The roadmap through Millwood is about to undergo a facelift.
A pair of residential roads – Empire Way and South Riverway – will be the subject of a safety upgrade intended to slow down motorists who exceed the speed limit while taking shortcuts off main arterials like Trent and Argonne.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, Matt Gillis of Welch/Comer Engineers presented Millwood’s governing board with an overview of a contract that would have the Coeur d’Alene firm designing a series of traffic-calming measures along the two streets. Millwood Mayor Dan Mork said the city will hold another meeting with residents before deciding on the exact nature of the improvements – currently, speed bumps and speed dips top the list.
Mork said Empire and Riverway “continue to be the two loudest areas as far as concern.” In May, representatives from both neighborhoods appealed to city leaders to address the issue of vehicles barreling down the narrow roads.
“We’re still very concerned,” said Jack Bunton, a South Riverway resident at the May 24 gathering at Millwood City Hall. “This is serious stuff. We need to do something, even if we have to fund it ourselves.”
Since that meeting, the city has purchased a portable radar sign that documents data such as traffic speed and vehicle counts. Mork said the sign will be moved on a regular basis to roads where speeding is a concern.
The city has also brought on emphasis patrols from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office to monitor various streets throughout town. The latest patrol ran through most of July, working an average of 20 hours a week, Mork said.
Gillis said the city would need to move ahead with the specifics of the project within a month to meet a timeline of completion by October.
“Once we get input from residents, we can move on to design and construction,” Mork said.
Gillis said that while he could visit both sites and provide consultation on location of the upgrades, the city could utilize staff from its Public Works department to handle day-to-day coordination of the project. Exact cost of the work has yet to be determined.
The Welch/Comer presentation also included the outline of a procedure the city could follow for future traffic concerns. The approach, patterned after a policy used by the city of Hayden, Idaho, resembles a form completed by residents regarding code enforcement complaints such as unkept yards and noise issues.
“This would just mean there would be a process involved,” Mork said. “It would be similar to a petition and have to meet quite a few criteria. After the application was received by the city, it would be reviewed and evaluated.”
Millwood resident Mike Ellis was the first citizen to bring up the problem of speeding vehicles on residential streets at a City Council meeting in October 2008. A month later, a three-day traffic study took place along the roads in question.
Since then, Mork and other Millwood leaders have raised the issue on a semi-regular basis at City Council meetings as well as special discussions such as a gathering last December attended by representatives of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Spokane County engineering department.
Recommendations have ranged from widening streets to installing round-abouts.
Mork said he hoped the new approach to addressing concerns on municipal roads would improve safety conditions throughout Millwood.
“We hear about Empire and South Riverway, but there are other issues in town,” he said. “I think it’s good we’re doing something about it.”