My name is Staci Lehman. I’m the Public Education/Information Coordinator for Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC). Chances are you haven’t even heard of SRTC. We're the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. MPOs are a transportation policy-making organization made up of representatives from local government and transportation authorities (STA in this case).
If you’ve never heard of us you're probably wondering what do we do for you? A lot of stuff, but John asked me to limit my posts to items of interest to the bicycling community, so that’s going to save you at least a couple paragraphs worth of reading.
As far as bicycling, SRTC tries to get more bike facilities constructed, and existing ones improved. We do this through distribution of federal money and through local programs, and promoting coordination through the agencies we work with such as the City of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Spokane County, WSDOT, etc.
Each year, we get allotments of federal funding to distribute. When that happens, we put out a call for projects. We then evaluate the submitted projects submitted and use a ranking system to determine which will receive funding. Projects that include bike lanes, sidewalks, pathways, etc. receive more points in the ranking process. We also put out calls for projects specifically for ones that help reduce carbon emissions and provide air quality. Projects that include bike lanes or construct bike trails qualify for these funds as the intent is to get people out of cars and onto bikes. When ‘stimulus’ money was available this past year, SRTC helped secure enough to complete phase 2 of the Fish Lake Trail. And we were one of the driving forces behind the ‘SmartRoutes’ movement to double the non-motorized transportation budget to $9 billion in the next federal transportation budget.
Okay, that one didn’t go anywhere, but that’s because we’re waiting to see what happens with the reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act- A Legacy for Users), the bill that governs federal surface transportation spending. So where does that stand? I’ll have to tell you next time. I’m already WAY over the space that John allotted me, and this is not nearly as exciting of content as he'd like to see. I felt it was necessary though to lay the groundwork of who SRTC is and how we help the average person. So, if John actually lets me blog again, I’ll provide an update of the reauthorization bill and what we’re expecting that to mean for you. I'll even try to throw in some pictures.
10 hours ago