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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Getting There

Are protected bike lanes in Spokane’s future?

 (Courtesy Seattle Times)
(Courtesy Seattle Times)

A protected bike lane may soon run below Seattle's monorail on Fifth Avenue, replacing one of the three lanes of traffic with a way for non-motorized traffic.

As Seattle Times' Mike Lindblom reports, the idea is circulating among cycling advocates, far from certain and will only happen if "the city's latest idea survives the political gauntlet."

A political gauntlet that could stymie bikeways? Sounds a bit like Spokane. One issue that Spokane doesn't have, however, is Seattle's insane traffic congestion. According to the Times article, that segment of road has up to 15,000 cars and trucks travel on it every weekday. 

While we don't have that level of traffic, we do have cyclists clamoring for protected bike lanes. When Spokane held a town hall to discuss expansion of its downtown bike network earlier this year, more than a few people asked why Main Avenue couldn't host a protected bike lane instead of the buffered lane the city is planning to build.

The answer they received was that the city had no way to clean such cycle paths. Its street sweepers were too big and couldn't fit in the relatively tiny bike lanes, which has curbs on both sides.

But according to Char Kay, the state transportation department's eastern regional planner, the local office of the transportation department has a John Deere golf cart with a 52-inch rotary boom for sidewalk cleaning. It's mainly used to clean the Children of the Sun Trail, but Kay said it's not unheard of to share publicly owned property with other governmental bodies.

What do you think? Should the city look into building protected bike lanes? 

Nicholas Deshais
Joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He is the urban issues reporter, covering transportation, housing, development and other issues affecting the city. He also writes the Getting There transportation column and The Dirt, a roundup of construction projects, new businesses and expansions. He previously covered Spokane City Hall.

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