Cities and regions need to accommodate new growth and development to remain economically stable and socially vibrant. Growth often stimulates the economic dynamism of a region by attracting employers which then helps to expand the local work force. This is a big part of why people who live in growing cities often have incomes higher than people who live in economically stagnant areas. However, growth can bring a set of challenges.
One of the biggest challenges faced by cities and regions experiencing rapid growth is how to accommodate desired development. This often means striking a delicate balance between being proactive or reactive in planning upgrades and improvements to city infrastructure. While some effects of growth remain largely unnoticed by citizens, like increased demands on city water and sewer systems, there’s no hiding how it affects transportation infrastructure. As congestion increases on city streets and highways, it affects safety and travel times. To adapt to the changing transportation needs of a growing community, city planners and engineers are faced with the challenge of designing streets that make the most effective use of the space available, can accommodate both the increased traffic, and integrates multiple modes of transportation.
West Plains Connection
In recent years, the cities of Airway Heights and Spokane, Washington have experienced tremendous growth, and this trend is expected to continue. In order to help accommodate this growth, and plan strategically for future growth, both cities turned to the Transportation Team at T-O Engineers. City leaders understood the need for a travel corridor that would include design elements to improve safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike, reduce travel times, and increase access to public transit. This safety, mobility, alternate transportation, and economic development infrastructure project is called the West Plains Connection.
Leading this effort for the T-O Transportation Team is Bill White, a Washington native with 23 years of community and transportation planning experience. Having grown up in Spokane, he personally understood how important this project was for the vitality of both cities and the positive effect it would have on the people who live there. This made him even more driven than usual to achieve a successful outcome for his clients.
As with all transportation studies, he began by identifying the goals and objectives of his clients, collaborating with several local agencies, and comparing existing conditions to forecast data. However, for this project, Bill also identified several grant opportunities and sources of funding to help alleviate the costs associated with the project. Some of the proposed improvements and features includes bike lanes and separated sidewalks, wider roadways with center turn lanes, and multiuse pathways—all with the goal of reducing congestion, enhancing travel options, and improving safety for the families of Airway Heights and Spokane. Additionally, related benefits include long-term job creation, wage growth, and increased revenue for local businesses. This multi-phase project is estimated to take five to ten years to complete, depending on funding, with construction of phase one slated to begin mid-2022.
Learn More About Our Transportation Services
Our Transportation Services team has decades of experience providing roadway transportation engineering services to cities, local and state highway departments, and private developers throughout Washington, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Our team includes experts in all aspects of transportation planning and design including street and intersection design, environmental coordination, traffic impact studies, construction observation and administration, and simulations and surveys.
Visit our Transportation page to learn about some our other interesting projects and for more information about the transportation engineering services we provide.