On Wednesday, August 22nd, the Spokane Design Review Board will hold a Collaborative Workshop to review the plans for Phase I of the renovations of the Southeast Sports Complex. The meeting is at 5:30pm in the Council Briefing Center at City Hall.
The Parks Department is acting on the Master Plan developed a couple years ago and includes new amenities like a splash pad, updated playground, and amphitheater/performance space. It will also coordinate with the improvements being installed as part of the KXLY development. There are some slight changes from the earlier plan, the softball fields have mostly been removed and the trail component is better defined.
You can read the submittal from the Parks Department and the report developed by City staff about the design here. Public comments will be taken in person at the Design Review Board meeting and can also be submitted to City staff Dean Gunderson or DRB Community Assembly Liaison Kathy Lang.
This is the Agency and Department Comment Period. There will be additional chances to comment during the public comment period, during the Hearing Examiner review of the PUD application, and at the Plan Commission and City Council when they consider the recently added Comp Plan Amendment to remove the Crestline connector from the City’s Arterial Street Map.
You can send your comments this round to Tami Palmquist at the City’s Planning Department: firstname.lastname@example.org. They need to be in by 5pm on Tuesday, July 31st.
The City of Spokane Design Review Board (DRB) will hold a Collaborative Workshop on the proposed Garden District project on Wednesday, April 25th at 5:30pm in the Council Briefing Chamber at City Hall. This is the development proposed for the Sonneland Property near 29th and Southeast Boulevard.
This meeting is open to the public and public comments will be taken by the board. You can also submit comments ahead of time to the DRB Community Assembly representative, Kathy Lang, or to City Urban Designer, Omar Akkari.
Every year, the City solicits applications from the neighborhood councils for its Traffic Calming Program. According to the City’s website traffic calming is, “a self-enforcing traffic management approach that forces motorists to alter their speed or direction of travel. The purpose of traffic calming is to improve safety, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists, and to improve the environment or “livability” of streets for residents and visitors.” The funding for this program comes from the City’s red light traffic cameras.
Southgate Neighborhood Council is allowed to submit two applications, one for a proposed arterial street and one for a residential street. Examples of past projects include the cross walk and refuge island on Palouse Highway behind Target and the addition of street tress along 42nd Avenue by Hazel’s Creek.
The 2018 applications are due on March 1st and so we will be discussing this topic at our neighborhood council meeting on Wednesday, February 7th. At our January meeting, attendees suggested a number of possible projects for consideration and we will be voting on these options next week. They are:
Clearly marking the pedestrian crossing at 39th & Regal to improve visibility
Make the right lane at 44th and Regal heading southbound right turn only to make the through traffic merge earlier and not back up into the intersection
Infill sidewalks on Thurston Street between Cook and Regal (or further if we can)
City requested flashing lights at schools zones near Ferris HS on 37th (SNC members suggest that the city use their funds from red lights at schools)
These are all arterial projects. Not every neighborhood application gets approved. Our applications two years ago were rejected.
The City has a website about the program and “toolbox” to provide some ideas for traffic calming solutions. Take a look and see if there are places in our neighborhood that could benefit from some traffic calming. Come to our meeting next week to discuss!
Tomorrow night, June 19th, the City Council will hold a hearing about the update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. This update includes the development of a project called the Ray Street Crossover. This is an auto-oriented traffic capacity project that will run traffic across the east side of Ferris High School’s campus to connect Ray and Freya and send traffic our towards the County.
For those of you who can make it down in person, personal testimony at the hearing has a big impact Council members. The meeting is tomorrow night at 6pm at Council Chambers in City Hall.
The deletion of this project from the Comp Plan update will go a long way to maintaining the vision set forth in our neighborhood connectivity plan where we make a our neighborhood a place that encourages people to use multiple modes of transportation to move around and does not promote the development of sprawl and other features (like high-speed auto routes) that will make our neighborhood less walkable, less safe, and less livable.
Update: Written comments on this topic are due to the City by Monday, July 3rd! Send your comments to Dave Compton. In person testimony will still be taken at the hearing on Thursday, July 20th.
We’ve mentioned a couple times that there is a new 13-home subdivision going in around 46th Ave. and Freya Street called Moran South Estates. This project has cleared the agency review period and the developers will be holding a hearing on the development next month.
Southgate has received a Notice of Hearing that the hearing will be Thursday, July 20th at 9:00am in the Council Briefing Center at City Hall. This is a hearing related to a “preliminary plat” which is why this isn’t happening at a convenient location or time like a community meeting.
Southgate has twice submitted comments related to this project that discuss the need to pedestrian/bike connections to the west of the proposed cul de sac per City ordinances and Comp Plan policies. Thus far these comments have not been responded to, but perhaps some added messages from the neighbors can prompt the City to respond. You can see the entire SEPA application here.
You can submit comments prior to the hearing or provide comments in person. Submit comments to Dave Compton, email@example.com.
The City is currently updating the Comprehensive Plan through process they are calling Shaping Spokane. Chapter 4 of that update is the transportation chapter. When it was released in late February, we noticed that a particular project had re-appeared in a couple of places: The Ray Street Crossover
The crossover is a primarily auto-oriented route next to the campus of Ferris High School to speed access of vehicles from Ray Street to Freya Street and out to the Moran Prairie area. The crossover is shown on the arterial network on the draft Arterial Plan Map (Map TR12). This project has also been added to the 2017 DRAFT Capacity Improvement Project List referenced in Chapter 4 and found in Appendix D of Volume V (pg.41) of the new Comp Plan.
The city is resurrecting this project as a way to reduce perceived vehicular congestion on Regal Street and funnel more traffic over to our neighborhood’s designated Major Arterial, Freya Street. The crossover concept isn’t new. It was last floated back in the early 2000s (and even earlier than that), but was abandoned during the Neighborhood Planning process that took place from 2007 to 2010 because data from the City could not show how this proposed crossover would improve level of service better than signalization improvements to the intersections of 37th and Ray and 37th and Freya. For this reason, and with the concurrence of the then-current Senior Traffic Planning engineer, the city-adopted Southgate Neighborhood Connectivity Plan does not include the Ray Street Crossover (see image below).
Rather, the Neighborhood Plan suggests signalization improvements at the intersections of 37th and Ray and 37th and Freya to better manage the flow of vehicular traffic. This alternative reduces impacts on Ferris, on Hazel’s Creek and is undoubtedly less costly. The table below is taken from the 2017 Draft CIP List and shows the two signalized intersections are estimated to cost $500,000 where the crossover would cost $4,056,000 and still require a signal and intersection improvements at adjacent intersections.
In addition to putting back in the Comp Plan, the City recently submitted a Roadway Capacity Justification (RCJ) report to the Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC) in an attempt to justify the development of the Ray Street Crossover. The RCJ report ignores the Neighborhood Plan’s recommendations, that is the signal improvements at 37th/Ray and 37th/Freya, and instead just models traffic impacts with and without the crossover.
City staff have told neighborhood representatives that they have the ability to run the transportation model in-house. We requested that this model be run and the RCJ report adjusted to reflect the neighborhood’s preferred solution. The aforementioned 2017 Draft CIP List does include signalization of 37th and Ray and 37th and Freya as projects in the South region (see below).
Until this occurs, the Southgate Neighborhood requested to the Plan Commission and City Council that the proposed crossover be removed from the Arterial Map and 2017 Draft Capacity Improvement Project list until such time as sufficient studies have been done to address the improvements desired in the neighborhood plan. This removal would support proposed TR Goal E of the updated Comprehensive Plan, “evaluate transportation projects using objective criteria to reflect community standards and desires.” (Comp Plan, 2017, pg. 4-15)
South Hill Traffic Management: Assessing the Bigger Picture
In the larger picture, the RCJ report and portions of the draft Comprehensive Plan highlight the need for a more comprehensive assessment of traffic issues on the South Hill. The Southgate Neighborhood and South Hill Coalition have requested a that holistic Traffic Management Study and Plan be developed for the entire South Hill. This plan could assess and provide a context for any and all arterial designations and additions on the South Hill suggested in the new Comp Plan and CIP list:
The Ray Street Crossover,
the completion of 44th between Regal Street and Crestline Street,
and addition of a proposed minor collector between Southeast Boulevard and Crestline Street.
It would help determine how these individual projects and designations align or do not align with the goals of the Southgate and South Hill Coalition Neighborhood Plans. It would help these or any other projects support the existing and proposed Comprehensive Plan’s call for a “Balanced Transportation Approach” that seeks to first accommodate the pedestrian and maintain or enhance the character of neighborhoods and livability for neighborhood residents.
There will be additional hearings on the Comp Plan update at City Council in the next couple of months, so the public will have a chance to comment on this proposal again. We will also keep you updated if the City provides models for the intersections improvements called for in our neighborhood plan. Our Comp Plan and Municipal Code call for balanced, multi-modal translation development in our City, this proposal is geared primarily towards auto-users and a less dramatic, fiscally reduced solution should be considered before putting this into the Comp Plan for the next 20 years.