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Washington Voices

Two-way Sprague vital for Valley to prosper

Sat., Nov. 20, 2010

Thank you, Mr. Challender, for your small businessman’s opinion on the one-way vs. two-way Sprague Avenue debate (Vocal Point, Nov. 6). Your example is right on point. However, your example is exactly why it should be a two-way street.

In your article you stated government and landlords are the source of Sprague business ills. You don’t think a two-way street with six lanes of traffic has anything to do with aiding small business on Sprague Avenue. This is where you made the case for Sprague being a two-way street.

You complain that “government forced you to remove your sandwich board sign along the street and that tiny sign was responsible for bringing in 12 percent of new customers.” So, six lanes of two-way traffic has no impact on small business on Sprague, but a tiny sandwich board sign equates to a 12 percent increase of new business? Really!

Thank you for reaffirming what all of the studies have said over and over in favor of converting Sprague back to a two-way street. Sprague has serviced the Spokane Valley for more than 100 years. It is the main arterial in our new city.

According to information put out by the group that did one of the studies on the Spokane Valley, 75 percent of the city’s residents live within two miles of Sprague and Pines. For convenience, easy access and due to the fact that the entire infrastructure is already in place, Sprague Avenue is the best option for businesses to locate.

To have a vital business district, the two-way on Sprague is essential. A two-way Sprague Avenue will not cure all of the problems that exist in our economy, but it will help – tremendously. It is another tool to help small businesses, just like Mr. Challender’s tiny sign example, generating 12 percent of new business. Businesses need all of the tools they can get to be successful.

Mr. Challender’s opinion that landlords inflate property values to charge more rent, sucker small businesses into triple net leases and sue when they are not paid, could not be further from the truth. It is an insult to think that this is the way landlords operate. Again, opinion vs. fact.

I recently spoke to Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey about the one-way vs. two-way Sprague Avenue problem. He told me how important it is that the people get the facts on the subject of the one-way vs. the two-way Sprague problem. He said it affects everyone in the Spokane Valley, both residents and businesses. Everyone needs to get educated on the subject and make a good decision.

As the article by Mr. Challender clearly brings out, there is a huge difference between opinion and fact.

I was born and raised in the Spokane Valley. My family and I lived on Sprague Avenue for more than 25 years. I have had businesses on Sprague for more than 35 years. I think the Spokane Valley is the absolute best place in the world, for me, to live.

We need to get Sprague Avenue back to a two-way as soon as possible to help our community prosper.

Spokane Valley resident Nick Abariotes can be reached by e-mail at nickabariotes@


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