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WSU to hold walkway test in June

Increase in pedestrian safety is main goal of month-long street trial

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The blue route marks the flow of traffic during the June trial, while the green route shows the pedestrian-only zones.

The blue route marks the flow of traffic during the June trial, while the green route shows the pedestrian-only zones.

Courtesy of Pullman City Council

Courtesy of Pullman City Council

The blue route marks the flow of traffic during the June trial, while the green route shows the pedestrian-only zones.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen news editor

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WSU Transportation Services will begin a month-long test of a pedestrian-only walkway on Thatuna Street beginning in June.

The test, which has been coordinated with the City of Pullman, will close a short portion of Thatuna Street between Colorado and Linden Streets to vehicles for the month of June.

John Shaheen, director of WSU Transportation Services, said they decided to run the test during the summer, as it brings “optimal conditions.”

“It’s not terribly disruptive because the number of cars [is lower],” Shaheen said. “It’s rerouting the vehicle traffic and how are people going to respond to not being able to use that leg of Thatuna.”

Chris Boyan, assistant director of operations for WSU Transportation Services, said the lack of snow and other hazardous conditions also played a factor in deciding to test in June.

The test will include traffic counters to monitor activity before and after the change, as well as officials making observations and a possible pedestrian survey. This will not cost the much in additional funds because Transportation Services already owns the equipment they will use, Shaheen said.

“That’s the beauty of it,” he said. “We can test it and put it back without a lot of expense.”

Although, painting new markings on the road may incur some small fees, Shaheen said.

If the testing goes well, the trail may be redone in spring 2019 in order to garner results during a busier period of use, he said. The changes could then become permanent, but this could take a few years to fully-implement due to changes that would need to be made on the road and sidewalks.

The change has been in the works for some time, as concerns have been raised over pedestrian safety due to heavy traffic and line-of-sight issues, Shaheen said.

“It solves a big safety issue in terms of pedestrian access,” Shaheen said. “That Thatuna and C Street intersection with Colorado is misaligned … it’s really kind of wonky.”

The reroute could provide a more direct path for people walking along the street as well.

The route change may lead to some Pullman Transit bus routes being extended by a few minutes, but the buses should provide service to the same areas as before, Shaheen and Boyan said.

WSU Transportation Services said they want feedback on the trial. Contact information can be found on their website.

About the Writer
IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Ian Smay is a senior journalism & media production major, with an emphasis in broadcast news, from Dayton, Washington. He is also minoring in criminal justice, and served as the crime & courts beat reporter from Aug. 2017 – May 2018. He can be reached at [email protected]

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WSU to hold walkway test in June