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Friday, April 30, 2010

I stomped on your fire, you choked on a biscuit

I have learned that one of my weaknesses is the 'Best Of' section on Craigslist. Once I start reading, I can't stop. It's a complete time waster and nothing I can apply to real life. Until I came across this. Not only is it hilarious but it contains a lesson I think we can all learn from.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Get Those Studs Off

Start the countdown- you've only got one more day before you have to have your studded tires off your car in Idaho. Studs must be removed before Saturday, May 1.

Studded tire laws vary in neighboring states. Authorized start and stop dates are:

* Montana: Oct. 1 - May 31
* Oregon: Nov. 1 - April 1
* Washington: Nov. 1 - March 31

Greensferry Project Not Be Dead Yet

Yesterday it was pretty much off the table- today's it's back. There's a new twist in the Greensferry Road interchange project. The city and Urban Renewal Agency have now seized control of the Interstate 90 project and its future may ultimately be up to voters.

The Coeur d'Alene Press has the story.

Wide Loads Beware

If you drive a wide vehicle (we mean really wide) you're going to have to find another route besides I-90 to get through the state line area.

Starting Tuesday, May 4 through June 25th, from Milepost 299.82 (Washington/Idaho border)in both directions, loads exceeding 13 feet wide are prohibited 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week due to freeway construction in Idaho.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Airlines Warned Not To Leave Passengers On Tarmac

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is putting the smackdown on airlines that keep passengers stranded on the tarmac for more than three hours.

LaHood's new rule limiting to three hours the amount of time airlines can keep passengers waiting in planes goes into effect on Thursday. After three hours, planes must return to a gate unless its unsafe to do so.

Here are the details on the new rule from the Olympian newspaper.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Watch For Wet Paint

It's that time of year again- time to stripe the streets. The City of Coeur d'Alene will bust out the paint next Monday, May 3, weather permitting.

Street striping requires clean, dry streets and reasonably warm air temperatures. City arterials have been swept and city crews have completed their equipment preparations and pre-marking of faded lines, meaning painting work can begin.

Striping is a significant effort that requires the application of over 1,500 gallons of paint, together with nearly five tons of glass beads. The work will take about 12 days of good weather to accomplish. Striping is done only in the daytime when the weather is warm enough for the paint to dry quickly. Citizens are asked to be watchful for painting operations throughout the city over the next few weeks and yield to painting operations to avoid wet paint.

Greensferry Road Work Probably Won't Be Reality Anytime Soon

Proposed improvements to Greensferry Road at Interstate 90 won't be happening anytime soon. The city of Post Falls has just learned that the planned improvements are out of their price range, and there is no state money available due to current economic conditions. Here's the details from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

City Gives Legislature One More Chance To Enact Texting-While-Driving Ban

Coeur d'Alene Council members say they will give the Legislature one more chance to pass a law banning text messaging while driving, before the City drafts its own.

The City had discussed enacting its own rule a while back but set it aside since the topic as at the state level at the time. When the Legislature failed to follow through, discussions started again, only to be put aside once more when it went back to the legislature. Council members say this is the last time though.

Here's the story from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Bike Lanes Really Pay Off In New York

When does a bike lane become an economic stimulus? When it's part of an alternative transportation system that puts $19 billion into New York City's economy each year.

Thanks to Paul for sending me this item from CEOs for Cities that talks about a new report that aggregates the economic value of walking, biking and transit to the New York City economy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Denver Launches Massive Bike-Share Program

Denver has just launched the nation's most comprehensive bike-share program, with riders paying a small fee to access hundreds of bikes at 38 kiosks around downtown Denver. Hre's the story.

Friday, April 23, 2010

April KMPO Newsletter Available

For those of you who just can't get enough of what's going on here at KMPO, our April newsletter is now available. Click here to read it.

Citylink Changing Worley/CDA Link Schedule

In order to better serve customers, Citylink is changing the Worley/Coeur d’Alene Link service schedule starting on Saturday, May 1.

The Link bus will now make an additional southbound journey, from the Riverstone transfer station to Worley; departing at 5:40 AM. This run will operate seven days a week and is expected to provide service for a significant number of morning commuters who work in Plummer and Worley.

Due to lack of patronage, the 3:00 AM weekend service from Riverstone to Worley will be discontinued. That means the the last bus for Worley will leave Coeur d’Alene at 1:40 AM on Fridays and Saturdays only.

Updated bus schedules are available on the Citylink website by clicking here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Warning About I90 Delays

I blogged yesterday and the day before about the upcoming construction on Interstate 90 to rehabilitate bridges between the Washington State Line and Post Falls. Today the Coeur d'Alene Press ran this story on the same subject. It's some of the same information, but good to refresh yourself on what to expect anyway.

This One's A Hall Of Famer

This one's a 'talker,' as we used to call them in the news business. A British man lost his license after getting busted driving drunk- in a pink Barbie car with a top speed of 4 miles per hour. And the worst part is that police confiscated the car! The best part of the story though? The offender admits to being a 'complete twit.'

Here's the whole story.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You May Want To Avoid 7th Street Between Wallace & Indiana In CDA

Work to replace sewer lines on 7th Street between Wallace and Indiana avenues is apparently having an impact on traffic. You may want to find another way to get around that area, as the City of Coeur d'Alene says that work will continue for the next two weeks.

Drivers in that area can expect delays due to detours, and the closure of 7th Street for short periods of time, until May 5th.

Boeing Conducting Test Flights In Area

A lot of planes fly over Kootenai County, but there's a new one in the area lately. Boeing is flight testing its' new 747-8 freight plane in the skies over North Idaho. Here's the story from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

They're Even Watching Your Speed From Space

The people who complain about the red light cameras are really going to be mad about this- a new type of speed camera is being tested in Britain which can use satellites to measure average speed over long distances.

The cameras combine license plate-reading technology with a global positioning satellite receiver. So now you can even get busted from space. Here's more on this new technology.

Help Build A Trail This Weekend

Your help is needed- to finish building a bike trail on Canfield Mountain. Volunteers will get together this Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25 at 8:30 a.m. at 2305 E. Mountain Vista Drive to spend the day trail building.

The Canfield Mountain Trail Building Project was started three years ago by a Boy Scout as his Eagle Scout project. Future hiking trails were planned on the city-owned portion of Canfield Mountain and the brush was cleared for construction. The following two summers saw several more scout projects, and citizen groups, service organizations, and church groups come together to construct a total of one mile of trail to the park.

There is approximately half a mile of trail left to build. Water will be provided and volunteers are bringing hot dogs and buns for lunch barbecues. Volunteers are asked to bring a Pulaski, Macleod, or a hard rake, but tools will be provided for those who don't have their own.

For more information, contact Monte McCully, Trails Coordinator, at 208-292-5766.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Good Roadside Finds

In my neighborhood, we do a cleanup day each year where we divide up area roads and pick up trash along them. Our annual clean up day was this past Saturday and I had some pretty good finds, besides the usual beer cans and bottles, cigarette butts, and whipped cream canisters.

I compete with a couple of the other ladies to see who can find the most interesting discarded items. I think I won this year with that pair of Calvin Kleins, although for the life of me I can't figure out how you could lose your underwear along the side of the road. I also found a pair of 'Ferrari' brand fold-up sunglasses in a case and an Eagles CD.

The good news is that there was less trash than past years so maybe people are getting better about throwing out their junk.

What's the weirdest thing you've found on the side of the road?

This Could Seriously Slow Down Your Commute- Update

Here's your heads up that a construction project on I-90 starting next Monday could slow down your commute. The Idaho Transportation Department will be removing concrete, repairing damaged areas, and overlaying the decks of several bridges, both east- and westbound, from the Washington State Line to Spokane Street in Post Falls.

I-90 will be reduced to one lane in each direction on a 24-hour basis, until about mid-June.

The contractor will use the following work schedule:

- April 26-May 3: The contractor will work 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., including weekends. One lane in each direction will be closed overnight, and re-opened during the day.

- Beginning May 4, one lane in each direction will be closed on a 24-hour basis, for approximately 30 days.

- Once the bridge work is complete, night lane closures will continue for approximately 20 days to allow the contractor to pave and stripe the road surface in each direction.

The speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes as long delays (more than 15 minutes) and congestion are expected during construction.

Due to the comments I've been hearing regarding this project, I contacted ITD to see what the reasoning is behind the way it's scheduled. Barbara Babic, ITD's District 1 Public Involvement Coordinator responded, saying, "The contractor will be removing the bridge deck surfaces so it won’t be possible to re-open the lanes until all the work is done on the bridge decks. Yes, there will be congestion and delays. The contractor is working 24/7 at more than one location at once, and will get out of there as quickly as possible. I don’t think people would want to put up with lane closures all summer long, even if it was possible to re-open lanes during the day. The speed is reduced to 45 mph. Other than the eastbound on-ramp at Stateline, all on-and off-ramps will be open. If at all possible, we’re encouraging people to find alternate routes."

She also provided this flyer that ITD put together for the project. Click on it to see it larger or download it and send it to friends so everyone is aware this project is coming.

Monday, April 19, 2010

US 95 Project Starts Today

Construction of the U.S. 95 Wyoming to Idaho 53 project started today. Crews will be working Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

Lancaster Road, between U.S. 95 and Government Way, will be closed beginning Thursday (April 22) and will remain closed until further notice.

Two-way traffic will remain on the current highway lanes while the new northbound lanes and median are constructed. When finished, traffic will be switched over and construction will begin on the new southbound lanes.

Drivers can expect intermittent delays as traffic is stopped between Boeckel Road and Lancaster Road to allow truck traffic from the work site to cross the highway.

The project is funded with savings from federal highway stimulus projects bid earlier this year. The project is expected to be complete by this October.

Here's KMPO's Secret Weapon For Bike To Work Week

I got the email below from a friend who I thought was trying to become more physically fit- until I saw the picture accompanying it.

Don't you think it's time we all became more physically active? Beginning May 1, a few friends & I will be riding 5 miles every day.

If any of you would like to join our Bike Club, please let me know and we can make arrangements.

I think it would be appropriate to ride somewhere between 4:00 and 7:00 PM. We can call it happy hour, and pick you up on the way. Let me know if this works for you.

I have attached a photo of my bike.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two Local Groups Win Awards- Congratulations!

A local transit provider and a local volunteer won 2010 'I-way Leadership Awards.'
The Community Transportation Association of Idaho and the Idaho Transportation Department Division of Public Transportation present the awards annually and this year are recognizing CityLink and North Idaho Benches.

- CityLink- The only transit system in the nation that features a financial partnership between a Tribe and local governments to offer free public transit. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe provides over $600,000 annually as match to the Federal Transit Administration funds awarded to Kootenai County and the Kootenai Area Transit System.

The I-way Leadership Award recognizes CityLink for its vision and commitment to leverage and maximize the mobility resources for the entire area, tribal and non-tribal, and for its instrumental role in ensuring that robust fixed and demand-response services are available to residents of the area.

- North Idaho Benches- Accessibility plays a significant role in the effectiveness of any mobility option. In response to a photo in the Coeur d'Alene Press of a passenger waiting for a bus in a snowbank resulting from the incredible snowfall in the area during 2009, Craig Wilcox initiated a process, in cooperation with the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization's Public Transportation Roundtable, to wade through codes, accessibility issues, funding challenges, and more to create "Benches for Bus Stops." Local entities were invited to sponsor a bench, and at least eight have been secured and placed within the context of this solution.

The I-way Leadership Award recognizes the North Idaho Benches project and Craig Wilcox for his initiative in recognizing and addressing a significant and often overlooked barrier to an individual's mobility.

LaHood Not So Popular With Industry

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (pictured) is somewhat of a rockstar with bicycle, pedestrian, and transit advocates, but he isn't gaining any popularity with conservatives and a lot of people in the manufacturing and trucking industries.

A backlash is apparently brewing over his new bicycling policy, which says that the government is going to give bicycling and walking the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money.

While many bicyclists, environmentalists and urban planners have praised LaHood, he's taking heat from others, with one congressman going so far as to suggest his new policy is a result of him being on drugs.

Here's an article from the Associated Press about the situation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's In This Coffee? Is That A Rabbit Trying To Cross The Road?

I saw this article on the Coeur d'Alene Bicycle and Pedestrian Blog and it was too good not to steal it.

Say you're driving along and you see a giant bunny trying to cross the street. Do you yield to it? Speed through the intersection? Try to hit it with your car so you can have rabbit stew for dinner? The correct answer is to yield for pedestrians wawlking along unmarked crosswalks, and a lot of drivers in Arizona who got the wrong answer were issued tickets.

That's right, that's no ordinary rabbit, it's a police officer in disguise. Here's the article.

How's The Weather In Harrison?

The weather is supposed to be beautiful this weekend, so you may want to dust off the bike and hit the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. If you're wondering what things are looking like up the way of Harrison, here's a live webcam you can check out, courtesy of Yesterday the camera was pointed at the lake (yes, I've been doing a lot of weekend planning already) but this morning it was looking at what might be a campground or other semi-natural area. Then I logged back on again just a minute ago, and was looking at a beautiful view of some lake homes.

For those of you with time on your hands, on the lower right-hand side of the screen, there are some controls to help you move the view around a little.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Documents Filed In Lowe Vs. ITD Case

Lawyers for fired Idaho Transportation Director Pam Lowe (pictured)filed new documents in her claim against the state yesterday.

Lowe was fired for allegedly inadequately dealing with the state Legislature, but claims the real reason was because she tried to scale back a big contract with politically-connected consulting firms. Here's the latest from the Spokesman-Review on this case.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Roundtable Meeting This Thursday

KMPO's Public Transportation Roundtable quarterly meeting is this Thursday, April 15 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. Everyone is welcome to attend, so look over the agenda and see if anything interests you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

US 95 Garwood To Sagle FEIS Available

The U.S. 95, Garwood to Sagle Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is available for public review.

The FEIS evaluates the potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the alignment alternatives to improve 31.5 miles of U.S. 95 between Garwood and Sagle. The FEIS also identifies a Preferred Alternative for U.S. 95 between those communities.

The FEIS can be viewed online by clicking here, or in person at:

- ITD District 1, 600 W Prairie Ave, Coeur d'Alene
- Athol City Hall, 30355 N 3rd St, Athol
- Athol Library, 30399 N 3rd St, Athol
- Coeur d'Alene Public Library, 702 E Front Ave, Coeur d'Alene
- Hayden Library, 8385 N Government Way, Hayden
- Rathdrum Library, 16780 W Hwy 41, Rathdrum

Thursday, April 8, 2010

CDA To Consider Cell Ban Again

The city of Coeur d'Alene will once again consider a citywide ban on cell phone use while driving. The City had tabled that conversation, expecting the state to enact legislation of its' own. Since that didn't happen, it's back to the drawing board.

Here's the story from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Dog Shot Near I90

It's happened again- a dog was shot by police after it became a traffic hazard on I90 near Post Falls. This dog was also acting aggresively though, which probably sealed it's fate when it came to shooting it or trying to save it.

Here's the story.

Last time this happened, it turned into a huge debate as to whether officers did the right thing. The question was whether to save the dogs life and risk the lives of drivers or vice versa. Any further insight into this issue?

ID Gas Prices Pass $3/Gallon

I could have told you this one, but apparently it's not official unless it comes from AAA: the price of gas in Idaho has climbed to $3 per gallon for the first time in more than a year. That makes the state the sixth highest for gas prices in the nation.

A AAA Idaho survey shows the average price per gallon went up 22 cents in the past month, well above the national average of $2.84 per gallon. Idaho's gas prices haven't been at the $3 mark since October 2008.

Medicine DUI Arrests Increasing

Here's an interesting story from the Arizona Republic newspaper about how DUIs tied to prescription medicine are becoming more and more prevalent. Forget booze, apparently pills are the new cocktail, whether taken legitimately or not.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Traffic Awareness & Pedestrian Safety Week Coming Up

Don't forget that the 12th annual Traffic Awareness & Pedestrian Safety Week is coming up- April 9 to 18 (okay- it's actually a little longer than a week).

During this time, drivers are reminded to slow down, obey speed limits, and become more aware of pedestrians, thus making area neighborhoods safer and more livable.

CDA Press Take On Appleway Bridge Closure

On Monday I provided a link to a piece that KXLY News did on business owners in Stateline, ID being worried about construction starting on the Appleway Bridge.
The Coeur d'Alene Press did the same story today, only their outlook is a tad bit rosier. Here's the story.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Statewide Emphasis Patrol Looks For Aggressive Driveres

This is your official notice that a statewide emphasis campaign is underway to target agressive drivers. The Idaho Transportation Department is teaming with law enforcement agencies across the state to look for people who tailgate, change lanes without warning, speed, run red lights or stop signs, and follow too closely.

Aggressive driving is apparently a pretty serious problem in Idaho, particularly in rural areas where higher speed limits are usually in place and more than two-thirds of fatal aggressive driving crashes occur.

The economic cost of crashes involving aggressive driving was close to $1.5 billion in 2008, which represents nearly half of the total costs of all crashes in Idaho, according to ITD. On average, more than 100 people die as a result of aggressive driving crashes each year in Idaho.

The aggressive driving campaign lasts through April 12. 12.
This is in Montana, but I really wish it was in my neighborhood.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bridge Project Has Business Owners Worried

Stateline businesses are worried how an upcoming construction project will affect them. The Appleway Bridge will be closed and torn down starting in May in order to build a new one. The problem is that the bridge is what connects Stateline to I90, and many of their customers. Here's the story from KXLY TV.

Considering that Stateline is made up of bars, tobacco stations, and a legendary strip club (for around here), I think they'll fare okay, as it seems to be somewhat of a destination location for people looking to buy cheap cigarettes and gas, and well, other things. Sure, it will be tight for many businesses but I think they'll pull through. What's your thoughts on this?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Citylink Numbers Growing Quickly

All I can say is 'Wow.' March was a HUGE month for Citylink. Check out these numbers. Especially the ones in the second chart that do a month-by-month comparison.

So why all the new riders to Citylink? Do you use the free transit service?

ID Gas Prices 6th Highest In US

A new survey by AAA shows that Idaho gas prices are about 16 cents higher than the national average price - and sixth highest in the country.

The price of regular unleaded gasoline statewide has risen 23 cents in the past month to $2.96 on Wednesday. Nationwide, the average price is $2.80, up just 9 cents in the same period.

AAA says two factors are behind the increase: optimism for an economic recovery in the U.S. and a weaker dollar. Analysts say higher oil and gas futures prices seem to reflect the positive market sentiment in consumer confidence and consumer spending, as well as more promising data from the Energy Information Administration that driver demand is improving.

But officials also say regional variances in gas prices contribute, pointing to refinery activity and efficiencies and the wholesale prices that retailers must pay for petroleum products.

It's National Census Day Finally!

It's April Fools Day but this is no joke. It's National Census Day, the day Census officials would like you to get your Census forms in the mail to them, if you haven't already.

Because we use census data in-depth in transportation planning and our 'sister agency,' SRTC, is a state data center affiliate for the Census, we take the Census very serious here at KMPO. I think you can tell just how seriously from our Geographic Inforamtion Systems guy Kevin's get-up. And yes, even his headband has the Census logo on it. Is the headband overkill perhaps? Heck no, Kevin works up a sweat crunching numbers and the band keeps the sweat from getting in his eyes.

Kevin had some Census 'factoids' he filled me in on during this 'photo shoot': Dalton Gardens is the area, or Census 'tract,' with the highest return rate for Kootenai County so far (68%), and the northern-most tract in Kootenai County, which includes the Spirit Lake area (52%), has the lowest local return rate.

Not bad Kootenai County. Across the border in Spokane County, the Census tract with the lowest rate of return is the Hillyard area with 39%.

Want more facts? Her's a link to the U.S. Census Bureau website.