Residents in the Mead and Colbert areas gave their input on a list of proposed road projects on U.S. Highway 2 and other surrounding roads at a recent public meeting at Colbert Elementary School.
Spokane County is working to create a Mead-Mt. Spokane Transportation Area plan that addresses future transportation needs north of Farwell Road, east of Shady Slope Road, south of Greenbluff Road and west of Bruce Road.
At a public meeting in March, residents said they wanted more north-south routes, which are currently limited to Highway 2 and Market Street. Others have gone online to mead-mtspokane-plan.com to say what they do and don’t want to see in the area.
“The feedback provided to date has been really valuable,” said consultant Chris Breiland of Fehr & Peers.
Breiland reminded the crowd of about 60 people that they were discussing a long-term plan, and shouldn’t expect to see construction on any of the proposed projects soon.
“We’re not trying to figure out what the county will build next week,” he said.
The area is expected to grow in the coming years, particularly along the Highway 2 corridor, Breiland said. Spokane County is about to bring sewer into the area, which will also bring change.
“Once the sewer is in place, development is expected to come,” he said.
What planners took away from the March meeting is people wanted more walkways and bike paths in addition to more north-south routes, Breiland said. Support for adding a Spokane Transit Authority park-and-ride facility was mixed. Support for fixing the awkward intersection at Highway 206, aka Mt. Spokane Park Drive, and Market Street was nearly unanimous. Planners used those comments to create the list of proposed projects.
Attendees at a meeting last week divided into groups and were asked to indicate which projects they liked and which they didn’t, along with noting whether the project should have a low, medium or high priority. They were also asked to pick the top five projects they most wanted to see.
Every group chose improving the Highway 206 and Market intersection as one of their top five projects. The county indicated it hoped to reroute Market Street east of the Yoke’s Fresh Market and put in a roundabout where it would connect with the highway.
Another proposed project that got multiple votes of approval was the construction of a bike and pedestrian bridge over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks at Yale Road. Improving the intersection at Highway 2 and Lane Park Road with either a roundabout or traffic light also got several votes, as did a proposal to add signalized pedestrian crossings on Highway 2 in the area of Lane Park Road.
After that, however, consensus got harder to find among the top five projects that the groups wanted to see built. There were several road extension projects proposed, but those got mixed reviews. Only one group gave top priority to the proposal to extend Freya Street between Lane Park Road and Deer Park; another group preferred the extension of Highland Road from Highway 2 to the new Freya Street connection.
Other suggested projects on the list of 24 proposals included extending Black Road between Lane Park Road with Highway 206, safety improvements at several Highway 2 intersections and reconstruction of Yale Road to add curbs, sidewalks and bike lanes.
All of the proposed projects addressed at least one need that people previously voiced support for, said Fehr & Peers consultant Patrick Picard.
“These are not funded,” he said. “The purpose of this is to identify needs, so we know what projects to get funding for.”
The website will remain up for those who still want to comment on the proposals, but the Mead-Mt. Spokane Transportation Area Plan is expected to be finalized in June, Breiland said.
“We’re doing this in fairly quick fashion,” he said.
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