A recently completed concept study looks to launch a reinvigorated urban connection through downtown Spokane, linking Browne’s Addition to the west and the University District to the east.

The Urban Cultural Trail (UCT) concept aims to create a cultural and active experience for pedestrians in the downtown by shaping an existing urban corridor – Riverside Avenue – into a sought-after destination. The UCT would encourage residents, downtown employees and visitors to walk along the trail, experiencing urban art, colorful signage, pop-up performances and historic storytelling.

“We looked to the cultural trail in Indianapolis and liked how it pulled pedestrians and cyclists through the city,” says Mark Richard, President for the Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP). “More active sidewalks means more activity for our local businesses and creates safer streets throughout the downtown.”

The project was a partnership between the DSP, the Spokane Regional Health District, and the Berger Partnership from Seattle, who recently completed similar trail studies for the Seattle Waterfront and MOHAI. The Berger Partnership led the stakeholder group and produced the study. The Spokane Regional Health District is excited about how an urban trail can meet people where they are and encourage physical activity. “This project will improve economic development and health though promoting walking along the cultural trail,” says Torney Smith, Director of the Spokane Regional Health District.

The completed study outlines and defines character zones along the trail, as well as over eight types of urban interventions that might populate the trail experience.

“A key strength of the trail is that most of its components are already there—connecting streetscapes, great architecture, increasingly vibrant businesses and the rich culture and heritage that shape Spokane,” says Guy Michaelsen, Principal with the Berger Partnership. “We love working on projects like this because they are not dependent upon expensive infrastructure improvements. For minimal cost, you can start to change the urban environment, for the better.”

The Berger Partnership recommends the project move forward in developing a unique brand that can build public awareness around the route. Next steps include financing the design and phased implementation for the project.

View the study

Above: “Prairie Modules 1 & 2” is located on North Street between New Jersey and Alabama streets along the Indianapolis Cultural Trial. Photo courtesy indyculturaltrail.org.