Local officials and community leaders from Spokane Valley and the surrounding region last week met with the Washington State Transportation Commission to share their perspectives on transportation issues, challenges and successes.
The community meeting took place Nov. 15, in the council chambers at the new Spokane Valley City Hall.
The commission took action on a proposal to name State Route 27 from Rockford to south of Spokane Valley (milepost 68.9 to 82) for Sam Strahan, a 15-year old sophomore at Freeman High School.
The resolution – which had the support of the city of Spokane Valley and other local communities -- was approved unanimously, although no timetable was set for signage to be put in place designating the “Sam Strahan Memorial Highway.”
On Sept. 13, Strahan confronted an armed student in the halls of his high school and was fatally shot in an effort to stop the gunman.
In a letter to the WSTC in support of the decision, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich wrote, “I wholeheartedly support this effort as Sam rightfully deserves recognition for his heroic actions on that day.”
The town of Rockford also was in support, with Mayor Carrie Roecks saying “perhaps it will help with the healing process for our community.”
Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins, in a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, described Strahan as a “heroic victim.”
“We hope this change will be a constant reminder to all those who travel this stretch of road to remember this young man who loved his family and loved life,” Higgins wrote.
The meeting also featured a series of short presentations on transportation topics in the region, including an overview from the Spokane Regional Transportation Council. Briefings in the morning focused on the transportation needs of Spokane Valley, Spokane County, and the cities of Spokane and Liberty Lake. Attendees also heard presentations on public transportation and passenger rail.
The afternoon agenda highlighted the links between transportation and economic development, with presentations on business development, tourism, rail transportation and air travel. The Spokane Tribe and the Washington Department of Transportation also discussed recent transportation challenges and successes.
Recognizing that travel choices impact health and environmental quality, commissioners also will hear how Spokane area communities are acting to improve and expand walking and bicycling as travel options.
On Nov. 14, the commission toured transportation facilities and projects in Spokane Valley and other areas, including the North Spokane Corridor, the route for the Central City Line and several railroad crossings.
The Washington State Transportation Commission holds several meetings throughout the state each year to gain insight from local government, industry and citizens about transportation issues that affect their communities and region. This information helps the commission to develop and implement transportation policies and recommendations to the state Legislature and governor that reflect the priorities of the people and local governments throughout the state of Washington. Earlier in 2017, the commission met in Centralia, Friday Harbor, Kent and Leavenworth.
For more information, visit wstc.wa.gov/