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More from Verner’s exit interview



Here are the rest of Spokane Mayor Mary Verner's responses to topics we asked her to reflect on as she prepares to leave office. The rest is in an article running today online and in print.


Background: As mayor, Verner opted to end the city’s court partnership with Spokane County and created a separate municipal court. This year, it became clear that the city-led regional trash system is likely to disbanded in the next few years as a result of city disagreements with the county and other cities. Also this year, an attempt to regionalize animal control services failed.

Verner: “Go carefully into the realm of regionalism. (She noted a study from Eastern Washington University about regionalizing local government.) There are some benefits in certain subject areas or service delivery areas and then other communities … don’t get what get what (they think they’re) going to get. You don’t always get a cost savings, Nor do you always get an improvement in service, which is why you have to approach it carefully and do a thorough analysis.”

Bicycle lanes

Background: Verner was criticized by council members Richard Rush and Jon Snyder for not ensuring that Second Avenue was rebuilt with a bike lane, as called for in the city’s bicycle plan. But she’s also supported expanded bike lanes in other parts of downtown. Verner has generally agreed that roads paid for by the 2004 street bond should by completed only curb-to-curb and has argued that a new street bond be more encompassing.

Verner: “I think we’ve been working toward a good balance of installing bicycle infrastructure with the other transportation investments that we must make, including ongoing street maintenance. I’m glad that we have provided that opportunity for more people to get around on bikes safely and people of all ages and all skill levels, and I’m also glad and proud that we have not allowed one voice to dominate. We have a bicycle advisory board that has gone through its own evolution and (has a) better understanding of what an advisory board does. We’ve created the Citizens Design Review Committee that gives the bicyclists and pedestrians and schools an opportunity to help design our projects before we go out and do the projects. We’re talking about the phase two street bond – the next of the three series of street bonds that were anticipated in 2004 – and appropriately providing for bicycle infrastructure where it should be included. So I think we’ve struck a good balance on bicycle infrastructure.”

Clark: Bike Lanes? Bah, Humbug!

Oh, yeah. I was once the poster boy for cycling suave. I’d still be riding, too. But unfortunately the bicycle-seat industry failed to keep pace with my ass. So the red Schwinn Paramount with custom chrome lugs that I ordered from Chicago back in the late 1970s remains abandoned in my basement like Puff the Magic Dragon, gathering cobwebs and dust. It’s so sad. Some days I go down and look wistfully at my old ride and think: “How in the sacred name of Floyd Landis’ steroid connection did I ever manage to straddle that thing?” The point is that I’m still very sympathetic to the bicycling mentality. It’s just that I’m even more in tune with the gas-guzzling Spokane driver mentality. So trust me when I say that trading a car lane for a bike lane on Second Avenue strikes me as one gaping pothole of a bad idea/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: How often do you use bike lanes to get around town?