March 31, 2014 in City

New tools let users see road projects by neighborhood

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Map online

To view a Web-based map for upcoming transportation and utility projects, visit srtc.org and click on 2014 regional road construction map.

Transportation leaders in Spokane have come up with a new and better way to let the public know about road projects in the region: an interactive map available on the Web.

The Spokane Regional Transportation Council has canned its printed construction maps in favor of a geographic information system (GIS) version that provides details down to sidewalk and curb ramp projects.

“You can see what’s happening in your neighborhood,” said Staci Lehman, spokeswoman for the transportation council.

Previously, the transportation council and local agencies produced both a printed and a limited Web version of the map. Printing costs averaged about $1,500 a year, and circulation of the maps was limited.

This year, the council staff decided to spend $2,500 for an annual subscription to ArcGIS, which provides mapping platforms to private and public organizations.

The Spokane regional transportation map is available at srtc.org.

The initial wide-angle view shows major projects, such as this year’s resurfacing of U.S. Highway 2 across the West Plains and Interstate 90 from Barker Road to the Idaho state line.

But the new map also allows the viewer to customize the view by zooming into neighborhood areas. Clicking on each work area provides a brief description of the project with a link to more detailed information.

For example, drywall installations are planned in the neighborhood south of Comstock Park, while oil and rock sealing is set for an area around 42nd Avenue and Scott Street.

In a North Side example, Post Street from Grace to Kiernan streets is scheduled for repaving in what’s called a grind and overlay project.

Some of this type of detail never made it onto the old maps.

“We would not have been able to put a chip seal on it before,” Lehman said.

The maps are going to be updated throughout the construction season as details become available, she said.

Transportation officials hope the public will use the map to learn where construction delays and closures are located and then find alternate routes around those projects.

Another feature of the map allows users to set up a free public account that provides additional information and the ability to submit comments.

STA staffer wins training award

A Spokane Transit Authority staff member has won a prestigious national award as the top training professional for transit agencies around the country.

Paul Hoffman, who joined STA as a bus cleaner in 1991 and worked his way up in the agency, is receiving the award during this week’s National Transit Institute trainers’ workshop in Long Beach, Calif.

He is credited with identifying training needs for each of the types of STA service and developing curriculum for the training, which focuses on safety among other issues.

He has trained 387 coach operators as well as 82 paratransit operators. In addition, he gives annual courses to 300 operators and does driver training for maintenance workers.

Hoffman (pictured, right) also acts as a third-party tester for the state and conducts commercial driver license testing. He shares his knowledge through presentations across the state.

In a personal biography, Hoffman said he is a great-great grandson of pioneer Francis H. Cook, an early newspaperman who later built a toll road up Mount Spokane among other accomplishments. Cook established the Spokane & Montrose Motor Railway in 1888 as well as Manito Park.

He said he thanks “God for the wonderful blessing it has been to be part of STA’s mission in the Spokane community.”

Slowdowns begin near Snoqualmie

Construction work on I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass is going to start today with daytime slowdowns and nighttime lane closures.

Crews are preparing to resume widening of the freeway along Keechelus Lake.

On April 12, that section of I-90 will be reduced to one lane in each direction for two weeks to get ready for construction. Those lane restrictions are expected to cause significant delays during high-traffic periods.

Traffic expert to discuss coal trains

The Western Organization of Resource Councils is holding a presentation on April 15 about its detailed report on the potential increase in rail traffic through the Inland Northwest as a result of coal shipments from Montana and Wyoming to proposed West Coast ports.

A traffic expert will be on hand to talk about the report, called “Heavy Traffic Still Ahead.” The event will be from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Barbieri Moot Court Room on the first floor of the Gonzaga University School of Law, 721 N. Cincinnati St.

Students vie for aerospace residency

Six local high school students are competing in the Washington Aerospace Scholars program, which involves college-level studies as well as the possibility of being chosen for a summer residency at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

They are Elizabeth Bernbaum, Central Valley High School; Rebecca Butler, Northwest Christian School; Michelle Kluss and Erin Sherrer, Riverpoint Academy; Kacie Salmon, West Valley High School; and Christina Turney, Cheney High School.

Studded tire season comes to end

Today is the last day for studded tire use in Washington.

In Idaho, studded tire season runs through April 30, but vehicles from Idaho that enter Washington must be free of studs starting Tuesday.

A violation could result in a $124 fine.

Possible traffic block near City Hall

Trucks serving the Huntington Park project north of Spokane City Hall may need to have traffic stopped on Post Street while they come and go from the worksite. Flaggers will be posted to stop traffic for truck maneuvers through April.


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