Counting on volunteers to tally people who walk and bike
- Written by Ed Spilker, WSDOT Active Transportation Division
Statewide partnership preparing for annual count Sept. 25-27
OLYMPIA – Each year, the number of people who choose to walk, ride bicycles or take other active travel means as their mode of transportation is increasing in Washington. How do we know? Volunteers annually count the number of people who walk or ride bicycles at selected locations during a three-day survey. For those who would like to help, volunteer registration is now open for this year’s survey starting Tuesday, Sept. 25.
Volunteers are vital to the success of this project, and about 400 people are needed for the count. For the 2017 count, volunteers tallied more than 63,500 people biking and walking in communities across Washington. In 2017, the number of people who walked, biked or used other active modes increased 4 percent over the 2016 count, when evaluating comparable sites.
For this 11th annual survey, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Cascade Bicycle Club are partnering with FeetFirst, Washington Bikes and Futurewise to help count the number of people bicycling and walking Tuesday, Sept. 25, through Thursday, Sept. 27.
“This volunteer effort makes sure that people who bike and walk are counted as essential users of the transportation system,” said WSDOT Active Transportation Division Director Barb Chamberlain. “Each year that volunteers make the collection process possible, we get a more robust picture of the growth in active transportation.”
"We're excited to once again work with the Washington State Department of Transportation to ensure that biking and walking counts across Washington state,” said Richard Smith, Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club, “This is possible only because of the hundreds of volunteers who care about safer biking and walking."
Data collected during the count is used by state and local agencies to estimate demand; measure the benefit of bicycle and pedestrian project investments; and improve policies, project designs and funding opportunities. The data also helps agencies understand how and where to address active transportation options for people who don’t have the income to choose other transportation alternatives. For these people, walking and biking might be their only mode, or part of a multimodal trip to access transit.
As WSDOT embarks on an update to the statewide active transportation plan, this effort will shape the vision of a future with a complete, comfortable network for all ages and abilities.
In addition to the annual count, WSDOT, Cascade Bicycle Club, and local agencies are partnering to install permanent counters at locations around the state. To see counts from both data collection programs, visit the WSDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Portal.
To sign-up to volunteer, visit bikepedcount.wsdot.wa.gov
WSDOT and the Cascade Bicycle Club are asking volunteers from across the state to perform the counts in nearly 60 communities including: Anacortes, Bainbridge Island, Battle Ground, Bayview, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Bremerton, Burien, Burlington, Concrete, Ellensburg, Everett, Federal Way, Ferndale, Gig Harbor, Issaquah, Kelso, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, La Conner, Lake Forest Park, Lakewood, Longview, Lyman, Lynden, Mercer Island, Milton, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrace, Oak Harbor, Olympia, Orting, Parkland, Pasco, Pullman, Puyallup, Renton, Richland, Seattle, Sedro-Woolley, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Spokane Valley, Sumner, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Reservation, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, Vancouver, Vashon Island, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima.
WSDOT’s count is part of the National Documentation Project, an annual bicycle and pedestrian count and survey effort sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bicycle Council. The count will also help measure WSDOT’s progress toward the goal of increasing bicycling and walking to reduce the number of vehicle miles driven.
Stay inside or wear a mask - air quality is very unhealthy
- Written by Gregory Kennedy
Smoke from recent and ongoing fires have affected the entire state and are concentrated in the Lake Chelan area.
When air quality particulates exceed 200ppm (parts per million) the pollution rating goes to Very Unhealthy.
|201-300||Very Unhealthy||Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.||
Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion.
The trend is expected to continue so please heed the warnings and take appropriate precautions.
Sheriff seeking suspect in attempted robbery/assault
- Written by Undersheriff Jason Mathews, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett would like the public notified about an attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon that occurred on Sunday, August 5th at shortly before 10:00pm.
The incident occurred near the intersection of South Wenatchee Avenue and the Malaga-Alcoa Highway, south of Boodry Street.
The two victims were working on their disabled vehicle at that location when they were contacted by a lone male subject. The male suspect grabbed one of the victims from behind, placed a knife to their throat and demanded money. After not getting any money the suspect released the one victim and then struck the other victim in the face with an unknown weapon, possibly the knife handle. The male suspect fled the location on foot.
A Sheriff Office canine capable of tracking criminal suspects was called in to assist, but was unsuccessful.
Both victims were treated and released from the Central Washington Hospital.
The Sheriff’s Office is actively working on identifying the suspect, but anyone with possible information is encouraged to call our tip line at 509-667-6845. The victim’s description of the suspect is as follows:
5’ 10” tall
Medium to thin build
Shoulder length dark hair
4” – 6” full beard
Tattoo on right side of the neck
Wearing a long sleeve jacket and long pants
Tattered appearance, possibly from living outdoors
Buck Mountain hiking fatality
- Written by Chief Jason Reinfeld, CCSO
Update August 7th, 2018
The autopsy for Mr. James Rothwell who fell while climbing Buck Mountain in Chelan County was completed today. He died as a result of Blunt Force Trauma to the Head and Trunk. Manner of death has been ruled an accident.
He was wearing a helmet but the force to his head from the fall was too much for the helmet to absorb the energy and he had severe trauma to his brain.
Update August 6th, 2018 2020 hours
The two remaining hikers have made their way out of the mountains. After speaking with them it was determined they were traversing a steep face when the victim lost his footing. He fell approximately 50 feet. They hiked down to him and rendered aid. He survived for a short period of time before he succumbed to his injuries. The victim has now been identified as a 44 year old male from the Seattle area. Initially it was believed he was from New York but he has lived in the Seattle area for several years. His identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on August 4th, 2018 at 2:34 PM CCSO was advised of an emergency beacon activation in the area of Buck Mountain, a remote area approximately 17 miles north of Lake Wenatchee. After obtaining the coordinates from AFRCC (Armed Forces Rescue Coordination Center) it was determined the beacon was staying in one location. The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office AIR10 helicopter was deployed and located a group of three near the coordinates at approximately 6:45 PM. They were at about 6750 feet in elevation. One of the three subjects was laying down and wrapped in an emergency blanket. There was no suitable landing zone nearby so a request was made through state emergency management for a hoist capable helicopter.
King County Sheriff’s Office accepted the misson. They arrived on scene at approximately 10:00 PM but had to abort the mission due to weather. A call was plced back into state emergency management requesting a helicopter from NAS Whidbey Island. The Navy crew accepted the mission and arrived in the area at approximately 12:40 AM on August 5th. They were able to hoist the patient, a 44 year old male out of New York on board the helicopter. He was deceased due to unknown injuries. Due to low fuel in the helicopter he was transported to Boeing Field in Seattle.
The remaining two hikers were uninjured and remained on scene to hike out in day light. At this time it is unknown how the injuries were caused.
Eastbound lanes of I-90 near Cle Elum to close to traffic two nights next week
- Written by Meagan Lott, WSDOT
CLE ELUM – The eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 will close to traffic near Cle Elum two nights next week.
The contractor working for the Washington State Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge decks near Cle Elum. In order to do this work, the eastbound lanes will close to traffic from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7 and Wednesday, Aug. 8. Drivers will be detoured around the closure via State Route 970 and US 97 and should plan for about 30 minutes of added travel time.
Drivers will also experience lane closures in both directions during the day next week Monday through Friday due to bridge work near Cle Elum at milepost 86 and near Ellensburg at milepost 102.
WSDOT provides a variety of tools to help plan your trip over Snoqualmie Pass:
- Sign up for email updates and text message alerts.
- Snoqualmie Mountain Pass Web page for real-time travel information and to view traffic cameras.
- Check the weekly Construction Updates and Traffic pages for region-wide updates.
- Tune into the Highway Advisory Radio at 1610 AM and 530 AM.
- Follow us on Twitter @snoqualmiepass.
- Call the I-90 construction hotline at 888-535-0738 or 511.
Effective Aug. 2, DNR Bans Outdoor Burning Statewide
- Written by waburnbans.net
Some campfires still allowed, check local restrictions before lighting any fire
OLYMPIA –Ninety-six percent of the state is experiencing drought-like conditions, which means a high risk of wildfires. In response, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is instituting a statewide ban on outdoor burning on the 13 million acres of forests and state parks under DNR fire protection.
Per the Commissioner’s Order, the ban begins Thursday, August 2, 2018.
Included in the outdoor burning ban are burn piles, prescribed burns, and the use of charcoal briquettes.
“When the risk of wildfire is this high – and when so many of our firefighting resources are already committed – we must take significant steps to protect our communities and firefighters,” said Commissioner Hilary Franz. “I know this is an inconvenience, and I appreciate the public understanding that this is not a safe time for intentional burning within our forests.”
The burn ban does not include federally managed lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges, or other areas administered by federal agencies.
Campfires are still allowed in approved fire pits within some designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds.
To avoid accidental wildfires, the public can practice these prevention tips:
Camping and recreating
- Only build campfires where authorized and when not under a burn ban; put them completely out before leaving camp, even for a few minutes; use plenty of water and stir until the coals are cold to the touch. Check locally before lighting a campfire as conditions may change and counties and local fire districts may have additional or new burn restrictions.
- Dispose of lit smoking materials appropriately.
- Fireworks, incendiary ammunition and exploding targets start fires and are illegal to use or discharge on public lands, including all state forests.
Vehicles and Towing
- Be sure chains and other metal parts aren’t dragging from your vehicle or trailer. They can throw sparks and start fires.
- Make sure all off-road vehicles have a properly functioning and approved spark arrester.
- Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes can start the grass on fire. You may not even notice the fire until it’s too late.
- Check tire pressure and condition. Driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.
- Have brakes serviced regularly to prevent brake pads wearing too thin; metal on metal can spark or drop pieces of hot brake pad.
Daily updates on burn restrictions are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on DNR’s website at www.dnr.wa.gov/OutdoorBurning.
The outdoor burning ban is expected to last through Sept. 30, 2018, though may be extended or shortened based upon ongoing fire conditions.
Stay connected during wildfire season
Anyone who spots a wildfire should call 911 as soon as possible to report it.
Public invited to review draft transportation plan for 2040 and beyond
- Written by Paul Parker, WSTC Deputy Director
OLYMPIA – Here’s your chance to have a say in the framework that ensures transportation plans and investments for local streets and roadways, state highways, transit, ferries, sidewalks, bike lanes, air, barge, and rail all work together to keep people and freight moving safely and efficiently.
The public is invited to review and comment on the draft Washington Transportation Plan – 2040 and Beyond, just released by the Washington State Transportation Commission.
Transportation Commission Chair Jerry Litt said a regular refresh of the plan is a chance to take stock of what has changed since it was last updated in January 2015. “The pace of change, especially in transportation technologies, is picking up. It’s important to regularly look at emerging issues to be sure we’re on the right track.”
Emerging technology is one of three big uncertainties the commission highlights in WTP 2040 and Beyond. The other two are: system resiliency in light of extreme weather events and natural disasters like earthquakes, and how to pay for transportation. “We’re dealing with some big issues that are going to affect all of us in some way,” Litt added. “Transportation affects every aspect of our daily lives. There are some hard choices in front of us and we need to make smart, informed decisions.”
The commission reached out to a broad group of organizations for input in developing the draft plan. The 27 members of the WTP Advisory Group include regional planning organizations, state agencies, tribal and transit representatives, business and port associations, city and county associations, transportation and planning advocates and others.
“We relied on insights from advisory group members to help us understand transportation issues from the perspectives of their many different constituents,” noted Commissioner Hester Serebrin. “We will strive to ensure that underrepresented communities have a voice at the table in order to develop a plan that supports transportation all across Washington.”
Commission staff are holding meetings around the state to share the draft WTP 2040 and Beyond plan. A list of meeting dates and locations is on the project website.
Commissioner Debbie Young encouraged people to learn more about the plan and provide input. “This plan will shape how we think about transportation problems and solutions, from rural Washington to our biggest cities. Input now will help make sure we hear everyone’s perspective.”
The Commission must adopt an updated plan and present it to the State Legislature and Governor Inslee by January 2019
Smoke investigation in Navarre Coulee 7-31-18
- Written by Carol A. Kibler, CFR
July 31, 2018 - Chelan Fire and Rescue responded Auto-Aid with Chelan County Fire District 8 to a reported smoke investigation in the area of 6710 Navarre Coulee Road.
The smoke investigation was up-graded to a brush fire near a residential house and other out buildings.
The first unit on scene reported a working brush fire near structures and that the fire had spotted across SR971 mid-slop. Both fires were wind driven.
A second alarm was requested and CWICC was notified bring additional resources from neighboring department, USFS, DNR, BLM and the State Mobe Strike Team that was staged in Entiat for the Cougar Creek Fire. Jurisdiction established a unified Command while ground resources were engaging both fire fronts.
Navarre Coulee was closed to emergency traffic only and a Level three evacuation was issued for those homes on the north side of Navarre Coulee between the fire and SR 97A. Level one evacuation notice were issued to those homes on Knapp Coulee.
The fire was turned over to DNR this morning and is still considered an active fire. Most local fire resources involved in the Initial fire attack have been released and returned to their district for some much need rest while DNR and strike Team resources have taken up their positions.
Buckner Orchard Square Dance 2018
- Written by Herb Sargo
US 97 Blewett Pass CLOSED September 9th TO 14th
- Written by Jeff Adamson, WSDOT
US 97 Blewett Pass will be closed in both directions to ALL traffic from 9 PM Sunday, September 9th to 9 AM on Friday, September 14th to replace 3 culverts under the highway between MP 157.6 and MP 169.0.
Two box culverts will be installed about 1.5 miles and 4.5 miles north of the summit. As part of a separate contract, a third box culvert will be installed near the Swauk Creek campground.
The culvert replacements will all be done at the same time to minimize impacts to traffic and recreation. In addition to the full closure, the two projects may require intermittent weekday single lane closures throughout the month of September.
The current Mill culvert on Swauk Creek is a barrier to salmon and resident trout due to its size and orientation. The culverts on the north side of Blewett Pass need to be replaced because they are undersized and have a history of plugging with debris during storms, leading to washouts along the highway.
• Southern limit: MP 157.60, Between Mineral Springs and USFS #9714 – Iron Creek Rd
o 8 miles north of US 97/SR 970 junction (Lauderdale Junction), 5 miles north of Liberty.
• Northern limit: MP 169.00, Just below Five Mile Creek Rd.
o 5 miles north of Blewett Pass Summit, 9 miles south of Ingalls Creek Rd, 16 miles south of US 97/US 2 interchange (“Big Y”).
• Forest Service roads that have outlets within the work area will be barricaded at:
o USFS 7320 – Old Blewett Rd at Swauk Meadow (MP 159.23)
o USFS 9711 – Hurley Creek Rd at Swauk Meadow (MP 159.27)
o USFS 7324 – Wenatchee Crest Trail at Summit trailhead (MP 163.92)
o USFS 9716 – Swauk Discovery Trail at Summit trailhead (MP 163.89)
For more information & updates go to https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/us97/blewett-pass/home
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