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City prepares road map for transportation projects

With the weather warming up, transportation projects in the city of Liberty Lake both current and upcoming are a hot topic again.  

City Engineer Scott Bernhard provided City Council with an overview of Liberty Lake's six-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) on June 4. The latest document covers projects from 2020 to 2025.

"A lot of the funding agencies won't give grants unless you have a TIP in place," Bernhard said.

Those agencies include the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) and Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC). Bernhard noted that all jurisdictions in Washington must establish a TIP according to state law. 

Roads, sidewalks, transit systems and bike trails must be included in the TIP.


"It's a whole process," Bernhard said. "We need to have our part completed by June 30."

The state will adopt its TIP by the end of the year. Bernhard said the city's TIP is based on the capital facilities improvement plan approved by council during the 2019 budget planning discussions with the exception of Harvard Road and Henry Road funding as well as an additional traffic signal that may be supported by a TIB grant.

A public hearing will be held on the TIP on June 18 at City Hall.

Council Member Cris Kaminskas asked Bernhard why the larger dollar amounts for the widening of Harvard Road Bridge were slated for 2021 and 2022.

"I was under the impression that we were trying to do that next year," Kaminskas said.

Bernhard said that the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has indicated that even though design for the project will be completed by the end of this year, it wouldn't be approved to go to bid until May or June of next year.

"By the time they get it awarded, it probably won't give the contractor enough time between July and October to get in completed (next year)," Bernhard said. 

Earlier in the meeting, Kevin Schneidmiller of Greenstone Homes gave council an update on improvements to Harvard Road north of I-90. The scope of the work includes a roundabout at Mission and Harvest Parkway that has already been completed. Schneidmiller noted that work also had begun on Indiana, from Harvest Parkway to the Bitterroot area.

The last section of Bitterroot Street to Harvard including the intersection of Harvard and Indiana is in the design process. That juncture will be addressed by a traffic signal not a roundabout.

"Our goal is to get it completed this fall," Schneidmiller said.

Greenstone and the city are also looking at the intersection of Wellington and Harvard out of the Trutina neighborhood, adding that a roundabout is likely the best option.

In other city news:

  Police Chief Asmus said the agency is working on a prescription drug drop box and is involved in discussions with the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District in promoting the idea. The box is for prescription drugs that are no longer being used 

  LLPD is in the process of collecting information and releasing bids for the purchase of additional radar speed signs

  LLPD is offering the Peacemaker Badge as part of the Play Unplugged program this summer

  Sakti Hiatt of LLPD appeared as a guest speaker at the Attorney General's Office Local Government Records University on national incident base reporting and police records

  The Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) was recently honored as EMS Agency of the Year. SVFD Chief Bryan Asmus told council that the agency achieved a 74-percent survival rate in cases of cardiac arrest. Collins said the department's focus on early CPR training, defibilatiors and the Pulse Point program was key to the honor. "It's a testament not necessarily of the Spokane Valley Fire Department but that the community is taking these things seriously."

  Collins said SVFD responded recently to a serious injury involving the rider of a one-wheel hoverboard. The youth was not wearing a helmet and was hospitalized after suffering a seizure.  "It was really unfortunate," Collins said. "The important message is to really wear a helmet. It's hard to see these kinds of incidents when they're easily preventable."

  Julie Happy is the new community affairs manager for SVFD after being employed for 12 years with the city of Spokane

  Collins said SVFD "will have a presence" at the Liberty Lake Farmers Market this season, providing safety presentations

  Library Director Jocelyn Redel said summer reading is important for kids noting that reading comprehension decreases when books stay on the shelf during the warm-weather break. This year's theme is "A Universe of Stories." The program begins on June 17 and concludes the end of August. Prizes will be awarded for those who read for. There is also a summer reading program for adults entitled "Home and Living Spaces Green Living."

  The second annual Friends of the Library Summer Soiree will be held July 24 at the Liberty Lake Wine Cellars

  Redel recognized the contributions of retiring Library Board of Trustees Member Lu Embry on June 4. Redel said Embry "helped guide the policies, mission, vision, values and goals of the library with clarity and a lot of enthusiasm." Embry, who worked for East Valley and Central Valley school districts and Gonzaga University, thanked the city for their support of the library, calling it "the hub of our community where we learn and revere our culture, past present and future."  

  City Administrator gave a recap of the Rotary Memorial Day Breakfast at Pavillion Park, noting the coverage of the event by Spokane Public Radio. The program was attended by around 600 people and included Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and retired Air Force Col. Brian Newberry while raising $4,500 for Honor Flight

  The city will soon begin providing video coverage of City Council meetings

  There will be an open house on June 13 at City Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m. for residents living around the Trailhead Golf Course. The discussion will focus on the operation and maintenance of the new irrigation system

  The Parks and Arts Commission is working on a loan agreement for a piece of art titled "Requiem to the Horses." The art would be displayed at City Hall for one year

  Finance Director RJ Stevenson has been appointed to the Association of Washington Cities Employee Benefit Advisory Commission

  The Liberty Lake Kiwanis Yard Sales is set for June 21-22

  Council confirmed Mayor Peterson's appointments of Paul Brown and Joe Mann to the Planning Commission as adjunct members and the appointment of Kate Laven to the Parks and Arts Commission