February 14, 2010 in News

Spokane preparing for car-free summer events

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Search for Spokane Summer Parkways on Facebook to volunteer or for more information. Check out the video from Bogota at www.streetfilms.org/ ciclovia/.

A bicycle and fitness event called Spokane Summer Parkways is being planned for two Sundays this summer on two miles of a north Spokane street.

Howard Street from Riverfront Park to Corbin Park would become a thoroughfare for riders, walkers and skaters to enjoy.

Two dates have been chosen: July 11 and Aug. 22.

The idea comes from the popular Ciclovia event in Bogota, Colombia, where thousands of residents turn out every Sunday for bicycling, skating, walking, dancing and other fitness activities on car-free streets.

Cities across the U.S. are now holding similar events.

“It’s been a huge hit everywhere it’s done,” said Rick Bender, president of the SpokFest Association, which organizes and promotes bicycling events.

Bender and other volunteers have been working with city officials to design the route and to organize activities.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist confirmed that City Hall is on board with the idea and is working to set up activities in the two parks at either end of the route.

Volunteers are going to be a big part of the program, Bender said. Groups of them will be stationed at major intersections to act as crossing guards.

Bender said similar events are held in Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, and that Missoula is planning to hold one this year for the first time.

The group is seeking corporate sponsors.

“We just think it’s going to be a huge thing for this city, so we want to get the word out,” Bender said.

He is co-chairing the event along with Erika Henry of Mountain Gear in Spokane.

Business picks up

Frankie Ferraro from the Steer Inn on Market reported last week that the business was flooded with new customers who read last week’s Getting There column about the business’s struggles as a result of a street closure of Market last year.

He said area residents told him they didn’t want the local family business to fail, and that they were curious about the homemade Italian food being served at the fast-food restaurant at 3547 N. Market St.

Owner Tony Ferraro, father of Frankie Ferraro, claims to have the best spaghetti and meatballs in town, and the whole family was working hard to keep up with orders last week.

Traffic bills advance

State Sen. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, has won Senate passage of his bill to double penalties for speeding through school zones from $124 to $248 under Senate Bill 6363.

Another traffic bill (Senate Bill 6231) by Marr also passed the Senate. It would double fines for speeding past a stopped emergency vehicle that has its lights flashing.

Seat belt campaign

The Eastern Washington University Police Department and the Spokane County Target Zero Task Force (formerly the county traffic safety commission) are putting on a campaign to get drivers on campus to buckle up during February.

Drivers wearing seat belts will receive mock tickets in parking lots that they can sign and turn in to be eligible for a $124 pre-paid debit card through State Farm Insurance.

Street closure

Aubrey L. White Parkway will be closed from Bowl and Pitcher to Rifle Club Road starting today for replacement of a water line to the Northwest Terrace area.


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