U.S. Highway 2 north of Spokane has become increasingly busy with traffic over the years.
The four-lane, high-speed route exposes drivers to turning and crossing movements at a series of intersections, leading to accidents.
The Washington state Department of Transportation wants to find ways to make the route safer and improve access. Officials are asking drivers to get involved in a planning effort to improve the section of the highway from the south side of the Mount Spokane Park Drive intersection northward to Elk-Chattaroy Road.
The workshop is Thursday from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Mt. Spokane High School.
Highway engineers will explain the study and take input from the public.
“Your involvement will help us better understand transportation-related issues along the corridor, shape a shared vision for the corridor and ultimately identify potential low cost corridor improvements that will support the needs of the diverse travelers,” a news release said.
The study will include pedestrian and bicycle use as well as the needs of community members living along the route. Business access will also be one of the issues under consideration.
The project is planned in two phases. In the first phase, planning into next year will lead to engineering design starting in late 2015 to be followed by construction of selected projects in 2016, officials said.
A second phase will identify long-range projects that will require greater funding.
Participants in the planning process should include community interest groups, emergency responders, transportation planners, highway engineers, property owners and motorists.
STA a big part of race
Lots of Bloomsday runners know about the convenient shuttles available for Sunday’s event for a $1.50 all-day fare.
But STA also is a critical component in staging the race.
STA provides transportation for elite runners who arrive from around the world as well as wheelchair athletes.
Beginning later this week, STA drivers will start picking up wheelchair athletes at Spokane International Airport and taking them and their equipment to area hotels.
On Saturday, Bloomsday officials will lead wheelchair and elite athletes on a detailed course tour aboard an STA bus. Athletes can learn about race history and get tips on strategy for navigating the 7.46-mile course.
Toward the end of the race, STA brings in a “relief vehicle” to pick up wheelchair athletes and other competitors unable to finish the course due to mechanical problems or fatigue.
Then, the athletes are shuttled back to the airport for departures.
In a news release, STA officials said they are “proud to be a strong community partner in making Bloomsday, the largest open-registration race in the world, successful year after year.”
Those STA shuttle buses will begin rolling Sunday at 6:30 a.m. and provide in-bound rides until 8:30 a.m., dropping off participants near the starting points.
Return buses will run from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Shuttles will depart from Spokane Valley Mall near the Hong Kong buffet, Ferris High School, NorthTown Mall and the Red Barn on the Eastern Washington University campus at Seventh and Washington in Cheney.
Have strollers folded and fares or passes in hand to speed up boarding.
Regular bus riders should be aware that alternative routes are in effect, and boarding areas are moved to Second and Third avenues along the Howard Street corridor during the race.
Inbound service starts an hour earlier than on a normal Sunday on the following routes: Monroe No. 24, Division No. 25, Hillyard No. 27, Airport No. 60, U.S. Highway 2 No. 61 and Sprague No. 90.
Also, because of construction of a Convention Center hotel on Spokane Falls Boulevard, access to the Bloomsday trade show will be more limited this year. A shuttle bus is running from the Spokane Arena on Friday and Saturday.
Division traffic lights
An upgrade of the traffic signal timing system on North Division Street will result in three intersections being switched to flashing red lights in all directions.
The work will be at Wellesley Avenue on Tuesday, Francis Avenue on Wednesday, and Lyons Avenue on Thursday, all from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Drivers should treat the intersections as four-way stops, taking turns and yielding right.
Bits and pieces
• Shoppers at today’s Camelot neighborhood yard sale are reminded not to park on U.S. Highway 2. Police will write tickets and have vehicles towed if they are parked on the shoulder.
• The Interstate 90 westbound on-ramp from Hamilton Street will have right lane closures for removal of dangerous trees Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to about 3 p.m.
• Asphalt paving is set to begin Wednesday on a new interchange on U.S. Highway 195 at Cheney-Spokane Road.
• Work on a water main on U.S. 2 at Deer Heights Road will result in lane closures Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to about 3 p.m.
• In Spokane Valley, repaving work is closing access to Sprague Avenue at Park Road and traffic on Sprague is reduced to two westbound lanes from Park to Vista Road.
• In Spokane, city crews are sweeping arterials, sidewalks and islands and grading gravel streets.
• Bloomsday sweeping routes will be posted with no-parking signs Monday. Work starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
• An immigration march will be Thursday at 1 p.m. in downtown Spokane.
• A westbound lane of Riverside Avenue will be closed just west of Stevens Street Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to set up construction equipment.
• One lane in the 200 block of North Havana Street will be closed today through Wednesday for utility work at Ferry Avenue.
• Also, one lane in each direction will be closed in the 600 block of West Indiana Avenue for water line work.