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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This Gives you 16 Days To Get In Shape

National Bike To Work Day is Friday, May 16th and Coeur d'Alene has some big plans for it.

In addition to the everyday incentives to bike to work such as saving money on gas, health benefits, and reducing pollution- they've come up with some special motivators to help you try bike commuting.

Here's more info from on how they're going to bribe you, I mean 'encourage' you, to ride your bike.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Campaign For a 4-Day Work Week

I heard a story on the radio this morning about a groundswell of companies studying the advantages of changing to a 4-day work week due to high gas prices. I did some research and found that, while there doesn't appear to be an actual full-scale campaign underway to get all U.S. workers switched to a 4-10 schedule, many companies are taking it on themselves, or trying to get lawmakers in their city or state interested.

The 'Industrial Workers of the World' website says that there have been no reductions in the average U.S. work week in the more than sixty years, since the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed. They say changing to a 4-day work week would not only cut gas consumption by 20%, but also cut pollution from carbon emissions, improve worker morale, cut energy prices to light and heat/cool buildings, and promote time spent with families, thus strengthening the American family.

The Town Manager of one Phoenix suburb is lobbying for the change for all local government workers. Closing Fridays would mean the town would offer extended hours Monday through Thursday, such as 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. And a recent story done by KING 5 News out of Seattle says several petition drives for a shortened work week are circulating on the internet. They say there are already a handful of cities in Nevada, California, Arizona, and Florida experimenting with the idea. Marion County Florida recently switched to a four-day work week for county workers and expects to save $250,000 in energy costs this year alone.

What is your company's policy? I think I'm going to start my own campaign and start lobbying for a 4-day work week here at SRTC. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, let me know if you work for a progressive company that already does this.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I've Got My Money On 'Shower Curtain'

In honor of this week being Traffic Awareness & Pedestrian Safety Week, here's a play-by-play of the 2007 'Pedestrian Crossing Championships' out of London. I think I saw this re-enacted outside of the Intermodal Center last week after the Greyhound came in from the Tri-Cities.

Get Those Studded Tires Off

It's a sure sign that winter is finally over; Idahoans have to have their studded snow tires off by this Wednesday, May 1. If you get ticketed for having studs on after that, it's a $57 fine, much less steep than the equivalent fine across the border in Washington, where it's a $124 ticket.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Public Transportation Mobility Plan

Press release sent out by ITD yesterday.

April 24, 2008

ITD unveils public transportation mobility plan for Idaho communities

BOISE - Customer service, mobility and local leadership are the focal points of a public transportation plan recently approved by the Idaho Transportation Board. Idaho's Mobility and Access Pathway (IMAP) outlines a vision for achieving efficient and effective mobility networks for Idahoans and describes the scope of the effort necessary to achieve it.

"Public Transportation is very relevant in Idaho," said Division of Public Transportation Administrator Randy Kyrias. "Our rural nature does not make mobility less necessary; it makes it more challenging. Idaho's unique characteristics make mobility essential."

IMAP is a reflection of the transportation department's emphasis on customer service, Kyrias explained. The Division of Public Transportation embraces the concept of serving the customer first - the customer being any individual with an existing and potential need for transportation and user mobility service.

More than 600 individuals and stakeholders from throughout the state participated in a series of workshops, stakeholder meetings and a statewide survey. IMAP is the result of the preferences and suggestions generated during that process.

Formal launch of the strategy is planned April 29 - May 1 at "Movin'
Idaho, 2008," a conference scheduled in Boise for public transportation providers and organizations responsible for ensuring that mobility services are available statewide.

The plan relies on local leadership to address local mobility and transportation needs.

"The approach is specifically designed to support local stakeholders in developing mobility networks that are responsive to identified needs and realities," Kyrias said. "IMAP accommodates Idaho's unique characteristics and complements that with a contemporary response to an individual's mobility needs and current technological opportunities."

"The plan also acknowledges and works to address funding realities,"
Kyrias added.

Local communities can take the initiative and work with their neighbors to connect and stimulate the network. As those smaller networks come together, a broader network - featuring existing and potential mobility services - is generated for consideration, evaluation and development as appropriate.

Local leaders can work together to address public transportation issues and to pursue needs and opportunities, calling upon the state to assist them where that assistance is appropriate.

"IMAP is a great example of how a state agency can respond to and support locally led efforts in a viable, focused, state-wide fashion,"
said Idaho Transportation Department Director Pamela K. Lowe.

The result will be a Statewide Mobility Management Plan that identifies the priorities and resources required to address them, Kyrias said.

For a copy of IMAP, go to and click on Public Transportation and choose IMAP Summary or IMAP Final Report from the menu on the left. Additional information also is available from the Division of Public Transportation, (208) 334-8875 or toll free at (800) 527-7985.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

'Virtual Wall' The Crosswalk Of The Future?

I heard a 'tease' on the radio for a news story that was coming up about a 'virtual plasma crosswalk.' I was late for a meeting so I didn't get to hear the story, but my curiosity was piqued, so I googled it. I wasn't able to find any actual stories written by news agencies, research companies, or anyone else I would consider legit, but I did find a lot of blogging on the virtual wall concept.

Basically, the virtual wall is an idea from designer Hanyoung Lee. It is a barrier made up of plasma laser beams to show drivers that pedestrians now have the right to cross. Everything I read said that the 'lasers' that make up the wall won't stop a car from entering the crosswalk or damage the car, but they will 'definetely cause a driver to hesitate before going through it.' I'm not sure what that means, but I would think that after a while we'll get used to it just like everything else and take a chance on driving through it if we're in a hurry.

If you have more info on these Virtual Plasma Crosswalks, please let me know. I'm curious.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Warning About Local Rest Area

You've seen it in movies, but now area police say one of our own rest stops is a hot spot for crime. Not only does the Huetter rest stop have a reputation as a place for gay men to pick up potential sex partners, but police are now warning you to check for needles before using the restrooms. Here's why.

If you've used the rest stop, have you noticed any signs of criminal activity(besides bad coffee)?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

CDA Making Sidewalk Repairs A Priority

It appears to be a win-win situation in Coeur d'Alene, where City Administrators have agreed to foot the bill for fixing sidewalks in order to make them accesible to everyone, and homeowners are happy they won't have to shell out thousands of dollars of their own money to repair the cracked and crumbling walkways.

Here are the details. Do you think this is a feasible solution?

Monday, April 21, 2008

1963 Bike Safety Video

Monday mornings I usually try to cheer you up by posting something funny on this blog. Well today's selection is more creepy than funny. It's a 1963 film on bike safety and it's unusual to say the least. To start with, the children in the film are wearing monkey masks. And they get picked off one by one when they make bicycle-riding mistakes. And the title is 'One Got Fat,' which you will understand by the end of the film. Happy viewing and pay attention if you're a bike rider!

9th Street Underpass Construction & Speeding Stings

The 9th Street underpass is closed for replacement and Kootenai County drivers need to slow down. Here's the wrapup of what's going on in our area transportation-wise for the week of April 21 from the Spokesman's 'Getting There' column (scroll down, Kootenai County items are at the bottom).

Friday, April 18, 2008

Is Spokane (Somewhat) To Blame For Kootenai County Pollution?

Alternatives to vehicle emissions testing in Kootenai County are a possibility instead of implementing an emissions testing program, as recently-passed legislation called for. But, officials say they can't decide what those alternatives could be until determining just how much Spokane contributes to Kootenai County pollution.

Here's the Couer d'Alene Press'coverage of the story. You tell us, what's your suggestion? And how much do you believe Spokane pollutes its' Idaho neighbors?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sidewalk Workshop Date Announced

Earlier this week we blogged about how sidewalk upheaval is causing Coeur d'Alene to take a long, hard look at fixing walkways in poor condition.

More than a dozen residents asked the city to shoulder the burden to repair broken and buckled sidewalks at this Tuesday's council meeting.

Now, the City Council has announced a second sidewalk workshop at the Coeur d'Alene Library for next Monday, April 21, at noon to discuss solutions. The meeting will be held in the library's community room.

Coeur d'Alene requires property owners to maintain and repair their sidewalks. It could enforce those who don't with fines and penalties. The city has decided enforcement is not the direction it wishes to proceed. Instead, the city could spend an estimated $250,000 annually to repair the sidewalks as it repaves city streets.

Safety & Streets Focus Of Post Falls Budget

Post Falls' City Administrator says that public safety and street maintenance will be given priorities during the upcoming budget cycle. Here's how they plan to do it. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

SH 97 And Special KMPO Board Meetings

It's a busy week here at KMPO. We're running all over Kootenai County to keep up with transportation happenings.

Today KMPO staffers will be at Camp Easton on Lake Coeur d'Alene for a State Highway 97 Study Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting. The objective of the Study is to assess the ability of SH 97 to carry traffic brought about by growth over the next 20 years. The plan will evaluate existing and future conditions, identify potential improvements, and provide recommendations for improvements.

On today's meeting agenda: potential roadway improvements, environmental issues, practical roadway capacity, and a discussion of what comes next in the Study.

Tomorrow, we'll be at a special meeting of the KMPO Board that's been called to address vehicle emissions testing legislation passed by Governor Butch Otter.

The Board will meet with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at 3 p.m. at the Post Falls Public Library, 821 N. Spokane St.

The meeting agenda includes a presentation of the Vehicle Emissions Legislation by DEQ and how it affects Kootenai County, and a Board discussion of alternative measures that may eliminate the need for emissions testing.

The SH 97 meeting today is just for SAC members, but if you have comments regarding the Vehicle Emissions Legislation, there will be time provided at the special KMPO Board meeting for public input. Or you can tell us right here your thoughts on it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coeur d'Alene Asks Who Should Fix Sidewalks

The Coeur d'Alene City Council is debating who should pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars in sidewalk repairs; the City or homeowners. Here's the Coeur d'Alene Press article. This debate isn't going away, there's a workshop to discuss it in two weeks. In the meantime, who do you think should pay?

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's Not Top 40, But What The Heck

Being based out of the intermodal station in downtown Spokane, we see all kinds of pedestrians wearing all manner of odd things. David Letterman does us one better though with these songs about pedestrians.

Bike Projects Could Be Cut and KMPO Sits Down With DEQ

The Spokemsan-Review's Getting There Column has the latest on some transportation happenings in Idaho this week (scroll down in the article, they're near the bottom). Read the article and let us know, do you think bike and pedestrian projects should be sacrificed to make up for the shortfall? If not, where should the money come from instead?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

School Safety Advocate Caught Speeding In School Zone

Okay, so we all speed occasionally. And yes, it's embarrassing for all of us when we get caught. But probably more embarrassing for Senator John Goedde of Coeur d'Alene who was caught speeding in a school zone yesterday, the same day his bill to increase fines for speeding in school zones was being debated by the state Senate. Oops, his bad.

Here's his story, and I'm glad to say story, not 'excuse,' as he isn't making one.

So what's your embarrassing story of being pulled over?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Transportation board eyes bike and ped money for road maintenance...

This just in from the Spokesman Review's Eye on Boise:

Mayors, counties, businesses and organizations from across the state are appealing to the Idaho Transportation Board to preserve funding for bikeways and pedestrian pathways, as the board looks at how to cope with a $200 million annual road maintenance shortfall that lawmakers didn’t address this year. The Transportation Enhancement Program, which uses federal funds, has allowed Idaho communities to spend almost $60 million since the program started in 1992 on alternative transportation or restoring historic corridors and train depots, and an additional $5.5 million is scheduled to be spent in fiscal year 2009.

The ITD board will meet April 16-17 in Lewiston, its first meeting since the Legislature dropped plans for any new fees or other funding for road maintenance in the coming year. The groups, which sent a letter to the board, say they fear the bikeway funds are on the chopping block.
Click here to read their full letter.

What do you think? Should this money be converted at least until new road maintenance money can be found?

Public Transportation 'Roundtable' Committee Formed

KMPO hosted a formational meeting of a ‘Public Transportation Roundtable’ committee yesterday. Approximately 25 representatives from transportation agencies, social service agencies, and the public showed up to form a committee
to coordinate all interests that have a role in transportation within Kootenai County.

The group will serve in an advisory capacity to the KMPO, providing recommendations on public transportation services and system improvements. It will have a Chair, Vice Chair, and 3-5 positions for 'citizens-at-large,' but no formal voting structure at this time.

Particular transportation issues were not discussed at this first meeting, it was devoted solely to forming the committee and setting up its' structure. The group will meet quarterly, meaning the next meeting is set for sometime in July. At that time, the group’s responsibilities will be expanded upon and members of the public will be given the opportunity to make presentations or bring requests, questions or inquiries to the group.

Any questions?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

You're not going to believe this one...

Popular Mechanics just published its review of "The 10 Pieces of U.S. Infrastructure We Must Fix Now." Can you believe that the Dover Bridge near Sandpoint ranked at #7. Senator Shawn Keough and Rep. George Eskridge, along with other north Idaho lawmakers, have continually made the case to get the bridge funded. At one time, they were asking for a mere $10 million in the GARVEE package to get this project done. Now the price tag is somewhere near $25 million.

Compared to the other nine projects on the list (the Alaska Way Viaduct in Seattle being #5), the cost of the Dover Bridge is a pittance. The other nine projects rank in the hundreds of millions of dollars -- if not billions -- to finish.

Question: Isn't it kind of embarassing to have such a small project compared to the replacement of the Brooklyn Bridge, or the rebuild of Chicago's O'Hare Airport?

Otter disappointed in lack of transportation funds

Governor Butch Otter says he accomplished many of his goals during this last legislative session, but he is extremely disappointed that the Legislature did not fund the $240 million annual shortfall in transportation needs. According to this AP story , the governor said he did everything he could to urge lawmakers to come up with new revenue streams, but it just wasn't enough to get 'er done.

Now that the session is over, how do you think we should address this issue?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Your Monday congestion solution: Dublin thinks outside the box

Secretary Peters pushes for tolling in Seattle

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters was in Seattle last week advocating for a pilot tolling program on the 520 bridge. She said the new tolling process, called "congestion pricing," will eventually supplant the federal gas tax as the primary revenue stream for transportation on the federal level.

Congestion pricing is basically charging higher tolls during the high-demand periods on congested roads. For example, a $6-toll may be charged during the morning and afternoon commute hours and then it could be reduced to a $2-toll during the low demand times. Obviously, this is pricing scenario would deter drivers during the commuter hours and likely increase the use of public transit.

Peters was in Seattle to encourage the State Department of Transportation to fast-track the 520 bridge project, as it is one of the first pilot programs for this type of tolling in the country.

Read the Associated Press story on the Northwest Cable News web site here.

KMPO Forming Public Transportation 'Roundtable'

KMPO is holding a formational meeting tomorrow (April 8) of a 'Public Transportation Roundtable.' The group will serve in an advisory capacity to the KMPO, providing recommendations on public transportation services and system improvements.

The meeting is from 2-4 p.m. at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Street. Members of transit providers, social service agencies, and other agencies involved with public transportation in Kootenai County will form this new committee with the intent of coordinating service, improving access to information for customers, exploring creative ways to maximize available funding, and advising the KMPO Board on policies and funding priorities for public transportation.

Members of the public may attend, but public comment will not be taken at this initial meeting. Subsequent meetings of the committee will provide an opportunity for public comment related to public transportation issues.

Before the meeting, we'd like to know what improvements you would like to see in the arena of public transportation.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Can't Wait To See All The Construction Workers With Shaved Heads

For those of you I occasionally hear from who say area agencies don't use the correct asphalt mix and that's why we have so many potholes and alligatoring, be reassured! I found this ad on the Idaho Transportation Department website for the Super Pave Hotmix Asphalt Boot Camp Training. Thought it would make you feel better to know that the people who fix our roads are going to training, and not just any training, but boot camp. Makes me feel better. Well, it made me laugh anyway.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Road Audit Bill Gains Final Approval

This one's for you Overtheroadguy, since you're the only one who regularly blogs with us on this issue.

The final approval of a measure to provide $550,000 for an audit of the Idaho Transportation Department gained final legislative approval on Wednesday.

Here's the CDA Press story

The S-R's Take On Emissions Testing

Here's the Spokesman's take on the emissions testing legislation. So what do you think, is emissions testing what it will take to turn things around or will public education take care of the problem as Jeff suggested?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Governor signs emission testing bill

Well, it's done. Governor Otter signed the emissions testing bill into law today, saying that it is the most cost effective way to deal with ozone in the urbanized areas of the state. However, he said that he has agreement from the legislature to work on minor changes to the bill in the 2009 session. In the meantime, KMPO staff will be working with Department of Environmental Quality, the business community and our elected officials to come up with a program that will work in Kootenai County. Here is a link to the Governor's signing message.

Coeur d'Alene Press picks up on emission testing legislation

The Coeur d'Alene Press published a story today on the emission inspection and maintenance program that is being proposed by the legislature. the story has generated some cooments at the bottom of the web page linked above.

The Spokesman Review's Huckleberries Online Blog has also posted a piece on this issue here. The issue generated about 30 comments so far.

By the way, KMPO is still waiting for a response from the governor's office as of Tuesday morning. We will update this blog when we hear something.

Google maps now has street view for Spokane and Kootenai County

Our friends at the MetroSpokane Blog discovered recently that Google has added an very cool new feature called street view. Just go to Google and click the "Map" link at the top of the page. Type in any address in Kootenai or Spokane county. Then click on the "Street View" button and prepare to be amazed. Be careful it is addictive.