Risky left turns and an especially problematic intersection got the attention of Spokane Valley City Council members Tuesday night.
Accident-prone Eighth Avenue at McDonald Road – north-south traffic doesn’t stop on McDonald – saw another wreck occur Monday when a vehicle stopped at the stop sign, but then proceeded into the intersection and striking another car. It’s a typical issue because drivers either misjudge the speed and/or distance of the north-south traffic or don’t stop at all.
“Action is necessary,” Deputy City Manager John Hohman told the council. “It’s a safety issue.”
A four-way stop at the intersection has been considered and could still happen if other measures don’t help remedy the problem first. Those include installing red flashing beacons on Eighth Avenue as motorists approach McDonald and also reducing the speed limit to 30 mph on the arterial. Efforts are also being made to clear vegetation around the signs.
After media reports earlier in the month that a stop sign could be placed on McDonald at Eighth, city staffers said they received five calls saying not to do it as it would slow down commute time. Still, others are supportive of the four-way stop.
Hohman said he would report back to the council in October after the improvements have been made to see if the additional stop sign on McDonald will be necessary.
In other traffic-related news, a proposed improvement project on Pines Road to allow for a left-turn lane onto Grace Avenue has been put on hold in order to study the intersection in greater detail. At an open house at CenterPlace on June 12, 13 in attendance said they were not happy with a proposed median island or “pork chop” that would only allow eastbound drivers on Grace to turn right.
Council Member Sam Wood complimented city staff for getting the word out and its willingness to modify plans.
“You did a good job and I want to compliment you on your efforts,” he said.
There have been 41 crashes at Pines and Grace over the last five years. If an alternate design is approved, construction could begin in spring of 2018.
Finally, work could start next month on a raised traffic island that will restrict left-turn traffic from Progress Road onto Trent Avenue. There have been 24 crashes at the intersection over the past four years, 18 of which were due to left turns onto Trent.
On May 4, 20 attended an open house at East Valley High School and all were in favor of the project, said Ray Wright, senior traffic engineer.
“I about fell over, I couldn’t believe it,” he said.