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'It's a pretty big change' | Sprague Avenue to drop from 5 lanes to 3, drivers encouraged to give feedback

Starting Monday, Sept. 19, Sprague Avenue will go from a five-lane street to three lanes for a six-week period.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Drivers who frequently drive on Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley need to be prepared to have less room starting Monday.

The city of Spokane Valley will be doing a study on Sprague Avenue as part of the Sprague Avenue Pilot Project. Sprague Avenue will be reduced from a five-lane street down to three lanes for six weeks. 

The reason for this reduction? The city will study the impact lane reduction has on motorists, pedestrians and overall traffic. 

Spokane Valley also has plans for stormwater runoff and crosswalk reduction along a three-block segment of westbound Sprague Avenue between University Road and Herald Road. The city wants to see how drivers will react to the lane decrease, according to Traffic Engineering Manager Jerremy Clark.

"The first goal is to treat the stormwater, second goal is to have a safe pedestrian crosswalk," Clark said. "[The] third goal would be to reduce the speeds along this section to Sprague while maintaining enough capacity and safety for vehicles to drive through here."

If the project is deemed a success, the city will move forward to install a stormwater runoff that will go directly to a treatment plant. The crosswalk would also be shortened for pedestrian safety and a new bus stop would be added to the intersection.

"It's a pretty big change to go from five lanes to three on the primary corridor in Spokane Valley," Clark said. "So we want to make sure it's going to work, make sure we thought out everything first."

Cameras and other monitoring equipment will be set up to study how lane changes affect traffic. There will also be a survey available to motorists to give feedback while the project progresses.

According to Clark, the city often hears complaints of people speeding down Sprague.

"We don't hear that people drive too slow on Sprague," Clark said.

Fred's Appliance manager Jesse Utz told KREM 2 he sees a lot of car accidents at his corner of Sprague and University. He feels reducing speed as a result of reducing lanes could prevent future accidents.

"This intersection is notorious," Utz said. "There always seems to be car wrecks at this intersection so reducing the speed will probably help that a lot." 

Drivers and pedestrians can access the feedback survey for the lane reduction project here between Sept. 19 and Nov. 4. Clark said drivers should continue to use Sprague if it is part of their usual commutes, and share feedback with city officials.

Additional details for the project can be found here.

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