Gateway project looks to improve Spokane entrance



Posted on June 25, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 26 at 8:08 AM

SPOKANE, Wash.--City leaders are asking for help to redesign the entrances to Spokane. Leaders held a meeting Tuesday night at the WSU Phase 1 Classroom Building along Riverpoint Boulevard to receive feedback.

City leaders said they are working to implement the community's vision for the Division Street corridor through Downtown and the University District. They are calling the project the "Division Street Gateway.”

The project limits include the Division/Browne Street and Division/Ruby Street couplets between I-90 and Sharp Avenue as well as east-west cross streets from I-90 to Sharp Avenue.  Particular focus is being placed on the segment of Division between I-90 and 2nd Ave and on West Main Avenue between Browne and Pine.

Community feedback will contribute to the conceptual design of the corridor according to city leaders.

Many drivers choose to avoid the street even though it is the primary entrance to the city.

A proposed plan to fix these issues has several goals: to make the entrance more pleasing to look at with landscaping and better sidewalks, and to make the flow better so drivers aren’t afraid to use the major road.

“One of the major things: it’s really easy to get trapped in the wrong lane,” said Jay Renkens, Director of Urban Planning Services at MIG. “So a lot of people realize it at the last second and try to merge over or go way out of their way.”

Urban Planners said another portion of the plan is beefing up the look of areas such as West Main off Division. Planners recommended changing it to a two-way street and adding optional free space in the middle for businesses to use. Designers said they hope this will attract more economic possibilities.

“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is stimulate economic development with a small strategic development in the streets to get as much private investment as possible.

The project could take anywhere from three to five years. The City said it will be seeking grants to fund the project which could costs millions.