Local Matters: Valley Springs Proposal

tsykoduk and those on the local blogosphere, if you could spread this around I would appreciate it.

Tomorrow, Wednesday August 23rd at 10:30 am, there will be a public hearing at the Spokane County Courthouse (1026 W. Broadway) on the lower level to discuss the extension of Columbia Drive to Valley Springs Road, which is a proposed arterial from Wellsley on the north side of Spokane, to Argonne in the Valley.

The problem with this, is that Columbia Drive was never designed to handle the estimated traffic increase of 4000 cars a day. As of right now it is a residential street that is home to many families with small children. Less than five minutes north of Columbia Drive is Bigelow Gulch, which the county already owns the rights to expand to a wider stretch of road, has a 45 mile an hour speed limit, and connects the Valley to the north side via Argonne and Francis directly. The county recently spent a great deal of money repairing and resurfacing the intersection of Bigelow Gulch and Argonne, including adding new left and right hand turn lanes, which expands the roads from four to six lanes on Argonne and from two to four lanes at Bigelow Gulch. New traffic lights and cameras at the intersection and sensors on the lights for emergency vehicles were installed as well. This intersection has already been redesigned with traffic in mind.

Columbia Drive currently has no stop light at the intersection between it and Argonne, and currently has no access to it from any other major thoroughfare other than Argonne. Such access would have to be built. This access is the proposed Valley Springs Road. Valley Springs Road would connect Columbia Drive to Wellsley and create an arterial from Wellsley to Argonne. Even though Bigelow Gulch receives so little traffic at peak times of day as it stands, the county seems to think that we need a second arterial from the north side to the Valley in nearly the exact same spot where another arterial already exists.

All that this proposal for Valley Springs Road will do is increase traffic in a family oriented community, decrease property values along Columbia Drive, reduce frontage to homes on Columbia Drive, some of which have very little to begin with, increase the noise in the community and present a very real risk to young children in the area, whom we have already had to fight for against a large construction companies, due to speeding dump trucks that run up and down Columbia Drive during the day.

Two years ago, thanks to one of those trucks, my neighbor’s four year old was nearly killed when the driver was speeding down the road with a full load of boulders from the top of the ridge we live on. It’s very lucky for the child that his father is fast on his feet. He managed to grab the child and pull him out of the street in the nick of time.

Spread the word and get people to the meeting. Stop them from doing this stupid thing that will benefit no one. There’s already an arterial from the North side to the Valley and Bigelow Gulch never sees so much traffic that there is a need for a second one. They should be spending that money to build the North South Freeway, or on making Second and Oak safer for pedestrians, where two people have been victims of hit and runs this year.

This certainly won’t do anything to improve traffic conditions on the North side, or on Argonne. All it will succeed in doing will be lining the pockets of a contractor who happened to be the lowest bidder for the job and making a very quiet, family friendly community not so quiet and not so family friendly.

Thanks for reading, wish us luck.