June 9, 2014 in City

Mumm: Crosswalks should be prioritized

Proposal targets pedestrian safety
By The Spokesman-Review

The city of Spokane has inadequate policies for installing marked crosswalks to protect pedestrians crossing busy streets, according to one City Council member.

City engineers and developers should be required to give greater consideration to pedestrian safety, said Councilwoman Candace Mumm.

She is proposing an ordinance to force the city to make pedestrian crossings a priority.

Doing so will make it more inviting to walk and could cause traffic to slow down. That will have benefits for neighborhood businesses trying to draw customers off busy arterials, she said.

“I’m trying to make our centers and corridors more walkable,” Mumm said.

Spokane saw 28 pedestrians killed from 2003 through 2012.

Mumm said that number would be reduced with better crosswalk designs. Cities around the country have embraced the concept, but Spokane has been slow to follow the trend.

Improved crosswalks and other sidewalk amenities on South Perry Street set the stage for the economic revitalization occurring in that neighborhood business area, Mumm said.

The new Centennial Trail crosswalk on Post Street next to City Hall is an example of the kinds of crossings that will make it safer to be on foot. That crosswalk slopes down from the curb and into the street where steel hoops provide additional protection from traffic. The actual crossing is shortened to reduce the amount of distance that the pedestrians or bike riders are exposed to oncoming traffic.

Mumm said there are numerous new designs popping up around the country. One called the Danish offset provides an island for protection in the middle of the street and then forces the pedestrian to turn toward oncoming traffic to continue across the second half of the street.

Broad crosswalk stripes and textured pavements are other trends.

Sometimes crossings are placed at mid-block because those are safer than intersections where vehicles are turning left and right.

Mumm’s proposal would force the city to place marked crosswalks in commercial zones, trail crossings, schools, parks, hospitals, churches, signalized intersections and any other location with heavy foot traffic.

The work would occur when a street is new or resurfaced.

Currently, a city ordinance dating back to 2006 only calls for marked crosswalks at schools and intersections with traffic lights.

It implements long-standing provisions of the city’s comprehensive plan, she said.

Mumm is working to win support from neighborhood councils before going to the city Plan Commission, she said. The proposal is expected before the City Council later this summer.

Drivers surveyed on drugs, alcohol

A national survey of alcohol or drug use by drivers was in Spokane last week, one of six locations in Washington where the survey is being taken.

A team from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation invited drivers to pull over to take the anonymous survey voluntarily.

Each of the drivers was asked about their driving habits when it comes to alcohol and drug use. At the end of the interviews, they were asked to give saliva and blood samples to check if they were using drugs or alcohol.

The survey is being taken in Washington this year to establish a base line as the state begins allowing legal sale and use of marijuana.

The survey dates back to 1973 and is backed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The survey takers were set up at a parking lot at Northwest Boulevard and Maple Street last Friday and another location Saturday.

Survey takers were paid $60 to complete the survey and provide samples.

CdA bike ‘corrals’ well-received

Coeur d’Alene has installed two new bike parking “corrals” in the downtown area, and already they are getting good use, city officials said last week in a news release.

The corrals are located in the 100 block of Lakeside Avenue and the 300 block of Sherman Avenue.

Monte McCully, the city’s trail coordinator, reported that businesses are happy with the installation because bike riders are likely to spend some money.

As many as five to six bikes were parked at one of the corrals on a nice day last week, he said.

The city of Portland was a trailblazer in offering bike corrals, McCully said, and now some 75 businesses are waiting to have one near their shops in that city.

Grant will fund signs along trail

The Friends of the Centennial Trail last week reported receiving a $3,000 grant from the RBC Wealth Management Blue Water Project to pay for public information and interpretive signs highlighting the trail’s low-impact storm drainage techniques. Downtown Spokane, Riverside State Park and Spokane Valley have been chosen for the signs.

Blasting will close I-90 east of pass

Interstate 90 on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass will close for hourlong evening rock blasting on Monday through Thursday this week. The blasting closures will start at 7:30 p.m. The work is part of a multiyear widening project along Keechelus Lake.

STA Plaza will host Flag Day ceremony

Spokane Transit Authority is sponsoring a Flag Day ceremony Friday at the downtown Plaza.

The observance will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., one day ahead of the actual national observance on Saturday.

The event will include resources for veterans, a veteran portrait gallery, book signings, community information, and health and wellness opportunities.

Road projects around Spokane

In the city of Spokane, street preservation work will begin on June 16 on Grand Boulevard.

Installation of a new traffic light starts Tuesday at Country Homes Boulevard and Cedar Road.

Reconstruction of Francis Avenue from Division to Crestline streets is set to move to the eastbound lanes today.

Arthur Street remains under construction from I-90 to Second Avenue with lane restrictions.

Repaving on Monroe Street from Wellesley to Rowan avenues gets underway this week.

Nighttime work continues this week on I-90 from the Liberty Park to Havana interchanges.

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