The people have spoken and the Spokane Valley City Council listened. After weeks of debate and a late surge in public comments in favor of keeping the Broadway Avenue Safety Project, the people lined up to comment during Tuesday’s council meeting were able to convince four of the six council members present to reject a motion to postpone the project.
The project, originally scheduled to begin construction in June, was put on hold after councilwoman Brenda Grassel objected to it during the April 20 council meeting. The project will restripe Broadway between Pines and Park from four lanes to two traffic lanes, a center turn lane and bike lanes. The sidewalks will also be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The city has received a state grant of $746,000 to pay 80 percent of the cost.
Resident Cathy Harris was one of 13 who spoke in favor of the project; only one person spoke against it. It is “not a special project for bicycles,” she said. “The project includes a huge number of valuable improvements.”
Council members Dean Grafos and Brenda Grassel voted to postpone the project. Councilman Bob McCaslin was absent. Grassel said she was not convinced by data showing the three lane configuration reduces the number of accidents. “I think both configurations have their pros and cons,” she said.
Mayor Tom Towey joined council members Bill Gothmann, Rose Dempsey and Gary Schimmels in voting to move forward with construction “simply because of the safety factor,” Towey said. “It is our responsibility as a council to put safety as our number one issue.”
After the meeting city engineer Steve Worley said the project will resume, but there are still right of way issues to be worked out. “We could get the project bid out this year, but it’s unlikely that it would be finished,” he said. “We would likely wait until spring.”
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