The agency responsible for planning and funding regional transportation projects is taking a closer look at how to help pedestrians, bus riders, bicyclists and disabled people safely get around Spokane.
The Spokane Regional Transportation Council board has accepted for the second year in a row an $11,500 “active community environments” planning grant.
The money will be spent developing what’s known as a “complete streets” policy that will factor into the designs of future transportation projects. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control was the original source for the money. Safety is a component of the plan.
In 2009, the transportation council committed itself to expanding the scope of projects to match the policy of having safe locations for walking and riding.
“A complete streets policy at the regional level will inherently address transportation choices for all, including at-risk communities, the young, the aging, the disabled and those without access to vehicles,” transportation planner Eve Nelson said in a Sept. 6 memo to the council.
The policy will help Spokane meet a statewide goal of doubling the number of trips made by bike or on foot over 20 years.
“A complete streets policy will improve safety for all users, including motor vehicle drivers, transit riders, pedestrians and bicyclists,” the memo said.
The metropolitan transportation plan will include the complete streets policy after its next update.
Regionally competitive grant projects will have to include the elements of the complete streets concept, which can include sidewalks, curb ramps, curb extensions, bike lanes, boulevard designs, pedestrian overpasses or pedestrian signal lights.
The Washington Department of Health is a participant in the project.
I-90 pass has speed cameras
Speed enforcement cameras are now patrolling the 5-mile-long Interstate 90 construction zone near Snoqualmie Pass just east of Hyak.
This is the third time that the Washington State Department of Transportation has employed the cameras to keep construction zones safe for crews and motorists.
Under legislative direction, the program was launched in 2008 during an Interstate 5 widening project in Chehalis, an area known for speeding violations. More than 1,400 tickets were issued.
In 2009, the cameras came out again in the Grand Mound section of I-5 south of Olympia. More than 1,900 citations were issued.
Last week, the cameras went to work in the construction zone east of the pass.
The cameras and radar are placed in an SUV, which is monitored by an operator who forwards violations to the Washington State Patrol.
When active, a sign notifies drivers that the enforcement is under way.
The WSP verifies registration and forwards the information to the local court. The registered owner then gets a $137 citation.
The WSDOT said injuries to drivers and passengers in work zones had increased by about 30 percent since 2004.
I-90 grinding resumes
Pavement repair work on I-90 from the Maple Street interchange in downtown Spokane to just west of the Geiger Road interchange is resuming this month, part of a two-year project to repair and rehabilitate that stretch of freeway.
The speed limit will be reduced to 50 mph during the work. At least two lanes will remain open in each direction. The grinding is needed to smooth out ruts created by studded winter tires, officials said.
Acme Concrete Paving Co., of Spokane, was the low bidder at $7.8 million.
The job has included overpass repairs at Abbott Road; replacement of broken concrete panels along the route; upgraded lighting and guardrails; and new signs.