The Washington State University Parking and Transportation Task Force is inviting comments on a plan to improve pedestrian safety and transit access on the Pullman campus that would eliminate some parking spaces on Spokane Street between College Avenue and Campus Street.

As more pedestrians use the central campus area, increased north/south vehicle traffic is using Spokane Street. Meanwhile, improved transit service means that more buses are also using that busy corridor.

The width of Spokane Street in the affected area does not meet the minimum standard for truck and bus traffic with the current parking configuration on both sides of the street.

If the plan is approved, parking spaces would be removed from the east side of the street. The change would take place in fall 2006.

A map showing the area in question can be found at www.wsu.edu/parking. Additional details are also available on the web site. Comments and questions about the proposal can be sent to the WSU Parking and Transportation Task Force at parking@wsu.edu.

“This is a timely review for this proposal given renewed safety concerns about increases in traffic along that street,” said John Shaheen, director of Parking, Transportation, and Visitor Center.

Pullman Transit has added five new coaches to replace an aging fleet. The new buses are six inches wider than the older buses.

“We lost some mirrors on the older buses when we accidentally hit parked vehicles on Spokane Street”, says Rod Thornton, Pullman transit manager. “With the new, wider buses, we need to be even more careful.”

Accumulations of ice and snow reduce the width during winter months, exacerbating the situation.

WSU planners said removing parking from the east side of Spokane Street is the more desirable option because there is no sidewalk on most of that side of the street. The proposed plan would also provide enough space to allow future installation of sidewalk and other safety amenities.

The WSU Risk Management Committee and the WSU Health and Safety Committee have reviewed and endorsed the proposal.

Parking officials said there is currently a surplus of Green 2 parking spaces located behind the engineering complex. Also, additional Green 2 parking could be replaced by converting some Yellow 3 parking lots to Green 2.