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Monday, April 30, 2012

STUDDED SNOW TIRES - Reminder - Deadline is Today, April 30th, 2012

 

Spring is finally here!!! Just a friendly reminder, if you haven't had your studded snow tires removed yet, today April 30th, is the deadline for Idaho!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Self Driving Cars Video (Audio Described) - Expected to be on the streets by 2020


Taking a ride in a self-driven automobile, while being 95% blind, is an amazing and courageous feat in itself.  Here is a video of Steve Mahan going for a ride in a self-driven car. Stopping for taco's or at the dry cleaners is no problem at all.

Wilkepedia Definition :
Autonomous car  - Also know as robotic or informally as driver less or self-driving, is an aautonomous vehicle capable of full filling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. Autonomous vehicles sense the world with such techniques as laser, radar, lidar, GPS and computer vision. Advanced control systems interpret the information to identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and relevant signage. Autonomous vehicles typically update their maps based on sensory input, such that they can navigate through uncharted environments. The U.S. state of Nevada passed a law in June 2011 which instructs the Nevada DOT to write regulations concerning the operation of driver less cars. Google had been lobbying for driver less car laws.  Until the regulations are devised, the legality of operating a driver less car system in Nevada, including possibly a self-parking car, will remain questionable at best. The Google driver less car is one of the leading projects in this field, alongside programs such as the 2getther passenger vehicles from the Netherlands and the entrants of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge in the USA.

In a story reported by Fox News, the former head of Research and Development at General Motors, Larry Burns, expects to see autonomous vehicles in showrooms in less than 10 years.  To see this story please visit the link below:

It seems like something you would see in a science fiction movie.... I am not sure how comfortable I would feel in a self-driven car, dodging in and out, of a busy and congested urbanized area, yikes. Times are changing..............


Monday, April 23, 2012

What a Great Idea - A Bike Share Program! Downtown Boise Is Doing It!

I saw the article in "ITD's - Today's News" and thought "What A great Idea!!"  I could see downtown Coeur d'Alene doing this! 

Boise is beginning a bike share rental program (in their downtown area) and are moving forward, where someone could pick up a bicycle at one station and ride to another station to drop it off.  A research study by Boise State's Community and Regional Planning Department suggested multiple locations for bike stations with the aim of linking to Boise's transit options.  The rental program will be free for the first 30 minutes and they will have annual memberships available from $55 to $75 a year.  Apparently, the program is being started using Federal grants.  They expect to hear back on the grants sometime next month.  The grants include all the infrastructure and the bicycles. This effort is a joint effort between the Central District Health Department and the Capitol City Development Corporation as partners in the project. 

The article mentions that it will resemble the program offered by B-Cycle in Denver, Colorado, featuring bikes with baskets and a "relaxed-ride height".   

To see the original article see the following link:
http://www.boiseweekly.com/boise/re-cycle-bike-share-program-could-roll-soon/Content?oid=2638355

What a great idea!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just Released!!! Transportation Plan Update Draft Final (by Transit Plus)



















The Transportation Plan Update Draft Final was just released by Transit Plus.  It is available on our KMPO website under "News & Notices" on the main page at the following link:  http://www.kmpo.net/

This study updates the Kootenai Metropolitan Area Public Transportation Feasibility Plan, adopted in 2005. The focus of the original study was on the development of public transportation services. This included short and long-term service options for the community based on conditions at the time and anticipated growth.

Citylink public transit service was initiated in 2005 and ridership quickly grew to over 500,000 annual trips. Citylink is operated by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and funded primarily by Tribal funds and Federal Transit Administration urbanized area funds. Kootenai County serves as the designated recipient for the FTA funds.

While the focus of the 2005 plan was the feasibility and initial development of transit service, this update identifies the progress made since the last report and emphasizes the institutional and financial structure necessary to sustain the system and provide for a strong and responsive decision-making process.

If you have any questions or commetns please email us at kmpo@kmpo.net.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have you taken a road trip lately from Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area to Houston Texas???

Google Map -Spokane Washington to Houston Texas













I recently took a "road trip" across a portion of the United States, from Spokane, Washington to Houston, Texas. We traveled through the following states:  Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.  I have to say, that I have never driven that far non-stop and until now I never fully realized the "state" of the current highway conditions. Most of the way, the highway posted speed limit was 75 mph.  From what I saw, the problems appear to be across the nation or at least a large proportion of it.  I couldn't help but think, about the dilemma we are facing with the transportation funding, and I thought about how critical it is to maintain the integrity and foundation of our highways.

I found that after driving for 36 hours straight (while trying to sleep and switch off with the other two drivers), I could barely sleep, due to all the road noise... bumps in the road, changes in the texture or vertical profile of the pavement (dropping from one grade to another), grooved pavement that pulled the car in two directions at once, alligator cracks, irregularly patched pavement areas, and long stretches of highway with expansion joints in the concrete going "bumpity bump, bump", every 50 feet or so.  Thank goodness, all the noise, kept me "quite awake" for 32 of the 36 hours that we drove.

Surprisingly, many of the highway corridors we traveled were freight trucking corridors.  I can't remember when I've seen so many semi-trucks on a highway at one time and at all hours of the day. I've also never seen congestion as I did, as when we arrived in Houston, Texas.  Too many people (2.2 million) and not enough highway lanes to drive in.

Almost There to Houston, Texas











I don't have the answers, I am just a transportation planner with no influence on the transportation funding or the budget of our country, but I can't help but feel concerned. 

I just hope it gets figured out, and soon!

State of Idaho "Off Highway Vehicle (OHV)Trails" Online Resource - Just In Case You Missed It












In case you missed it, The State of Idaho Parks and Recreation OHV online map is available for recreational enthusiasts!  This is a great site with an online recreational map showing motorized and non-motorized trails: ATV, motorbike, UTV and 4WD trails on Forest Service and BLM lands.  You can plan your route, view: the weather forecast, the road map, topo map or terrain map and even export it to your GPS device.
Check it out at http://trails.idaho.gov/

Monday, April 16, 2012

REMINDER - Public Hearing for CityLink Transit Service Reductions Tomorrow Night, Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

A public hearing will be held on April 17, 2012 from 6PM at the Kootenai County Administration Building, 451 N. Government Way in Meeting Room 1A (on the First Floor) to discuss the changes and receive public comments. Written public comments on service reductions may also be submitted to the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners, 451 Government Way, P.O. Box 9000, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83816-9000. Written public comments will be received until April 20, 2012.

K-TEC School in Rathdrum - Scheduled to Open In September 2012






 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kootenai Technical Education Campus will be a state of the art professional technical center offering juniors and seniors in Kootenai County the opportunity to learn skills that will prepare them for workforce and/or post secondary education.  The new facility is being built at the corner of Lancaster and Highway 41, in the Rathdrum area.  K-Tec is expected to open this September.  The school will be full with 500 students and 16 full-time staff.  K-Tec received over 900 applications.  It is estimated that of the 500 students attending, approximately 1/2 will be riding the traditional school bus and the other 1/2 will be driving themselves to school.  You can like them on face book or go to the following site:  www.ktectraining.org

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I-90, BECK Road Interchange to Begin Construction This Month
















The long awaited Beck Road Interchange is expected to begin construction this month.  The contractor reported that they anticipate the interchange to be completed by Thanksgiving, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The project is between the Greyhound Park, Centennial Trail and Jacklin seed.  The interchange is estimated to cost $35 million and is the first project in Idaho to utilize the State Tax Anticipated Revenue (STAR), that the legislation approved in 2007. 

The legislation allows developers to initially fund projects before being reimbursed through sales tax revenue from the project.

The project is "design-build" meaning the entire project doesn't have to be designed to start construction.  That format is expected to expedite the completion date.

To see the full story, released by ITD, please visit the link below:
http://apps.itd.idaho.gov/Apps/MediaManagerMVC/NewsClipping.aspx/Preview/62968

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TRANSIT SERVICE REDUCTIONS 2nd PUBLIC HEARING - April 17th





This may be your last chance to give input concerning the Transit service reductions that are being planned for the Kootenai County Transit System operated as Citylink and Citylink Paratransit system, due to the lack of additional government funding being available. Kootenai County is looking at reducing transit service. The service reduction map is available to view at the link to KMPO 's website below:

Public Notice - Transit Service Reductions 2nd Public Hearing

Notice is hereby given that the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing to seek comments from the public regarding the proposed transit service changes that will impact both the fixed route and paratransit services.  The Transit System operated as Citylink and Citylink Paratransit are proposed to change with the following actions: increase fixed route service to 60 minutes frequency, add more bus stops, elimination of Red Route A, a reduction in service hours to 10PM, and provide changes in routing which will impact the entire transit system including a reduced paratransit service area.  
A public hearing will be held on April 17, 2012 from 6PM at the Kootenai County Administration Building, 451 N. Government Way in Meeting Room 1A (on the First Floor) to discuss the changes and receive public comments.  Written public comments on service reductions may also be submitted to the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners, 451 Government Way, P.O. Box 9000, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83816-9000.  Written public comments will be received until April 20, 2012. 
  
The proposed changes are available for review at the Kootenai County Board of Commissioner’s Office, 451 Government Way, Coeur d’Alene during normal business hours.  An electronic version of the proposed service reductions is available on the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization website: www.kmpo.net.

For special accommodations/translation services, citizens can call (208)446-1616 at least 48 hours in advance of the public hearing.  Kootenai County assures nondiscrimination in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 (P.L. 100.259), and the Americans with Disabilities Act.




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.