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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?