By Tina Wynecoop
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has graciously included our valley citizens in the designing of architectural features associated with the North Spokane Corridor portion of the North/ South Freeway.
Two years ago our ‘walking heron’ logo was imprinted in the concrete abutments supporting the new Perry Street Bridge associated with the freeway. Upon completion of the freeway connection to Highway 395 pedestrians will be able to see the hikingboot-clad herons for themselves.
In addition, the artwork in the safety railings on the Perry Street Bridge directly above the walking herons incorporates the lovely design of great blue herons (our valley’s logo) in flight.
Once again, this fall, local residents were encouraged to attend meetings at Northwood Middle School in order to help design treatments for the planned retaining walls facing Wandermere Golf Course and Wandermere Road. The desire of WSDOT to enhance corridor continuity and provide visual interest unique to the Little Spokane River Valley is to be lauded.
Two retaining walls, separated by native plantings from each other and from the new configuration of the bridge’s deck, will be built beginning in June 2009. The walls themselves will have tree, mountain, and bird designs, as well as a split-face concrete stone finish which is compatible with the granite lobe comprising adjacent Dart Hill.
The proposed architectural features will ensure that pedestrians using the pathway next to the walls won’t be faced with views of sterile concrete on their way to and from the nearby Wandermere shopping centers or NSC bike and pathway.
Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley have worked for many years to make this into a walkable community. WSDOT has listened. We are well aware of the impact of the North South Freeway on our lovely and unique valley.
We can be glad that much effort has been made to minimize that impact by considerate engineers and an active citizenry.