Mumm proposes crosswalk ordinance changes

Seeks to improve walkability and bicycle access

Richard Rush, Legislative Assistant to Council Member Candace Mumm, 509.625.6718

Monday, August 18, 2014 at 10:34 a.m.

Spokane City Council Member Candace Mumm is proposing dramatic changes to the city’s crosswalk ordinance, which aims to improve walkability in key areas around the city.

Mumm is proposing new marked crosswalks in identified business centers, next to schools, parks and other high traffic areas on arterials.

“These changes to city’s ordinance would allow more pedestrian-friendly crosswalk designs including mid-block crosswalks, pedestrian refuges on wide streets, and elevated intersections without curbs to make it easier for walkers, especially those with disabilities,” Mumm says.

Bicyclists will also find improvements in the proposal for regional trail crossings.

“Improved walkability and bicycle access can boost economic vitality in our business centers, improve access to our parks and make it safer for children to walk to school,” Mumm says.

More than 20 pedestrians have died and more than 1,000 have been injured on Spokane streets in the past decade, according to Spokane Police Department statistics. “Making it clear where pedestrians have the right to walk benefits both drivers and pedestrians,” Mumm says.

Mumm’s proposal has already received praise from the Spokane Regional Health District, Futurewise, and the Lighthouse for the Blind organization.

Health Policy Specialist, Linda Graham, of the Spokane Regional Health District says, “This ordinance is a necessary component” of the efforts supported by the Health District to create an accessible, functional and safe network for pedestrians.

Neighborhoods would also have more involvement in the future placement and removal of crosswalks by being consulted when a new road is built or an existing one improved. The City’s Community Assembly made up of all the city neighborhoods voted unanimously earlier this year to support this measure. Prior to being elected to City Council, Mumm successfully spearheaded the city’s first neighborhood-specific pedestrian and bicycle master plan for the Five Mile Neighborhood.

Last week, the Spokane Plan Commission held a public hearing where citizens testified in favor of the ordinance. Commissioners found it consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and voted 7-0 in support of the measure. The City Council is expected to vote on the crosswalk ordinance at 6 p.m. on Sept. 8.

Mumm held a Walkability Summit in April and recently attended the Local Leaders Summit for SmartGrowth America in June in Washington, DC to discuss improving city’s walkability.

George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate & Urban Analysis, in a 2014 study, found areas with a high “walk score” (more than 70 points on a 100-point scale) have higher property values, command higher rents and generate higher personal GDP. The City of Spokane has a cumulative walk score of 45, though there is a wide variation in neighborhood walk scores.