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July 2015 Newsletter

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SRTC's Mission: To coordinate transportation planning in the Spokane Region by providing leadership, expertise, and a forum for collaboration.

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SRTC Newsletter

JULY 2015

In This Issue

  • $14.4 Million Approved for Local Projects & Programs
  • SRTC's New Generation of Interactive Maps
  • Comprehensive Plan Certifications
  • What are our Partner Agencies up to?
SRTC Approves $14.4 Million in Funding for Local Projects
 

At the July Board meeting, SRTC Board members approved a list of projects and programs to be paid for between 2018 and 2020 with funds from the federal Congestion Management/Air Quality (CMAQ) program and the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

CMAQ provides money to help meet requirements of the Clean Air Act. Funding is available to reduce congestion and improve air quality for areas that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards or for those that have not in the past, like Spokane.

Some eligible activities for CMAQ funds include projects that improve traffic flow, that shift travel demand to nonpeak hours or other transportation modes, investments in public transit, and non-recreational bicycle and pedestrian transportation improvements. Approximately $12 million in CMAQ funding will be distributed.

TAP most commonly funds bicycle and pedestrian projects, conversions of abandoned railroad tracks to trails and Safe Routes to School projects or programs. Approximately $2.4 million in TAP funds will be distributed.

A list of all the projects and programs to be funded with CMAQ and TAP money can be found on the SRTC website at http://www.srtc.org/.

The pictures show some of the projects paid for in the past with CMAQ or TAP funding, including the Appleway Trail from University to Evergreen (TAP), the Walk Bike Bus program that teaches people alternative ways to get around rather than driving (CMAQ) and an upgraded software system for the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center (CMAQ).

Horizon 2040 Implementation Toolkit Workshop
 

SRTC's Board weighed in on the Horizon 2040 Implementation Toolkit project in June with a Board retreat and workshop.

The Toolkit is the project that guides how Horizon 2040, SRTC's long range transportation plan, will be put into action.

Federal and state regulations require Metropolitan Planning Organizations like SRTC to create and track performance measures and targets that are directly linked to the Guiding Principles used to develop Horizon 2040. Using these performance measures and targets, tools will be created to evaluate transportation projects and programs. The Toolkit will establish an analytical process for ranking projects and programs based on priority.

At the June retreat, Board members were asked to identify areas that should receive special attention by the Toolkit. Areas mentioned included:

- Pavement preservation and maintenance- Information on this is limited to the state highway system. A regional rating system is needed to assess and compare local jurisdiction pavement condition.

- Transportation system maintenance and preservation- Keeping pavements at or above a “fair” condition is a best practice that reduces the need for expensive reconstruction later. 


 This would eliminate the "worst first" practice of repairing roads in dire condition before any others.


-The ability to measure the impacts of investment in transit improvements will be important.

Next, Board members divided into groups to discuss SRTC’s current approach to reporting on, prioritizing and programming of transportation projects and programs, and whether they would like to see the agency ramp up its approach in any of these categories.  Changing SRTC’s approach could help to achieve regional goals more quickly and increase transparency.  A balance is required however, as increasing the complexity of SRTC’s approach could require additional staff resources.  At the end of the exercise, each group was asked to indicate the level that they would be comfortable moving to within the next five years. Board members indicated a moderate approach is preferred for all three categories. A workshop for stakeholders of this project will be held in August to discuss next steps.

Countywide Planning Policies and Comprehensive Plan
Update Certification Process

 

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) requires SRTC, as the Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) for Spokane County, to certify that Countywide Planning Policies (CWPP) are consistent with SRTC's regional transportation plan, Horizon 2040. It also requires transportation elements of County and other local comprehensive plans to be consistent with Horizon 2040, as well as with RCW transportation planning requirements.  In addition, SRTC is responsible for establishing regional level of service (LOS) standards. LOS standards are used to measure whether existing facilities and services are adequate, whether they can handle new development and to determine what improvements will be necessary to avoid overloading existing facilities. 
 
The Growth Management Act (GMA) stipulates that local jurisdictions must complete updates to their comprehensive plans every eight years. In accordance with the applicable RCWs, SRTC is developing a Plan Review and Certification Process for the CWPP and for County and local comp plans. Over May, June and July, staff met with area jurisdictions, SRTC committees and Planning Commissions to obtain input on this process.

SRTC's Board will be asked to approve the process in September. Once approved, it will be implemented immediately as the County and local jurisdictions begin work to update their comprehensive plans before the GMA-mandated 2017 deadline.

The Plan Review and Certification Process will be incorporated into Horizon 2040 when it is updated in  2017. The process will reflect the Guiding Principles that are the foundation of Horizon 2040. The Guiding Principles and associated policies shape much of SRTC's transportation planning work.

SRTC Hosts GIS Peer Review

In late June, SRTC tried a new networking and learning strategy, hosting a "Peer Exchange" on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration. The topic was uses of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Transportation Performance Management (TPM).

New federal and state regulations require planning agencies like SRTC to use TPM. This requires setting targets or goals for our transportation system and developing a way to measure progress toward those targets.

TPM is beneficial because it provides data to help decision makers understand the consequences of investing money in different kinds of transportation projects and programs. It also improves communication between transportation agencies, decision makers and the traveling public.

SRTC has two GIS Analysts who collect, analyze, manage and present all types of data, often in map formats.  In addition to SRTC's GIS staff, there were GIS representatives from Michigan, Florida, Arizona and Oregon in attendance.

Each of the agencies represented talked about how they use GIS to improve TPM Data Management and Analysis, how they developed a transportation asset management system using TPM and GIS, the performance-based planning and programming process, and more.

What Are Our Partner Agencies Up To?

Spokane County is on its way to completion of the 2015 Construction Program, according to Mitch Reister (left), Spokane County Engineer.

 

 Alongside the Annual Bridge Rehabilitation/Replacement Program, which includes three  structure replacement projects and five rehabilitation projects, Palouse Highway and Inland/Old Trails Rd. are being reconstructed. These projects are using Cement Treated Base for a stronger roadway.  Palouse Highway is a critical link for freight and passenger vehicles from south Spokane to the Palouse, while Inland/Old Trails paves a north-south link from Airway Heights to 7-Mile through Riverside State Park.

Looking to the future, Spokane County is focusing on some key corridors:  Market Rd. from Francis through Mead pavement rehabilitation and safety and pedestrian improvements; Country Homes/Cedar Creek Basin water quality improvements; Hawthorne Road traffic calming, and the continuation of the multi-year Bigelow Gulch Safety Improvement Project.  

For more information on any of these projects, click here or call the Engineering Department at (509) 477-3600.

2015 Board Members

Council Member Ben Wick, City of Spokane Valley, Chair

Council Member Jon Snyder, City of Spokane, Vice Chair

Matt Ewers, Freight/Rail Representative (Ex Officio)

Commissioner Al French, Spokane County

Kitty Klitzke, TAC Chair (Ex Officio)

Lawrence Krauter, Spokane Airport Board

E. Susan Meyer, STA

Keith Metcalf, WSDOT

Commissioner Todd Mielke, Spokane County

Mayor Steve Peterson, Liberty Lake

Mayor Patrick Rushing, City of Airway Heights

Council Member Richard Schoen, City of Millwood
Small Towns Representative


 Larry Stone, Major Employee Representative

Joe Tortorelli, WA State Transportation Commission

Mayor Steve Peterson, Liberty Lake

Mayor Patrick Rushing, City of Airway Heights

Council Member Richard Schoen
City of Millwood, Small Towns Representative

Mayor Tom Trulove, City of Cheney

Council Member Amber Waldref, City of Spokane

Harold White, TTC Chair (Ex Officio)
Washington State Department of Transportation

 

Member Agencies: City of Spokane, Spokane County, City of Spokane Valley, Spokane Transit Authority, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Transportation Commission, Spokane Airports, City of Airway Heights, City of Cheney, City of Deer Park, Town of Fairfield, Town of Latah, City of Liberty Lake, City of Medical Lake, City of Millwood, Town of Rockford, Town of Spangle, and Town of Waverly

Copyright © 2015 SRTC  All rights reserved.

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