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Bike and Pedestrian plan hearing Thursday

This is just a reminder that there will be a public hearing on the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan before the City of Spokane Valley Planning Commission at 6 p.m. Thursday. Part of the plan includes a map of suggested future bike lanes and trails. This is your last chance to make suggestions on what you think the City should do to make the city better for cyclists and pedestrians. The meeting is in City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Road construction coming

This is just a reminder that the City of Spokane Valley is hosting an open house Thursday night to give the public information on the upcoming Sprague and Sullivan intersection project. The event will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Spokane Valley Mall.

The information presented will include a schedule for the various phases of the project, which will start in late July and last about five weeks. The entire intersection will be replaced with concrete. Sullivan Road will be reduced to one lane in each direction and restrictions on turning onto or from Indiana will change during the project. If you have questions, be sure to stop by.

It’s all about walkers and bikers tomorrow

If you regularly walk or pedal around Spokane Valley, you might want to check out Thursday night's City of Spokane Valley Planning Commission meeting. On the agenda is the city's draft bike and pedestrian master plan. The plan includes a map and list of recommended improvements, including paths and bike lanes. The plan has gotten a fair amount of attention from local bicycling groups, so there may be a bit of a crowd at the meeting. After the Planning Commission makes a recomendation on whether to accept or reject the plan it will go before the City Council for a final decision. Thursday's meeting begins at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Paddlers: keep eye out for thirsty trees at Barker Bridge

SPOKANE RIVER — With a $3,500 boost from the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club's "access fund," the City of Spokane Valley has made improvements to the boater access area on the north side of the new Barker Road Bridge, as our S-R staffer Nina Culver reported last week

Club members have left a few buckets at the site and they encourage river visitors to scoop water from the river occasionally and irrigate the trees and shrubs planted at the site. The new plantings will need some nursing to help them get started and keep growing when the summer weather heats up.

Landscaping nears completion at Barker Bridge river access site

SPOKANE RIVER — When the spring runoff subsides and more paddlers turn their attention to the Spokane River, they'll be pleasantly surprised to see the improvements the City of Spokane Valley has been making to the Spokane River access site on north side of the new Barker Bridge.
The site has been regraded, erosion measures taken, trees and shrubs planted.
"All that's left is to have it seeded and put up signs," said Terry Miller of the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club, which donated $3,500 to the access project.

Barker Bridge squanders river’s potential

SPOKANE RIVER — The City of Spokane Valley and the entire region apparently got short-changed in the $11 million Barker Road Bridge construction project.

City officials turned their backs on citizens and agencies that tried to work from the beginning of the project to improve public access to the river.   As these photos show, the post-construction site is eroded and the river access is even worse that it was BEFORE the city spent $11 million.

Anglers can forget launching a drift boat here.    Now that the City of Spokane Valley is walking away from the project, you need courage just to launch a canoe at Barker Bridge.

Currently there’s room to park on the sides of the bridge, but as the population grows and traffic increases, it’s likely that those parking areas could be eliminated and access rendered virtually impossible.

Is this a way to take advantage of the potential the Spokane River has for improving quality of life and promoting this area as a place to live, work and visit?

I covered this more thoroughly today in my column, Valley’s new Barker Bridge erodes soil, high hopes.   

However, there’s much more to this and the chronic way the city and state agencies – and maybe Avista? —  fail to improve the river and access and the way they fail to even protect what it gives us naturally.

Read on for more details.

Pedal With The Politicians

I think this should be a more common event. After the first round of public workshops for City Of Spokane Valley Bike/Pedestrian Plan, you are invited to help showcase the needs and opportunities for Valley cycling.

Join local bicyclists, elected officials, and staff for an evening ride through the City of Spokane Valley. We’ll meet on Wednesday, August 18th, at 5:30pm-8:00pm at the rear parking lot of City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. So far, Mayor Tom Towey, and council members Bill Gothmann and Gary Schimmels are on board.

Groups of 8-10 will head out at intervals following a safety orientation at 5:30pm. The route is mostly flat, about 13 miles long, on some streets with bike lanes, some quiet residential streets, and some busier streets suitable for bikes.

Image of Marc Mims, courtesy of Bicycle Alliance Of Washington.

Valley cyclists need plenty of experienced cyclists to help lead these small groups of riders. If you can help, please contact Marc Mims(marc@questright.com) and participate in a pre-ride so you’re familiar with the route, rules, and goals.

Spokane Valley Council faces sheriff expenses

On the heels of a state auditor’s report that they owe money for law enforcement services, the City of Spokane Valley City Council is holding a special meeting Thursday morning “to discuss dispute resolution regarding billing.”

The city and the county have been arguing over who owes what to whom for deputies and jail time for several years. The city claimed it was being double billed for some services, for an amount that added up over time to more than $2 million.

On Monday, assistant audit manager Gary Cavendar said the city and its Portland accounting firm was using the wrong assumptions to come up with its double-billing claim. Read staff writer John Craig’s report here.

The city isn’t necessarily caving. But the announcement for the 8:30 a.m. special meeting includes the following comment from Mayor Rich Munson:  “It is our intent that the negotiations over this issue move quickly toward a mutually beneficial resolution in a minimum amount of time.” 


Wastewater treatment plant update: Hey, Spokane Valley, we need your money too!

This is sort of funny but par for the course. As Spokane County proceeds with a proposed $145 million wastewater treatment plant, commissioners had an idea for funding problems: The City of Spokane Valley, whose residents would actually represent three-fourths of the facility’s customers, could help pay. City Manager Dave Mercier said the suggestion caught Valley officials “like a deer in the headlights.” Poor Spokane Valley. First county commissioners voted to stop snow removal in Spokane Valley after this winter, another big shocker. That was two days ago. Now, they’re unexpectedly thrown into the ring of a messy proposal for a wastewater treatment facility that doesn’t even have discharge permits. And expected to foot part of the bill? Better late than never, right? Why nobody brought this up earlier is an addition to the latest episode of the predicament that is becoming the wastewater treatment plant. More.