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John Speare

Missing from that list is to provide infrastructure/planning for non-motorized access to airport.
-- Assist the city in developing Airport/Downtown bike route. (Sunset Hiway is the natural choice for the hard piece of the route)
-- Provide long and short-term bike locker rental
-- Provide a bike assembly area; a common feature of European airports. It's a space with a bike stand where bike tourists/travelers can assemble their bike after it comes off the plane.
-- Install sidewalks and/or multiuse paths parallel to major routes into the airport.


Agreed. The lack of emphasis on regular and more frequent transit is a missed opportunity too. Have you queried the airport as to if/when they'll be providing the onsite infrastructure? They likely have no idea there's any demand.

Silent Bahb

Somehow I can't see myself strapping a suitcase to my bike and hauling my butt all the way out to the airport. That, and I can't remember the last time I saw someone flying with their bike.

John Speare

Silent Bahb: the implied conclusion then, is "therefore, if I wouldn't ride to the airport and if I haven't seen people flying with their bikes, then we shouldn't build the infrastructure for anyone else."


Here's one out-of-towner's experience with cycling from the airport in Spokane:

"By far the worst trip I’ve taken on the Bike Friday was the six-mile ride from downtown Spokane to the Spokane Airport. For long stretches of it, I was consigned to the shoulder or curb lane of 50-mph highways. The closer I got to the terminal, the worse the biking got; for the final mile, I was on an access road that looked like an interstate. And I was following the county’s recommended bike route!"

Full article here: http://tinyurl.com/28ntfm

To see folks traveling with bikes, get a job for TSA and inspect luggage. There are folding bikes, bikes that break in half, and other wonders of modern science (such as big cardboard boxes that some folks use to put touring bikes in) that allow people to travel with bikes. It's actually pretty common.

Andrew Waddilove

Does anyone know if Spokane Int'l Airport will eventually have an elevated roadway into the terminal?
Example: Level 1 for arrival, and level 2 for departure?
Most airports today have that convenient elevated feature, even Boise's airport now.

Silent Bahb

Calm down, John. I simply remarked that I myself wouldn't ride my bike to the airport. I have no doubt people do - I just haven't seen them. However, I will say this - rarely does "build it and they will come" work in reality. Look at nearly every light rail project built in the last 20 years and you will see that. Not a single one is solvent to my knowledge - all operate under subsidies. So, do we spend the money to install contiguous bicycle access to the airport or do we spend that money elsewhere? I'm not the one to make that decision, but it's something to think about nonetheless.

That being said, and your inference to my previous comment notwithstanding, I would love to see more bike trails installed everywhere. Even to the airport - though I would never use it myself.

Jon Snyder

To Silent Bahb: The road you took to work this morning isn't solvent either. It was built with subsidies.

John Speare

Indeed. Since when was solvency ever a requirment for building transportation infrastructure? Of course rail must be subsidized, as must roads be and general car ownership (free parking on public streets, strictly speaking, is a subsidy for auto owners). Subsidies for cars/car infrastructure is off the charts...

Silent Bahb

Who says I took a road to work? :O)


The passenger numbers you stated must be for passenger boardings only. In 2007, the total passenger numbers for Spokane International was estimated at 3.5 million. It was 3.2 million in 2006.
I don't see an elevated roadway at SIA, unless it will be at the next expansion of Councourse C when they add the new runway.I think the way it works now is fine. There has to be a reason to do it, not just because another city does it.

I think the emphasis should be on new routes and feeder routes in the Northwest to support longer routes...like to Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Detriot!


You are correct, that is 'enplaned' passengers from Spokane.

Silent Bahb

I agree with what you said, Dan. While it is handy at larger/busier airports to have a separated arrival and departure entrance - complete with bi-level vehicle access, it may be a bit premature here. Not having read the Master Plan myself, I couldn't tell you if the passenger loads by 2020 will be significant enough to warrant such a measure.

Either way, I have to say that one of my favorite things about Spokane's airport (and I've been to a number of medium-sized one's in my life) is the fact that this relatively active airport still has the feel of a smaller municipal field. As a pilot, I have always appreciated a cozy terminal. Somehow split-level vehicle approaches don't exactly strike me as cozy.


SB you nailed it. Everyone visiting to Spokane remarks at how quick and easy it is to get in and get out. For now there must be enough space out there to stretch out without having to go vertical.


JS, where do you get this idea that "of course rail must be subsidized, as must roads and general car ownership." Railroads operated in this country for a century without subsidies, and still do (by and large) for freight traffic. Public transit systems -- bus and streetcar systems -- operated without subsidies until the 60's; most of them were privately owned and relied entirely on farebox revenue. Not until passengers began to abandon them for the automobile did gummints step in with subsidies.

And automobiles are certainly not subsidized either. As I mentioned in another post, roads are to some extent a "public good". as economists define it. They provide a public right-of-way allowing access to property, regardless of mode of travel. To the extent they are improved for auto use, motorists pay those costs and more.

There is, of course, some federal pork in road projects these days (because these days every hog gets its turn at the trough).

John Speare

Contrarian: there are a bunch of basic assumptions you make in your comments. We simply see the same event and see two different things:
as an example... the transcontinental railroad was made possible by one of the largest land give aways (subsidies) in our history. As an incentive for building the railroad, 1 mile square chunks of alternating land was given to the railroad (a private entity). After the railroad was built, the railroad then was able to charge whatever price they wanted to move goods over a right of way that was essentially given to them; yes they fronted the capital to build the rail, but the cost was trivial in what they received in return. In addition, they profited by leasing/selling the large tracts of land. An interesting read on this situation is Frank Norris's, "The Octopus." Although the plot is fiction, the ruthlessness of the railraod robber barrens is well-documented. In your view: this is "public good," in mine: a massive and irresponsible give away that benefited a few at the expense of many.

"Motorists pay these costs and more" is a common misrepresentation or misunderstanding of how roads are funded. Sales tax, property tax, gas tax, etc go into road improvements. The fact that I own a home and a car that I rarely drive means that I am subsidizing your use of the roads (assuming you drive daily) -- especially if we are looking at wear/tear/maintenance of roadways.
The bottom line is that we have different perspectives. I say anytime you use something without directly paying for it: you are being subsidized. Subsidized is not a bad thing, but we can at least talk from a common ground when we both recognize and agree to call it out when we see it.
And for what it's worth the "economists" world view with your "public good" dismissal of true cost is referred to as autisme-économie, where "economists" pick and choose the costs/benefits that they want to include in an overall economic assessment.

Silent Bahb

Um, isn't the basis of economic analysis to pare out data in order to find that which will effectively result in a conclusion? Isn't all statistical analysis a selection of data out of the whole (or the use of assumptions which, in themselves, limit the data to that desired)?

All analysis is subjective and hugely at risk for bias. ALL. To quote the Dread Pirate Roberts, “anyone who tells you differently is selling something.”

Isn't it amazing how everyone has their own definition of 'subsidize’? And yet, it’s all off my original point which was to use the existence of local operational subsidies for mass transit as an indicator of demand. Oh well. :o)

(By the way, John, thank you for being civil in your disagreement. It was getting a little nasty in here.)

Andrew Waddilove

It was just a curious question. I didn't mean we had to "Keep up with the Joneses" by also building an elevated roadway as well.
I saw major expansion in the master plan and I was only curious if our airport was also going to have one. Thanks.


I'm sure there are too may basic philosophical disagreements between us to resolve in this forum, John. For example, railroad land grants were not "giveways." The land was not the federal government's to give away --- it was unowned. Railroad land grants, like homestead grants, college land grants, mining claims, etc., were simply a means of getting unowned land into private hands where it could be put to use, in an orderly way. The gummint was simply the custodian of those lands, not their owner.

You receive some benefit from public roadways whether you drive or not. You benefit if you walk along them; you benefit if someone uses them to visit you or deliver your UPS order. That is the "public good" aspect of roadways, which should be paid for by general public revenues. (A "public good" is a good whose costs cannot practically be allocated among users, or withheld from non-payers).

Improvements made to accomodate specific modes of travel should be paid for by the users of those modes, insofar as possible. That would mean, for example, license fees for bicycles operated on public roadways. The gummint would then use those funds to create bike lanes.

Motorists specifically pay for about half the costs of city streets, and about 90% of the costs of intercity roadways. That hardly qualifies as a subsidy.


Andrew, I agree that maybe down the road an elevated roadway might make sense for the next phase of construction of Counsourse C. I think with the older phase, it doesn't make sense. I like the older 1965 terminal of the older concourse myself. I think they did a good job of updating the rotunda! I think Spokane needs to make choices that are unique to the city. In doing so, we don't have to take backseat to other cities.

Hope to see new changes with the airport in the future!

Silent Bahb

I have to say, I look forward to the new runway - and not only for the reduction in simultaneous use of crossing runways. From the alignment of the new runway it looks as if you could drive up on the top floor of the parking garage and be eye-to-eye with approaching airliners. It It might be a better photo spot than the little clearing at the approach end of Runway 21.

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