West Main Story
The west end of Main is famous for diverse, one-of-a-kind enterprises that line its corridor. From greenhouses on rooftops at to vintage furniture and Fair Trade, this community has many different flavors. Right now however, occupants and visitors of this Easternmost block of West Main are all sharing the commotion of major construction. Change is happening on this small yet powerful block.
Pictured above is the Division Street Gateway Project, a streetscape improvement project undertaken by the Washington State Department of Highways. The Gateway project is designed to “enhance Spokane’s visual image and be a safe and effective transportation corridor for all modes.” The safety and visual enhancements will be carried out through the form of four bump-outs at Division and Main Avenue. These bump-outs not only make for safer street crossings, but add a new aesthetic presence with complementary landscaping elements. This construction project is expected to be completed by mid-summer. For more information on the Division Street Gateway Project, click here.
Even then, the construction does not stop at Division Street. Shortly after this, the Main Avenue Streetscape Pilot Project is scheduled to start in August and finish mid-September. It is a separate project from the Division Street construction, and is funded by the City of Spokane. The Main Avenue Streetscape has the added benefit of moving ahead the Division Street Gateway Project by one year. Originally, the Division Project was scheduled to work on the Division-Main intersection in the summer of 2017
Both the Division Street and Main Avenue Projects have many similar objectives, in safety and in visual enhancements.
The Main Avenue project aims to completely revamp the look and functionality of the Easternmost part of Main and meet the block’s mission statement: We support traffic calming streetscape enhancements that improve bicycle and pedestrian safety as well as parking access on our block, with the ultimate goal of restoring Main to two-way.
Featuring mid-block crossing, curb extensions, planted entries, diagonal parking, mid-block planters and benches, and a multi-purpose space in the center will add an inviting feel to the already existing friendly atmosphere.
Dana Oxford, a Saranac/Community Building staffer, explains what this pilot project will mean for her.
“I like cities, and I like to walk cities. If we had more places like this around, there would be more people walking Downtown and all over. When traffic is slower, you will feel safer, and with the added greenery, people will feel more inclined to walk slower, look around, and linger instead of walking past as fast as you can because it’s a sea of parking. Instead of having the gleaming, hot sun hitting the concrete and cars roaring past you at 40 miles per hour, this will be a comfortable place to stop and socialize with someone.”
It is this friendly and community-minded atmosphere that makes this revolutionary development possible.
Thanks to the stewardship of property owners including Jim Sheehan, John Waite, Dan Spalding, and Jeannine Vaughn, the city of Spokane has finally come to recognize this block’s efforts. The Main Avenue Streetscape Project will be the most visible and impactful project this block has ever seen. As well as being the first prominent city-funded improvement project on this side of Main Avenue, it is safe to say that this pilot project will be the first one-way street with diagonal parking in the nation, according to the Spokane City Engineering Agency.
Community involvement is the driving force behind the beneficial experimental change of this pilot project.
Picture A showcases the planted entry features and the extended curbs.
Picture B showcases the mid-block crosswalk, diagonal parking spaces, and mid-block planters and benches.
So, what do pedestrians, bikers, and drivers all have in common? This safe outlet for all modes of transportation which includes bike lanes and additional parking. The goal behind these incorporations is to slow traffic and facilitate a calm and serene environment.
You can look forward to seeing this new streetscape by the end of the summer. If you want to learn learn more about the planning behind this project, public meetings will be held from 9-10 a.m every Tuesday morning in the Saranac Building large conference room 2nd floor to answer questions and voice concerns. For more information on these exciting projects in our neighborhood, please email Community Building staff member Rebecca Mack at email@example.com.
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