Although the topic has cooled at recent meetings of the Spokane Valley City Council, it is one that has been bantered about by the city’s fire board of commissioners lately: the direction of Sprague/Appleway.
On Monday, the subject – which was first raised last month during a budget retreat – was brought forward once again for discussion.
The primary problem is that Sprague’s one-way west status is problematic for eastbound fire trucks out of Station 1 across from University City. Fire engines must circle the block to get going the right way, and that adds up to a minute and 20 seconds to response times, say fire officials.
According to Mike Thompson, Spokane Valley Fire chief, it hasn’t been a subject that his department has pressed city officials on. The main reason is that the subject has currently been addressed in Spokane Valley’s comprehensive plan. The eventual goal, as approved by the City Council last year, is to eventually turn Sprague and Appleway back to two-way roads between Argonne/Dishman-Mica and University.
But as Thompson pointed out Monday, a new council – dominated by members looking to do away with major components of the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan – may have different ideas of what do about Sprague. A public vote on the issue, much to the dismay of some business owners who want the streets converted sooner than later, has also been discussed.
“We’re not sure what the status is,” Thompson said.
The commissioners unanimously agreed Monday to draft a letter to the City Council and city manager on the need to shave off precious seconds when responding to emergencies, which could result in saving lives.
“I think it’s time for all of us to step up,” Commissioner Monte Nesbitt said, agreeing that it was important for district’s political governing body, not just administration, to enter the debate. “I think it’s time for all of us to be in on it.”
Deputy Chief Larry Rider said the department is also working with city planners in order to replace Station 6 at Sprague just east of the freeway interchange. The station is to be built in two years, but a portion of Eastern Road south of the existing station would have to be vacated by the city first.