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Building moratorium passed by City Council excites residents by Highway 195

The purpose of the moratorium is to improve more infrastructure before people move in to the Latah and Thorpe neighborhoods.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane City Council passed a six month building moratorium for the Latah and Thorpe neighborhoods.

The purpose is to improve more infrastructure before more people move into the area, especially around Highway 195.

Many cars go upwards of eighty miles an hour on Highway 195 and some drivers have to cross an entire highway to make their turn. It's been this way for the last 20 years.

"We've been concerned for years and it's risen in the level of importance and I think it really reached a tipping point in the last couple of years since Spokane has been discovered by a lot of people outside of Washington. A lot of people are moving here,” said Adam Marshall, a Latah resident.

People that live in the surrounding neighborhoods are happy that additional houses and business won't be built yet because they want roads to first be safe.

One resident believes the moratorium is the right step in the right direction.

Kai Huschke, the chair for the Latah/Hangman neighborhood council, said, "We love where we live and there's an interest to protect the quality of life. Within all that, there's recognition of years that there's a lack of infrastructure of all kinds. Super exciting, like hugely exciting. It's been years in the making."

A recent transportation study of US 195 called for $400 million of improvements in the infrastructure along Highway 195 and cited safety as the number one issue along the corridor.

That money would pay for things like safer intersections and offramps.

"We know what a lot of the solutions are to those problems. So, in terms of transportation, we have a good sense of what needs to happen,” said Spencer Gardner, the city’s planning director. “The problem that we have now is we need to fund the projects that need to occur."

One Latah resident, Molly Marshall, says that if more people come to the area, there's an even higher chance for accidents.

She's surprised the moratorium actually passed.

"I was very surprised. We didn't know it was going to be put forth forward at the council meeting last night, so very surprising to us, but very encouraging,” said Marshall.

The city planner says until the city and state can figure out how to fund these improvements, development should be paused.

People are worried that additional development will lead to more and more people. Residents say this will increase the number of people traveling east and west on the highway and add pressure on roads that go into the highway.

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