Whether visitor or longtime resident, anyone who has driven in and around downtown has had to deal with the annoyance of the one-way streets. The one-way streets you enjoy today are actually a result of downtown's first master plan completed in 1961 (we love eBay). The plan, known as the Ebasco Plan, developed the strategy of a twin inner-loop system of one-way couplets cons isting of an outer-loop (Spokane Falls Blvd-Monroe-1st-Washington) moving traffic in a counter-clockwise direction while the inner-loop (Main-Stevens-Sprague-Lincoln) circulated clockwise. These one-way couplets were suggested to be implemented first because, according to the plan it would reduce accidents and delays at troublesome intersections. Forty years later we're not sure if this has been the result or not.
More interesting though is the strategy proposed to follow the
conversion to one-way streets but was never realized: Development of
an 8 block pedestrian zone in the center of the CBD. The graphic above
pulled from the plan shows that Riverside from Lincoln St. to Stevens
St. would form the east-west spine of this ped-zone. Post and Howard
would also convert to pedestrian only from Sprague to Main Avenue,
while Wall St. would remain open to traffic. It's an interesting idea
to contemplate, especially how different downtown might look today if
this had been built. To be honest though, we're big believers that
cars, pedestrians and bikes can co-exist quite well in an urban
environment and actually makes for a more vibrant streetscape.