City looks to improve traffic flow on Spokane’s South Hill, wants community feedback

SPOKANE, Wash. — Traffic flow near Ferris High School can get pretty backed up near 37th, Ray, Freya and Regal, prompting the city to brainstorm some ways to smooth out the traffic pattern.

A lot of cars are on the road in the South Hill, especially during rush hour commute times. With more students heading back to school, these roads will get even busier for drivers, and Marlene Feist, the Director of Strategic Development for Public Works, knows the community has concerns about the area.

“We’ve heard a lot from our citizens around congestion, so we really do need to incorporate a project that’s going to help this area for the future,” Feist said.

In 2017, there was a plan in place to address the congestion concerns, but the community wasn’t for it, so the city stopped moving forward. Now, they’re looking to get community feedback on new ideas for the area at an online public meeting tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. More information about that meeting can be found here.

“This is a longer term discussion. This is a what do we want to be in our plans. This isn’t imminent construction by any means,” Feist said.

While the city isn’t moving ahead with any changes right now, here’s what’s being considered:

  1. Putting two traffic signals at 37th/Ray and 37th/Freya.
  2. Putting a roundabout at 37th/Ray and a traffic signal at 37th/Freya.

The city says these updates wouldn’t just be put in place to help those specific cross streets but would also help traffic flow in other areas. It’s a ripple effect.

“We’re talking about the intersections of 37th and Freya, 37th and Ray and just that area right by Ferris High School. What we do there impacts other places because if it’s easier to move through that area, then you’ll make a different choice than if it’s more difficult,” Feist said.

The city has more information on the history of the traffic patterns in the South Hill and a full breakdown of their ideas online. Feist encourages anyone who may be curious, lives near the area or wants to learn more to check out the information at the site for a more comprehensive understanding.

In addition to improving traffic patterns, Feist says these updates will also take into account non-motorists with bike paths and trails.

“While we’re looking to improve traffic flow, one of the ways we do that too is by getting cars off the road, so if you can bike to your destination, that’s another way to get more out of your transportation system,” Feist said.

To join the 5:30 meeting, click here.