Council revisits plans for ‘dependable infrastructure’ study

City’s most recent pedestrian plan created in 1996; project to cost about $74,000

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The city’s pedestrian and bicycle usage is set to finish by fall or winter of 2021, said Kevin Gardes, Pullman public works director.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

The Pullman City Council approved moving forward with a consulting company to complete a study on local pedestrian and bicycle usage.

In August 2018, the council decided ‘dependable infrastructure’ was on the list of priorities and goals. This included bike and foot traffic along trails, sidewalks, bike lanes and routes, said Kevin Gardes, Pullman public works director.

The most recent bicycle and pedestrian master plan was created in 1996. Last year, the council approved a budget for an updated study consulting with Toole Designs. However, COVID-19 became the forefront of attention so the project took the ‘back burner,’ Gardes said.

“We’re feeling comfortable now,” he said. “We’re ready to move the project forward and start on the master plan.” 

The study costs will be on a reimbursable basis not to exceed about $74,000 from the city’s Street Fund, Gardes said. The project is set to finish by fall or winter of 2021.

“I think this is long overdue,” Councilmember Brandon Chapman said. “I think we definitely live in a different world in terms of the expectations of multimodal transportation.” 

The council also approved the subdivision of a nine-acre business park south of S Grand Avenue and SE Fairmount Drive. The park will be divided into eight lots and public streets, said Pullman planning director RJ Lott.

On the behalf of SO Grand Pullman Holding, LLC, SynTier Engineering plans to use the lots for commercial use, Lott said. 

The company completed other projects in Pullman, such as Evolve on Main and the Hills on Grand apartment complexes, according to the SynTier Engineering website.

Every property owner within 300 feet has been contacted about the proposal, Lott said.

The council accepted a request to annex 119 acres of land on Pioneer Hill south of S Grand Avenue, he said. The land, currently used for agriculture, is within Pullman’s urban growth area defined in the 1999 city comprehensive plan, which was amended in 2013.

Property owners filed to zone the land for C3 General Commercial to be used for development, Lott said.

Next, the applicants will file a petition for annexation that will be available for public comment.

Bob Perdue of Nelson Partners requested to annex about 48 acres along SE Johnson Road, which the council approved. 

Lott said the parcel is pre-zoned as an R3 residential area.

Councilmember Eileen Macoll mentioned the south bypass road crosses through the annexed land. The City of Pullman plans to construct a road that would direct heavy truck traffic away from State Highways 27 and 270, which now passes through downtown. 

“People have to understand what’s going to be rumbling past their potential home, and then that road has to be built accordingly,” Macoll said.