July 5, 2010 in City

Study puts future transportation needs at forefront

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The future of transportation in the Spokane area is up for discussion this summer with a series of public events planned to gather input.

The Spokane Regional Transportation Council, an agency charged with mobility planning, has commissioned a $350,000 study at the urging of local political and business leaders.

Members of the public are invited to attend a community workshop on July 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St., to talk about what they would like to see.

The goal is to take a broad look at making Spokane more accessible and create greater cohesion among the agencies responsible for transportation.

Two years ago, city leaders convened meetings to prioritize transportation needs, in part so that Spokane could make a more effective case in efforts to attract state and federal funding.

That effort has expanded with SRTC hiring a pair of consultants to guide the study.

“The most public part of the process is kicking off in the next couple of weeks,” said Andrei Mylroie, a partner at Desautel-Hege Communications in Spokane.

His firm is teaming up with the nationally renowned MIG planning firm, which also did an update of the city’s downtown plan.

Jay Renkens, MIG’s project manager, said he hopes the Transportation Vision Project will guide transportation choices in the Spokane area for the next 30 to 50 years.

Ideally, the study will result in setting priorities, which could include completion of the North Spokane Corridor, public transit improvements, a distribution center for trucks and trains, new interchanges on U.S. Highway 195, and traffic bridges across Spokane Valley rail lines.

Renkens said the study will take into account land use, the environment, public health and economic development. Efficient transportation is increasingly being viewed as an enticement for companies looking to relocate or expand, he said.

A “visioning team” made up of leaders from business, government and education is helping guide the study.

The July 13 workshop will be followed by three public roundtable meetings on July 14 at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, in Spokane Valley.

The two-hour roundtables will begin at 10 a.m. for development issues, 1 p.m. for freight transportation and 6 p.m. for bike and pedestrian issues.

In addition, SRTC staff and consultants will be going to community events to solicit public input.

On Sept. 14, a draft plan will be up for comment at a community workshop.

Work on the plan should be wrapped up by year’s end, said Staci Lehman, public education staffer for SRTC.

Slow going in Spokane Valley

The high-volume intersection of Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road will be closed for three weeks beginning July 19.

Spokane Valley is spending $1.26 million to replace rutted pavement and upgrade sidewalks and storm drainage.

Access will be maintained to businesses.

Five Mile work wraps up

There is some good news for Five Mile Prairie residents.

The long-awaited completion of a widened and improved Five Mile Road is expected by Friday.

The project, which started last year from Austin to Lincoln roads, includes a new sidewalk, curbs and bike lanes, as well as landscaping and a center turn lane for a portion of the new stretch.

More than $6 million has gone into the project.

First Bigelow Gulch phase done

The first phase in an eight-mile project to widen Bigelow Gulch Road has been completed, at the west end where Bigelow meets Francis Avenue.

Work to watch for

• Myrtle Street from Third to Fourth avenues remains closed during county sewer installation. However, Myrtle should reopen Tuesday from Second to Sprague avenues. The work also has one lane closed on Sprague at Myrtle.

• Interstate 90 from Sprague Avenue to Argonne Road is being reduced to one lane in each direction on Tuesday from 4:30 a.m. until as late as 6:30 a.m. to allow for taking test samples of pavement.

• Repaving of U.S. Highway 395 is continuing from Hatch Road to the Stevens County line near Clayton between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Sections of roadway will be rough from pavement grinding operations. Expect pilot cars, flaggers and delays during those hours.

• The section of U.S. 395 from Wandermere to Half Moon Road will be getting new concrete and steel cable median barriers to reduce the risk of crossover collisions starting Tuesday.

The highway between Wandermere Road and the north end of the Little Spokane River bridge is reduced to one lane in each direction while crews build a new interchange for the North Spokane Corridor.


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