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The PeopleforBikes ranking of cities' bicycle systems placed Spokane at 37th, noting the city had some ground to make up to ensure riders in all areas of the city had equal access to transit options. That's the goal of the city's amendments to its Master Bike Plan, which are currently open for comments and should come before the Spokane City Council by the end of the summer.
When it comes to commuting on two wheels, Spokane is no Portland or Minneapolis, but it has maintained its status among their vaunted ranks. The city announced Tuesday that it has retained its bronze-level bicycle-friendly designation from the League of American Bicyclists, reflecting its growing numbers of bike commuters, bike lanes and efforts to educate the public about cycling’s health benefits. But city officials say there’s more work to be done.
Sara Stime bikes to work every now and again. A couple of days a week, she throws her bike in her car and drives down Sunset Hill to Browne’s Addition, where she parks. After unloading her bike, it’s a quick ride to Atticus, the downtown Spokane coffee shop where she works.
Two years of work by residents of Five Mile Prairie has resulted in a comprehensive plan for developing bicycle and pedestrian pathways. The plan acknowledges the challenges of creating safe routes on roads that were built to serve a largely rural area.
Second Avenue downtown will be repaved this summer as planned, but the final design may remove one of three vehicle lanes in favor of one for bicycles, city officials say. Councilmen Richard Rush and Jon Snyder had pushed for a complete revamping of the street’s design, a process that could have delayed the project a year or more.
The city of Spokane has big plans. Our leaders like plans. Comprehensive plans. Bike plans. Street plans. We have lots of big ideas to produce the kind of compact, walkable, mixed-use development that has helped rejuvenate cities all over the country. And while all of that looks great on paper, just drive around town. The vaunted “centers and corridors” plan has produced precious little urban development. That’s because key City Hall departments are ensconced in their respective silos, seemingly determined to implement yesteryear’s suburban growth model of single-family homes and large apartment complexes.
A month after Spokane leaders endorsed goals to make streets more amenable to pedestrians and bicyclists, debate is emerging that could delay one of the city’s largest planned repaving projects this year. At least two City Council members are pushing administrators to redesign Second Avenue downtown before it’s reconstructed this summer.
Many Spokane streets would have more room for bikes under a plan that soon will be considered by the Spokane City Council. “We talk about being more bike- and pedestrian-friendly as a community,” said Councilman Mike Allen. “This is really the first step if we’re going to be committed to it.”
Many Spokane streets would have more room for bikes under a plan that soon will be considered by the Spokane City Council.
Bicycle commuter Vern Nosal wasn’t letting last week’s ice and cold keep him down. He was enjoying his day off with a trip to the downtown Spokane library, his bike locked to the rack out front.
On weekdays, Dave Silver and his son, Zak, leave their home about 8 a.m. and bike to work and school. They are among a cadre of dedicated, year-round bicycle commuters in Spokane.
The South Side's Kevin Plummer stopped outside his apartment at 53rd and Regal before heading off on his six-mile daily commute to downtown – by bicycle. "Why do I commute (by bicycle)? To save money. To keep fit," he said as snow was falling from an early spring storm. "It's a lot more fun than sitting in a car."