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Officials: Strahorn Road changes need more time

by Alecia Warren
| November 10, 2010 8:00 PM

HAYDEN LAKE - Discussions on a controversial one-way street will hibernate for the winter.

In spite of complaints from some drivers, the Hayden Lake City Council won't decide on Strahorn Road's fate as a one-way until spring.

"You've got to give it time to see," said Mayor Nancy Morris. "This isn't one of those things you can do overnight to see whether it's good or bad. It takes time."

It has only been a few months since the city started its test run with making a half-mile section of Strahorn Road into a southbound one-way.

Morris said the city needs more time to collect and analyze traffic counts on the stretch of road from Hayden Avenue to Miles Avenue.

"There are a lot of factors we have to put in place before we make that final decision," she said of making the change permanent.

Tom Gorman, Hayden Lake council member who oversees streets and water, believes there have already been benefits since the switch to one way, allowing more room for traffic and a new bike/pedestrian path.

"Before, when you had two-way traffic, pedestrians had to literally leap off the paved surface to get out of the way of traffic," Gorman said. "Now there's a tremendous amount of pedestrians who enjoy walking on it."

As for traffic differences, he still needs to see the vehicle counts currently being conducted by Lakes Highway District.

"I imagine we'll be looking at it next month," he said, adding that he will analyze the numbers with the engineer from the city of Hayden and a representative from the highway district.

The response from locals hasn't been very positive, Morris acknowledged.

Comments submitted to the city have indicated that the one-way on Strahorn - which is a primary arterial connecting Coeur d'Alene and Hayden - lengthens trips for area residents and requires folks to drive in residential neighborhoods.

Bruce Vickerman, who lives by the Avondale Golf Club in Hayden Lake, said he is tired of finding alternative routes when he is driving north.

"It takes longer," he said. "It just seems like they've locked that street for preferential reasons for people who live on that street."

He couldn't deny that traffic was about 50 percent less congested there, though.

"It has made it safer for those walking their dogs and riding their bikes, but at the expense of those living north of the one-way road," he said.

The City Council has Strahorn Road on the agenda for its meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 9393 Strahorn Road.

Although Morris predicted no more than an update, she said residents are free to give testimony.

Gorman, who lives in the affected section of Strahorn, agreed that driving in the area is inconvenient now.

But the change was the only solution that met all four of the city's objectives, he said. It lessened traffic, protected pedestrians and didn't touch the golf course trees that would have to be removed to widen the road.

The project was also within the city's budget, which can't cover the $800,000 price tag of revamping the road.

"If we come up with a better solution, we'll change it," he said.

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