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City Studying Street Realignments

When new developments are planned for Spokane, proposals to reroute downtown streets seem to be just a step away.

Among the proposals presently being discussed are plans to reroute Trent Avenue and Spokane Falls Boulevard to make way for the planned expansions of the Riverpoint Higher Education Park and the Spokane Convention Center.

Because of the expansion of the higher education park, city and state officials are examining the possibility of rerouting Trent Avenue onto Main Avenue and extending it along the south bank of the Spokane River between Division and Hamilton.

An existing Trent Avenue bridge crossing the Spokane River west of Hamilton is deteriorating and should be replaced, said Irving Reed, Spokane’s director of planning and engineering services.

The latest plan would eliminate the need for a new bridge near the Post Office annex building by building a new leg of Trent beneath the James Keefe Bridge on the south river bank. It would tie into the existing Trent Avenue via a three-way intersection near the Union Gospel Mission.

Trent currently borders the higher education complex, but college officials would like to see it moved farther south to make room for long-range expansion.

“The idea is to take Trent Avenue and move it south along the railroad tracks,” Reed said. However, no plans have been finalized or financed. Before any action could be taken, Reed said, an environmental assessment and traffic study would have to be done.

City officials also are discussing possibilities for re-routing traffic if the convention center is expanded.

The convention center is surrounded by Washington to the west, the Spokane River to the north and the Red Lion to the east. Therefore, the center could only expand to the south, said Mike Kobluk, Spokane’s director of entertainment facilities.

Two possibilities that have been discussed are to reroute traffic into an underground tunnel on Spokane Falls Boulevard in front of the convention center or to curve traffic onto Main Avenue to the south.

“They’re really just thoughts,” Kobluk said. Before any action can be taken, funding must be secured from the state for the city to study the situation, he said. Still, Kobluk said, expansion of the convention center is a “high city priority.”

Also still under consideration is a plan to eliminate Post Street from Main to Spokane Falls Boulevard when, and if, the proposed redevelopment of River Park Square goes through.

Although not directly tied to any commercial project, the city also plans to build a bridge over the Spokane River at Lincoln Street.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Alison Boggs Staff writer Staff writer Mike Prager contributed to this report.