July 18--A proposal to build more sidewalks and create safer bicycle routes in Spokane Valley is headed for action before the City Council this summer.
Because Spokane Valley grew up under old county road standards, many neighborhood and arterial streets lack sidewalks.
In addition, the city inherited an outdated county plan for designating bicycle routes.
A major element in the proposal is creation of safer routes to schools and bus stops through the addition of sidewalks.
On the bicycle side, the proposal calls for bicycle boulevards on residential streets that already are protected with stop signs at intersections.
Mike Basinger, senior planner, said having a detailed plan will be an advantage when seeking grant money.
"I think we will be very competitive for federal dollars," he said, since at least some federal transportation money is likely to go for improving safety in nonmotorized mobility.
At the same time, the plan tries to cut costs, he said.
For example, creating bicycle boulevards allows for cutting 39 miles of proposed bike lanes and 18 miles of shared-use paths under the existing plan.
"We want this plan to be reasonable, something we could afford," Basinger said.
The plan would allow the city to ask developers to install sidewalks or paths when new projects are built.
The current planning drew on the expertise of local schools, the Spokane Regional Health District, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Spokane Transit Authority, Washington State University and an engineering consultant.
Regional Health District officials hope the plan makes it easier and safer to exercise.
The plan incorporates a shared-use path on former railroad right of way that was purchased by the county for a sewer interceptor from Millwood to Greenacres.
South of Sprague Avenue, bicycle lanes or bicycle boulevards are proposed for Fourth, Sixth and Eighth avenues to get bicyclists to and from Spokane.
In the University area, a bike boulevard is proposed for Pierce Road, while Blake Road serves the area closer to Evergreen Road. Valleyway Avenue would provide an east-west bicycle boulevard.
Basinger said that while old county road standards left Spokane Valley without a lot of sidewalks, the county did require extra right of way that can be used for future projects.
"We have dirt, and it's on the sides of the roads," he said.
For more information, go to www.spokanevalley.org and follow links to planning and zoning and then to long-range planning.
STA official named to state task force
Susan Meyer, chief executive officer for Spokane Transit Authority, has been named to Gov. Chris Gregoire's new task force on transportation planning.
The Connect Washington Task Force will review the state's transportation needs and make recommendations on projects and funding for the next 10 years.
The task force is made up of lawmakers, government officials and business representatives along with consumer, transit and environmental advocates.
Meyer is incoming president of the Washington Transit Association.
Idaho licenses get security features
The Idaho Transportation Department reported last week that it has completed a transition to issuing a more secure and newer-looking driver's license.
The cards have new security features and are issued from a central, secure location rather than over the counter.
Drivers going to county offices will now receive a temporary paper license and ID, valid for 30 days or until their new plastic card arrives about 10 days later.
Idaho joins 24 other states with centralized licensing systems, including Washington, Oregon and Montana.
Copyright 2011 - The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.