A newly rebuilt section of Lincoln Street on Spokane’s South Hill contains an innovative system for gathering and reusing storm water in Cannon Hill Park.
Mayor Mary Verner led a gathering of public officials and neighbors along the street last week to congratulate them on the project.
“Everything about this is collaborative,” Verner told the group.
The 12-block stretch from 17th to 29th avenues contains a series of “storm gardens” that are filled with small plants and shrubs on what was previously blacktop.
Drainage from the street will flow into the gardens and then percolate through the soil, which provides primary treatment. The “cleaned” water will then flow through buried pipe to the nearby pond at Cannon Hill Park.
That water will replace city drinking water currently being used to keep the leaky pond from going dry.
Residents whose property adjoins the gardens have signed agreements to maintain the plants, said Mike Taylor, director of engineering services.
The Manito/Cannon Hill Neighborhood Council also agreed to monitor the care.
Lincoln Street was arguably one of the bumpiest arterials in Spokane before the reconstruction, which took $1 million out of a 2004 voter-approved bond issue.
None of the street money was used for storm gardens. Spokane’s wastewater utility spent $700,000 for that part of the project.
“Lincoln Street a year ago, it was like Beirut,” Taylor said.
The cost of the system is in line with other storm water containment projects being built along the Spokane River to prevent periodic storm-caused spills of combined sewer and storm water.
The program is part of a wider city effort to comply with the Clean Water Act by reducing sewage pollution going into the river.
Lincoln’s gardens will be able to contain up to 86,000 gallons of storm water at a little more than $8 per gallon in construction costs, Taylor said.
Combined sewer overflow tanks to reduce spills are being installed at $12 to $14 per gallon for each gallon of capacity, he said.
“We are going to be looking at more and more of these,” he said.
Not everyone is convinced.
Howard Pettibone said he voted against the project when it came before the neighborhood council, in part because he is concerned that the storm gardens will prove to be an obstacle for snowplows.
For now, he said, “I’m going to wait and see.”
MDM Construction, of Hayden, was the contractor.
The city parks department also is studying ways to stop the pond from leaking and is building an outlet system to regulate its water level.
Parkways is Sunday
It’s almost time for Spokane’s second Summer Parkways event.
Howard Street between Riverfront and Corbin parks will be closed Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate nonmotorized transportation and fitness.
An estimated 1,500 people turned out for the first Summer Parkways on July 11, said Bill Bender, the lead organizer.
A bicycle decorating contest will run from 11 a.m. to noon with judges roaming the course and then announcing their choices at Corbin Park.
Entry numbers are available at information stations along the course.
Organizers say Summer Parkways will return every year and possibly with additional dates.
Check out the video from July 11 at summerparkways.com. It’ll make you want to join the festivities.
Valley intersection open
As Spokane Valley motorists probably know by now, the intersection of Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road is completed and the roadways have reopened following reconstruction.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission last week announced what it is calling the largest ever “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” effort for apprehending impaired drivers in the Spokane area.
Local law enforcement and state troopers will be staging additional patrols through Labor Day in an effort to end the death and injuries caused by impaired driving.
Last year, 264 people died in collisions involving impaired drivers, and 255 died in 2008. Nearly a third of those deaths occurred during July, August and September, a commission news release said.
Short closures of U.S. Highway 395 just north of Wandermere are expected Tuesday and Wednesday as trucks deliver bridge girders for a north Spokane corridor interchange.
Detours are in effect for wide loads. Traffic is limited to one lane in each direction through the construction zone.
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