December 12, 2011 in City

Getting There: Walkers’ options limited when crossing Division

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Map of this story's location

The traffic wall on North Division Street has become more impenetrable than ever for people on foot.

New pedestrian crossing signs went up recently at numerous uncontrolled intersections along the North Hill section of the busy six-lane arterial. The signs order pedestrians to use marked crosswalks that are mostly at traffic lights.

As a result, a pedestrian might be forced to walk six blocks out of his or her way to get across Division.

A violation could result in a $54 ticket, police said.

“It’s not fair to the pedestrians,” said Pete Johnston at Spokane Cigar and Tobacco Shop at Division and Gordon Avenue.

He said he is hearing complaints from customers about the restrictions.

Another worker on the Division strip said the limits didn’t make sense to her. “There should be more crosswalks,” said Lauren Johnson.

The signs went up in recent weeks as a step to protect pedestrian safety, city officials said.

Vehicles are still permitted to make left-hand turns at most of the same uncontrolled intersections.

Marlene Feist, city spokeswoman, said the no-crossing signs went up as part of a repaving project on Division earlier this year from Euclid to Francis avenues.

The signs were posted in the stretch from Dalton Avenue on the south to Houston Avenue on the north.

Starting at Dalton, pedestrians may only cross at Bridgeport, Garland/Empire, Longfellow, Wellesley, Queen, Rowan, Central, Francis and Lyons avenues.

Longfellow has bus stops on either side of Division and was striped with a legal crosswalk, the only one without a traffic light in the stretch that was posted.

The new restrictions come months after Spokane Transit Authority eliminated numerous bus stops on Division, forcing many bus riders to walk farther to and from their stops.

Feist said the postings on Division are consistent with restrictions in place at other locations in the city, including the Gonzaga University area of North Hamilton Street.

Pedestrian crossings are also limited on Greene Street where it borders Spokane Community College.

Previously, signs prohibited pedestrian crossings at Wabash Avenue and Division on the west side of NorthTown Mall.

Bridge input sought

The city of Spokane on Wednesday will hold an open house workshop from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in west Spokane on rehabilitating Latah Bridge, which carries Sunset Boulevard traffic.

The event will be at the Woodland Center, which is a converted school building at Finch Arboretum, 3404 W. Woodland Blvd.

The city is seeking ways to extend the life of the 1911 span, which is a historic landmark. A study will be undertaken and the public is asked to provide responses to the effort.

Engineering firm CH2M Hill is working with the city on rehabilitation options.

29th meeting

Another open house is set for 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Sacajawea Middle School, 401 E. 33rd Ave., on rehabilitation of 29th Avenue from High Drive to Grand Boulevard.

The meeting is in the library.

MLK Way done for season

Work on opening a new Martin Luther King Jr. Way east of Riverside Avenue to the heart of the Riverpoint campus has been put on hold for the season.

The job is nearing completion but has to be put off until paving season next spring.

ISP driving class

The Idaho State Police has rescheduled a Road Safe driving class for Jan. 14 at 9 a.m. at the police district office, 615 W. Wilbur Ave. in Coeur d’Alene.

The free class will help drivers learn techniques for negotiating winter roads and avoiding other problems while driving.

To reserve a seat, call the ISP office at (208) 209-8620 during normal office hours.

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