North Monroe Corridor Project moves forward, Spokane holds public meeting

North Monroe Corridor Project moves...

SPOKANE, Wash. - Around 100 people showed up to the City of Spokane's latest public meeting held in regards to the North Monroe Corridor Project. 

The meeting was held to update interested residents and business owners on the latest progress and to take questions on concerns. 

"I am cautiously optimistic about the whole project," said Summer Hess. "I think from a residential point of view, its great to have traffic calming in the works along with more trees and crosswalks."

The project has been contentious ever since it was first discussed. The project will decrease the amount of lanes along the 18 block stretch of Monroe from five down to three and add lighting and on street parking.

The City of Spokane sells it as a way to boost the livability of the area, balance transportation while also bumping up economic development.

The city announced that the project is currently in its design phase and will likely go to bid at the beginning of 2018. Construction will likely start in April 2018 and run for seven months. 

It was announced that the project will involve two separate teams of contractors to speed up the process. Many business owners aren't on board with the city's plans. 

They cite the seven months will cut into their livelihoods and potentially causing some to close their doors. They are also concerned with the city's estimate that decreasing the amount of lanes from five to three will lessen the amount of through traffic by only two percent. 

The opposition has caused a rift at public meetings. 

"From the signs you see on Monroe, it does seem to be a little bit of a business versus the residents," said Hess. "I hope that dissipates over the course of the project."

But not all business along the construction route see it as a total negative, despite the expected loss of sales when customer access is significantly limited during construction. 

"We are trying to be creative about how we get through the seven months," said Dave Musser, owner of Bellwether Brewing Co. "We are hopeful that the seven months after the project is completed will be better and pay for the mishaps of the seven months of construction."

The way he sees it the area could really use the revitalization and new life. 

"Our building sat empty for ten years before we moved in," he said. "A lot of building down Monroe are empty, its a hard place."

The city has told business owners along the area that they will have support and have a construction relations manager in place to handle concerns during the work. They also announced they are looking into different signage for the construction period to help drive customers to the stores, despite the limited access.