Parking allowed

On-street parking spaces added to downtown Post Falls plan

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The Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency approved intermittent parallel parking on Spokane Street in the corridor from Fourth Avenue to the Spokane River bridge due to public demand.

POST FALLS - Park it.

The Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency on Thursday decided to amend the Spokane Street corridor improvement plan aimed at creating a downtown to include intermittent on-street parallel parking.

The decision comes after a slew of public comments in favor of parking during a January open house on the project's $2.2 million plan.

Linda Wilhelm, a City Council member who sits on an advisory committee that has worked on the project, said she's "thrilled" parking is being added.

"It is going to be a wonderful sight downtown to see Spokane Street with islands of landscape and become an inviting place for people to locate their businesses," she said. "It is a great step in the right direction. If we all work together we can continue to make Post Falls a great place to live and to visit."

Bob Templin, a property owner in the corridor from Fourth Avenue to the Spokane River bridge, said he's also in favor of adding parking because it will help create a downtown feel.

Allan Scharton of Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Company, which took over the multi-use Post Falls Landing site along Spokane Street from developer Harry Green, said his firm supports the original plan, but declined to comment on the parking decision. Liberty hopes to sell its property to another developer or multiple ones this year.

Tom Lien, Post Falls URA executive director, said public demand spurred the decision to add parking to the plan. The amendment will be considered by the technical advisory committee prior to engineering starting on the project.

Lien said diagonal parking was not chosen because that would have required right-of-way acquisition to maintain the needed street width and added to the project cost.

He said most of the parallel parking will be on the east side of Spokane Street, but there will also be some on the west side where permitted.

City officials have said the parking could be removed in the future if the increased traffic on Spokane Street warrants it.

The project's other improvements include:

* a median with landscaped raised sections and landscaping;

* a pedestrian/bike trail and landscaping on the west side of Spokane;

* improvements to the Centennial Trail crossing; and

* signalization at Fourth and Spokane.

Construction is expected to begin this summer beginning with the traffic signal.

"This is another step in creating a pedestrian-friendly downtown that will attract new stores," Lien said.

* In other business, the agency postponed a decision on a proposed memorandum of understanding between the URA and the city on the Greensferry overpass project due to the city attorney still reviewing the deal.

Lien said the URA-funded project over Interstate 90 is still moving ahead, however. Construction could begin in 18 months to two years after engineering and right-of-way acquisition.

The project is estimated to cost $14 million for construction, $2 million for right of way acquisition and $1.2 million for engineering.

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