Master plan coming into focus

Cars are seen driving past a pot of pink flowers on the corner of Main Street and Grand Avenue in downtown Pullman. The Pullman City Council on Tuesday heard a presentation regarding proposed projects for the downtown business district. Last year, a downtown master plan was completed with proposed ideas for enhancing Main Street, Pine Street Plaza and other features of the city. The City Council was asked to provide feedback and prioritize these downtown projects.

The City of Pullman is preparing to move forward with projects proposed in the downtown master plan that created to help enhance the city’s downtown business district.

On Tuesday, the City Council discussed which projects they would like to prioritize including reconfiguring East Main Street, adding parking to Olsen Street, installing street eateries and enhancing High Street and Pine Street plazas.

Public Works Director Kevin Gardes asked the council to provide their input before the city pursues these changes to downtown. The master plan was created by BDS, a consultant company hired by Pullman.

The master plan suggests reducing East Main Street to two lanes, adding a bike lane, possibly reconfiguring parking and improving sidewalks.

Councilor Dan Records said he prioritizes the Main Street project, because it would be a visible and impactful project that offers “the biggest bang for our buck.”

“I really think we need to do something that shows the residents of Pullman that we’re working on this and that there’s tangible results as quickly as possible,” he said.

In summer 2020, the city experimented with one of the master’s plans ideas by temporarily creating back-in angled parking spots on East Main Street, which were largely unpopular among drivers.

Olsen Street could be changed to add angled parking spots, as well as bike lanes or bike sharrows. Gardes said adding parking on this street could offset the lack of parking elsewhere in the city. Pullman could also relocate its transit transfer station to this street.

Several councilors were in favor of these changes to Olsen Street. Brandon Chapman said the additional parking on Olsen Street could give the city more freedom to keep parallel parking on Main Street while making the sidewalks wider to provide more room for street eateries, also called streateries.

Councilor Ann Parks said several businesses have already expressed interest in creating streateries, or outdoor seating, in front of their businesses.

Records and Parks both expressed the need to have a public restroom constructed downtown.

Councilor Nathan Weller said community members told him they would like to see projects that draw people to the downtown waterways.

The master plan also suggests adding features such as trees, seating, terraces and lighting to bring people to High Street and Pine Street plazas.

Councilman Al Sorensen said this master plan is great for the community and is excited to get started soon.

“I think this is spectacular that we’re moving forward with this downtown master plan project,” he said.

The plan can be found on the City of Pullman’s website.

On Tuesday, the council approved several agenda items, including a preliminary plan for the Hidden View Planned Residential Development. Hidden View is a 3.2 acre 17-lot housing development north of Northwest Valise Drive.

It also approved the Pullman Fire Department’s purchase of a $430,650 fire truck. Washington State University will share some of that cost.

Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

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