Improvements are coming to the Centennial Trail crossing at Mission Avenue in north Spokane, according to the Spokesman-Review. Currently, the crosswalk is squeezed into the intersection of Mission and Perry Street next to railroad tracks and cuts across a parking lot, which causes some confusion.

The first phase of a project to  improve the crossing and make it safer will take place later this year in the fall. The work involves upgrading the crosswalk and trail next to Mission Park and Avista Corp. Eventually, a bridge will be built for bicyclists and pedestrians diagonally over Mission Avenue, to fill what is referred to as the “Mission gap” in the trail. The bridge is estimated to cost $2.5 million.

The third phase of improvement calls for putting a trail tunnel under the BNSF line where it borders Mission Park near the Spokane River to help keep trail users from crossing the tracks.

Funding for the second and third phases have not been identified but the Friends of the Centennial Trail organization has pledged $18,500 to pay for the first phase of the Mission crossing to go along with the $443,000 in construction from SRTC.

An important part of the first phase is separating an existing parking lot for Mission Park from the trail. Currently, drivers  often pull onto the trail when entering or exiting the lot. On the north side of Mission, the plan calls for creating more room for the trail along the Avista campus. Also, a pedestrian refuge island in the middle of Mission will be upgraded.

The Centennial Trail in Washington extends 37 miles from Sontag Park at Nine Mile to the Idaho state line where it connects with 24 miles of the North Idaho Centennial Trail through Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene to Higgens Point on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

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