‘Flying down the road’: Businesses embrace Sprague lane reduction, worry about traffic safety

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — The City of Spokane Valley is reducing lanes on Sprague Avenue to slow down traffic and make improvements in the area.

It’s happening on Sprague Avenue between University Road and Herald Road. The area is now down to three lanes from five. Traffic engineers say fewer lanes can still keep up with traffic needs.

Local businesses want to see safety improvements in the area.

“People are flying down the road,” said Travis Brown. He owns R. Alan Brown Interiors.

He sees dangerous drivers on Sprague every day.

“When people are traveling that fast and somebody goes the wrong way, it’s not a pretty sight,” he said.

He’s watched multiple crashes from his interior design storefront, and traffic engineers want that to change.

“When you open up from 3 lanes at Sprague and University to five lanes on this side of University, there’s just a whole lot more room, and people tend to speed up,” said Jerremy Clark. He’s the traffic engineering manager for Spokane Valley.

The city says 60% of drivers are going faster than the speed limit. On any given day, over 120 people are clocking in over 50 miles per hour. The posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour.

Pedestrian safety also needs work. This project would create a blinking crosswalk near city hall. The lane reduction would also help keep people who walk safe.

“That makes it into a much safer crosswalk, going from 5 lanes to 3 lanes,” Clark said. “That gives pedestrians a much shorter time to cross.”

Brown isn’t worried about the traffic change affecting his business. Instead, he says it’ll make it easier for people to pull into his lot.

“I think it will slow people down more and be easy to get through 3 lanes, opposed to 5,” Brown concluded.

It’s the last days for his store, and he hopes high speeds are also coming to an end because of this lane reduction project.

City engineers want to hear from you about the traffic change. You can learn more about the project and complete a short survey HERE.

RELATED: Sprague Avenue pilot study to reduce parts of Sprague from five lanes to three