I’ve had the chance to live in Seattle or Portland, but there’s one main thing that has always kept me in Spokane- the lack of traffic. I can get most places in just 15 minutes by car and only a little longer by bus and I haven’t pulled my hair out from sitting in stalled traffic.

We’re growing though (Spokane County’s population is projected to grow by approximately 105,000 people by the year 2040- a 21% increase in both population and employment) and have to plan accordingly to make sure our growth doesn’t result in heavy, snarled traffic like in other communities.

SRTC has just updated our draft long-range transportation plan, Horizon 2040, that is aimed at guiding how our transportation system develops between now and the year 2040 to accommodate newcomers, new transportation facilities and new technology between 2018 and 2040. The plan has been updated with new performance measures, goals, strategies, projects and programs. Now input is needed to ensure we are moving in the direction desired by the community.

Horizon 2040 was first developed in 2013. SRTC is federally required to update it every four years. It is based on projections for growth in population, housing and jobs and looks at every mode of transportation, including private vehicles, public transit, bicycling, walking, freight movement, air travel and rail. It includes:

  • Both the current and projected demand on the regional transportation system;
  • Analysis of the condition of existing transportation facilities including roadways, bridges, bike lanes, sidewalks and more;
  • Strategies to operate and maintain area transportation facilities in the future with limited funding while managing congestion;
  • A list of transportation projects and programs to be constructed or implemented; and
  • A financial plan that shows that funding exists, or will exist over the life of the plan, to pay for all of the above activities.

While some people don’t like to plan for more than a few years ahead, it is important to have a long-range plan for the future of our transportation system. It is easier, and less expensive, to guide development around a community vision than trying to retrofit infrastructure later. A limited amount of transportation funding also must be considered. Planning now could mean saving money later on inflation and major transportation facility overhaul projects.

Horizon 2040 is available for public review and comment through November 12, 2017. It can be viewed at the link above, at www.srtc.org, or by contacting SRTC at (509) 343-6370 for a hardcopy. Comments can be submitted by emailing contact.srtc@srtc.org, mailing to SRTC at 421 W. Riverside, Suite 500 Spokane, WA 99201 or by calling the number above.

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