July 14, 2007 in Voices

Vocal point : Couplet was futuristic thinking; let’s keep moving forward

Ron Roberts Special to Your Voice
 

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Vocal Point is written by members of the community about issues of area interest. If you’d like to address a topic in this space, let us know. Contact Tad Brooks at 927-2164 or by e-mail at voice@spokesman.com to discuss what you’d like to write.

I am a 48-year resident of the Valley and, a strong supporter of the city of Spokane Valley. I followed all of the attempts to form our own city and was overjoyed when it happened.

Since that time, I have taken an interest in all aspects of our new beginning.

No, I do not attend the council meetings (except for the time I expressed my dissatisfaction with snow removal and street sweeping, which were addressed), however, I feel that I now need to be more vocal with regard to something that I feel is definitely a bad move.

Fifty years ago, the state of Washington recognized the need for a better and safer way to move traffic east-west through the greater Spokane area. Many families and businesses were affected to accomplish it. We got Interstate 90 in the process. Can anyone imagine what the traffic congestion would be like without the futuristic thinking that was applied?

Fifty years later, the Washington State Department of Transportation blessed us with another lane in each direction with the promise that it will be extended to the state line in the near future. As we all know, those traffic improvements were badly needed and will propel us into the next several years. A north-south freeway is slowly but surely being built. Hopefully, it will open in my lifetime. But, this is about Sprague-Appleway.

I have heard arguments, both for and against the two one-way arterials. The most prominent argument for returning to two-way arterials is solely for businesses. I can see their points of view. However, they don’t seem to consider alternate viewpoints.

Having lived in the Valley since 1959, I have seen several changes. The old configuration of Sprague, with the creamery and several other businesses with an old narrow arterial is still a strong visual for me. Having made those changes, the businesses along Sprague continued to decrease to a point of becoming auto row. If we are to be totally honest, the changes in the shopping habits were inevitable. Therefore, I see nothing wrong with that transition.

The Valley was expanding to the east and, as a result, so did new business. The demise of U-City only added to accelerate that change. With the development of The Valley Mall, the Sprague Avenue corridor west of Pines slowly died. This all started happening long before the Sprague-Appleway couplet was opened.

Now the central shopping area for us is Sullivan Road and the surrounding area. Maybe, just maybe, if it is determined that our new city center is located in the U-City area, some new things will happen.

I don’t believe that having a government dominated location will be enough to reverse the trend. If the Spokane Valley City Council listens to a consultant more than to the citizens, they are making a grave mistake that may not be reversible, especially, when more futuristic members are in office and see the errors of this particular City Council’s ways.

I believe that arterials need to be developed for moving traffic. With one-way arterials, traffic flow is enhanced greatly. Just witness what the results are for the Division-Ruby couplet in Spokane. I don’t see business failure there as being rampant. In fact, look at all of the new businesses that are in that corridor.

On a one-way street, when a light changes from red to green, all of the traffic starts moving. On a two-way street traffic is delayed when left turning vehicles, coming in the opposite direction, delay the movement of all other traffic.

Please, let’s do the right thing and keep moving forward in our new city. Going one step ahead and two steps back is not a beneficial policy that good leadership should endorse. Please, no more consultants. Let’s do what the vast majority of us have done: endorse and keep Sprague-Appleway the way it is. In fact, we need to add more to the couplet – all the way to Liberty Lake.


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