Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, May 14, 2007

"Residents concerned about safety on Larry Street"

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News, and yes, Susan Forbes is my wife. I'm very proud of Dr. Forbes!
Military Hill group circulates online petition to City Council

Susan Forbes is extremely cautious when driving down Larry Street in Pullman.

In addition to what she said are hazards because of the curvy street, she also is on high alert when events take place at Pullman High School - especially sporting events at the school's ballfield.

She said densely parked cars on both sides of the street reduce visibility and substantially narrow the street. People exiting their vehicles often swing car doors into the lanes of oncoming traffic, and youngsters pop out from behind cars while trying to cross the street.

"I've had close calls where I have to come to a complete and instant stop to avoid hitting people," she said. "It just seems like it's going to be a matter of time before a serious injury or accident occurs."

Forbes, a Valhalla Street resident in the Paradise Ridge subdivision, is one of several Military Hill residents who are concerned about safety on Larry Street and have started an online petition. Forbes and the group have collected 38 signatures from residents in the neighborhood who are concerned with the city's decision about how to solve the problem.

In an April 17 meeting, the Pullman City Council discussed the concerns of Forbes and her neighbors, who had sent in letters hoping to initiate parking changes on Larry Street. The council decided to have Larry Street restriped, which will accommodate 7.5 feet of parking on each side as well as two 11-foot lanes for traffic.

"It doesn't seem like these safety issues are being addressed," Forbes said, noting the goal is to present the petition to the council at a future meeting. "We're trying to have a more formal voice and having our concerns known."

City Supervisor John Sherman encourages the group to present the petition to the City Council.

"We do welcome citizen input," he said. "(The council does) consider all forms of public input."

Forbes said she and the group ultimately would like to see the south side of Larry Street become a no-parking zone. Parking is available at the high school, although she believes people park on Larry Street for the convenience.

"The most dangerous aspect ... is for those individuals who park on the south side," she said. "It's just this idea that the pedestrians have to pass those two lanes. That's a real issue."

Sherman said in addition to restriping the street, city and Pullman School District officials are discussing building a path from the high school parking lot to the ballfield bleachers to encourage off-street parking.

"That's an improvement we're mutually discussing at this point," he said. "If people don't have a good alternative to parking, it's understandable that they're parking on the street. But a preferred alternative is to always provide off-street parking."

Sherman said the city is concerned with safety on Larry Street and noted that the ballfield path could be constructed as soon as this summer.

"It is an issue, the congestion there," Sherman said. "It's a pedestrian safety issue."

Still, the solution to the issue - for now - is the restriping project.

"That's what the council decided to do," he said. "(The issue) did go to the City Council for their direction, and that's the direction they provided."

  • The online petition to the city regarding Larry Street can be viewed at www.petitiononline.com/snwls/petition.html.
  • 1 comment:

    Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

    When I lived on Larry, I stayed at the Grand Ave. end of it (where I lived at the time) as much as possible, even to the extent of taking less-convenient, longer routes. Something definitely needs to change up there.