Unimproved roads plague several Spokane neighborhoods

Author: Colleen O'Brien, Reporter / Weekend Anchor, colleeno@kxly.com
Published On: Feb 14 2013 06:02:37 PM PST   Updated On: Feb 14 2013 06:48:24 PM PST
Unimproved road at 8th and Ray

With the snow and ice cleared from the roads now, it's easy to see which ones are pocked with potholes. While some will be paved soon, other roads in Spokane aren't so lucky.

Evidence of winter's wrath could be seen along Francis near Indian Trail and on Thor from 5th to Hartson, but none were as bad off as 8th and Ray.

To get to Robin Bartlett's mother's house, she has to game plan.

"You come in off to the left over here and you kind of drive that way," Bartlett explained. "I have a tire in a hole here and a tire in a hole here."

The potholes are more like craters in the front of her mother's house. Bartlett doesn't dare test how deep they are – just in case.

"It's horrible," Bartlett said.

There really is no easy way to get down the street and it's been that way for 15 years, but worse in the last three.

She's called the city a half dozen times and so has her husband and brother to no avail. Normally, the city would wait for the road to dry out and then “grate” it, which means "even out" in streets department terms.

But this stretch of Ray is different. It's considered an “underdeveloped street”, which means the developer of this land didn't pay to pave the streets and so it never will be on the city's dime. There are many underdeveloped streets in Spokane, according to the Spokane Streets Department.

There is only one option for Bartlett's mother and that's to form a Local Improvement District. Where, put very simply, she collects signatures from neighbors, presents their issue to the city and then the neighborhood helps pay for a portion of the paving.

"It's really not an option because my mom is on a fixed income because she's elder," Bartlett said.

With only Social Security to collect, Bartlett says, her mother can't make that happen.

"All we want is for it to be grated and graveled, we don't want it improved, we don't want sidewalks, we don't want driveways, we just want it grated and graveled," Bartlett said.