Ray Street Plan Has Neighbors Up In Arms

SPOKANE — The City of Spokane’s plan to expand Ray Street is causing an uproar among some South Hill neighbors.

Ray Street currently stops at 37th street. With the expansion, it would continue on to meet Freya and eventually the Palouse Highway. Neighbors say they literally don’t want a road in their backyard.

Bob Black has a lot to worry about these days. The landscape around his home can dramatically change in the near future and he’s working to stop it now.

“The road will come down and come across the softball field that little shed you see down there for the track equipment will be gone,” Black said.

The city’s six year plan calls for Ray Street, which stops at 37th to continue on to meet Freya. But in order for that to happen, Ray Street would dissect the Ferris High School softball field and housing developments like Glen Willow. Black moved here four years ago.

“They didn’t come here to have a road come through their backyard.” Black said.

“I think because of the location, the crossover close to Adams and Ferris is cutting through playing field. It’s an inconvenience with so many kids walking to school,” neighbor Stacey Ward said.

The Ray Street cross over plan is part of the city’s Comprehensive Plan to deal with future growth and traffic congestion. Ray Street is the main arterial in the area. The senior engineer for capital projects says it could take up to 15 years for construction to even begin, but adds the design phase needs to start now to compete for state and federal funds.

The city already owns the homes around 37th and Ray as well as the Ferris High School softball field.

Black and his fellow neighbors are convinced they can cancel the project altogether before it gains more momentum.

“Least I think we can bring attention to it,” Black said. “We’ve talked to several council members. They’ve been out here, and looked at the proposal. Some of them really had no concept until they came out here and saw how the road was going to be, so I think we’re just trying to bring awareness.”

Black and others plan to head down to city council Monday night for a public hearing on the matter.