WSU, Pullman to test pedestrian-only walkway

Thatuna Street will turn into temporary walkway this summer


Courtesy of Pullman City Council

Blue roads are where traffic and buses will be rerouted this summer when WSU and Pullman turn the green-highlighted area into a pedestrian-only zone.

HANNAH WELZBACKER, Evergreen reporter

In a month-long trial this summer, WSU Transportation Services will prohibit vehicle access to Thatuna Street between Colorado and Linden Streets.

Director of Transportation Services John Shaheen explained to City Council on Tuesday that during the trial, buses and vehicles leaving the Chinook bus stop will be rerouted down Linden Street.

Shaheen said that this trial provides an opportunity to solve the longstanding problem of accommodating both pedestrian and vehicular traffic in this part of campus.

Pullman Transit Operations Supervisor Brad Rader said they have attempted the proposed bus route and a 40-foot bus was able to make all the necessary turns. Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston said they also tried the new route with a fire truck equipped with a ladder and didn’t run into any issues.

Rader said two out of the four summer bus route times will increase by an estimated four to five minutes because of the detour. Another route time will decrease by one minute and the last will not be affected.

“We acknowledge that this is a temporary solution and it hasn’t solved all the problems,” Rader said.

During the summer, WSU will use temporary signs, paint and flexible bollards to test the efficiency of the traffic revisions.

Shaheen said this trial period allows them to test their ideas while still allowing them to undo the changes if the project is not feasible.

Bob Cady, owner of The Coug and Phi Kappa Theta adviser, said there is too much traffic in this area and this plan could create new issues.

Cady said the project is a step in the right direction because it forces a discussion on problems that have existed for a long time. However, he is worried about the negative impact the project could have on neighboring streets.

Based on how effective the trial period is, WSU will either try it during the school year or develop a new approach.

“We need to take care of pedestrians using the WSU campus,” Cady said. “This is a great start.”