Playing it safe: Identifying crash zones around Spokane parks - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Playing it safe: Identifying crash zones around Spokane parks

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

For Jill Graves and her three kids, not much beats a day playing at Spokane’s Grant Park. But while Jill's kids may be carefree, she is not. “My son Arthur runs right here next to the street,” she explains. "Drivers come jetting up here super-fast.”

Making matters worse, Jill says marked crosswalks on streets in the vicinity of her family’s favorite play-place are few and far between: “There’s none I don’t think anywhere around the park,” Graves said. “I'm not 100% percent sure people up here even know this is a park.”

That could be why Grant is one of the most dangerous public green spaces - parks, playgrounds, or nature preserves - for pedestrians to walk to in Spokane.

Collision Corridors

KHQ broke down the most recent crash data and Spokane's pedestrian master plan, to identify Spokane's most dangerous, high crash corridors that are within easy walking distance of the city’s green spaces. 

The parks where pedestrians are most at risk from vehicles: 

“It scared me real bad.”

Of this list, Riverfront Park is where you are most likely to run the risk of close calls while crossing the street during a visit.  But dangerous spots pop up north to south, something 14-year-old Nikyia Anderson is all too familiar with. She was on her way to Nevada Park, when danger drove into her life. “I didn’t see the car coming,” Anderson said. “The car was coming on Lidgerwood, it threw me off my skateboard. It scared me real bad.” 

Nikyia is grateful she suffered only minor injuries. She's one of the lucky ones: there were 79 serious injury or fatal pedestrian crashes in Spokane, which occurred over just four years according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Spokane City Councilwoman Candace Mumm is working to prevent more incidents like those from happening, building in priority planning to Spokane’s Master Transportation Plan. “Spokane was built to have walkable schools and walkable parks,” Mumm said. “Overtime, that changed.”

"We’re trying to get ahead of the game.”

A review of city data shows only about half of Spokane's arterials have sidewalks on both sides of the road, leaving more than 75 miles of streets without a guaranteed safe way to walk.

Data also reflects pedestrian demand in Spokane going nowhere but up. “We have that data; we know when there is a problem,” said Mumm. “We're trying to get ahead of the game and I don't think people need to be hit or killed for an intersection to quality for a safe crosswalk.”

Mumm says the city is more committed than ever to keep you safe. They're trying new things, including a pedestrian ‘island’ recently installed near A.M. Cannon Park. And Mumm says there is money for additional ‘traffic calming’ improvements: you just have know who and how to ask. “Our neighborhood councils are a great resource,” Mumm said. “Go to them and ask for help to put in for some funding on both residential and arterial streets.”

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