Snowfall shows weakness in traffic plan
The recent record snowfall could really be a blessing in disguise for the city of Spokane Valley. It allows the city to actually test drive their tentative decision in the Sprague-Appleway Revitalization Plan (to turn Sprague from University to Argonne back to two-way traffic, narrow it to two lanes in each direction and add traffic calming features.
Courtesy of the massive amounts of snow, the current two-way configuration of Sprague between University and Sullivan has been narrowed from three to two lanes in each direction. The snowy road conditions have provided a traffic calming feature to bring speeds down to 25 mph or less.
The result has been that west-bound traffic is now backed up from the light at Sprague and Pines, past McDonald all the way to Blake. Hardly an inducement to shop with Sprague Avenue merchants. I can only imagine how this impacts air quality on the corridor.
Taking it one step further, if the city goes ahead with their multimillion dollar “Hybrid Option” to reverse the one-way traffic on Sprague (the one area where traffic actually moves during snowy conditions) and we have snow, it won’t take record amounts to have a negative impact.
Two lanes, narrowed by snow berms in the heart of the city, won’t leave much wiggle room for traffic, much less emergency vehicles. It wouldn’t take much of an accident to block the road and bring the entire corridor to its knees. The city is already concerned with plowing expenses. The cost to physically remove snow from the corridor would be astronomical.
The city admitted that this snowfall showed them the weaknesses in their plowing strategies. Let’s hope this “test drive” will further enlighten them on their proposed traffic plans.
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