Sprague Avenue Stormwater and Multi-Modal Project

The city is planning a stormwater and crosswalk project along westbound Sprague Avenue between University Road and Herald Road, a three-block segment. 

As part of the project, the city piloted a reduction in the number of traffic lanes on Sprague Avenue (in this road segment only) from September 19 through October 21, 2022. The five existing lanes on Sprague were reduced to three. The city collected public comment on the pilot project via an online survey through November 4, 2022.

Sprague Avenue RenderingPreliminary traffic evaluations comparing three-lane and four-lane alternatives indicate that three-lanes will provide ample capacity during peak traffic hours and accommodate traffic volumes through 2040 based on traffic models. Additionally, the three-lane alternative provides more room for stormwater treatment and a shorter pedestrian crossing, resulting in three seconds of reduced exposure to vehicular traffic during the crossing as compared to the four-lane alternative. The pilot project is being conducted to verify these results and update them, if necessary.

Traffic control devices will be in place for approximately six weeks to observe driver behavior, measure actual vehicle speeds, and evaluate performance of the section with reduced lanes.

This project is expected to reduce excessive speeding on this segment of Sprague. Studies indicate this segment experiences high driving speeds and has relatively low traffic volumes. Over 60% of drivers were shown to exceed the posted speed limit with over 120 drivers exceeding 50 mph on a typical day. Volumes on this segment only utilize approximately 20% of existing capacity of the current lane configuration. As a result, vehicles travel at high speeds, leading to unsafe pedestrian conditions. Of all fatal and serious injury crashes in the city, the most prominent contributing factor is excessive speeds.

The proposed lane reduction will also allow for the placement of the following facilities:

  • Stormwater improvement: Stormwater runoff is directly discharge to drywells located within the road which infiltrate into the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie (SVRP) Aquifer without treatment. The SVRP Aquifer is the sole source of drinking water for most people in Spokane County, Washington and Kootenai County, Idaho. The city proposes to treat stormwater drainage in this section of Sprague by constructing bio-infiltration swales in the southern and northern lanes similar to the recently completed Appleway Boulevard project between Farr and University Roads. Those swales are outside of the existing curb line, but still within the existing public right-of-way. Due to existing street trees, substantial underground utilities and limited right-of-way along Sprague, this project will use the two outside lanes for the new stormwater swales, essentially providing additional "green space" and a narrower roadway.
  • Crosswalk and bus stop: The city proposes to install a signalized crosswalk between City Hall and Balfour Park, providing a connection from the Appleway Trail and City Hall to the new Spokane Valley Public Library (under construction). In addition, an STA bus stop would be located just west of the crosswalk at Balfour Park. Reduced lanes would create a shorter distance for pedestrians to cross, improving safety and reducing vehicle delays.

Lane Reduction Plan

University Road to Herald Road

University Road to Herald Road

Project History

Planning for the stormwater improvement project in this section of Sprague began in November 2014 when the city applied for a Washington State Department of Ecology grant to improve water quality along a two-mile segment of Sprague between University Road and Park Road. The project was selected for funding in July 2015, but funding was delayed.

Four years later, funding was secured in 2019 and the city signed an agreement with the state Ecology Department to begin design work on the stormwater project. While design got underway, the city also secured funding from STA and the Pedestrian and Bicycle program in 2021 to design and develop a crosswalk between City Hall and the new library building.

A design report completed in spring 2022 on the stormwater project indicated that the Ecology Department grant was not sufficient to support the entire project cost due to inflation and rising construction and labor costs. As a result, the city has reduced the section of Sprague that will receive stormwater improvements, and incorporated the crosswalk and bus stop into the existing project plans.

Resources

Title VI Notice to Public

It is the policy of the City of Spokane Valley to assure that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, or sex, as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and related State and Federal Statutes, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise discriminated against under any of its federally-funded programs and activities. Any person who believes his/her Title VI rights have been violated may file a complaint via email with the City's Title VI Administrator or call 509-720-5111. 

The City of Spokane Valley in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), commits to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability, in all of its programs and activities. This material can be made available in an alternate format by emailing John Whitehead or by calling 509-720-5111.