Council unanimously approves downtown plan draft

City council documents a detailed plan to increase accessibility and community



Brian Scott, Principal of BDS Planning and Urban Design and consultant hired by the city, presents the master plan for downtown Pullman on Tuesday at City Hall. The presentation was centered around various goals and priorities to develop downtown Pullman.

JARED BRADLEY, Evergreen reporter

This story was updated to clarify information in the first paragraph. The Pullman City Council did not adopt the Downtown Master Plan but did vote to approve the draft version.

The Pullman City Council unanimously approved beginning work to improve downtown following the advice of the Downtown Pullman Master Plan at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The Master Plan is a document detailing several smaller plans to increase accessibility and community value in downtown Pullman. Work began on the plan in June; it was finalized in February for work to begin. The first draft of the project was finished in October.

Brian Scott, principal of consulting firm BDS Planning and Urban Design, which was the firm hired to create the plan, gave a presentation on the details of the Master Plan.

“Downtown Pullman is really the Heart of the Palouse,” Scott said.

The plan outlines six key actions, including: enhancing local places worth celebrating, building people-centric fixtures, activating public space, magnifying the core of the area, encouraging entrepreneurship, and catalyzing leadership for downtown.
Scott said downtown Pullman can do more to help disabled citizens.

He said parking is a weakness of the current design of downtown Pullman. He offered several solutions for resolving this issue: reducing Main Street to two lanes and including back-in parking in the space that would open, as well as including more handicap parking in this space.

Several members of the audience gasped when Scott suggested a two-lane Main Street. Councilmember Brandon Chapman asked why exactly the lane count should be reduced.

Scott said the numbers his team collected suggested that three lanes downtown was unnecessary, and that two lanes would be sufficient.

The Master Plan included ideas to improve nearly every road in the downtown area. Pine Street Plaza, for example, could have a statue or fountain to attract people to come and stick around downtown.

Scott said his group had a booth at the Lentil Festival, and they met with many people at the event to gather citizens’ ideas for improving downtown.
He said the most important change that must happen is recruiting and hiring a paid downtown manager to coordinate all of these efforts and activities.

Councilmember Eileen Macoll said she was very happy with the plan.
“It’s a community-based process; there’s plenty of opportunities for review,” Macoll said. “You’ve given us the doors; we just have to walk through ‘em.”

Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson said the budget for this plan had not been discussed yet, with the exception of the downtown manager position.