Today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News has a front page story about last night's Pullman City Council meeting. During the meeting, Councilwoman Ann Heath questioned city Planning Director Mark Workman about Wal-Mart's traffic plan in the SEPA checklist. She and some of her constituents are apparently concerned about the projected traffic on Bishop Boulevard, in particular at the intersection of Bishop and Klemgard Avenue, as it is already pretty bad. The issue was raised as to whether a stop light might be warranted like the one planned for Bishop and Harvest Drive or the one Wal-Mart has pledged to help pay for at the intersection of Bishop and Fairmount Road. Mr. Workman responded that the level of traffic estimated for that intersection does not warrant a stop light, but at some point down the road the city could install one using some state grant money if necessary.
I have not seen Workman's study, but I can guess the rationale. Logically, most shoppers going to Wal-Mart will do so from South Grand Avenue. Therefore, it can be safely assumed that traffic will be heavier on the west side of Bishop (the Harvest and Fairmount intersections), versus the east side where Klemgard is located. Klemgard is also a dead end street. The biggest issue there is neighborhood traffic turning left onto Bishop. Ultimately, there are laws that control how close together stop lights can placed.
Contrary to the way it was reported, Ann Heath was just being a good representative for her constituency, versus bashing Wal-Mart. I have it from reliable sources that she is pro-growth and pro-economic development all the way. Why else would PARD member Judy Krueger be running for her seat?, in what promises to be a spirited election battle?
I'm sure the only reason that this council meeting even made the news at all was the fact that "Wal-Mart" was mentioned. The council meets weekly. How many of those meetings make the front page? The anti-Wal-Mart Daily News is almost certainly trying to spin this traffic concern angle, especially as Klemgard is the street where both Frankin Elementary and Bishop Place retirement center are located. The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development has used both the fact that the city council does not vote on the project AND the increased traffic around schools and retirement homes as objections to Wal-Mart. Thus far, no council member has publicly agreed with PARD's assertions. PARD would love nothing more than to see a crack in the council over Wal-Mart, even a perceived one. How long must Pullman residents tolerate this biased reporting from the Daily News?