Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Event Notice: Historic Swan River Bridge Informational Meeting in Bigfork, April 12, 2016

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Bigfork's Swan River Bridge at Christmastime

Bigfork’s Swan River Bridge at Christmastime

By Catherine Haug, March 31, 2016 (Photo, right, by C. Haug)

The following information is from Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and  Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson (KLJ) who represent Flathead County.

  • What: Open house and informational meeting, to assist with a feasibility study of the Swan River Bridge (the historical 1912 steel truss bridge near the power plant and Sliter Park in Bigfork). The bridge is aging and has been found structurally deficient; meaning the bridge will not continue its current usage without improvements in the near future.
  • When: Tuesday, April 12, 2016; presentation at 5:30 PM; open house from 5 – 8 PM
  • Where: Bigfork Elementary School at 600 Commerce St in Bigfork [the invitation did not indicate which room].
  • Who: all Bigfork residents, home and business owners are invited to attend.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you may provide your comments by either of two methods, by May 12, 2016. Read on for this and for contact information. (more…)

Plan for emergencies in high heat/bad weather

Friday, July 20th, 2012

by Catherine Haug, July 20, 2012, revised August 4, 2012

There’s no denying that the weather across the US has been unusual the last few years, with enormous, raging wildfires & forest fires, flooding, lightening, high wind, cyclonic & hurricane activity. These can force you to evacuate your home, or leave you stranded from access to food and emergency help. Road trips can expose you to severe weather and fire hazards with which you are unaccustomed.

Its best to plan for such emergencies before they happen. Read on for more about personal/family preparedness, and AAA’s recommendations.


Bicycles & Light Rail Instead of Freeways

Monday, June 27th, 2011

by Catherine Haug, June 27, 2011

Sally recently sent me this article from Grist: Tearing down urban freeways to make room for a new bicycle economy, and it made me wonder: “Why aren’t they also putting in light rail?” And then, come to think of it, why aren’t passenger rail solutions being considered between cities and in rural areas too, as an alternative to cars and gasoline? (more…)

AAA Poll: Future of Personal Transportation

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

by Catherine Haug, March 30.2011

AAA (American Automobile Assoc.) recently did a poll of its membership concerning the future of personal transportation. Members were given 4 choices and asked to pick one of the four. Here are the results: (more…)

Planes vs Trains, a Matter of Security & Sustainability

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Millimeter Wave Scanner Image

by Catherine Haug (photo, right, from Wikipedia)

Full-body scanners, used by TSA airport security before you can board a plane, have been much in the news lately (2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Many people object to this intrusion into their personal privacy; others object to frequent radiation exposure, including from health screenings and from security scans. And almost everyone complains about the extra time it takes just to check in. (more…)

Rail Transit in the Flathead?

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

by Catherine Haug

Two years ago, gas was over $4/gallon; it won’t be many years before it reaches $10 or even $20/gallon, as demand rises against declining supplies. And it isn’t just the gasoline that would be costly; everything that depends on petroleum or the power it generates will be more expensive: the cost of generating power to mine and refine the steel, aluminum and other metals; to create the plastic and vinyl; and to operate the robots that assemble the cars. Even to build those robots.

So a car that sells for $25,000 today, would cost at least $75,000 when gas is $10/gallon; $200,000 when gas is $20/gallon. Who could afford that, even if the cars are twice as fuel efficient as they are today? Especially if you had to pay 3-times as much for your groceries and utilities that are also dependent upon the cost of gas. [Cost projections are my own best guess].

And then there’s the cost of asphalt or concrete for all the new and rebuilt roads. Asphalt is made from petroleum, so its cost would also rise, as well as the cost to manufacture and lay the concrete. Of course, with rail, there would be the cost to build/rebuild the tracks that must be considered, so it has to be planned smartly.

Portland Streetcar

So why not imagine and plan now, to be ready with an alternative when we can no longer afford cars and highways.

The Case for Rail

(photo from; see also Portland Streetcar for more)

The AARP Bulletin for April 2010 features an article on “Streetcar Revival” for urban communities. The online version of the article does not feature the cityscape photo that accompanies the paper version, a scene familiar to my eyes because I used to live in that cityscape: Portland, Oregon. An example held as the standard for modern, efficient mass transit in urban areas. (more…)