Regional transit plan officials hear Cheney comments
Last Tuesday, Oct. 29, representatives from Horizon 2040 held an open house at the Cheney Library for the public to comment on the future of transportation in the Spokane region.
The event was to gauge public opinions on the regional transportation plan, which sets in motion goals to have a well-maintained, integrated, accessible and multi-modal transportation system by 2040.
Among the transportation issues affecting West Plains residents is improving SR 904 from Cheney to Four Lakes. Projected at a cost of $22.3 million, the project is a mid-range priority at the moment. Another project on the docket is improving the I-90 intersection at SR 902, leading to Medical Lake. With a growing residential population south of the freeway, there is growing need for the intersection's renovation.
According to the FY 2014 Unified Planning Work Program, which describes work plan for local and regional transportation projects, design work is scheduled to begin on the SR 902 project in January 2014. The project, according to the document, isn't currently funded and is contingent on that happening before any design moves forward.
The next step for the plan is to submit it as a recommendation to the Spokane Regional Transportation Council's Policy Board for approval. The approved plan will then be submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing and Cheney Mayor Tom Trulove are members of the SRTC Policy Board.
SRTC Executive Director Kevin Wallace said the policy board will hear all of the comments submitted from the open house at its next meeting, Thursday, Nov. 14, with a timeline to approve the plan Dec. 12.
Wallace noted the importance of SR 904 for its ability to handle freight transportation in the region. In addition, the Spokane region has a number of different transportation needs throughout its urban areas. Whether it's increasing public transportation opportunities or widening roads due to increased population, each city in the region presents a different challenge to the SRTC.
"We have a large, diverse region with various transportation needs," Wallace said at the open house.
Approximately 77 percent of commuters drive alone, while 10 percent carpool. About 5 percent work from home, with 3 percent using public transportation.
From 2010 to 2040, it's projected that vehicle miles traveled will increase by 34 percent, while vehicle hours traveled will increase by 43 percent. Although public transportation consists of only 3 percent usage today, SRTC projects that transit passenger trips will be up by 23 percent, with walking and bike trips up by 39 percent.
James Eik can be reached at email@example.com.