This week, we were alerted last minute to an alarming situation in Spokane Valley – an important road diet under attack.
The City of Spokane Valley had received an 80% matching grant to complete the Broadway Avenue Safety Project, and was ready to throw that money away after hearing the usual arguments that accompany this type of change. The project includes a conversion from four lanes to one in each direction and a center turn lane, along with bike lanes. But this project should be a slam dunk yes for an elected official. Broadway passes by multiple schools, and the grant money is going toward curb cuts that will help the street comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Further, traffic counts show that the center turn lane is likely to help traffic flow better.
Enter a group of local bicyclists, who rallied in support of the Broadway improvements. When the City Council proposed to suspend the project, they organized public testimony and emailed the councilmembers.
In the end, the council was swayed by their arguments for safety - you can read a full account at the Spokesman-Review.
Does all of this sound familiar? As with the Nickerson Street hearing last month, supporters used Facebook to get the message out. Rather than being a diversion, social media is proving its worth as a way for nimble grassroots activists to make a difference. Great work!