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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Getting There: County putting extra focus on Monroe Road safety

One of the deadliest roads in Spokane County is getting some needed attention.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office last week announced that it will be launching an enforcement campaign on Monroe Road, which runs for 11 miles from Half Moon Prairie to the west side of Deer Park.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission has made grant funding available for the extra enforcement.

The sheriff’s office is teaming up with the county engineer’s office and the Spokane County Target Zero Task Force. Target Zero is a program to end all traffic fatalities.

Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the sheriff, said Monroe Road has seen five fatalities and 18 serious injury accidents in the past four years.

Three fatal accidents over a six-month period in 2009 claimed the lives of a motorcycle driver, a teenage girl and a 19-year-old man.

“Speed is the major contributing factor” in the accidents, Chamberlin said.

The 19-year-old was going an estimated 70 mph when he lost control of his vehicle entering a curve, according to news files.

The speed limit is 45 mph.

The grant funding will pay for extra patrols in the designated safety project corridor starting in coming days and continuing for one year.

In addition, the county engineer’s office has finished a series of road improvements, including enhanced signage “with higher retro-reflective sheeting” at curves, Chamberlin said.

In addition, new outer-edge striping has been laid down. Shoulder areas were improved as a safety measure, and rocks and trees were removed alongside the roadway. New guardrails went up.

“Slow Down and Stay Safe” signs are being installed along the route.

Similar safety projects have been undertaken over the years on the region’s highways, including U.S. Highway 2 through Airway Heights and cities to the west.

Golf cart zone proposed

Electric golf carts may soon become a preferred mode of transportation in northeast Spokane.

The Spokane City Council tonight is considering an ordinance to establish an electric golf cart zone in that part of town.

A 2009 state law allows cities to designate golf cart zones on streets with speed limits of 25 mph or less.

The measure was developed at the request of the Greater Hillyard Neighborhood Planning Alliance.

“One of their strategies was improving mobility for residents,” said Councilwoman Amber Waldref, who is sponsoring the measure.

Residents who want to drive golf carts on city streets won’t need a license, but they will have to register with the city for a $50 annual fee and provide an affidavit of insurance coverage through a homeowner’s or other policy. Drivers also must be at least 16 and have driving experience or have taken a driver education class.

Safety equipment such as mirrors is required, as are lights for nighttime travel.

Hillyard proponents of the measure asked that the zone be limited to electric carts only, Waldref said.

The carts are allowed to cross arterials, but they cannot be driven on arterials where speeds are higher than 25 mph.

The fee will pay the cost of posting signs in the designated zone, which will be bounded by Francis Avenue on the north, the city limits to the east, Euclid Avenue and North Foothills Drive to the south and Nevada Street to the west.

Veterans Day at Felts Field

The Honor Point Military & Aerospace Museum and the Spokane airports are putting on a Veterans Day event on Nov. 12 starting at noon at Felts Field.

A B-25 is flying to Spokane from Everett and should arrive about 9 a.m. The plane, named Grumpy, is reported to be the only operational B-25 in existence. John Sessions, the owner, is a former Spokane resident who now lives in Western Washington.

Spokane resident Larry Tobin will display two of his planes – a C-3B Stearman and an N2S3 Navy Stearman. A 1927 Travel Air 4000, which is owned by Felts tenant Jim Miller, will also be on display.

The original 1920s hangar for the 116th Observation Squadron will be used for a recognition and commemorative ceremony starting at 1 p.m.

Van pool hearing

Van pool riders for Spokane Transit Authority will get a chance to weigh in on vanpool fares at a public hearing scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Nov. 15 in the board room at STA headquarters, 1229 W. Boone Ave.

Fares are based on a calculation of program costs.