work this morning. The Spokesman review did a round up of accidents in Spokane and Idaho this morning. Man, you know that guy that ran the red light and hit a sheriff's deputy is going to have a bad day... Check out the story below:

In Idaho

Three wrecks have been reported on Highway 95, police said.

A pickup rollover at Cougar-Gulch Road south of Coeur d'Alene is being investigated.

A jackknifed Fed-Ex truck between Grangeville and Lewiston is blocking the highway, officials said. Expect a two-hour road closure.

At Highway 95 and Kathleen, a Kootenai County Sheriff's deputy was hit by a red-light runner. The deputy is a little shaken but otherwise OK, said Kootenai County Sheriff's Capt. Ben Wolfinger. The driver who hit the deputy is uninjured. Idaho State Police is investigating.

In Spokane

Collisions have been reported on Highway 2 near Elk-Chattaroy Road.

On Highway 27 at 24th Avenue, a two-car collision has been pulled off the roadway, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Mark Baker. Two people were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Post Falls Mayor Larkin Sends Message To President-Elect Obama

America's mayors, including Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin, are asking for help from President-elect Barack Obama, seeking relief from the national economic crisis. queried more than 1,000 mayors by e-mail just after Election Day, seeking their top two suggestions for the president-elect's "to do" list. 205 mayors in 48 states and Puerto Rico responded.

By far, help fixing the economy was the most often repeated request, and it was Mayor Larkins'. He listed his first priority as being to get the mess in Washington, D.C. figured out as far as the $700 billion bailout. His second priority is the National Transportation Plan, which he says was neglected during the election.

You can view the Mayors' comments by region on an interactive map or read them all in one place.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drag Racing Trial Underway, Attorneys Blame Victim

The trial is underway in Coeur d'Alene for two young men accused of killing a boy and seriously injuring his mother while drag racing on Kathleen Avenue... and the attorneys for the defendants are blaming the accident on the mother, saying she rolled through a stop sign.

Here's the Coeur d'Alene Press story. So, what do you think? Even if the woman did run a stop sign, aren't the two young men ultimately to blame for driving 80-90 miles per hour on a City street? Same thing happened to Hulk Hogan's son, you know. Only he didn't kill anyone, but paralyzed his best friend. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Railroad'ed Again?

Approximately 40 Burlington Northern Santa Fe refrigerator rail cars, covered in graffiti, sit parked along Northwest Boulevard Monday while southbound evening traffic passes

So, once again, BNSF gets its way. This Coeur d'Alene Press story illustrates the power our country gave to the railroads to entice development of the west. No matter how you view this story, one thing is clear: Dealing with the railroads is frustrating. Did we go too far? When is it time to revisit our country's relationship with the railroads?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Article Says Biking & Walking Increasing In CDA

Is Coeur d'Alene more active than ever? This article in the Coeur d'Alene Press says you can't throw a rock in the Lake City without hitting a walker or biker these days. What do you think? And are you one of those bikers and walkers?

Rock Slides, Weather Close Part Of CDA River Road

Due to weather and rock slides, Road 209 (Little North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River Road) will be closed to all public traffic from Bumblebee Creek to Laverne Creek until repair work is completed, according to the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District.

Is Honda Withholding Natural Gas Burning Car?

Is Honda suppressing sales of a car that's being called by some "the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle in the world." That's what some writers and websites claim, and they're using Spokane Community College's auto mechanic program as proof.

The college has been trying to get their hands on a compressed natural gas-burning car, to train would-be mechanics, with no luck. SCC's prolonged effort is being cited in a book about America's reliance on foreign oil, and also in online reports for The Cutting Edge Web site. Here's the story from the Spokesman-Review.

New Bike Racks In Downtown CDA

Coeur d'Alene got some new bike racks this weekend! Volunteers from the Coeur d’Alene Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee and the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation installed 25, U-shaped bike racks downtown this past Saturday.

Area residents raised $2,500 to purchase the bike racks and a donor’s name plaque will be added to each rack in the next few weeks. Bike racks will be installed on the corners of Sherman Avenue on 3rd, 4th, and 5th streets, and there will be three bike racks on Sherman Avenue itself.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Injunction Filed Against Sandpoint Bypass

More problems for Sandpoints Sand Creek Byway. An opponent group is asking for an injunction to stop construction, and/or suggests removing the bike and pedestrian path that would accompany the bypass!

Here's the story. What do you think?

Bike Sharing Huge Success In Europe

Spokane tried a variation of 'bike sharing' years ago, with the result that a lot of the lilac-painted bicycles ended up in the river or stolen. This New York Times article tells how new technology is keeping things like that from happening, and making bike sharing a huge sucess in Europe.

Do you think bike sharing would work well in an area like Coeur d'Alene, which is a popular tourist destination in the summer?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rideshare Works In Idaho Too

A lot of people have been asking lately if Kootenai County has an equivalent to Spokane's 'Commute Trip Reduction' program that encourages people to find a way to get to work besides driving alone. Well you're in luck, because the website covers both Washington and Idaho. The site helps you arrange rides whether you're planning your work commute or a trip across the state. So get planning and let me know how it works out for you.

Citylink & STA Ridership Hits All Time Highs

Ridership numbers for both Citylink and STA have hit all time highs! In fact, ridership on Spokane Transit Authority buses and vans surpassed the one million mark for the first time last month. Bring on the confetti and marching bands. Here are the numbers.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sand Creek Byway Informational Meeting

The first in a series of informational meetings for the Sand Creek Byway project will be held this week. The meeting Is Thursday, Nov. 13 at 11 a.m. at the Transportation Information Office in downtown Sandpoint (202 N. 2nd St.).

The meetings will keep the public updated on construction activities for the project. Staff from the transportation department also will be on hand to answer questions about the work schedule.Construction activities will take place year-round. The project is expected to take approximately three years to complete.

The Sand Creek Byway is 2.1 miles of new alignment connecting U.S. 95, from the northern end of the Long Bridge, directly to Idaho 200 and U.S. 95 north of Sandpoint.

New 4-way stop at Poleline & Chase

According to the following Spokesman Review story, there is a new 4-wy stop in Post Falls:

Post Falls -- Post Falls officials are warning motorists about a traffic change. The intersection of Poleline Avenue and Chase Road is being changed to a four-way stop. The change began last week with installation of signs. The city’s engineering division found that traffic patterns warranted the change. Previously, the intersection was a stop on Poleline only.

“Motorists are urged to use additional caution at the intersection until local traffic becomes familiar with the revised conditions,” according to a press release.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Citylink Ridership Sees Huge Increase

Citylink has seen some huge increases in boardings over the past year. Between October of 2007 and October of this year, boardings are up by more than 20,000! Holy cow, that's a lot.

Here's a look at the latest Citylink reports.

CDA City Hall To Close For Veterans Day

Here's your early warning that Coeur d'Alene City Hall will be closed next Tuesday, Nov. 11 for Veterans Day. Other city offices and facilities will be closed as well.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Here It Comes

It's a little hard to make out because of the water on the lens, but this picture is of weather conditions on Stevens Pass (Sorry, I couldn't find any good up-to-date weather pictures from Idaho). Look past the water drops and you'll see lots of snow on the ground.

Snow has fallen the past few days in both Idaho and Washington mountain passes. Roadways on Lookout Pass are currently clear of snow, but it's wet in shaded areas.
Traction tires are being advised on Sherman Pass in northeast Washington and no oversize loads are allowed on Stevens Pass in central Washington.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Safe Routes To School Summit Coming To Area

On Wednesday, November 13th, walking and biking enthusiasts will descend upon Spokane for the second annual Statewide Safe Routes to School Summit, and you are invited to attend.

Safe Routes to School is a national movement to promote walking and cycling to school for increased children’s health, better air quality, and cohesive, safe communities across socioeconomic boundaries.

Attendees from Washington State, Idaho, British Columbia, and Alaska, are expected at this event to discuss what has become a growing national movement. Click here for more info and how to register.

Daylight Savings Time Takes Toll On Pedestrians

A reminder to drivers and pedestrians to pay extra attention to pedestrian safety now that it's getting dark earlier. Law enforcement agencies say, once daylight savings time kicks in, it's difficult for drivers to see walkers and bikers. Of the 67 pedestrian fatalities that occurred between February 1, 2007 and January 30 2008, almost half occurred between October and January, when daylight savings time was in effect.

Here are some safety tips to reduce the risk of being involved in a collision:

• Wear bright or reflective clothes and carry a flashlight to be seen
• Make eye contact with drivers – know that the driver is aware of your presence
• Walk where it’s safest – use sidewalks or on the edge of the road facing traffic
• Cross the roadway at intersections

• Drive the speed limit – survivability rates for pedestrians involved in collisions with vehicles decreases as speeds increase
• Stop for pedestrians. Motorists must stop for pedestrians in unmarked or marked crosswalks (any intersection is considered a crosswalk). It is also illegal to pass another vehicle stopped for a pedestrian at a crosswalk
• Pay attention near schools and recreation areas

Cycling Grows, Even In Areas With Public Transportation Options

Even in areas where there is ample public transportation, the amount of people riding bicycles to get to work is growing. The New York City Department of Transportation says that commuter cycling rose a remarkable 35 percent between 2007 and 2008! Here's the story from the New York Times.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Please Vote; There's A Transportation Item On The Ballot

A reminder to vote today if you haven't already. Either get yourself to your polling place or drop your ballot in the mail so the postmark shows you mailed it today.

Remember, there's an item on the ballot that will affect transportation in Kootenai County- the proposed vehicle registration fee increase that would raise the price of registering your car by $24, but pay for road repairs and maintenance.

Be sure to do your research. For more information on all Kootenai County ballot items, the Coeur d'Alene Press has put together a Voter's Guide.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Studs Are Legal Now In WA & ID

If you live in Idaho but commute to Washington, you can now do so with studded tires on your car. As of Nov. 1, it's legal to drive with studded tires in Washington. The legal date you can put them on in Idaho is Oct. 1, so many people who drive between the two states have to wait until the later date to avoid a ticket.

Gas Below $2 A Gallon In CDA

I said it would never happen again, but I've been proven wrong before (only once or twice though.) The cost of gas dropped below $2 a gallon this weekend in Idaho. At some stations, the price dropped by as much as 21 cents between the time the station opened and late afternoon. Here's the latest from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

What's your prediction? How long will prices continue to drop, and stay low?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Be careful out there tonight...

Halloween is always a dangerous night for for the trick-or-treaters who are out walking the streets. But, this Halloween could be more dangerous for those children because it falls on a Friday night, which adds to the potential for encounters with drunken drivers. If you are planning to take the children out on a traditional trick-or-treating adventure. Please take extra care to make sure your trick-or-treaters are visible.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

CDA Leaf Pick-Up Starts Soon

Coeur d'Alene's annual leaf pick-up program starts Nov. 12, but the City asks you to have your leaves raked into the street by Nov. 3, in case they get a jump on things.

Rake leaves and pine needles about one foot away from the gutter line to allow for water drainage. Due to weather conditions, equipment malfunctions, and unforeseen circumstances, city crews are unable provide a precise schedule of where leaf pick-up will take place. Pick-up will start south of Sherman Avenue and move north. Leaves will be picked up only once. Please do not put leaves in the street after city crews have completed your area. You can get additional information at (208) 769-2233.

· Have your leaves out by November 3rd- but not before.
· Please move cars off of the street if possible during leaf pick-up.
· Keep leaves about one foot off the curb line to facilitate stormwater flow.
· Be alert for leaf pick-up equipment in your neighborhood.
· Keep a safe distance away from leaf pick-up heavy equipment.

· Bag the leaves.
· Mix branches, rubble or other refuse in with the leaves.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Possible Insurance Savings When You Use Alternate Commute

I bumped into a former co-worker today on the bus. He said that his insurance company knocked $20 a month off his auto policy because he rides the bus! It doesn't work with every insurance company (I called mine and they go by how many miles you put on your car each year. Even riding the bus, I still make several trips across the state, putting me over the required mileage mark)but it could be worth the five minutes it takes to call your agent.

Woman Misses Cat, Hits House

It's not funny, but when I read the headline, 'Woman swerves to miss cat, crashes into house,' I admit I giggled. This got me thinking, would I have swerved that drastically to miss a cat? Defitenetly a deer or a moose or other large animal, but a cat? Guess it depends on what cat it was. Here's the story from the Shoshone News Press.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Does CDA Have Worse Drivers Than Other Cities?

Letter to the CDA Press Editor

After moving to Coeur d'Alene from Portland seven months ago, we can longer keep quiet about the arrogant, rude, and illegal drivers we encounter daily in this town. Weekly, we barely avoid eight to 10 accidents from Coeur d'Alene drivers, who don't use blinkers, cut you off at will, and run countless yellow/red lights with disregard for fellow drivers; they've even driven around us on curbs.

It is rare for us to see any Coeur d'Alene police; if they are around town, perhaps undercover, they are the most incompetent police we've ever seen. To think of all the revenue that could be generated. We must only assume that they condone this way of driving, as they do it themselves, and it must seem normal to all of you.

From an outsider who doesn't want to be here as much as you don't want us here (besides making it dangerous for us all) you look and act very ignorant.

Coeur d'Alene

Yikes, I don't even know what to say. In my personal experience, Coeur d'Alene has the same amount of bad and rude drivers as everywhere else. Unfortunately, it's a fact of life there are always going to be bad drivers on the road. What's your opinion about CDA drivers?

NIC Considering 4-Day School Week

First it was government agencies, and businesses, now NIC is looking at a four day school week to cut down on students' commutes. Here's the story.

Economists Say Gas Prices Will Continue To Drop

Gas prices have been seen at less than $2.45 a gallon at some stations in Coeur d'Alene, and some economists say the price slashing will continue. Here's the lastest from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

You're Invited To Sand Creek Groundbreaking

Governor Otter will be the keynote speaker at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Sand Creek Byway project in Sandpoint later this week.

You're invited to join the Governor, Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo, and U.S. Rep. Bill Sali on Thursday (Oct. 30) at 2 p.m. on the site of the former Lakeside Inn in Sandpoint (106 Bridge Street), to celebrate the beginning of construction on the project.

A reception will be sponsored by the Ponderay Community Development Corporation(PCDC), at the Elks Lodge in Ponderay immediately following the ceremony.

A bypass away from downtown Sandpoint has been a topic of local interest since the 1940s. The final environmental work on the project was completed and approved by the Federal Highway Administration in May 2000. Construction is set to begin in early November.

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Alternative To Trick Or Treating In The Neighborhood

If you're not comfortable taking your little ones out trick or treating (too dark to let your kids walk along the road, too many strangers, etc.)Post Falls City Hall is inviting Trick or Treaters to City Hall on Oct. 31. City Hall Departments will be welcoming Trick or Treating from 2 - 5 p.m. City Hall is located at 408 N. Spokane St.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Access Study Environmental Impact Study Open House

The public is invited to attend an Open House for the I-90 (Greensferry) Access Study Environmental Impact Study at Post Falls City Hall from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29. Here's more information.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

To Put A Little Color In Your Day...

This beauty was taken by the boss man yesterday on US95 Near the Elk Ranch. See that white stuff on the ground near the top of the picture? That's right, it's snow. Get ready.

Lower Gas Prices Not Stimulating Economy

Gas prices may be falling, but analysts say it's not doing much to boost the economy. Filling up for less than $2.50 a gallon in some places doesn't make up for widespread layoffs,sagging home prices, and the financial meltdown.Here's an article from the Spokesman-Review.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Idaho Above Average For Hitting Deer With Cars

For the love of Pete people, take it easy out there. Deer-vehicle collisions are on the rise in Idaho, according to State Farm Insurance. The state has seen a 31% increase from five years ago... compared to a 15% increase in the rest of the nation.
Here's the Coeur d'Alene Press story.

I90 On-Ramp Closure

The westbound Northwest Boulevard on-ramp on Interstate 90 will be closed through tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to remove and repair damaged guardrail. Motorists still will be able to access the Northwest Boulevard off-ramp during this time period.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Building Move Will Block Traffic

Starting tomorrow, the Independence Point Parking lot will be closed off at 4:30 a.m. and Sherman Avenue between 1st Street and the 4 -Corners area will be closed from 7:30 a.m. until approximately 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the delivery of the new public safety building to City Park. Both northbound and southbound traffic will be detoured as the crane and semi-truck make the delivery.

You are asked to please stay out of harms way as this 40,000-pound building is lifted into place.

Idaho 54 Closure At Athol

Idaho 54 at Athol will close Thursday (Oct. 23) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for replacement of the Burlington Northern railroad track just west of U.S. 95.

A detour will take motorists around the work zone, using U.S. 95, Clagstone and Brunner roads. Flaggers and other traffic control devices also will be in place.

Petition Asks City For Traffic Signal

A Coeur d'Alene man is petitioning the city to put up a traffic signal at the intersection of Kathleen Avenue and Howard Street, sooner rather than later. A signal is already slated for the intersection, but not until 2013, and that's not soon enough for some people. Here's the Coeur d'Alene Press story.

Where Have All The Hummers & H2s Gone?

A poster on the Spokesman's 'Huckleberries' blog noted that Hummer vehicles seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth, despite gas prices coming down. Have you seen one lately? Register your sighting here.

Everyone Who's Anyone Shares A Helicopter

In this time of economic hardship, many people are cutting back to make ends meet, especially when it comes to transportation. More people are riding their bikes or the bus to work, or ride-sharing, or helicopter sharing. That's right, you can now share a helicopter if you can no longer afford your own. Here's how to get in on the action.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just Curious...

What's the lowest gas price you've seen around Kootenai County recently?

Council Considers Letting Businesses Pay For Parking Spots

The city of Coeur d'Alene wants to give business owners more options when it comes to providing parking. The City Council is looking at possible parking changes to allow midtown business owners the option of paying the city for the spaces they can't provide. Here's the story from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hmmm... Men In Black or How to Store Deicer? I Just Can't Decide.

The City of Coeur d'Alene's Street Department is getting some recognition for how they handle hazardous materials. Panhandle Health District representatives last week filmed the city's storage practices for de-icer materials to use in a video to show other agencies around the state the proper way to do so.

The footage will be put on a DVD that will be available for presentations around the state to promote public health programs. No word yet if it will be available at your local video store.

Time Travel In Rathdrum

I found this picture of the Idaho and Washington Northern Railroad Depot on the City of Rathdrum's website. I thought it was cool because it shows people travelling by trains 100 years ago, when it's still an option today (the depot was built in 1908).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Draft of KC Comp Plan Available

The "second draft" of the Kootenai County Comprehensive Plan has been posted to the County web site recently (Oct. 3). Printed copies are available for purchase at the Kootenai County Building & Planning Department or you can save yourself some money and look at it here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Public Tells Governor What They Want

The group 'Idaho Smart Growth' is asking Governor Butch Otter to fund public transportation, bikeways, and walking paths in order to give Idahoans more cost effective and safe transportation options.

The group organized a postcard campaign, asking Idaho residents to send their transportation concerns to the governor. Over 500 people did so, from 70 different cities across the state.

Several 'themes' appeared repeatedly, such as rising fuel prices, the influence of transportation choices on preserving the quality of life in Idaho, making public transportation more plentiful, and safety on the roads.

For more information on the campaign, here's a link to the Idaho Smart Growth website.

Big Difference In Gas Prices Between WA & ID

A growing number of people are driving to Idaho from Washington to gas up. That's because the difference in gas prices between the two states is now averaging 40 cents a gallon! Here's the story from KXLY.

Have you made the trip to Idaho to buy gas?

Monday, October 13, 2008

10-Year Anniversary Of Giant Mud Slide

It's been ten years since a huge mudslide took out U.S. Highway 95 north of Bonners Ferry, along with a section of railroad track. The Coeur d'Alene Press takes a look back at the aftermath.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Public Transportation Roundtable Meeting Oct. 14

KMPO is holding a Public Transportation Roundtable meeting next Tuesday, Oct. 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 720 E. Front St.

The Public Transportation Roundtable is made up of staff members from transit providers, social service agencies, and other agencies and jurisdictions involved with public transportation, and citizens at-large. The objective of the Roundtable is to serve in an advisory capacity to the KMPO, providing recommendations on public transportation services and system improvements.

On the Roundtable meeting agenda: discussion of a possible location for a Citylink Transit Center, the possibility of implementing advertising on Citylink buses, and a discussion of paratransit funding issues in Kootenai County.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Monday Holiday Closures

- Kootenai County offices will be closed Monday, Oct. 13 for the Columbus Day holiday.

- Coeur d'Alene City offices and services will all be open Monday.

- Post Falls City offices and services will all be open Monday.

At Least the Bigwigs Are Doing Their Part For Safety

University of Idaho Interim President Steven Daley-Laursen, right, and Moscow Mayor Nancy Cheney, second to left, help pedestrians cross the Moscow-Pullman Highway on Wednesday. Two students have been injured after being struck by vehicles while crossing the dangerous crosswalk, including one from Coeur d'Alene. Picture courtesy of the Spokesman's 'Huckleberries' blog.

What's your experience with the Moscow-Pullman Highway?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

As If Slow Traffic Weren't Bad Enough

Stolen from the Spokesman's 'Huckleberries' blog.

Train Conductor Sues, Saying Crossing Not Up To Standard

The conductor driving a train that killed a Rathdrum man last year is filing a lawsuit, saying the Hayden Avenue crossing doesn't meet industry or government standards. He alleges that the angle of the highway makes the crossing dangerous.
Here's the rest of the story.

I have heard of other people having near-misses at this crossing. What's your experience there?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gas Prices Still Falling

Gas prices continue to drop- to as low as $2.99 in Coeur d'Alene! At some stations, prices are dropping by an average of ten cents a day.

Spokane drivers are still paying more though... around $3.50 a gallon average because of Washington's higher gas tax. Here's what's driving the dramatic drop in prices.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ethanol Content Changing Boat Winterizing

The addition of more ethanol in the gas we use could cause changes to the way you winterize your boats, lawnmowers, generators, etc. this year. That's because alcohol attracts moisture from the air, which collects in your gas tank and can expand when it freezes. Here's how some experts recommend you change your winterizing habits.

Gas Prices Are Falling!

Gas is at $3.09 this morning in Coeur d'Alene, and one blogger on the Spokesman's 'Huckleberries' blog reported seeing it at $3.06 at the Albertson's on Ironwood!

Kootenai County Schools Taking Part In Walk To School Month

Thanks to the Kootenai County schools promoting October’s “I Walk to School” month. Lakes Middle School, Sorensen Magnet School, and Bryan Elementary all found ways to promote October's walk (and bike) to school month such as having education booths with walking and biking flyers at area events, hosting a “Share the Road” campaign with removable bumper stickers, and walking/biking punch cards with prize incentives to encourage the participation of young people.

More information on October – International Walk to School month can be found here.

Celebration Tomorrow For Idaho's First ' Safe Routes To Schools' Project

Students, teachers, and parents will celebrate Idaho’s first Safe Routes to Schools project tomorrow– the completion of 930 lineal feet of new sidewalks.

The City of Coeur d’Alene was awarded $101,600 from the Safe Routes to Schools grant program to build sidewalks and to promote October’s “I Walk to School” month. The new sidewalks will connect the neighborhoods in the northeast corner of town to Lakes Middle School, Sorenson Elementary, Fernan Elementary, North Idaho Head Start, and Person Field. They will connect neighborhoods in the southeast corner of town to Cherry Hill Park, Sunset Field, North Pines Park, Canfield Natural Area, Canfield Sports Complex, and Canfield Park.

A celebration will be held at noon tomorrow (October 8th), at the Lakes Middle School courtyard.

Safe Routes to School (SR2S) is a federal, state, and local effort to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school - and to make walking and bicycling to school safer and more routine.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What to do with Mullan and Selitice in PF?

It looks like the City of Post Falls is going to revisit the traffic issues primarily along Mullan Avenue as it relates to traffic on Seltice Way. The city has looked at the issue in the past and considered developing a couplet, similar to Third and Fourth streets in Cd'A where each street is designated a one-way. Plans for the couplet were not well received, so the city is looking at other alternatives to calm traffic in the area. You can read the Post Falls Press article here.

Planes, trains and automobiles: Which is the most cost effective for Seattle get away.

The Spokesman Review analyzed the cost of travel from Spokane to Seattle using three different modes of travel (four if you consider the difference between a hybrid and a gas fueled automobile). They looked at planes, trains and automobiles. The published results are in a table format here.

I decided to calculated what it would cost to drive my Blazer to Seattle using Google Map's estimate of a 608-mile round trip from Post Falls, and I added 20 miles for cruising around downtown Seattle for a total of 628 miles. I came up with a trip cost of $105.27. Because I live in Post Falls, I also used $3.19 a gallon instead of the $3.65 the SR used.

Using the SR's gas price, my trip would cost $120.45, but the real cost is going to be slightly higher because I would have to gas up in Seattle. So if it were just me traveling, the cost of train and air travel would fairly competitive -- especially when time is a consideration.

How much would it cost to drive your car to Seattle? For those who are story-problem challenged, just divide 628 (for Post Falls residents) or 644 miles (For Cd'A residents) by the miles per gallon your car consumes and then multiply that answer by the price per gallon you pay. Have fun!

New survey shows tremendous support for light rail -- in Spokane.

Apparently WSU conducted a new scientific poll in Spokane to gauge support for construction of a new light rail system. The results are somewhat surprising. Check them out here. If a light rail was built between downtown Spokane and Liberty Lake, how often would you use it? I live in Post Falls and work in downtown Spokane, so I would definitely use it to commute on the days that I don't need my car. Rail is always much faster that bus or auto travel. Whenever I am in a large city, I use the light rail system. If our neighbors in Spokane build a light rail system, would you favor a North Idaho connection? Would you be willing to pay $5 a month to build it?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hybrids Can Be 'Silent Killers' Of Visually Impaired People

Apparently, hybrid cars aren't as good for everyone as we thought. Because they can be nearly silent, hybrids pose a serious threat of injury and death to blind and visually impaired people, says the American Council of the Blind. Here's the story.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

United Arab Emirates Contact KMPO About Crosswalks

I received some very interesting correspondence today. A while back I blogged about the 'Virtual Wall' crosswalk; a crosswalk that projects laser beams across the street, depicting pedestrians walking. This gives drivers the idea that walkers are in the crosswalk, and they shouldn't drive through it for fear of either hitting a pedestrian or damaging their car with the laser beams.

Well, today I got an email from someone allegedly working at a government agency in the United Arab Emirates. They had questions about the Virtual Wall and wanted to know if I could provide more information, because they actually want to install some of these at their busier intersections!

Cool! I say let them be the guinea pigs, then we can all follow if it works (and if we can afford it. We're not exactly United Arab Emirates-rich around here).

NIC Automotive Students Learn To Work On Electric Cars

It makes sense when you think of it; electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular, but who fixes them if they break down? Your regular mechanic probably isn't an authority when it comes to electric cars.

That's why some electric vehicle enthusiasts shared their cars with North Idaho College automotive technology students this week; to familiarize them with alternative engines.Here's the story.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You Know What They Say About Karma

This video doesn't exactly address transportation, but I think the message could be applied to how we choose to get around too. I thought it was kind of fitting and maybe a friendly warning to those of us who spend a little too much time letting the car idle or driving to the store that's two blocks away, instead of walking or biking.

Riverstone Evicts City Link Park & Ride

City Link is looking for a new home for it's park and ride services, after being evicted from the Riverstone development. Riverstone's developer says the parking spots being used by bus riders are needed for patrons of the new businesses opening up at Riverstone. Here's more on this story.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Man Flies 22 Miles Using Jet Pack. Incredible Video!

You thought they were just a gimmick used on 'The Jetsons,' but a Swiss man has become the first person to fly solo across the English Channel using a single jet-propelled wing.

That's right, the man ignited jets on a wing on his back, jumped out of the plane that had taken him up, and flew 22 miles in less than ten minutes! Here's the video, and it's amazing!

Friday, September 26, 2008

October Is Walk Your Child To School Month

October starts next week, which means National Walk You Child To School Month is also coming right up. So instead of taking the easy way and driving your kid the few blocks it takes to get them to school, try walking instead. It's better for your health, your wallet, and the environment. And if you have any questions or need more information, here's a link to the International Walk Your Child To School website.

Citizens Question If Corridor Project Will Cause Congestion

Citizens who attended a community forum on the downtown Coeur d'Alene education corridor project had lots of questions about how it will affect traffic in the area. Many are worried the corridor will create congestion in the Fort Grounds Neighborhood. Here's coverage of the meeting from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just Because I Was Bored...

Did you know that the average salary for a pizza delivery driver in Coeur d'Alene is $11,000? Neither did I. Was browsing the web when that fact popped up on the 'Simply Hired' website.

And I was surprised. They may get paid $11,000 per year, but how much of that goes back to buying gas? I did a little research and found that the average U.S. driver goes through 500 gallons of gas per year (and pizza delivery people aren't considered average drivers so they would use more than that). At the current price of around $3.60 a gallon for unleaded, that comes to $1800. So that brings them down to about $9,000 a year! Yikes, hope they're getting free pizza so they can at least eat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fall Means Falling Leaves, Not Falling Snow!

Let's not rush things! I know Monday was the first day of fall, but someone up above is trying to skip that season and go right to winter. A freak snow storm in the Cascades this week left several inches of snow on the pass.
Here's a look, from the WSDOT blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Forum Includes Discussion Of Vehicle Registration Fee Increase

Lynn Humphreys, chairman of the Post Falls Highway District, spoke at a forum last night at Post Falls City Hall on the proposed $24 local option vehicle registration fee increase.

His take: That funding shortfalls for road projects have gotten to be a "runaway train" and that if the proposal fails, some lesser-travelled roads in the county will likely revert back to gravel because funding isn't there to maintain them.

Here's the Coeur d'Alene Press' coverage of the story. and Here are some frequently asked questions about the fee increase from the KMPO website.

Monday, September 22, 2008

US95 Freeway Project Delayed

Plans to improve U.S. Highway 95 between Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint into a four-lane, divided freeway are being delayed.

Escalating costs, concerns about the economy, and uncertain federal highway funding all have contributed to the delay in the completion of the 31-mile freeway project. Here's more on this story.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Few Donations For Traffic Signal

The Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center has come up short of its $200,000 goal to pay for a traffic signal at the Ramsey and Golf Course Road intersection. So far, it's only landed a $25 donation from a private resident and a $5,000 pledge from another.

Here's the story.

Borrowing Against Future Funding: Good Or Bad Move?

If you've been dying to get your two cents in, this is your chance. The Spokesman-Review's 'Huckleberries' blog today is taking an unofficial survey asking 'Did Idaho leaders make the right choice to borrow against future federal highway payments to cover road projects?'Here's the link to voice your opinion.

US 2 Paving

Contractor's crews will begin paving U.S. 2 from Sandpoint to Dover tomorrow. Work is expected to be completed by Oct. 14.

The old pavement surface will be ground down for a full-width resurfacing with new asphalt. U.S. 2 will be reduced to one lane weekdays from the Dover Bridge to 5th Street in Sandpoint. The speed limit will be 35 mph through the work zone corridor.

You're Being Watched In School Zones

Slow down when driving through area school zones, more than 300 drivers have been ticketed for speeding in school zones in the Spokane and Kootenai County area since Sept. 2, and officers are looking for more speeders. Here's your warning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Still Time To Comment On Public Involvement Policy

A reminder that KMPO's Public Involvement Policy (PIP) has recently been updated and is available for public comment through Oct. 13. The PIP provides methods for community engagement, communications, and the solicitation of public comment. The update is needed to meet federal and state public participation requirements in carrying out statewide transportation planning processes.

The Public Involvement Policy can be viewed by clicking here. Comments can be submitted by clicking here.

Not Too Late To Submit Comments To The Governor

Governor Otter and the Idaho Transportation Department recently concluded the seventh in a series of statewide meetings asking the public how best to pay for repairing, maintaining and improving the state's crumbling roads and bridges. If you couldn't make it to the meeting in Coeur d'Alene in July, you can still submit comments and take a survey on your opinion of Idaho roads. Here's a link to submit comments and take the survey.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bridge Work For This Week

The following bridge rehabilitation projects begin today (Sept. 15) on Interstate 90 east of Coeur d'Alene to Mullan:

Wolf Lodge Creek Bridge - The existing bridge deck will be rehabilitated using a hydrodemolition removal process, with a concrete overlay on the bridge surface.
Golconda Overpass Road Interchange - The approaches to both the east- and westbound structures will be repaired, and a new drainage system installed. The expansion joints will be replaced and a new surface put on the bridge deck.
South Fork Coeur d'Alene River Frontage Road, UPRR Bridges - The existing asphalt surface will be removed, the deteriorating concrete replaced and a concrete waterproofing system will be installed. The expansion joints will be repaired and the bridge decks will be paved with a new asphalt surface.

Reminder of Delays on I90

A reminder that guardrail painting starts tonight, and I90 between Coeur d'Alene and the Idaho-Washington line will be reduced to a single lane in both directions .

So as to minimize inconvenience to drivers, work will take place from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Wednesday (Sept. 17) at the following locations:

- Tonight (Monday): West- and eastbound lanes at the Huetter, Atlas and Union Pacific Railroad bridges
- Tuesday (Sept. 16): West- and eastbound lanes at Idaho 41 Interchange
- Wednesday (Sept. 17): Any additional cleanup work at these locations

The speed limit will be reduced to 55 mph.

Price To Check Additional Bags Goes Up On United

Once again citing volatile fuel prices, United Airlines has doubled its fee for a second checked bag to $50. United has several flights out of Spokane International Airport.

Here's the details.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Preparing For Next Week's Commute Already

Here's your early warning; the eastbound Sherman Avenue off-ramp (Exit 15) on Interstate 90 will be closed Monday (Sept. 15) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. while maintenance crews remove and repair damaged guardrail. You will still be able to access the Sherman Avenue on-ramp though.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One More Thing To Watch For When Riding Your Bike

Around here, you have to worry about inattentive drivers, dogs, and poor road conditions when you ride your bike to work. In Missoula, one man had to worry about hitting a bear.

That's right, the man rode his bike right into a bear, travelling at about 25 miles per hour! Here's the story.

Not Too Late To Comment On US95 Study

Last night's US95 Access Study had a good crowd. Over 50 people showed up to study the proposed alternatives to improve safety, access, and mobility on US95 from I90 to SH53, ask questions, and submit comments and their prefered improvement option.

It was a busy night around town though, and we heard from several people who couldn't make it to the meeting who would like to have their voice heard. If that's you, don't worry, you can still weigh in. Start by checking out the Study background and alternatives, then let us know which is your favorite by filling out the comment sheet, or emailing us with your comments.

Try to get any comments in by Sept. 16 though, we're trying to wrap this study up.

Hubbard Avenue Closed To Through Traffic

Starting tomorrow (Thursday) morning, Hubbard Avenue will be closed to through traffic through the abandoned mill site. With the demolition of the Stimson Mill and railroad tracks being pulled from the area, it is necessary to close the street for safety reasons.

This street is partially privately-owned through the mill site but is used by the general public as a pass-through to the Fort Grounds neighborhood and college in order to avoid the traffic light at Northwest Boulevard and Government Way.

Access to Harbor Center from Northwest Boulevard will be unobstructed, and access to the Wastewater Treatment Plant will be limited. When demolition is completed, access issues will be re-evaluated.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fernan Lake Road Groundbreaking Ceremony

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for tomorrow to mark the beginning of a two year project to improve Fernan Lake Road. The $17 million project will repave nearly 11 miles of the road, widen the roadway in places and smooth out curves.

The ceremony is at 1 p.m. tomorrow and includes the Federal Highway Administration, the United States Forest Service, and the Eastside Highway District. Here's more information from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Monday, September 8, 2008

US95 Open House Reminder

This is your last reminder that KMPO and the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce are hosting a public open house tomorrow afternoon/evening to view low-cost alternatives for improving safety and mobility on US95 between I-90 and SH53.

The meeting is from 4-7 p.m. at Centennial Distributing, 701 W. Buckles Ave. A presentation will be made at 4:30 p.m. and repeated at 6 p.m. Before and after the presentations, exhibits and study staff will be available to explain and discuss alternatives.

Here's an article the Coeur d'Alene Press ran on the meeting today.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I90 Ramp Painting

Crews will repaint the pavement markings on Interstate 90 on- and off-ramps beginning this Sunday night (Sept. 7).

The work is part of a roadway resurfacing project between the Washington state line and Sherman Avenue (Exit 15), which will extend the life of the roadway. Public convenience is a major factor in planning interstate construction projects. Work will take place from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Sept. 16, including the weekend.

The westbound off-ramp at the Idaho 41 interchange will be closed to traffic on Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 10 and 11) during the nighttime hours. This is the only ramp that will require full closure while the pavement markings are repainted.

Work is expected to be complete by mid-October.

New Car Prices Plummetting

New vehicle prices are falling at the fastest rate recorded, according to a team of analysts that includes auto and economic researchers.

A research report released this week says the average price of a new vehicle fell 2.3% from a year earlier to $25,632. That's the steepest drop recorded since new car sales tracking began 41 years ago.

The price decline expected to lead to better affordability and could translate into a big recovery for auto sales by the second half of 2009.

ADA Sidewalk Repair Account Created For CDA

Coeur d'Alene City Council Members have approved the creation of an ADA Hazard Abatement Account for sidewalk repairs. The account will fund repairs for ADA sidewalk deficiencies that are included in a 5-Year Priority Plan that will be updated and approved by the City Council on a yearly basis. The account is expected to fund approximately 5,000 lineal feet of sidewalk repairs per year.

Tied to foregone taxes, this account will start at approximately $200,000 per year. The impact of this cost is estimated to add $0.05/$1,000 of assessed value to property taxes. This equates to $10/year for a home with a net valuation of $200,000.

Sidewalk repairs will be prioritized based on need and use. The ADA Hazard Abatement Program covers only ADA compliance issues. This is not a complete sidewalk replacement program. The goal is to accomplish ADA compliance and meet pedestrian safety issues.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

PF Budget Includes $ For Sidewalks, Intersections, and Street Maintenance

The Post Falls City Council approved a $15.4 million general fund budget this week, which includes $20,000 for sidewalks and curb ramps, $10,000 per year to improve intersections, and $270,000 for street maintenance.

In additon, City Council will hold a transportation plan workshop Oct. 7 to address street maintenance funding and explore alternative methods to chip sealing.Here's the details.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

US95 Access Study Open House

KMPO and the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce invite you to a public open house to view low-cost alternatives for improving safety and mobility on US95 between I-90 and SH53.

The meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 4-7 p.m. at Centennial Distributing, 701 W. Buckles Ave. (see map).

A presentation will be made at 4:30 p.m. and repeated at 6 p.m. Before and after the presentations, exhibits and study staff will be available to explain and discuss alternatives.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Editorial Calls For Bypass To Maintain City Image

An editorial in today's Spokesman-Review calls for ITD to deliver a high-quality bypass through Sandpoint, while maintaining the city's lakefront image.

A lot of people don't agree that a bypass is necessary though. I know this isn't a Kootenai County issue, but a lot of us visit Sandpoint for a variety of reasons, and the last time I did, I sat in traffic for what seemed like forever, then couldn't get turned around when I took a wrong turn until I got almost out of town. What's your take on the situation?

Slow Down Around Schools, Class is Back In Session

Speed limits go back up around area parks this week, but down around schools.

Here's what it will cost you if you if you're caught speeding in a school zone.

Have Coffee With Post Falls' Mayor

This could be the chance you've been looking for to voice your opinion on Transportation issues in Post Falls. Mayor Clay Larkin invites you to “Have Coffee With the Mayor" this Friday, Sept. 5 from 9-10:30 a.m. in the second floor conference room of Post Falls City Hall.

This is an informal gathering for citizens to share comments with or ask questions of Mayor Clay Larkin and City Administrator Eric Keck, so start making your list.

Beware Of Wet Paint

Keep your eyes open this month folks, the City of Coeur d’Alene begins its annual fall street striping in September. Street striping requires clean, dry streets and reasonably warm temperatures. It takes over 1,300 gallons of paint and nearly 5 tons of glass beads. The work takse about 10 days of good weather and is done only in the daytime when the weather is warm enough for the paint to dry quickly.

A pilot car with warning signs is used, when possible, to alert motorists in areas where striping is taking place, but City officials ask you to be observant as it's not always possible to use a pilot car.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I90 Painting Next Week

Starting next Tuesday, crews will begin repainting the pavement markings on Interstate 90 east of Coeur d'Alene. Work on east- and westbound lanes will take place Sept. 2 - 9, from milepost 14 (Sherman Avenue exit) to Lookout Pass at the Idaho/Montana state line.

The solid white and yellow lines will be painted first, then the centerline skip marks. An epoxy-based paint will be used that is more durable and longer-lasting than water-based paint.

Motorists are asked to drive with caution through the work areas.

What the.... ???

I found this picture on Flickr and have been trying to figure out what the heck the sign means. The picture title is listed as 'No U-Turn While Walking Your Moose.' What do you think?

Sandpoint Bypass Gets Go Ahead

The Court of Appeals yesterday issued an order giving the Idaho Transportation Department the go ahead to start building a highway to divert traffic away from downtown Sandpoint.

Here's the latest on the project, after five decades of planning, appeals and court fights.

Southwest Cutting Two Spokane Flights

Southwest Airlines is eliminating nearly 200 flights early next year, including two in and out of Spokane. Here's the story.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

From The Spokesman-Review Website

Official: Idaho roads face funding challenges
Associated Press
August 27, 2008

BOISE — A state transportation official says one out of every five miles of highway in Idaho is “deficient” because of more drivers, an aging road system, and shortfalls in federal funding.

Darrell Manning chairs the Idaho Transportation Board and met with state officials on Tuesday to discuss a troubled outlook for Idaho roads.

Officials say they need an extra $240 million a year to make up for past deficits in federal funding to pay for transportation costs, such as highway repairs.

Manning says the state also gets transportation funding through taxes on gas and vehicle registration fees, but neither of those revenues has increased since the 1990s.

Take The Road Less Travelled... Try An Idaho Scenic Byway

If you're like a lot of other people I've talked to lately, you may be sticking close to home this holiday weekend. If you're looking for something to do, try slowing down and checking out the scenery on one of Idaho's scenic byways.

Here's a link to a government website devoted specifically to Idaho byways. The site has maps, descriptions, lists special attractions, camping and service information, and even offers scenic email 'postcards' available from each byway that you can send to friends or family so they can see what you saw while on your drive.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Money Approved For US 95 Study

More money is being recommended to evaluate traffic patterns at US 95 intersections inside the Coeur d'Alene city limits. The city's Public Works Committee yesterday forwarded approval to City Council for additional funding.

Here's the story from the Coeur d'Alene Press. By the way, KMPO is hosting a public meeting on this topic on Sept. 9 from 4-7 p.m. at Centennial Distributing, 701 W. Buckles in Hayden. I'll post more info as we get a little closer to the date.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Naked cyclist busted for riding with 3-year-old son

Moral of this story: Go ahead and bike naked, if you must, but you better get a sitter for the kids.

This made me chuckle...

I lifted this from Dave Olivera's Huckleberries Online Blog. He has a regular thread that he updates throughout the day with bits and pieces he picks up from the police scanner. This post put me right at the scene:

9:25 a.m. Officer wants city street department to remove a freshly killed skunk at the site of a two-car, rear-end collision on Northwest Boulevard, 400-500 feet north of Lakewood. The accident happened before 8 a.m. (according to Berry Picker Pepe LePew) when one driver swerved to miss the skunk. You can read the whole scanner report here.

Are high gas prices saving lives?

The Seattle Times has an interesting article on a recent study of what appears to be a dramatic decrease in traffic fatalities and how that decrease relates to the price of fuel. According to this article , fatal accidents are expected to fall below 37,000 for the first time since 1961. Fatal accidents peaked at over 55,600 in 1972, and they have been declining ever since. Still, that decline has been at just over 4% a year. Starting in March of this year, however, the fatalities have been dropping rapidly at a rate that is nearly 20% lower than the previous year.

Certainly automobile safety measures have contributed to some of the overall decline, and certainly the cost of fuel is causing some to alter their driving habits. But, do you believe that the rising cost of fuel is saving a significant number of lives?

See A Car Pulled Over, Change Lanes

Spokane and Idaho police would like to remind you to change lanes to give them space when they're making traffic stops on busy freeways or other arterials. Here's the Story. The spendy ticket could be an incentive as well.

Comment On KMPO's Public Involvement Policy

KMPO's Public Involvement Policy has recently been updated for its strategies for outreach to members of the public, including minorities and low income populations. The revision is available for public comment through Oct. 13, 2008.

The Public Involvement Policy supports the creation of public involvement plans for KMPO projects and provides methods for community engagement, communications, and the solicitation of public comment. The update is needed to meet federal and state public participation requirements in carrying out statewide transportation planning processes.

You can view the Policy by clicking here and comment by clicking here.

ITD Projects For This Week

Paving and sealcoating projects begin on state highways this week, as part of Idaho Transportation Department's ongoing maintenance of the state highway system. Here's the schedule:

- Aug. 26: Idaho 3, junction Idaho 3/Idaho 97 to Interstate 90.
- Aug. 27: Interstate 90, from milepost 30.9 (Fourth of July Creek) to milepost 40.11 (Exit 40 at Cataldo).
- Aug. 28 - 29: Fog sealing on above road sections. The speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph through the work zone area.

Seal coating is a process designed to prolong the life of the roadway surface. A thin layer of asphalt is laid down, followed by a layer of rock chips. Once the liquid asphalt has set up, excess rock chips that have not adhered are removed. Fog sealing is a thin layer of asphalt that will be sprayed over the completed, which will seal in the rock chips.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Anyone want to help buy a stoplight?

It appears the state of Idaho wasn't interested in chipping in for a traffic signal system at the intersection of Ramsey and Golf Course roads, so the Salvation Army is going to pony up the $350K to install it. They will fund the project out of the KROC Center contingency fund.

But, they are asking their neighbors if they wouldn't mind chipping in and sharing the cost. I'm sure they wouldn't turn down contributions from other as well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rathdrum residents take note...

You will need to find an alternative route home today and tomorrow.

Official Release: Idaho 41 to close for railroad track repairs, beginning Aug. 20

COEUR d'ALENE - Idaho 41 at Hayden Avenue will be closed beginning Wednesday (Aug. 20), the Idaho Transportation Department announced. The closure is necessary while repairs are made to the Union Pacific Railroad track at milepost 4, north of Hayden Avenue.

The highway will be closed from Aug. 20 at 6 a.m. until Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. Motorists should plan on an alternate using Idaho 53 and U.S. 95, during the closure. Variable message signs are in place along Idaho 41 warning motorists of the upcoming closure.

Union Pacific work crews will remove track at the crossing just north of the intersection at Hayden Avenue and replace it with a new rock base and track.

ITD and the Idaho State Police warn motorists to slow down and pay attention when driving in work zones, where increased speeding fines and other penalties apply. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and dial 5-1-1 or visit for information on the state highway or interstate system.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Road maintenance issues plague the region

Over the past several years a number of cities, highway districts, and the state for that matter, have focused their resources and energy on building and expanding new roads to accommodate record-setting growth.

But now that we have all this new infrastructure, the cost of maintaining it is getting away from us. This Cd'A Press editorial taps into the frustration that is mounting over this issue.

Talk to any agency that deals with roads in North Idaho or eastern Washington and the story is pretty much the same: maintenance and preservation budgets for roads are simply tapped out, and there is no new revenue to address the issue. In many cases, these agencies are millions of dollars short of what they need to adequately maintain the public's infrastructure investment.

Some rural counties in Washington state have even considered going back to gravel roads in some areas because they are cheaper to maintain. I'm not kidding here, they are seriously contemplating tearing up the asphalt from paved roads to reduce the cost of maintenance.

As the Cd'a Press stated in its editorial, at some point "the public" will need to invest more in the preservation and maintenance of the infrastructure they have already spent millions to build.

Compound that with a need for even more expansion, and the problem gets exponentially worse. As you probably already know, the governors of Idaho and Washington have vowed to propose new revenue options in the next legislative sessions, but those state-level solutions rarely address the local needs.

That is the main reason the local highway districts are proposing a modest $24 increase in vehicle registration fees. While that won't raise enough money to address the entire need, it will go a long way toward protecting the investments we have already made.

OK, you are king for a day again: Where do you find the money to adequately fund the preservation and maintenance of our transportation infrastructure? Also, do you support or oppose the car tab proposal?