Representatives from Spokane County came to Mead last week to see what residents want to see in the Mead-Mt. Spokane Transportation Area plan being created to map out improvements over the next decade.
A group of about 60 people turned out at Mountainside Middle School at the same time as a Gonzaga NCAA Tournament game last Thursday to tell county transportation officials that they had no desire to lose the rural feel of much of the area and expressed concern about additional residential development.
Consultant Patrick Picard of Fehr & Peers told the crowd the plan being created has nothing to do with development. “This is not a land-use plan,” he said. “This is not an update to the zoning plan.”
Growth is coming to the area, particularly commercial growth along U.S Highway 2, Picard said, and there needs to be a plan in place for improvements. “We want to get a sense of what the vision is for the future,” he said. “We’re thinking about improving the local street network.”
Items that could be included in the plan include intersection improvements, new bike and pedestrian infrastructure, new street connections and safety enhancements. The area stretches from Shady Slope Road to Bruce Road and from Green Bluff Road to Farwell Road.
The intersections currently in the plan area are performing well, he said. “Generally overall in this area the level of service is pretty good, but that could change in the future,” he said.
Picard said they have mapped the current transportation infrastructure, including sidewalks. “They’re kind of hit or miss throughout the area,” he said.
Those attending the meeting were asked to gather in small groups to discuss a variety of issues, including whether they wanted through-traffic funneled to Highway 2 or more dispersed and whether they wanted the area to be geared more toward bicycles and pedestrians or cars.
“We’re trying to get a better idea of what your hopes and expectations are,” consultant Bill Grimes said.
The groups spent nearly an hour talking about how they get around the area (most rely on their cars) and what they wanted to see. Several groups made some of the same suggestions for improvements.
Residents said they need more north-south routes. Only Highway 2 and Market Street run north-south between Farwell Road and Mt. Spokane Park Drive. More options exist north of Mt. Spokane Park Drive but are also limited.
Several groups said they would like to see improvements to Yale and Boston roads, which run parallel to Highway 2 on the east side of the highway in the northern part of the area. They also expressed interest in adding a bike path along Yale Road and Mt. Spokane Park Drive and somehow connecting with the Children of the Sun Trail that runs along a portion of U.S. Highway 395.
The awkward intersection where both Market and Highway 2 intersect with Mt. Spokane Park Drive fairly close to one another was also a topic of discussion and Picard said the intersection is being looked at.
Several groups also asked for a Spokane Transit Authority Park and Ride lot on Highway 2. STA doesn’t go that far north and the nearest Park and Ride lot is on Hastings Road. Residents said they would like to be able to ride the bus downtown or have their children ride the bus to the Park and Ride after school activities.
People who were not able to attend the workshop can visit www.mead-mtspokane-plan.com to submit comments about transportation projects they would like to see in the area in the next 10 or 15 years.
Picard said the schedule is to create a draft plan that will be presented in another public workshop in late April or early May, with the goal to have a final plan in place by June. The projects would then be completed as needed and as funding allows.
“It will be short-term improvements and long-term improvements,” he said.
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