The Spokane Valley City Council was geared up to make changes to the speed limit east of Sullivan on Indiana Avenue on Tuesday, but it downshifted when a suggestion was made to expand their scope farther east on Mission Avenue.
After some procedural twists and turns, the council ultimately arrived at agreeing to raise the speed limit on Indiana from 25 mph to 35 mph, as per the requests of business owners in the area. However, pleas from Greenacres neighbors to slow traffic down on the newly extended parkway to 30 mph east to Flora Road were heeded in a 5-2 vote with Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels and outgoing Council Member Bill Gothmann casting no votes.
Farther east, the arterial then reconnects and turns into Mission Avenue – which is a two-lane, more residential roadway – and the council is scheduled to consider lowering the speed limit from the existing 35 mph at its Nov. 29 meeting. Next Tuesday, the council will not meet due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The issue was the subject of a lengthy debate by council members last month, who seemed more than ready to take up the topic again Tuesday. There wasn’t much controversy that the speed around the businesses on Indiana just east of Sullivan – where there is everything from hotels to a Hooters – should be raised from 25 to 35 mph. That is the current speed limit west of Sullivan in the area of the Spokane Valley Mall.
There was also consensus that something needs to be done – sooner rather than later – about lowering the speed in the more residential Greenacres area of Mission between Flora and Barker roads.
“We’re not talking about brain surgery here, we’re talking about a speed limit,” said Council Member Dean Grafos.
However, City Manager Mike Jackson said staff needs to do a bit more study to make a recommendation as to what, exactly, that speed limit should be and give the public a chance to comment.
Council Member Brenda Grassel hopes a decision on the Mission section can be made soon.
“This is a reasonable and fair compromise,” she said.
Mayor Tom Towey said, however, he is reluctant to have the arterial be 35 mph on one section, switch to 30 mph in the area of the couplet and roundabout and then back to 35 mph again.
“I don’t think that would be helpful,” he said.
Schimmels said such a move lacks “common sense.”
“The only thing you’re doing is creating a speed trap,” he said. “It’s non-enforceable.”
The council will also discuss at a future meeting the possibility of creating “statutory” speed limits throughout the city that could set rules for residential roads, minor arterials and major thoroughfares throughout the city.
In other news, the council
- unanimously approved a new franchise agreement with Bonneville Power Administration to install, locate, construct, maintain, repair, reconstruct, upgrade, operate, use, patrol and, if necessary, remove electrical transmission facilities within the city. The agreement updates a former pact with the county that lasted 50 years from 1959 to 2009.
- after a lengthy discussion agreed in a 4-3 vote to apply for a state grant to construct a possible decant facility to dispose of waste collected in city drywells. A 25-percent local match would be required. The city could potentially save up to $60,000 a year in hauling costs, which is currently contracted out to an outside agency. No additional city staff would be required.