Every summer there’s a lot of road maintenance. This summer, we’re starting to see a few more bike-friendly bits of construction. Here’s a quick look at what’s coming down the pike this summer.

DOWNTOWN LOOP
Plan: Bike lanes on Howard from Buckeye to 4th Ave, bike lanes on 4th Ave from Jefferson to Howard, bike lanes on Jefferson St from Riverside to 4th Ave.
Construction starts: This summer

This is the first phase of work to provide connectivity through and around the core downtown area. The open question on this project is how the design will work on 4th Ave, where the west-bound bike lane will be going against the one-way traffic. The lane will take space adjacent to the sidewalk under the freeway between Jefferson and Monroe.
The money for this project comes from a state safety transportation fund.

FREYA ST BRIDGE
Plan: A new bridge is being constructed on Freya St from Broadway to Desmet. The new bridge will have widened shoulders for a shared road route. No bike lanes.
Constructions starts: It’s already underway.

Not a fun place to ride, but at least now there will be a bit of room for those looking to make the mad dash over the top of the bridge.

FIVE MILE HILL
Plan: Bike lane on the climb up to Five Mile prairie from Ash to the top of the hill. The descending lane is not striped with a bike lane. It may have sharrows though (see photo).
Construction starts: Now in progress.

This lane has been on the wish list of north side commuters for years. For the south siders: this is like putting a climbing lane on Hatch. Widening the road for this project requires a lot of earth moving and shifting. According to the city engineer I talked to, this project will likely go until the snow flies. It’s just a huge project.

Funding for this project is a result of economic stimulus plan.

FISH LAKE TRAIL
Plan: Pave the FLT from the trail head near Sunset Blvd for about 3 miles.
Construction starts: late July/Early August

This is Phase 2 of 3 phases. When this phase is finished, the FLT will be paved from the trailhead near Sunset Blvd to just outside the town of Marshall, at Scribner road.

This phase of the project cost about $1.8 million. One million dollars came from Community Trade Economic Development (CTED) funding. The remaining $800,000 came from the economic stimulus funding. The last phase is estimated at $4.5 million and requires a bridge over two live railroad tracks. Next time you see Senator Lisa Brown, tell her thanks for the first million dollars from CTED. That was her doing.

SOUTHEAST BLVD
Plan: Bike lanes from 18th Ave south to about 28th Ave. Shared roadway from about 28th Ave north to 25th Ave. Bike lanes from 25th Ave, north to 18th.
Construction starts: Now in progress.

Because of a giant basalt cliff, squeezing a bike lane at the pinch point at 25th Ave has been a design challenge. As a result, only one side of the road (south bound) will have a bike lane. We may see sharrows on the north bound side for that pinch point.

Bob Lutz, Chair of the Bicycle Advisory Board, has been working tirelessly with the City Public Works engineers to make this pinch point navigable by bike.

37TH AVENUE
Plan: Sharrows, maybe lanes from Perry to Grand.
Construction starts: This summer.

This is Phase 1 of 2 phases. The section of 37th Ave that will be done this summer is from Perry to Grand. Next summer, the City will finish Phase 2, which runs from Perry to Regal.

Once again, Bob Lutz has been working with the City Public Works department to get bike lanes on this stretch of road. The issue is overall road width and whether Spokane will be able to join the ranks of more progressive cities that allow for narrow travel lanes for both cars and bikes. At the last public meeting for this project, the citizens that lived on 37th Ave overwhelmingly supported squeezing the lanes to slow traffic.

At the time of press, the minimum we’ll see on 37th will be 15 foot travel lanes (for cars) with sharrows. Ideally, we’ll see 11 foot travel lanes with 4 foot bike lanes. New sidewalks and planting strips will also go in for parts of the 37th stretch.

The bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure for this entire project is being funded by a $635,000 Spokane Transit Authority grant.

IRON BRIDGE
This is a long shot for this summer, but it could potentially maybe happen before the winter. I wrote about the Iron Bridge in the February 2008 issue of OTM. The Iron Bridge connects the Chief Gary neighborhood and the East Central business district right into downtown. The bridge goes over the river just north of Riverview Thai/Dry Fly Distillery.

The total cost to finish the bridge is about $500,000. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition has approved a grant for this funding, but the grant needs further authorization. According to those in the know, this project is likely.

John Speare grew up and lives in Spokane. He rides his bike everywhere. Check out his blog athttp://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com.