Ideas are beginning to emerge for the Post Street pedestrian bridge project thats slated to get under way as soon as the Monroe Street Bridge reconstruction is completed, and one of them calls for retail kiosks or a farmers market or public market along the planned new span, city officials say.
The mayor really came up with the concept as a way to draw people onto the bridge and across it to the north bank of the Spokane River, says Roger Flint, director of the citys public works and utilities department.
Other ideas being studied include:
Lowering the bridge, which will replace the current Post Street vehicle-and-pedestrian bridge, to open up the currently obstructed line of sight between the Monroe Street Bridge and the rivers Upper Falls.
Connecting the pedestrian bridge to the Centennial Trail by extending a trail section westward along the north bank, under the Monroe Street Bridge, to the big Summit property, which Coeur dAlene developer Marshall Chesrown recently bought and plans to develop.
Expanding Veterans Park to create a much larger landscaped area on the north side of the river between Monroe and the Anthonys restaurant parking lot. That area, too, potentially could be used for farmers market-type activities, and Native American groups have expressed interest in locating an interpretive center there, Flint says.
He emphasizes, though, that nothing is firm yet, and says, Those pieces are real conceptual.
The city is just beginning design work on the pedestrian bridge, which also will carry utilities across the river, he says. Because of the presence of those utilities, though, We have some opportunities to build into the deck itself the ability to do some different things, hence the idea for kiosks, he says.
Plans earlier had been drawn up for an all-new pedestrian bridge there, but the city discovered it could reuse two of the current spans three main concrete support archessimilar to how the Monroe Street bridge is being rebuiltwhich necessitated a redesign, Flint says.
Earlier this month, the city awarded the Spokane office of CH2M Hill Inc. a $640,000 contract to do the design and related environmental work. That work is expected to be completed around the end of this year, Flint says.
Since the new bridge wont carry cars and trucks, the pedestrian space will be narrower than the bridge it replaces, he says. In conjunction with knocking down the old bridge and building the new one, the city plans to turn the section of Post Street just north of Spokane Falls Boulevard into a driveway that ends in a cul-de-sac, with expanded parking, at the south end of the bridge. A conceptual plan also envisions a good-sized parking lot on the north side of the bridge, next to an expanded Anthonys parking lot.
In a separate but related project, the city plans to vacate a section of Bridge Avenue that currently connects Monroe to Lincoln Street on the north side of the river, to consolidate park land in that area, and to create a new Monroe-Lincoln connector slightly north of there. That connector basically will be a sweeping curve that will enable northbound traffic on Monroe to flow to the right, past the enlarged park area and Anthonys restaurant, onto Lincoln, or to continue on Monroe. The connector will cut through city-owned park land that currently is being used as a parking lot.
The combined cost of the bridge and connector, which are to be constructed at about the same time, is expected to be close to $7 million, says John Miller, a senior engineer with the city. He says that includes roughly $4 million to replace the bridge, $1 million for park-related improvements, and $800,000 for the connector, plus design and miscellaneous expenses.
Flint says he would like to see the improvements completed in time for the State Farm U.S. National Figure Skating Championships, slated to be held here in late January 2007.
The city has money earmarked for demolition of the current Post Street Bridge, but still has to come up with the funds for the rest of the project. Because the new bridge wont carry vehicular traffic, but will carry utilities, including a sewer line, the citys sewer department probably will pay for a big piece of it, Flint says. He says the city also has applied for state funds and plans to seek federal monies for the project.
The big Monroe Street Bridge reconstruction project is running somewhat behind schedule, and now probably is on track for completion in August or September, rather than mid-summer, Flint says.
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