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Prairie View opts to bus most students

Mon., June 4, 2007

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to fret about childhood obesity and then bus kids less than a mile to school, but that’s what will be happening this fall on the Five Mile Prairie.

Mead School District will spend $225,000 to bus the 500 or so children attending the first school year at its new Prairie View Elementary.

The reason? It’s unsafe for the children to walk.

“The shoulders are very narrow and there are no sidewalks,” said Jack Lewis, the district’s transportation director.

The school is being built on Johannsen Road, just a few blocks east of Five Mile Road.

The area is booming with new developments. They have sidewalks, but the main thoroughfares, built decades earlier, are more like country roads.

Johannsen has sidewalks only near the school, and while the Spokane County portion of Five Mile Road has a paved pathway on its east side, there is no path along the city portion. Even if there were, without improvements to Johannsen, there is no uninterrupted stretch of sidewalk to get the children to and from school.

Typically children within a one-mile radius of an elementary school walk because the state won’t reimburse school districts for transportation costs in those areas.

Only children in a subdivision just north of the school will be allowed to travel by foot to class, and that’s only because the school district had a gate built on the back end of the school’s property for them to walk through, thus avoiding the busy Five Mile and Johannsen roads.

“That’s the only area that we believe is safe for the children to walk,” said Lewis of the subdivision.

There are no plans to add sidewalks to the other roads.

Early finish

That’s right. Construction on 29th Avenue is for all intents and purposes finished.

Sure there are a few minor details to attend to, but the rehabilitation project between Southeast Boulevard and Ray Street wrapped up last week, one month ahead of schedule.

The city paid the contractor an incentive to complete work early, said Ann Deasy-Nolan, the street and engineering departments’ spokeswoman.

The project did, however, finish $100,000 over its $2 million budget.

Southeast Boulevard updates

Those interested in learning more about how work on Southeast Boulevard from Perry Street to Sherman Street/Third Avenue is progressing can attend a weekly update meeting.

The meetings are Fridays from 8 to 9 a.m. at GeoEngineers, 523 E. Second Ave.

They will continue as long as people show up.

Valley traffic concerns

East Spokane Valley and west Kootenai County residents are invited this week to share their traffic congestion horror stories, bad road gripes, wish lists and other transportation concerns.

The Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization and Spokane Regional Transportation Council are holding a joint open house Wednesday as part of the East Valley/West Rathdrum Prairie transportation study.

The area in question is from Highway 41 in Post Falls to Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley and from Highway 290 (Trent Avenue) to the ridge along Mica Peak.

The open house is 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Post Falls Library, 821 N. Spokane St.

Slow going


Interstate 90 has been reduced to two lanes in each direction in downtown Spokane for the viaduct repair project. Speed limits are reduced.

The only downtown exits remaining open are eastbound Maple/Walnut, eastbound Division (for southbound traffic only), eastbound Hamilton, westbound Second Avenue, westbound Hamilton and westbound Division.

On-ramps remaining open are eastbound Browne, eastbound Hamilton, and westbound Maple.

In Idaho, I-90 is reduced to one lane in each direction from about Mullan Road to Exit 22 at U.S. Highway 97 as crews work on the Blue Creek Bay Bridges.

The speed limit has been reduced to 55 mph, and vehicle widths are limited to 14 feet.

Downtown Spokane

Work on the intersection of Monroe Street, Spokane Falls Boulevard and Main Avenue is causing traffic delays weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is also slowing traffic exiting the River Park Square parking garage.

North Spokane

Washington Street is closed northbound from Indiana Avenue to Buckeye Avenue and reduced to one lane in each direction from Boone to Indiana.

Maple Street is closed from Northwest Boulevard to just north of Wellesley Avenue through June.

Garland Avenue is closed between Ash Street and Maple.

Sharp/Sinto Avenue is closed from Haven Street to Fiske Street. Fiske Street paving is also under way between Boone and Mission avenues.

South Spokane

Northbound U.S. Highway 195 is reduced to one lane in several places between Spangle and Hatch Road.

Spokane Valley

Upriver Drive is closed from near Boulder Beach to a few blocks west of Argonne Road.

The Centennial Trail is also closed along the same stretch.

West Plains

The Deep Creek Road Bridge is closed from west of Brooks Road to three miles east of Highway 2.

North Idaho

Government Way is under construction in Hayden between Honeysuckle and Wyoming.


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