Community Partnership in Opposition of the Greensferry Bridge

News and Developments

Greensferry Bridge Presentation and Public Meeting 15-Sep-2020

Following is a summation of the salient points.  It is based on memory and may not be entirely complete.

Reasons offered for why the bridge is being proposed [and why now]:

  1. Emergency vehicle access to the south side of Spokane river to shorten response times.
  2. Convenient access for residents south of river.
  3. Unstated but assumed:  Increased value of property south of the river.

HDR presented 5 proposed alternative designs.  All are large [40+ to nearly 53 feet wide], two lanes, presumably quite expensive, and all will require extensive landings, abutments, ramps, etc.  This will negatively impact and/or will require condemnation of residential properties THAT THE CITY DOES NOT OWN.  Current easements are insufficient for what is proposed.

An informal headcount indicated roughly 120 attendees, the “real stakeholders” [mostly residents on or adjacent to Greensferry Road north of the river] were asked if they want ANY bridge.  The response was a resounding NO [roughly 112 to 8].  A brief summary of their concerns include:

Negative impact to existing property values.
Negative impact due to construction.
Greater danger, especially to children, pedestrians, pets, due to significantly increased traffic and increased speeds.
Probable need for traffic signaling and controls.
Physical loss of property to accommodate the increased roadway and intersections.  This would likely include eminent domain condemnations.
Impact of relocating the existing sewage lift station.

Several attendees agreed with the idea of another bridge to the south side of the river, but strongly expressed the sentiment that Greensferry is NOT the correct location.  Some suggested that the bridge would be a reasonable adjunct to the future Huetter exchange roadwork.

One resident near Q’emlin Park expressed frustration with the increased traffic and speeds in her neighborhood due to the Spokane street bridge.  Apparently she feels that a bridge at Greensferry would decrease her problems by transferring some of the traffic to the east.  In other words, it looks to her like an improvement by transferring the same problems to another location.  [i.e. an example of socialism in action — paraphrasing Churchill, “An equal sharing of misery.”]  The problem with this line of thinking is this:  No one forced her to live where she is, so why should others be forced to endure negative impacts for her benefit?

Another man related his 38 years as a wildfire fighter and his concern that the whole Blossom Mountain complex will one day burn.  He wants the bridge to ensure rapid emergency response.  Again, no one forced current residents south of the river to locate there.  [See Editors Notes below]
Why should others be forced to endure negative impacts for their benefit?  As one attendee noted, if Kootenai County emergency services planners want to improve access and/or response times, then they should consider building a fire station on the south side, not a bridge.

At least one attendee proposed an option for a minimalist single lane bridge for emergency vehicles only, with radio controlled swing gates at each end activated by actuators [like garage door openers] carried in each emergency vehicle.  This would provide access but would NOT allow through-traffic and the attendant problems.

One individual questioned the Post Falls Highway Districts lack of data in regards to the traffic across Spokane River bridge – his findings indicated that total traffic volume increased only 0.6% per year since 2005 and asked if any data was reviewed in terms of traffic mitigation and if the bridge was really necessary to that end. Mike Lenz (the PFHD Commissioner) had no answer to that question.
The presenters referred him to the KMPO Master Transportation Plan, to which he informed them that their study of the Spokane River bridge does not actually use real data, only computer modeled projections. Their final response was that traffic studies would need to be undertaken in phase 2.

A woman indicated that her research showed that the original Greensferry bridge was taken down as part of a Supreme Court decision [NB:  This will be researched and confirmed.] and that the City of Post Falls [or perhaps Kootenai County, not sure which] agreed to “forever abandon” the property for that use.  She questioned whether officials are now using alternative definitions of “forever” and “abandon”.


Next steps involving further public input were not clarified.
The next activities related to preliminary design will include traffic studies, volume calculations, etc.
The issue of an Environmental Assessment has apparently not yet been considered.

Editors Notes

The primary reason that wildfires become unmanageable (in all areas with or without population) is due to incompetent Ecologically focused forest management (The Sierra Club’s Sierra Club v. Bosworth “Never cut a brush” ruling hasn’t worked out well for California). The same issue can be applied to residents (full time or seasonal) in Idaho who build their homes among the evergreens and subsequently never operate a rake to clear the fuel from the ground – relying on overwhelmed fire fighting crews to clear the debris as the inferno around them rages. If anyone has concerns about proper fire management, their focus should first be on proper forest management.

PowerPoint Presentation

If the embedded document below does not render, it can be viewed directly here.


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