Part of Third St. to be two-way - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Part of Third St. to be two-way

Cd'A City Council votes 4-3 to approve change

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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Downtown Coeur d'Alene driving will be dramatically different next spring.

A lot to do with downtown will be different next spring when the $20 million McEuen Park reconstruction project wraps up, but two-way traffic will be incorporated into the finished project.

The Coeur d'Alene City Council narrowly agreed 4 to 3 Tuesday to turn the one-way Third Street into a two-way street from Front to Lakeside avenues.

The change is designed to ease vehicle congestion as a result of turning Front Avenue into a limited-traffic and pedestrian-friendly zone between Second and Third streets - a decision the City Council agreed to by a 5-1 vote in January.

"I really feel strongly people adapt," Councilman Mike Kennedy said of the change to Third Street. "Tourists don't know one way or the other, and locals adapt."

The change will look like this:

Third Street will have north and south bound lanes running from Front to Lakeside avenues. At the intersection of Third Street and Lakeside, northbound traffic will have to turn east or west. It won't be allowed to continue north because Third Street will remain the southbound one-way street that it is now. At the Lakeside intersection, right lane traffic will be forced to turn right and left lane traffic can continue south or turn left.

Sherman Avenue will incorporate a right turn lane at the intersection of Third Street as well.

The change will also cost about five parking spots along the streets.

The change is expected to cost around $150,000 to $200,000, City Engineer Gordon Dobler said, and can be paid for out of the project's contingency fund. That fund is essentially funds set aside for unexpected changes for a project, and started at about $600,000 when the park's budget was set.

But, he added, it will also alleviate concerns of traffic and pedestrian clashes at Front Avenue between Second and Third streets that were there before the project by turning that area into a pedestrian-friendly route. And, Dobler said, two-way traffic on Third Street will keep traffic flowing as well as keep all downtown intersections in A or B status.

Those designations mean traffic will be allowed to move freely, and were studied by a traffic consultant about a year ago when Fourth Street was proposed to be turned into a pedestrian-only street. That study found that the downtown will be able to handle additional traffic with increased park usage after the renovation.

Now, Fourth Street will remain unchanged, but not Third Street.

"What we found was actually encouraging," Dobler said, of studying and laying out the traffic change, adding that traffic will also leave the park from Sixth Street, where the parking garage will have access.

Others disagreed.

Brenda Garcia, who lives downtown, said it was a benefit for The Coeur d'Alene Resort, but not other downtown travelers. The Resort, she said, will gain the pedestrian-friendly portion of Front Avenue, and it will turn a strip of Second Street into essentially a private driveway to the hotel.

"There is going to be quite the gridlock at Third and Sherman," she said. "I know The Resort and Plaza Shops get a private driveway ... It's a good benefit for them, so somebody gets a benefit."

John Barlow, a consultant for Hagadone Corp., couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

City officials had been working with Hagadone Corp. about beautifying the pedestrian version of Front Avenue between Second and Third Streets. Hagadone Corp. would have paid for a bulk of the enhanced park entrance, but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement on the change. That left the city addressing that portion of Front Avenue and nearby traffic concerns on its own.

"And this is it," Dobler said of the city taking on the change without Hagadone Corp. The company is still a part of the Local Improvement District that pays for improvements to Front Avenue, however.

Council member Deanna Goodlander voted against the change, as she did in January to turn the portion of Front Avenue into a pedestrian zone. She has been a park project supporter, but said the change will narrow traffic too much.

"I don't see how necking down traffic to one lane from two lanes doesn't cause a problem," she said.

The vote on the traffic change was unique by itself.

Council members Kennedy, Steve Adams and Woody McEvers voted in favor. Goodlander, Dan Gookin and Ron Edinger voted against it. Mayor Sandi Bloem broke the tie in favor of the change.

Most McEuen Park related votes at the council have ended 4 to 3, but Adams, Gookin and Edinger have usually voted against it.

As far as the park project's contingency fund, it started at roughly $600,000 when the budget was set.

A couple hundred thousand was added to it after the city's stormwater utility fee came back on the books, and those dedicated funds can be used to pay for stormwater improvements in the Third Street area, Dobler said. The other big change being paid for by the contingency fund is additional rebar to reinforce the Front Avenue parking garage, or bridge, as cars will be parked beneath it. That amount equals about $150,000 too, he said.

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  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:43 am on Fri, Aug 23, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Be careful who you vote for in the coming elections. There are three clones of what we already have running and one owns properties amid all of this BULL. This kind of disregard for the common majority will just continue for these yahoo's to profit at OUR expense.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:36 am on Fri, Aug 23, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    "The change is expected to cost around $150,000 to $200,000, City Engineer Gordon Dobler said, and can be paid for out of the project's contingency fund. That fund is essentially funds set aside for unexpected changes for a project, and started at about $600,000 when the park's budget was set."

    What SHOULD have been said is "The change is expected to cost around ANOTHER $150,000 to $200,000 ON TOP OF the $20 plus and ever going up MILLION!

    Come on press. Get off of you rear ends and do some REAL reporting.

  • Jullee posted at 2:24 pm on Thu, Aug 22, 2013.

    Jullee Posts: 540

    Ahhh, gifting property to Hagadone, how thoughtful of us. That is exactly what is happening by closing off the street. He has already laid claim to the public parking circle and city property by the city beach.
    Ziggy is right, we have less street and sidewalks on Sherman since the "improvements".

  • Lussier posted at 9:15 pm on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Lussier Posts: 132

    Parkside residents do not want traffic on Front st. Look for the park to close at 9 PM.

  • Ziggy posted at 8:35 pm on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Ziggy Posts: 1179

    I remember being in a Florida city years ago. I was coming back to the Northwest and had a carload of clothes to donate to a Goodwill. I could see it, it was two streets over. However, after driving around for the better part of an hour on one way streets, I could not get to the Goodwill. I gave up.
    Either make it two way or leave it. As an old timer around here, I think change it to "partly two way" would be disastrous. Why is Front being blocked off? Does a new parking garage demand a pedestrian street? What is wrong with the sidewalks?

  • Miketeague posted at 3:44 pm on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Miketeague Posts: 2163

    Flash the downtown area is in enough trouble don't give them ideas. I would like to see the fire Dept truck company make the turns and get through the bottle neck.

  • Flash Gordon posted at 2:49 pm on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1337

    I'm surprised the city council didn't decide to put a roundabout at third and Sherman:)

  • Ziggy posted at 12:46 pm on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Ziggy Posts: 1179

    I read an interesting study done of one way streets. The conclusion: one way streets are NEVER more efficient. Period. Anywhere. So....make all of them two way. Of course CdA put those stupid sidewalk things that extend way into the street. Why, I don't know but it started way back. Sherman used to be four lanes, now 2. Instead of helping traffic, this will confuse everyone. Either make the whole street two way or none of it.

  • acid posted at 12:40 pm on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    acid Posts: 45

    Only wish I had a window seat on 3rd street to watch all of the cars that will be going the wrong way on 3rd thinking its 2way. It's bad enough on 4th!

  • riversharkes posted at 11:29 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    riversharkes Posts: 99

    a play ground for the rich is what downtown is turning into. In the early 80's the people voted against high rise buildings and now the area is becoming what the people were afraid of. Nice park and they will not have to deal with the little people.

  • Susie Snedaker posted at 11:16 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Susie Snedaker Posts: 65

    The city should have set up a dry run for this proposal last summer when Front was open but declined to do so. No doubt locals will adjust but at what cost to the downtown merchants?

  • SamuelStanding posted at 11:02 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    SamuelStanding Posts: 554

    Palm Springs? YES! We should model quaint CDA after more California cities...cookie cutter, right?

    Residents will adapt, just take more of their money to fix the errors of the City Council and their bloated egos.

  • Big Bear posted at 10:47 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Big Bear Posts: 238

    The vacated Front will also tie into future projects in the Resort Plaza Shops block. Ever notice that Plaza has a LOT of support pillars for a one-story building? The plan all along has been to build up there, obviously. A two-way 3rd will make it easier for access to a parking structure on that block, just saying...

  • Mahiun posted at 9:39 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Mahiun Posts: 5175

    Mixed feelings about the whole street-closure thing (not crazy about the idea of the city just handing over public right-of-way just like that, but it remains to be seen whether it really does have any positive traffic-calming effect).....

    But as for the change to 3rd Street itself, I don't think it'll be that big a deal, after a couple of months. There's a pretty similar setup on the north end of the downtown area in Palm Springs, which is about the same size as Cd'A. As you enter the city from I-10 on two-way Indian Canyon Road, you eventually hit a one-way grid that forces you to turn either left or right.

    The only tricky part is in knowing which way you need to turn in order to keep going the same direction you were going, but that can be easily solved with good signage. So, headed north on 3rd Street, all that's needed is just a clear sign that says, "This way to Northbound 4th Street and I-90." I think folks will be surprised at how quickly they adapt....

  • Miketeague posted at 9:20 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Miketeague Posts: 2163

    Watching the city engineer try to explain his proposed changes and giveaways to our city council was an exercise in self flagellation. The first gospel of engineering is something that’s a complete cluster on paper will be twice the cluster in real life and this is a prime example. The acting that Bloem, Kennedy, Adams, and McEvers, (actually Woody as usual didn’t have a clue and didn't pretend to), pretending they understood the impact of all the chances would in its self save summer theater.
    The only part they fully understood is that Front from First to Second will be barricaded (to keep us common folk out) and turned into a private walk way for Hagadone, of course it will be a priority for snow removal by the city, of other changes on top of necking down (two lanes to one) of some streets add snow berms and we will need dog teams to get around. I should mention the generosity of Hagadone, according to the engineer he and ONLY he was asked and had no problem giving up some parking spaces on Sherman Ave.
    There is the old saying if you don’t like it don’t go, and I won’t.

  • oscar posted at 8:16 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    oscar Posts: 1205

    And more of the McEuen fiasco comes to light. This whole mess is a disservice to the locals while business and tourist once again trump. Lets start doing something for the rest of the city.

  • LTRLTR posted at 7:25 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    And the new $4 for drainage on our monthly utility bills will now be used for stormwater in the downtown core thanks to all city residents.

  • Flash Gordon posted at 7:13 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1337

    The city should never, I repeat NEVER, give up public property to a private business. There have been many attempts in the past to do so and for the most part they've been thwarted. This is a very bad idea whose time has come, I suppose, but it sets an irreversible precedent. I can't stand being played and being unable to do anything about it.....

  • voxpop posted at 6:43 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    At first I couldn't see a big problem, UNTIL you read between the lines and find out that Front St is being given to the Cda Resort. AND taxpayers are paying for the changes. SOB's, one and all.

  • efromm posted at 6:28 am on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    efromm Posts: 679

    It's a bad idea. And will cause gridlock. I agree...

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