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Planners Seek Lower Speed Limit Speeds Would Drop From 30 To 25 Mph On Many Roads

Spokane transportation planners want to cut the speed limit on more than 50 residential streets because of increased traffic in the neighborhoods.

The plan, which goes before the City Council on Monday night, would reduce speed limits from 30 to 25 mph.

“I didn’t even know it was 30. I thought it was 65 mph,” quipped Mary Ann Agnew, a 66-year-old retiree who lives on East 17th Avenue, a common shortcut between Grand and Rockwood boulevards.

The proposal by the city traffic department covers streets in nearly every neighborhood, from the areas around Fort George Wright to Thorpe Road, from Sunset Hill to Liberty Park, Shadle Park, and the Palouse Highway.

Though most of the speed limits would be lowered, increases are proposed for industrial and commercial areas along Northwest Boulevard, Mission and Sprague avenues, and Sunset Boulevard.

One of the most vocal neighborhoods supporting lower speed limits would get some relief if the plan is approved.

Speed limits in a 20-block corridor of the Nevada-Lidgerwood neighborhood around Friendship Park would be cut to 25 mph.

Homeowners in the neighborhood east of Division Street between Francis Avenue and the Northpointe shopping center already contend with delivery trucks driving illegally on posted streets and shoppers cutting through the neighborhood to avoid Division’s congestion.

Shirley Henry, a homeowner at Cincinnati and Cozza Drive, said she could easily walk across the street three years ago, before the giant Costco store opened on Division.

“Now it’s a challenge to get across at all,” she said.

Henry’s neighbor, Jack Smith, said drivers use Cozza Drive’s parking lanes to pass other vehicles. They’ve turned a two-lane street into a highway.

“If we get the speed shut down maybe they won’t be in such a hurry,” he said.

City traffic planner Don Ramsey said the proposal stems from months of study. Neighborhoods with heavy traffic are recommended for the 25 mph zone.

Spokane streets have a speed limit of 25 mph unless posted otherwise. All the streets being lowered do have signs, which would be replaced. The new speeds would not become effective until the signs are changed.

Debra Wittwer, a community policing volunteer in northeast Spokane, said the change is just the first step. The next is enforcement.

“You really can’t get a ticket unless you’re 10 miles over anyway,” she said. “What this does is cut the speeds to 35 mph.”

“The posted speed is something people choose to drive 7 to 10 mph faster than,” added Ken Decker, a planner with the Spokane Regional Transportation Council.

City Councilman Mike Brewer said he doubts a slower speed limit would work.

He said he seldom sees police traffic units anywhere - let alone in residential neighborhoods.

Though it would be unpopular, the better solution would be to eliminate parking and open up arterial roads, Brewer said.

“If it’s busy enough to be designated an arterial let’s remove the parking, stripe it and make it an arterial,” Brewer said. “In the long run we’d be better off.”

The Spokane Police Department had apparently not seen the proposal by Friday afternoon.

“I can’t find anybody who knows anything about it,” said Dick Cottam, police spokesman. “You’d think this was something they would want our input on.”

Decker, a regional planner, said lower speed limits should not replace better design of neighborhood streets.

To slow traffic, streets should be designed with parking and landscaping, he said. Roads might be narrowed and incorporate roundabouts, pedestrian areas in the middle of intersections that force cars to drive slowly around them.

One is now in place at Cannon Street and Pacific Avenue in Browne’s Addition.

“If you really want to slow people down the streets should not be designed for 55 mph traffic,” Decker said. “Physical changes in the roadway could do a lot to slow traffic.”

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Targeted streets The speed limit on these streets would be lowered from 30 to 25 mph, unless noted otherwise.

NORTHEAST Addison between Lyons and Standard. Standard between Addison and Colton Place. Colton Place between Standard and Colton Street. Colton Street between Colton Place and Magnesium. Cozza Drive between Division and Nevada.

NORTHWEST A Street between Driscoll and Francis. Belt between Garland and Francis. Providence Avenue between Post and Wall. Wall between Providence and Walton. Walton between Post and Wall Wall between Walton and Francis. Lidgerwood between Wellesley and Francis. Central between Wall and Addison. Queen between Wall and Lidgerwood. G Street between Northwest and Wellesley. North Center between Illinois and Perry. Perry between North Center and Wellesley. Bridgeport between Division and Crestline. Belt between Boone and Pettet. Augusta between Pettet and Belt. Belt between Augusta and Northwest. Howard between Sinto and Buckeye. Montgomery between Division and Dakota. Dakota between Montgomery and Illinois. Illinois between Dakota and Perry. Indiana between Belt and Monroe. Broadway between Elm and Summit. Summit between Broadway and Mission. Mission between Summit and Pettet. Boone between Summit and Ash.

SOUTH and WEST Liberty Park Place between Second and Madelia. Madelia between Fourth and Liberty Park Place. Fourth between Madelia and Pittsburg. Pittsburg between Fifth and Fourth. Fifth between Pittsburg and Freya. Freya between 37th and Thor Place. West Drive between Westcliff and Rosamond. Rosamond between West Drive and 13th. 13th between Rosamond and Lindeke. Inland Empire Way between 28th Avenue and 223 feet south of 20th Street. Inland Empire Way between 223 feet south of 20th and 17th. Inland Empire Way between 17th and 500 feet south of Seventh (from 35 to 30 mph). 14th between Cedar and Grand. Cowley between Fourth and Rockwood. Conklin between Rockwood and 14th. 14th between Conklin and Southeast. Thorpe between Highway 195 and 23rd. 23rd between Thorpe and Inland Empire Hwy. 17th between Grand and Upper Terrace. Upper Terrace between 17th and Rockwood. 25th Ave. between Bernard and Grand. Perry between south city limits and 37th Thurston between Perry and Regal Palouse Highway between south city limits and Regal (from 45 to 35 mph).

This sidebar appeared with the story: Targeted streets The speed limit on these streets would be lowered from 30 to 25 mph, unless noted otherwise.

NORTHEAST Addison between Lyons and Standard. Standard between Addison and Colton Place. Colton Place between Standard and Colton Street. Colton Street between Colton Place and Magnesium. Cozza Drive between Division and Nevada.

NORTHWEST A Street between Driscoll and Francis. Belt between Garland and Francis. Providence Avenue between Post and Wall. Wall between Providence and Walton. Walton between Post and Wall Wall between Walton and Francis. Lidgerwood between Wellesley and Francis. Central between Wall and Addison. Queen between Wall and Lidgerwood. G Street between Northwest and Wellesley. North Center between Illinois and Perry. Perry between North Center and Wellesley. Bridgeport between Division and Crestline. Belt between Boone and Pettet. Augusta between Pettet and Belt. Belt between Augusta and Northwest. Howard between Sinto and Buckeye. Montgomery between Division and Dakota. Dakota between Montgomery and Illinois. Illinois between Dakota and Perry. Indiana between Belt and Monroe. Broadway between Elm and Summit. Summit between Broadway and Mission. Mission between Summit and Pettet. Boone between Summit and Ash.

SOUTH and WEST Liberty Park Place between Second and Madelia. Madelia between Fourth and Liberty Park Place. Fourth between Madelia and Pittsburg. Pittsburg between Fifth and Fourth. Fifth between Pittsburg and Freya. Freya between 37th and Thor Place. West Drive between Westcliff and Rosamond. Rosamond between West Drive and 13th. 13th between Rosamond and Lindeke. Inland Empire Way between 28th Avenue and 223 feet south of 20th Street. Inland Empire Way between 223 feet south of 20th and 17th. Inland Empire Way between 17th and 500 feet south of Seventh (from 35 to 30 mph). 14th between Cedar and Grand. Cowley between Fourth and Rockwood. Conklin between Rockwood and 14th. 14th between Conklin and Southeast. Thorpe between Highway 195 and 23rd. 23rd between Thorpe and Inland Empire Hwy. 17th between Grand and Upper Terrace. Upper Terrace between 17th and Rockwood. 25th Ave. between Bernard and Grand. Perry between south city limits and 37th Thurston between Perry and Regal Palouse Highway between south city limits and Regal (from 45 to 35 mph).



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