West Plains road plan drafts presented
City of Spokane to incorporate public feedback into plans
Spokane Planning and Development Services held an open house at the Airway Heights Library, Feb. 12, to present updated drafts of proposed road improvements and projects for the West Plains sub-area plan. Representatives were also on hand to receive comments and answer questions from the public.
Officials presented a revised draft of the arterial network map for the West Plains road plan and proposals for street improvement projects. According to Inga Note, senior traffic engineer, several of these projects could be 100 years down the road.
Note mentioned the city has been updating the draft of the arterial plan since June 2013 and officials will continue to make changes to the map. She added that two of the projects should be finished by the end of the year. Deer Heights Road is currently under construction while the traffic signal at the intersection of Flint Road and West Sunset Highway will be built in the summer.
In addition to the arterial map, transportation officials presented designs for subarea-wide bicycle and pedestrian connections and facilities throughout the West Plains.
According to city planner Kathleen Weinand, citizens expressed concern over the safety of cyclists and pedestrians and suggested some changes to the projects.
There were also concepts for various character features for Highway 2 including landscaping, which could break up the expanse and soften the visual impact of the highway. Landscaping would also help reduce stormwater runoff, provide shade and strengthen a unified character.
Another prospective improvement feature was to design new buildings where primary entrances would be distinguishable and accessible from primary streets, pedestrian pathways, public plazas and parking areas.
One of the proposed beautification projects is to install trees between the shared-use path, sidewalk or in other regulated medians in the center of the highway where travel speeds and clear zones would allow. Smaller vegetation like shrubs, and low-maintenance native grass would be planted in low-profile barriers or other areas.
Another project is to have aviation themed elements to reflect the history of the area. This could include gateways features, public art, directional signs, pavers, bus stop benches, bike racks and shelters.
City planner Louis Meuler, said some of the proposed beautification improvements could change over time.
“The beautification is a long reach, but once you get those ideas out there you can plant them into people’s heads and they can form their own ideas,” Meuler said.
Weinard said that planners felt the open house was a success and will work to incorporate feedback into the plan.
We were able to have insightful discussions with people who are interested in the future of the area and follow issues closely,” Weinard said.
Meuler said that Spokane is also in the process of working with all jurisdictions to get “everyone is on board” in terms of funding.
“When you get into the process and impact fees, that’s when you hit a slow spot,” Meuler said.
Meuler added that the city is looking at other towns to see what systems they are using for impact fees.
Al Stover can be reached at email@example.com.