Spokane’s Best Neighborhoods –
Hipster Rating (out of 10): 1
Predominant Housing Prices:
Rental: Very little, if any, rental options.
Housing Density: Large single family residences, many of which are large enough to be characterized as estates.
Mixed Use Rating: Poor
High Drive Neighborhood Description
High Drive is one of Spokane’s premier neighborhoods. If you’re into status symbols, you’re gonna’ love High Drive. High Drive ranks low on this list for a variety of reasons that are described in detail below. Keep in mind, however, that this blog is written by an urban planner who values characteristics of traditional, walkable neighborhoods. Because High Drive does not have many of the neighborhood characteristics described below, its ranking suffers as a result. Nonetheless, what High Drive does have is a hell of view, hence it’s name sake. If you find yourself fortunate enough to live on High Drive, there are many amenities within quick striking distance that separate High Drive from its affluent suburban competitors that suffer from longer commutes and less amenities. For instance, you are still a very simple six or seven minute drive from downtown Spokane, pending your route, and there are a number of recreational amenities right out your front door. Finally, great restaurants, pubs, parks, and schools a short bike ride away.
High Drive makes the list of Spokane’s Best Neighborhoods because it’s geography frames the South Hill and the South Hill is a lesser place without High Drive.
Elements that Create Great Neighborhoods
An Identifiable Center
The High Drive neighborhood does not have a center.
High Drive does well in this category thanks to the roughly 350 foot bluff that adds something close to a cliff edge to the neighborhood.
A Front Door
High Drive does not make any formal announcements that you’ve arrived into the neighborhood. Gateways would strengthen its sense of place.
Mixed Land Uses
There is only one land use along High Drive: big, beautiful homes.
High Drive does well in this category. Although much of the neighborhood was built when one-story ranchers were trendy, there is a diverse array of residential architecture within the neighborhood.
Buildings that Address the Street
Most homes are significantly set back along High Drive and tucked into a dense canape of mature trees. I imagine the home owners appreciate the privacy.
Streets that Generally Connect
Since the High Drive Neighborhood only has one road, it will fail in this category. It is a good time, however, to cite the (most) official urban planner’s definition of “drive,” pulled straight from the latest and greatest smart zoning code, as follows: “Drive: a Thoroughfare along the boundary between an Urbanized and a natural condition, usually along a waterfront, Park, or promontory. One side has the urban character of a Thoroughfare, with Sidewalk and building, while the other has the qualities of a Road or parkway, with naturalistic planting and rural details.”
Yep, that’s High Drive.
I’m afraid there are little to no sidewalks along High Drive. There are, however, plentiful bike lanes.
High Drive does well in this category thanks to a small boulevard that separates residential traffic from those just passing through.
For the purposes of SpokanePlanner’s neighborhood rankings, “walkability” means walkable access to different land uses. High Drive does not do well in this category.
Let’s face it, High Drive is not going to become a mixed-use, mixed income Mecca for urban planning snobs (like myself) any time into the future. Acknowledging that High Drive’s product is luxury residential living, the neighborhood is obviously doing quite well. Perhaps consideration of ornate round-a-bouts at the busier intersections, a couple of front doors that do the neighborhood justice, and a few more street trees will help solidify High Drive’s sense of place.