Cool Beans Espresso Stand Relocating

Java junkies take heart! Cool Beans Espresso Stand is relocating ahead of the construction of the Maverik gas station at 44th and Regal. Back in July the stand was served with an eviction notice ahead of the gas station construction.

These are the approved plans for the new Cool Beans espresso stand location at the southwest corner of 44th and Regal.
These are the approved plans for the new Cool Beans espresso stand location at the southwest corner of 44th and Regal.

Building permits issued by the City last month show that Mr. Douglass is moving the stand across the intersection of 44th and Reagl to the northeast corner of the parking lot of the Ace Hardware shopping center where the Spokane Boys fruit and Christmas tree lots are located seasonally.

Mr. Douglass owns both the Ace shopping center and the open land at 44th and Regal where the gas station will be built. None of the submitted documents include a timeline for the building of either the espresso stand or the gas station. We will update you when we hear more.

No Discussion of Impacts at Traffic Scoping Meeting

Residents of the upper South Hill attended a Traffic Scoping Meeting  last night held by the traffic engineer for the developer of the Regal Commons development along Regal Street. Attendees looking for answers as to the potential impact of the development and solutions to the current traffic issues on Regal were disappointed to learn the there was no real discussion of potential impacts discussed at the meeting. The developer’s engineer, Mr. Whipple, said that this meeting was to gather input from neighbors about areas that needed to be addressed by their traffic study and that results of their study would be presented to the neighborhood in a couple of months.

The only real traffic impact data shared was old data from the developer’s SEPA application back in early June stating that the total buildout of the 8 acre site would result in about 3000 trips a day along Regal Street. As we have discussed in an earlier post, this number vastly under estimates the specific land use impacts of the proposed drive thru restaurants according to rates from the International Transportation Engineers (ITE) Trip Generation Manual. The ITE Manual is the standard reference and method used in Spokane to determine potential traffic impact of various types of projects. The developer’s SEPA application has been on hold since early August while Mr. Whipple develops new trip generation estimates using more appropriate land use codes for the proposed development. He argues that looking at individual land uses grossly exaggerates the actual number of trips per day which is why he elected to use the broader land use code he originally did. However, these trip generation rates are how the City and County determine the amount of mitigation to be paid for the impact of the development. I would hope that our municipalities would err on planning for the upper end of potential impact, our City planners seem to agree and have asked for revised estimates. We will share the new numbers once they are given to the City.

The main point of the traffic scoping meeting is to determine what intersections and parts of the road system to study for current and potential impacts from the development. In this case the City and County asked the developer to study these intersections:

  • Regal and 53rd
  • Regal and 55th
  • Regal and 57th
  • Freya and 55th
  • Freya and 57th

The attendees asked that he scope be expanded to include other intersections such as:

  • Freya and Palouse Hwy
  • 53rd and Crestline
  • 55th and Crestline
  • 37th and Freya

There were a number of neighbors (myself included) that called for a broader comprehensive traffic study on the South Hill that looked not just at issues around Regal Street and 53rd, but looked at traffic patterns on and off the hill as well clear over to the Glenrose area. This is likely beyond the scope of this traffic study, but it is something area residents should pursue with the City and County to do in a coordinated and comprehensive way taking into account the full potential buildout of developable land in the City and out in the County’s Urban Growth Area.

In addition to studying current traffic levels, the study needs to account for “background” projects. These are projects that have already been approved but may not have been fully built out. Mr. Whipple said that in this case that includes the Ben Burr Apartments currently under construction at Ben Burr Road and 57th Avenue, the 55th Avenue apartment complexes, and the “Swarthout” Strip Mall at 55th and Regal. We asked that his background data also include the nearly completed Palouse Trail Apartments behind Target, the KXLY and Maverick District Center properties (there were traffic estimates associated with their SEPA applications from 2008), and the Maverick gas station/Douglass property at 44th and Regal (this property had a 7000+ ADT traffic impact assigned to it during its 1997 SEPA process). All of these projects came with hundreds, if not thousands, of vehicle trips per day associated with them. Adding them all together places Regal Street well over capacity as a designated Minor Arterial. Other items to be considered in the traffic study is a sight distance analysis along Regal at 53rd and 55th and a “Mini-roundabout” at Freya and 57th (we’re looking for more info on that).

Neighbors took the opportunity to discuss their perception of current traffic conditions along the Regal Street corridor and their experiences trying to commute along the street in recent years. KXLY News was on hand to record the event and posted a short story about it on their evening news. Suffice to say people are already experiencing extended commute times during peak traffic hours and many wanted to see Regal widened to accommodate more traffic. As has been said in the past, widening Regal is not an option since the City and County do not have the right-of-way available to put more lanes on the street. City traffic engineer Inga Note, who was in attendance, verified that fact and said there are no plans and no real way to widen Regal. It has been shown both nationally and around the world that widening roads only provides temporary relief to auto congestion. While no solutions were forthcoming at the traffic scoping meeting, the issue is now very apparent to the developer, the City, and the County.

One possible mitigation proposed by the developer is to add a traffic light at 53rd and Regal. This will not reduce traffic, but could help manage its flow, especially into and out of the new development. However, the City Capital Improvement Plan does not have this project listed and the COS Transportation Impact Program report cited by Mr. Whipple that lists a traffic signal at 53rd and Regal has not be adopted by the City, so their mitigation funds cannot be used for that project. Additionally, City policy states that traffic signals need to be placed at the intersection of designated arterials. Regal is designated a Minor Arterial, but 53rd is not. Another detail for the City to work out with the developer.

Finally, there were concerns from a few attendees about the non-auto users of the neighborhood roads. Bicyclists and pedestrians (including school kids) use Regal and adjoining roads as paths to school and businesses around Southgate. No one felt that Regal was a safe environment for these users. Mr. Whipple took the time to explain that existing conditions cannot be blamed on the proposed Regal Commons development. However, it should be incumbent upon him and the developer to make sure their project does not exacerbate these issues, especially since the zoning for their project is supposed to be pedestrian-oriented as described by both the City and County code.

Overall, there were no solution offered at the meeting last night, and there was not a clear picture of the potential impacts given either. Southgate Neighborhood Council will continue to monitor the progress of the SEPA application and notify folks of any opportunities to give comment or learn more about the state of the development.

If you have concerns and comments about this issue I encourage you to email the SEPA Application coordinator for this project, John Halsey at the City Planning Department. You can also send a note or CC our City Council representatives, Breean Beggs and Lori Kinnear.

As always if you have questions for us you can email us as well.

October SNC Meeting Materials

Check our Minutes and Agendas page for the agenda for our October meeting. See you Wednesday, October 12th at ESD 101!

NOTE: There is a Traffic Scoping Meeting for the Regal Commons project right before the SNC meeting from 6-7pm at Fire Station 81 at 61st and Palouse Hwy. So we may start a few minutes late. I encourage you to attend this meeting and comment on the traffic impacts of the proposed drive-thru restaurants and shopping center at 53rd and Regal.

Comments Requested for Gas Station on Regal Street

Back in April we posted about a gas station being planned for the corner of 44th and Regal Street. The developer has now submitted their State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) Application and the  City is accepting public comments on the proposal. The comment period is open until Friday, August 26th and you can send your comments via email to Donna DeBit at the City Planning Department:

A preliminary site plan for a gas station at 44th Ave. and Regal Street.
A preliminary site plan for a gas station at 44th Ave. and Regal Street.

You can review the SEPA Application here. It discusses potential impacts on the air, water, and land. It also covers impacts on transportation and surrounding services. I have also uploaded the Trip Generation Letter so you can see it as well.

Southgate Neighborhood Council has already submitted comments on this project during the Agency Comment Period that just closed yesterday. I have posted our comments here for you to review. The convered three main areas: 1) Review of the site plan and project design in accordance to an existing Hearing Examiner decision in effect on this property from 1997. 2) Concerns about placing a fuel station adjacent to a Department of Natural Resources identified stream and placing underground tanks below the water table as well as meeting additional conditions for stormwater management from the 1997 Hearing Examiner decision. 3) Concerns about the addition of a projected 5,400 daily vehicles trips on Regal Street an the impact to the broad transportation network around Southgate and Moran Prairie given the marked increase in high impact development in our neighborhood over the past few years.

We will post a summary of our submitted comments later this weekend to help you craft your own comments, but we wanted to let people know about this comment period right away.

Expansion Planned for Prairie View Park

The Spokane County Parks Department is moving forward with plans to expand the facilities at Prairie View Park at Freya and 61st. Currently the site of the Southside Family Aquatics Facility, the new expansion will develop softball field, a Little League baseball field, and a number of sand volleyball courts. The development will also include an 8′ wide pathway around the park and include approximately 35 new parking spaces.

Prairie View Park Improvements

The SEPA comment period for this project closed August 1st last week, so work on grading might begin in a few weeks. The project coordinator for the County Parkes Department is John Bottelli and he said he will still take comments from neighbors and is willing to answer any questions you may have. You can reach him at

You can see renderings of the proposed improvement on the Prairie View Park page on the County website. Additionally we’ve uploaded the latest design documents provided by the County to our website.