You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged as much as normal lately. That’s because we’ve been doing intensive meetings for our Transportation Vision Project this week. In fact, I’m in one of those meetings right now. But I thought, what better time to blog about the Vision Project than when I’m immersed in it?

So here’s what’s been going on; Monday and this morning we hosted workshops for area elected officials and their key transportation staff. We had a decent turnout and it was interesting to hear what concerns our leaders have for transportation in our area, now and in the future.

Here is a brief sample of what I heard:

– Many folks see railroads as a physical barrier to our transportation system.
– Several local jurisdictions are studying the feasibility of changing one way streets back to two way streets.
– Truck traffic is a HUGE issue. Many jurisdictions see it as restrictive to regular traffic, yet a necessity to promote economic development in the area.
– Spokane has less severe recessions than the rest of the country; meaning we feel the effects of recessions later than other communities, don’t feel as severe of effects, and come out of recessions quicker than others.
– Spokane City Councilmember Jon Snyder wants to see a transportation plan developed that is ‘subservient to economic development, quality of life, and local comprehensive plans.’
– 81% of freight that comes into the area via the railroad is just passing through. That number is 32% for trucking.

All the input gathered from this morning’s meeting will be analyzed and addressed as this project advances.

Now, I’m sitting in a meeting of the Vision Process Team. The Team is made up of local elected, civic, and business leaders willing to volunteer their time to help guide this process.

We’re currently reviewing what we heard in yesterday and today’s workshops, but have also talked about our outreach plan (that’s where you come in- we want to hear from you, the public, on this too), and plan to discuss the emerging transportation vision framework before we wrap up.

So here is what you need to know at this point: Mark your calendar for July 13. We are hosting a public workshop from 6-9 p.m. that night. I will post more details as we get closer to the date, but go ahead and put it on your schedule and plan to attend.

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