I’d like to add my voice to the discussion about approving the proposed housing developments in Pullman, especially the one near Johnson Road and Bishop Boulevard. I firmly believe that approval of that proposal, as presented, would be a mistake we all would regret for years to come. We need more housing, but I’m sure there are better locations. Notice I said locations — plural. I’d rather there be several clusters scattered around the town, so that traffic to and from wouldn’t disrupt existing traffic to the extent that this one would.
For example — picture the intersection of East Main Street and Bishop between 8 and 9 every weekday morning. The light exiting Bishop would need to be much longer, which would back up traffic on East Main from both directions.
The light serving westbound traffic from Moscow would be much longer to accommodate additional traffic coming out of Bishop. This could result in the outer lane of east-bound traffic on Main being backed up maybe to the bridge, both at the Bishop and Stadium Way intersections.
The same problems could exist around 5 p.m. in reverse. People trying to enter Stadium Way from WSU would have a long wait for an opening in already heavy traffic, especially those entries without lights.
I believe any applications for new developments that would impact traffic to this extent should be rejected or very greatly reduced in size before approval is even considered. This is especially essential when a high percentage of the traffic generated from proposed developments would likely be headed in one direction.
Last week about 3 p.m., I was headed south on Grand Avenue when the inside lane was held up by American Express. It took me six lights to cross Davis Way. Since public schools hadn’t resumed yet, I couldn’t think of a reason for that backup. The whole trip out to Evergreen Vet took five minutes longer than usual, making me late.
Pullman has grown since Bishop Blvd was built to divert trucks from downtown. Since then, Pullman has grown around it to the point it no longer serves as an adequate bypass for traffic headed to and from Moscow from U.S. Highway 195. We need both new north and south bypasses to meet that need.
We also need better connections from one hill to another without going through downtown. I, for one, am willing to go a reasonable distance out of my way to avoid heavy traffic or avoid going through downtown.
I suspect the gas consumption for idling at intersections would be similar to the extra gas used for the longer distance.
Air in the downtown would be improved with fewer cars idling at intersections and fewer trucks spewing diesel fumes.
In searching for suitable locations for more housing, may I also suggest Albion and Johnson. This might revitalize these towns that once thrived. If there were enough residents coming into Pullman, perhaps we could extend daytime Pullman bus service to these places to limit traffic and the need for more campus parking.
I’d also like to plug my idea for a multilevel parking garage on west corner of Olsen Street and Grand Avenue. The two lower floors would be accessed by the current entry to the lot and the upper floors would enter from State Street.
This would serve Gladish both day and evenings so the neighbors wouldn’t have to tolerate cars parked in front of their properties. I’d also like to see it contain a passenger elevator with access day and night. I and others like me can no longer walk down steep hills and maintain my balance. This would improve Lentil Fest parking as well.
Planning for only for the downtown area isn’t enough; we need area-wide planning including surrounding county property.
The more smoothly we can keep traffic moving, the better our air and the less fuel used and the more time saved. Let’s all insist that this kind of planning be instigated.
Lenna Harding lived her first 20 and past 43 years in Pullman. A longtime League of Women Voters member, she served on the Gladish Community and Cultural Center board. email@example.com.