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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Attention Freemasons And Rockhounds- ITD Has New License Plates For You

All you Freemasons and lapidary fans out there (what the heck??) two new specialty license plates go on sale in Idaho on Friday. I couldn't find a sample anywhere online of what they look like, but the new plates promote the charitable activities of Freemasons and awareness of earth sciences and lapidary education (the art of polishing, engraving, or cutting precious stones and gems).

The new license plates join about 40 other special interest options that allow Idaho drivers to financially support non-profit organizations.

From the sale of each license plate, all but $13 is deposited by the state treasurer into the non-profit organizations account.

The new plates can be personalized with up to five letters and/or numbers. The cost to personalize the plates is an additional $25.

Personalized and sample plates are only available directly from the Idaho Transportation Departments Boise office by using this link.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Knew I'd Seen The Grim Reaper At City Hall

I don't know who Gontram Architects are but they're some funny guys who want to wish you happy holidays with this fun video. I'm not going to say anything else, as to keep myself out of trouble here.

Lowe Files Adds Another Claim To Her Case

Former Idaho Transportation Director Pam Lowe, whose wrongful-termination lawsuit against the state is now pending in federal court, filed an amended claim today adding an additional claim to her case: that ITD hired a male to replace her and is paying him over $20,000 a year more than they were paying her.

Here's the story from the 'Eye on Boise' blog.

When new Director Brian Ness was hired, ITD said they offered him more pay than Lowe because he negotiated a salary that’s a substantial increase from his former salary in Michigan. Do you think this is a fair practice or should there be a set sarting wage for the position as well as 'step increases', just like in most other government positions?

Montana Has Killer Roads- And Not In The Good Sense

Turns out that our neighbor state, Montana, has some of the deadliest highways per mile nationwide. There were almost 22,000 crashes in the state of Montana last year, killinhg 229 people. Why though? Is it the aging infrastructure? The steep corners and grades? Or the people who drive at ridiculous speeds, even at night?

Here's the answer from KECI News out of Missoula.

Highway Signs Are Made To Last 10 Years- Please Don't Shoot Them

If you're the clown shooting highway signs in Idaho with a paintball gun, the Idaho Transportation Department asks you to stop. In a news release sent out yesterday, ITD officials say they've seen an increasing amount of signs with paintball damage along state highways in the past several months.

The paintball stains are not only costly to tax payers - who will pay the bill to replace thousands of dollars worth of signs- but has the potential to create hazardous results. The paintballs damage the reflectivity of signs, which makes them easier to see at night. While the signs appear normal during daylight hours, they are hard to see at night when they have paint ont hem.

More than 70 signs were recently replaced at a price of $7,000+. And that tab doesn't include the liability risk if someone gets in an accident.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Closures- Again

A reminder that it's another short week so get your government business done early. All government offices will be closed on Friday, Jan. 1 and many will close early on Thursday.

The Questions You Never Thought To Ask About Your Car and Driving

Ever wonder how the gas pump nozzle shuts itself off when the gas tank in your car is full? Yeah, I never have either. Until I saw this article on MSN. I guess I just never thought about it. It's relatively simple though, and pretty impressive considering the 'technology' behind it has been around for 50 years. Impressive because there really wasn't technology back then.

This article also answers some of the other questions you've come up with while driving but never thought to actually ask. Anyone have anything that wasn't covered in the article?

Public Transportation Roundtable Next Week

KMPO's Roundtable group meets next week, on Friday, January 8 from 8:30-10 a.m. Here's a look at the agenda. If you see anything on there that interests you, you're welcome and encouraged to attend the meeting. Roundtable meetings are open to the public.

The Roundtable meets quarterly. Its' purpose is to promote continued coordinated planning and development of public transportation services within and through Kootenai County. The meetings are more exciting than that description makes them sound, so come check it out if you have any interest at all in public transportation.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Eagle Watchers Causing Traffic Havoc

The Idaho Transportation Department just sent out a news release saying that the Idaho State Police will issue citations to motorists who interfere with traffic along Idaho 97 when watching migrating bald eagles. The birds gather every year near Coeur d'Alene Lake, drawing hundreds of human fans to watch them, and create havoc with road conditions.

Parking areas and pullouts are available on a limited basis along Idaho 97 on the eastern shore of the lake where bird watchers can safely pull off the highway. Motorists have been stopping and blocking traffic, which has prompted the state police to step up traffic patrols and issue citations. Inattentive drivers and cars suddenly stopping create a serious safety issue on the highway.

Anyone wishing to view the bald eagles should use designated parking areas, such as Higgins Point, or identified pullout areas. And slow down and pay attention when travelling around the lake.

Spokane Man Sues Idaho Over Accident

A Spokane man has filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the state of Idaho for injuries he says resulted from a crash caused by potholes on Interstate 90 in North Idaho.

Here's the story.

I don't remember this when it happened, or the conditions on I90 at the time so it's hard for me to judge whether this suit is right or wrong. ITD officials say there's nothing they could do to fix the situation because of the weather though. From reading this article, do you think the accident victim should win this case or did ITD do everything they could to prevent something like this from happening?

Transportation Bill Extended Again

Those of you who are observant have probably already noticed that Dec. 18 has passed. What’s the significance of the date? For the non-transportation groupies out there, that was the expiration date for the extension of SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy For Users), the funding and authorization bill that governs United States federal surface transportation spending.

So what does that mean? Are we without a bill that provides funding for transportation projects now and all construction projects will grind to a halt? No, that won’t happen. On the 18th, the ‘Omnibus Bill’ was passed, which extended SAFETEA-LU AGAIN until September of 2010.

Why should you care? Because we KMPO's sister agency, Spokane Regional Transportation Council, partnered with the Rails to Trails Conservancy on the ‘SmartRoutes’ project to try to get Congress to double the non-motorized transportation budget from $4.5 billion to $9 billion in the next federal transportation budget. If that happens, when they finally get around to reauthorizing the bill, there will be more money available to build bicycling-friendly facilities like bike lanes, trails, paths, etc.

In the meantime, a couple other bills are expected to be voted on in January that relate to transportation. Jeff Selle is KMPO/SRTC’s Manager of Government Affairs. After Congress reconvenes in January, he says he’ll write up an entire analysis of everything going on right now that involves transportation.

So, if you’re one of those people who gets that holiday letdown feeling after the holidays, just know that you have that to look forward to.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cost Of Driving In ID Going Up

The Idaho Transportation Department sure knows how to ruin my good holiday spirit. They say that, beginning in 2010, it will cost more to drive in Idaho because fees for many motor vehicle services are going up. Here's what some of the new prices will be.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays From KMPO. Here's Your Card

Here's Your PC holiday greeting from KMPO:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.

And here's your not-so-PC greeting, which stars some of the KMPO/SRTC staff and Glenn Miles as Scrooge.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Idahoans Expected To Travel Less This Holiday Season

According to AAA, Residents of Idaho are expected to travel less than they did a year ago this holiday season, despite a forecast increase nationwide.

AAA expects an overall 4.8% decline in travel totaling 50 miles or more from home in the Mountain region, including Idaho.

That stacks up to a projected 3.8% increase nationwide, to 87.7 million people. The projections are based on a survey of 1,350 households in mid-November, along with past trends and other factors.

Analysts say the drop in Idahoans travelling is because the recession has been felt more acutely in this region.

Travel was also relatively robust in the region during last year's holidays, making the year-ago numbers hard to beat.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lily and Bob, Your Days Are Numbered

Man's best friend could be one of the environment's worst enemies, according to a new study which says the carbon pawprint of a pet dog, like Lily (pictured), is more than double that of a gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle.

But the new book "Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living" is offending many pet owners. Here's a link to this VERY interesting article. I wonder if that book has recipes for chow-mix dog and a really fat, shorthaired cat named Bob...

What do you think... is this going over the line in the name of being 'environmentally friendly' or is time for mandatory neutering of cats and dogs and limiting how many pets people can have?

Holiday Closures

A reminder that if you have government business to do, you'd better get it done today or tomorrow because we're all going to be at home in our bunny jammies the rest of the week. All government offices are closed on Friday, and most shut down early on Thursday for Christmas Eve.

All offices open again on Monday morning at 8 a.m.

Work will be suspended on all Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) highway construction projects statewide for the Christmas holiday, except in special circumstances.

Monday, December 21, 2009

ITD Recognized As 'Good Place To Work'- By Women's Group

Is it ironic that a place that JUST got a woman on their Board for the first time in their history was recognized for being a great place to work by the 'Women In Transportation' group?

The Treasure Valley chapter of the women's group says the Idaho Transportation Department is a pretty good place to work. WTS cited the department’s outstanding leadership and its record of support for women in the transportation industry as reasons for the award. I'm not sure former ITD Director Pam Lowe would agree, after claiming that the fact that she's female played a role in her firing, but it's good to hear that ITD backs it's female employees.

Here's more on this award from the ITD website.

Need A New Jersey For Bicycling?

Need a new jersey for bicycling? Here are some funny, yet applicable ones, that may get your point across to aggressive drivers. Here's where you can buy them if interested.





Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Needs Something That Says 'Stop!,' Only In A Friendly, Attractive Way

Thanks to Joe at the Spokesman for sending us this little treat. Joe hit the nail on the head with this one. I swear I've actually worked with those people.

Stop signs are one of the many things we take for granted. Sometimes it's hard to believe they're a relatively new invention and someone actually 'invented' it. This video is a fun look at what it would look like had the stop sign been designed by committee.

Now For The LaHood Pick Of The Day

On Facebook Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was touting this report from the Safe Routes To Schools National Partnership on how Safe Routes to School initiatives protect children walking and bicycling.

I've started my own campaign to get Mr. LaHood to visit our area, so if you're part of a Safe Routes To School program let me know what you're doing to make things safer for kids and maybe I can figure a way to use it as bait for Mr. LaHood.

CDA Bike/Ped Committee Launches Blog

Congratulations to the Coeur d'Alene Pedestrian & Bicycle Committee, which has just launched it's own blog. The blog hosts discussions and articles on everything pedestrian or bike related, such as bicycle safety, Safe Routes to School, Rules of the Road, pedestrian access for the disabled, public transportation, the future of pedestrians and bicycles in Coeur d'Alene, and other items of interest. Here's a link to check it out.

Annual Highway Report Out

Which state has the most efficient state-owned highway system? According to the 'Reason Foundations' 18th Annual Highway Report, it's North Dakota. Which states have the worst-performing highway systems? Hawaii, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, and Alaska, according to the report. And how many bridges across the country are deficient or functionally obsolete? The report says 25%.

Want to read the whole report now? You should, because there are a lot of other interesting gems like those in there. Here's the link.

Apparently Getting Hit By A Prius Doesn't Cause A Lot Of Damage

Thanks to blogger Holly, I have just discovered the lure of the Craigslist 'Best of' ads. I can't put a link because some of the ads contain inappropriate references for this blog but here's one useable gem I found on there:

You hit me with your Prius

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 2009-07-25, 3:23PM PDT

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Me - Bicyclist, heading to jury duty on 10th Street, Friday at 8:50am.
You - Prius driver, crossing over two lanes, hitting me with your car and speeding away.

I was hoping we could catch up for a cup of coffee, so I could get your views on the environment, and strangle you.


it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Transportation Secretary LaHood On The Daily Show

Here's a little mid-week treat for you; Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on the Daily Show with John Stewart. It's interesting stuff; they talk about taking Amtrak to beat the fog, Obama's Stimulus package, and the next big thing in transportation, which LaHood says will be high speed rail and which the audience seemed to like. The pneumatic tube item isn't a bad idea either, I'm going to start working on that in my garage.

In the meantime, I'm hearing that LaHood wants to take a tour of 'rural America.' I'm starting my own campaign to get him here. We're not necessarily rural, but we are surrounded by rural lands when you consider the palouse, the west plains area, much of Idaho and on east to Montana. And we have a unique Metropolitan Planning Organization setup here where we provide transportation planning for two counties, using one staff.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Ray LaHood
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Chrysler Sets Company Policy Against Texting

Chrysler has jumped into the texting-while-driving fray. They'r the first automaker to set a corporate policy that specifically prohibits anyone driving company-owned vehicles or texting with company-provided cell devices while driving personal vehicles. Here's the story, direct from the Chrysler blog.

Four Car Accident Kills Two

A four-vehicle accident on I90 in Post Falls last night took the life of two teenagers and injured four other people. Here's the story from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mr. Heat Meiser Coming To Visit

It looks like the Heat Meiser will be joining us this week, melting all that snow. If you think driving was a pain today, just wait until tomorrow. We're expected to get more snow tonight, then it will turn to rain and turn this 3-5 inches of snow into piles of slush. Someone in the office said it would be like 'driving through mashed potatoes tomorrow.' And while it seems merely inconvenient to drive in slushy conditions, slow down a little as the slush can throw you all over the place.

Cheap Gas At Stateline On Monday Nights

Normally I'd never drive out of my way to buy cheap gas because you pretty much burn what you save just to get there. It's only about 5 minutes out of my way to go to the gas station at Stateline though, where they were selling gas for $2.29 a gallon. That's right folks! It's a Monday Night Football promotion so don't think you can go there and get that price today. But you could try next Monday.

Lowe Case Moved To Federal Court

ITD Director Pam Lowe’s wrongful-termination lawsuit against the state is being moved up to federal court. The state had the option of either defending the case in 4th District Court or removing it to federal court.

Here's more on this story from the Spokesman's 'Eye On Boise' blog.

Fewer Expected To Travel By Air This Holiday Season

The Air Transport Association of America is predicting fewer travelers will board planes to get to where they're going this Christmas. The decline in air travel is being blamed on the economy. Here's the story from the Seattle Times..

Monday, December 14, 2009

FTA Money To Fund CDA Tribe Transit Center

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Friday announced that $32 million will be spent on 100 transit projects on tribal lands. $15 million of the money will come from 'Public Transportation on Indian Reservations' funding from the USDOT and the other $17 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

FTA staff reviewed 152 proposals for projects and selected 100 to fund- including one Coeur d'Alene Tribe project- a transit center. Right now, we're working with the Tribe to determine if that money has to be used on Tribal Lands, or if it could be used to construct a transit center in the Riverstone area in Coeur d'Alene. I'll keep you updated.

In the meantime, here's the news release and the entire list of projects to be funded.

A Cautionary Tale About Buses

Watch for bus riders
Letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press Editor

One evening as the snow started my teenage sons and quite a few of their friends rode the Citilink bus to a birthday party. They ride the bus system all the time, it is a great benefit for our community. Not long after I told all the boys to behave but have fun, I get a phone call from my oldest son. He was frantically crying, something he rarely does. I knew something was wrong. He says, "Mom, Jamie got hit by a car, I think he's dying." I hang up with him and head towards Super 1 in Post Falls.

I didn't know what to expect when I got there. The boys were all upset, scared and angry. Jamie, was laying on the concrete, being helped by the paramedics and a wonderful Good Samaritan, all I got was her first name, Brandy. Jamie was taken to KMC.

The police officer told me that there will be a crash report, but no charges. At this point I was just wanting to take care of my son. Who, thanks to God, has no major injuries. His shoulder and knee will probably never be the same, but he is alive and did not have a brain injury.

But, now that I know my son is okay I'm a bit concerned for the safety of others getting off and on the buses. No, they are not school buses with the stop sign, but drivers, people are getting off the bus. The woman who hit my son, drove around the stopped bus. Then to top it off tried to leave the scene before the police arrived. My older son stopped her from leaving!

The next time you are driving past the Citilink bus that is at a stop, remember that there are going to be pedestrians getting on and off the bus and you should watch for them. And riders, remember that not all drivers are paying enough attention to realize that a stopped bus means people walking.

BRINDA SCHENDEL
Post Falls

Some Items Regarding Snow

- Not only did it snow last night in some areas, but it's expected to do so again tomorrow. If you commute to Spokane for work, be sure to check the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center website for road conditions for heading out on them. You can watch live traffic cameras on the site, and check a map of your commute route for anything that might slow you down such as traffic accidents or slick roads.

- I got about 1 1/2 inches of snow at home last night, but the roads were pretty much clear by the time I got to Trent. And the freeway was just wet so the going was pretty easy. By the time I got downtown, there wasn't snow, wet roads, or anything. Just goes to show the little 'micro-climates' our area has.

- Blogger Holly from Olympia says it snowed there last night, about an inch, and there is a little ice on the roads, but nothing too scary. The funny part- the schools there delayed the start of the school day for two hours as a result.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bids Coming In Consistently Under Estimate

The winning bid on the project to widen US 95 north of Hayden came in way under estimate. $6 million under engineer's estimates in fact. And that's happening a lot lately with many area projects. Apparently the bad economy is forcing contractors to work for less and keep the price of materials stable. Here's the story from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

ITD Makes Bold Move- Appoints Woman To Board

Idaho Governor Butch Otter did something yesterday that's never been done- he appointed a woman to the Idaho Transportation Board! Here's the article from the Spokesman-Review.

Does anyone else have a hard time believing that we're in the 21st century and there's never been a woman on that board?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

30 Year Mayor's Only Regret- Transportation

Thanks to Gail for sending me this video about one remarkable Mayor of a Canadian city who has been in office for 30 years! Mississauga is the ONLY city in existence that is debt free. And Mayor Hazel has a lot of other accomplishments under her belt as well. Her only regret? That they didn't build their development around transportation and are now struggling to develop a public transit system. The video is a little long and the reporter kind of cheesy but it's interesting to see what a city can do with some planning.

KCATT Agenda Available

The agenda for next week's Kootenai County Area Transportation Team (KCATT) is now available. Here's the link. Feel free to attend if you see anything on the agenda that interests you. The meeting is next Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 8 a.m. in the meeting room at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library at 702 E. Front Ave.

Please note this is the last KCATT meeting that is scheduled to meet at the Coeur d’Alene library. Beginning next month (January 2010) and for the remaining 2010 year, KCATT will meet at the ITD District 1 Headquarters located at 600 West Prairie Avenue in Coeur d’Alene.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

IPH Meeting Materials Available

If you weren't able to attend the Inland Pacific Hub (IPH) meetings last week in Pullman, Sandpoint, or Spokane Valley, but are curious as to what happened at them, all the meeting materials are now posted to the IPH website.

The IPH Transportation Study is a project to establish the Inland Pacific Region as a multi-modal global gateway to increase international commerce. It is a partnership comprised of public and private sector representatives from Idaho and Washington.

While you're checking out the meeting materials, I recommend you browse the rest of the site to find out more about the project.

KMPO & KCATT Dates Set For 2010

It's official; dates have been set for KMPO Board and Kootenai County Area Transportation Team (KCATT) meetings in 2010. They are as follows (so mark your calendar):

KMPO BOARD:
January 7
February 4
March 4
April 1
May 6
June 3
July 1
August 5
September 2
October 7
November 4
December 2

KCATT
January 26
February 23
March 23
April 27
May 25
June 22
July 27
August 24
September 28
October 26
November 23
December 21

Idaho Drunk Driving Deaths Up From 2007

New federal data suggests that all but 10 states have seen a decline in drunken driving deaths- and Idaho is one of the ten states that hasn't. In fact, the rate of drunk driving deaths in Idaho has increased from 2007 to 2008.

Here's the story from Seattle's KIRO TV.

So Idahoans- what do you feel contributed to this increase in drunk driving fatalities?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Legos Teach Kids About Transportation

This is pretty cool. Area students are learning about math, science, engineering- and transportation- through playing with legos! It's not just playing though, they're competing to be the champion when it comes to robotics. And one group of kids are even putting what they learned to use on the Centennial Trail. Here's the article.

KCATT Meeting Moved This Month

This is early notice that the meeting date of the Kootenai County Area Transportation Team has been moved this month. Normally, the meeting is held the fourth Tuesday of each month. Because the fourth Tuesday of December fell on the week of Christmas this year though, it was agreed to hold it a week early, on Dec. 15. It will still be held at the regular time; 8 a.m. An agenda isn't available yet but I'll let you know when it is.

Students Looking For Bike Rack Designs

The Inlander reports that a group of students in the Resort and Recreation Management Program at North Idaho College has launched an initiative called WeCycle, to promote bicycling and raise the profile of the bicycle in the city.

As part of the initiative, they’re asking artists to submit designs for between 15 and 20 bike racks, which would be installed along the Centennial Trail in May. The racks would be provided free of charge to the city.

The only requirements are apaprently that the designs be all-metal, safe and that they use a 36-inch square base as their foundation. If you're an artist interested in this, call (208) 290-5318.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Letter Writer Wants Longer Yellow Lights

Coeur d'Alene Press Letter To The Editor:

I write this letter to the editor hoping that it will reach the eyes of whichever authority has jurisdiction over the traffic signals at the 95-Prairie intersection. Surely I am not the only one who thinks this issue needs addressing. It has to do with the length of time the signals show yellow before they change to red.

Traveling south on US 95 at the Prairie Ave. intersection: The yellow signal lasts approximately four seconds. I timed it for five cycles. The times ranged between 3.46and 3.88 seconds.

In four seconds a car moving at the posted speed limit (45 MPH) travels 264 feet, 66 feet per second.

According to the Idaho Driver's Handbook: At 45 MPH it takes 101.5 feet to react to the light changing.

It takes an additional 114 feet to bring the car to a stop. A quote from the handbook: "Total minimum stopping distances with perfect 4-wheel brakes on the best type of road surface under favorable conditions."

I wish to point out that for all intents and purposes, the 215.5 feet allotted amounts to a panic stop, and not the type of stopping drivers should be faced with in normally reacting to traffic signals.

The 101.5 reaction distance does not factor in the judgment time necessary to calculate your distance from the limit line, weather factoring, whether the stop can be made safely or any other of the multitude of calculations necessary to safely stop the vehicle. The allotted 101.5 feet only provides for the reaction time for a panic stop. The 114 feet stopping distance applies only to a panic stop.

The foregoing indicates that four seconds is an insufficient amount of time to bring a car to a safe stop if the car is 264 feet or nearer to the intersection when the car is traveling at the posted speed limit of 45 MPH. Even one additional second or five seconds total would be a vast improvement.

JAY BARBIERI
Dalton Gardens


Um... I'm not really sure where to go with this. Do you agree/disagree? Are you surprised that Mr. Barbieri did this much research to write a letter to the editor?

You Can Still Get A Rebate On A New Car

You can still get a deal on a car, even if you don't have a clunker to trade in. But you've only got until the end of the year to use the New Car Tax Rebate, so if you were thinking about buying, now may be the time. And buyers are needed because, unlike the Cash For Clunkers Program, not many appear to be taking advantage of this program.

Here's more information on this little-known program from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Avista To Remove Trees On Hazel Avenue

According to the 'City of Coeur d'Alene Today' blog, Avista will be removing some trees along Hazel Avenue at Cherry Hill. Like many street trees, the trees that will be removed are growing into the overhead power lines.

Not only is Avista removing the trees, but they are donating $1,000 to Urban Forestry for replacement trees.

Task Force Won't Propose Road Fixes

Governor Otter's transportation funding task force met this week, but it won’t be proposing any road fixes in the upcoming Idaho legislative session as the group is apparently bogged down with defining the need for road funding. Here are the details from the 'Eye On Boise' Blog.

SRTMC Website Outage Planned For Sunday, Monday

This is your notice that, if you commute from Idaho to Spokane for work, you're going to have to rely on your own wits and street smarts to get to work on Monday morning, as the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center (SRTMC) cameras will be down that morning for some upgrades.

The live traffic feeds will be taken down Sunday morning (Dec. 6) and are expected to be back online by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, in time for the evening commute.

The SRTMC site, at www.srtmc.org, is a high-tech website with real-time, customizable information for the Spokane area. 24-hours a day you can watch over 40 live traffic cameras, read about incidents and events that are automatically updated as they happen, and check construction updates in order to plan your commute around upcoming construction projects.

The SRTMC is expecting to bring almost 30 new camera feeds online by early 2010. That includes three on Appleway in Spokane Valley, four along the North Spokane Corridor, and over 20 on the Maple/Ash Corridor. In order to support these additional camera feeds, a new video switch must be installed, which accounts for the outage.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Correction To An Earlier Blog Post- And Its From The Top

I'm always open to corrections or updates on this blog, so if you see something you have additional info on be sure to let me know. That's exactly what Todd Solomon did recently. And noticing his email address, I was curious and looked him up on line. According to an online bio I found of Todd Solomon, he's the Online Community Manager for President Obama's Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, managing the Secretary's blog (http://www.fastlane.dot.gov), online presence (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), and new media strategy! How cool is that? Good to know someone is noticing the work us little guys do. So here's his message:

FYI, just wanted to let you know that the Star-Telegram,, from which The
Olympian got the article referenced by your blog post "LaHood Wants To
Raise Federal Gas Tax," has corrected its story as below.

You'll see that--whether or not it's a good idea, Secretary LaHood did
not endorse it. He only said that it's up to Congress to hash the
funding out, and adjusting the gas tax is only one of the options they
can use.

I think it's great that the Kootenai County MPO are following this and
so many other stories so closely. Your citizens are probably better
informed than most on transportation! Hope you're also following the
Secretary's blog (http://fastlane.dot.gov) and @RayLaHood Twitter
account. And, if you really want to, you can also fan the Secretary on
Facebook.

Hope you guys can get to one of the Reauthorization Listening Tour stops
when the Secretary gets out west.

Star-Telegram Correction
"Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Congress should debate a range
of options on funding transportation needs, including indexing the
federal gas tax. He did not endorse any option. Information about his
remarks was incorrect Tuesday in an article about the North Texas
Transportation Summit."

Citylink Numbers Up Again

Citylink had a down month in October for some reason, but judging from the latest numbers released just yesterday, the numbers are on the rise again.
Here are the latest ridership numbers, from November.

What Did We Do Before Facebook?

So guess what I just did? I just became a fan of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Facebook (I can do this as I'm blogging at home today because using Facebook at work is obviously a no-no). I'm hoping this will mean I get updates from the man himself delivered directly to me, and I won't have to check his blog quite as often anymore. If you would like to check his blog though you can use this link. And if you would like to become his fan on Facebook click here. You have to give the guy credit for being proactive.

IPH Meeting Draws Variety Of Community Members

I'm doing my blogging late today because I spent all morning in the Inland Pacific Hub (IPH) meeting this morning at CenterPlace in Spokane Valley. If you're not familiar with the IPH Transportation Study, it is a project is to transform the Inland Northwest into a hub for commerce, vital to the global economy. Sound like a stretch? Well it's not; because of its central location, the Inland Northwest is perfectly positioned to be a key link to competitive commerce in the northern hemisphere.

Besides SRTC, there are several agencies partnering on this project, including Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Idaho Transportation Department.

Those jurisdictions this week hosted three forums to get input from the public in Pullman, Sandpoint, and Spokane Valley. And people seem to be interested; over 30 people attended the Pullman meeting, about 12 in Sandpoint, and just over 50 at today's Spokane Valley meeting. And they came from a variety of backgrounds. At today's meeting alone, we had representatives from the railroads, the City of Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Avista, Jobs Plus, the Davenport Economic Development Council, Eastern Washington University, a couple of everyday citizens, a delegation of three from Trail, B.C., and a ton of other people. And they all had different perspectives about what we need to do to take full advantage of the potential economic development opportunities associated with international trade.

We're in the process of compiling the meeting notes and results, and will have those on the Inland Pacific Hub website sometime within the next week. The good news is that this gives you that time to go through the IPH website and get to know the project a little more. Happy reading and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

LaHood Wants To Raise Federal Gas Tax

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says Congress should consider raising the federal gas tax for the first time since 1993.

LaHood pledged to work with Congress on passing a five-year transportation bill in 2010. The current problem is that although about $500 billion in highway, bridge and transit needs have been identified, the federal gas tax — 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline — can't generate that much revenue.

Here's the story from The Olympian.

ITD Sued Over Traffic Accident

A Bonner County woman is suing the Idaho Transportation Department over a traffic accident she claims was caused by a faulty traffic signal. Here's the story from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

CDA Gets Lands Grant

The City of Coeur d'Alene has just gotten word from the Idaho Department of Lands that they've been awarded a $6,465 Community Transportation Enhancement (CTE) grant. The city's Parks Department applied for this grant to plant 44 trees and 15 shrubs within the Seltice Avenue right-of-way between the parking lot at Northwest Boulevard and the stop light at Riverstone Drive. The trees and shrubs will be planted between the street and the Centennial Trail in early May.

Drinking Boxed Wine, It's The New Way To Reduce Vehicle Emissions (Or Something Like That)

John Tesh annoys the heck out of me. I just wanted to get that on the record before I pass on something I heard on his radio show. Why was I listening to his show if I don't like him? Well, I was flipping through the stations the other night when I heard something about switching to boxed wine that caught my attention.

So I just got on John's website and found this intereting factoid, and just in time for your holiday consumption too: "These days a lot of respected wineries are doing away with the glass bottle because manufacturing and shipping them is expensive and wasteful. According to the Wine Group, the largest wine company in the world, using boxes instead of glass bottles is equivalent to taking 25,000 cars off the road every year!"

So thank you Mr. Tesh. I can overlook your smarminess for one day to pass that on. Now go out and get yourself some boxed wine (or boxed sparkling cider for you non-drinkers).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Church Coalition To Pay Parking Tickets

Some Boise drivers may be getting their parking tickets taken care of. A Christian coalition will pay off up to $10,000 in tickets as a way to apparently show 'God's grace.'

Yeah, I'm not really seeing the connection to grace and parking tickets either but I'm betting a lot of people with parking tickets won't even care if there is a connection.

The money to pay the tickets comes from anonymous donors and area churches.Here's the story.

KMPO December Board Agenda Available

The monthly KMPO Board meeting is this Thursday, Dec. 3. You can check out the agenda by clicking here.

As always, if you see something of interest on the agenda, you're welcome to attend the Board meeting. It starts at 1:30 p.m. in the Post Falls Council Chambers at 408 N. Spokane St. in Post Falls.

And just a note, we had originally planned to move KMPO Board meetings back to the ITD offices after HVAC work was completed there, but it has recently been decided to continue to hold those meetings at Post Falls City Hall through 2010.
Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization (KMPO) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Kootenai County, Idaho. Federal law requires urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people to have an MPO. KMPO was formed in 2003, to provide coordinated transportation planning within Kootenai county for the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and the Coeur d'Alene tribe.

KMPO's Board of Directors oversees KMPO for Kootenai County, ID. KMPO's Executive Director and Staff are responsible for day-to-day operational and administrative needs.