Spokane Journal of Business

Transportation council to add 13 projects to priority list

Total cost of additions to improvement program comes in at $5.5 million

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The Spokane Regional Transportation Council is slated to add $5.5 million in projects to its 2013-2016 transportation improvement program, pending board approval next month, says SRTC spokeswoman Staci Lehman.

The 13 proposed projects, which are all fully funded, are in addition to more than $500 million in transit and construction projects already included in the transportation improvement program tentatively planned over the next four years, Lehman says.

The SRTC transportation improvement program is a four-year list of locally and federally funded projects meant to improve transportation in Spokane County.

Although projects are expected to be added to the transportation improvement program at the March 14 SRTC board meeting, Lehman says construction and implementation won't begin on any projects until they are added to the Washington state transportation improvement program April 19.

Seven of the 13 additions to the transportation improvement program have received federal funding from the Highway Safety Improvement Program, with two being proposed by the city, four by Spokane County, and one by Spokane Valley.

The city proposed a $1.2 million project to SRTC to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Flint Road and U.S. Highway 2. The project calls for the roadway to be widened to accommodate left turn lanes and deceleration lanes. New sidewalks, crossing signals, and street lights also would be installed at the intersection.

Ash and Maple streets are due to receive pedestrian countdown timer upgrades, including hardware and software components, at eight intersections along each arterial.

Stretches of Hangman Valley, Madison, and Magnesium roads in Spokane County ranging between one-third and one-half of a mile in length will receive new guardrails, roadway signs, and markings.

Together, all three projects are expected to cost about $627,000, with less than 10 percent of funding coming from the local level.

A Wellesley Avenue safety project will involve widening the street between Murray and Starr roads to make way for a two-way center turn lane. That project also will entail adding stop lines on Starr Road at Wellesley and upgrading signs and road markings.

The city of Spokane Valley proposed a $200,000 project to SRTC to upgrade traffic signs citywide.

Along with the seven projects funded by the Highway Safety Improvement Program, two city of Spokane projects totaling about $1.1 million included in the amendment are being federally funded through the Safe Routes to School program. Sidewalks near Hamblen Elementary School, located at 2121 E. Thurston, and Westview Elementary School, at 6104 N. Moore, will receive improvements along main student walking routes.

The Spokane Transit Authority board agreed to fund the remaining four transportation projects that address mass transit service and transportation safety, totaling about $1.7 million. Projects include a Kalispel Tribe of Indians reverse commute, which will preserve an existing route between Usk, Wash., and North Spokane that runs Monday through Thursday, and preservation of current STA service between Medical Lake and downtown Spokane.

STA also will fund improving curb ramps in Spokane along bus routes, and completing a sidewalk gap on Arthur Street between Second and Third avenues. The transit authority also plans to fund a travel training program geared toward seniors and people with disabilities. All projects are to be funded in part by the Federal Transit Administration.

About $4.6 million of the total transportation improvement program amendments will come from federal funding sources and the remaining $890,000 will come from local funding sources, Lehman says.

SRTC is a metropolitan planning organization. All metropolitan planning organizations are required to create an annual transportation improvement program list.

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