The state will kick in another $1.3 million to add sidewalks and sewer to the Market Street corridor, a project that county officials hope to complete by November 2016.
Washington’s Transportation Improvement Board approved the grant last month, the second such earmark for improvements to the arterial running parallel to the proposed North Spokane Corridor. The money will also help repave a portion of Market Street between Houston Avenue and Lincoln Road, county engineer Bob Brueggeman said.
“It will pick up where the state has completed the reconstruction of Francis and Market intersection,” he said.
Improvements to the stretch of road just north of the Hillyard neighborhood will begin in 2016, Brueggeman said. This summer, county road crews will turn their attention to the section of Market Street that runs through Mead farther north. Residents there have been clamoring for sidewalks to increase foot traffic at local businesses, said Carla Morris, who established the neighborhood revival group Friends of the Old Mead Township.
“We want to put something nice in Mead, where people would stop on their way to Green Bluff or Mount Spokane,” Morris said.
Sidewalks and bike lanes will complement the Boys and Girls Club of Spokane building in the old Mead High School, Brueggeman said. Residents will be able to walk there from a cluster of restaurants, convenience shops and a post office to the south.
Morris said the sidewalks are a start, but she’d like county and state funds to be used on beautification projects as well that would attract motorists to storefronts in the area.
“At this point, they said there’s no funding,” Morris said.
The county will pay about 40 percent of the costs for the improvements, translating to roughly $1.7 million to improve both sections of the road. The improvement board has committed a total of nearly $2.8 million for the construction.
Brueggeman said county road crews will seek to minimize the impact of construction on surrounding businesses. Local traffic will be able to reach addresses along Market Street during the work next year and in 2016, but through traffic will be blocked, he said.
“We’re just adding improvements that are consistent with urban, commercial development adjoining residences,” he said.
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