Posts tagged: STA
Some of Spokane's political insiders are abuzz with an Inlander blog item reporting that former STA Chairman Chuck Hafner is refuting The Spokesman-Review's characterization of his comments regarding the future of the downtown transit plaza in Sunday's paper.
But here's a portion of the briefing last week that Hafner gave to the Spokane Valley City Council in which he expresses frustration over the inability to satisfy the complaints of downtown business interests and predicts that they will succeed in getting it moved, saying: “Mark my words … the only resolution to it will be to move the plaza.”
The full briefing can be found on the city of Spokane Valley's website.
Hafner, in an interview with the SR last week following the council briefing, said he hopes his prediction is wrong and explained that the STA board has spent years trying to appease downtown businesses — unsuccessfully — but that it's never good enough.
The Spokane Transit Authority is its own government entity, but it got a good going over at last night's Spokane City Council meeting.
Two items passed by the council dealt with public conveyance: a resolution supporting the $5.8 million renovation of the STA Plaza, the downtown hub for public transportation; and a resolution supporting a trolley-like electric bus connecting Browne's Addition to Spokane Community College.
Both items had supporters, and both items found an enemy in George McGrath, who speaks at almost every council meeting during almost every public testimony.
Read more after the jump.
At last week’s Planning, Community and Economic Development committee meeting, Spokane city planning director Scott Chesney was discussing the Larry H. Miller empire and its request to temporarily shut down some streets while the car dealer did some re-arrangement.
Not exciting stuff.
Then, off-handedly, Chesney told committee members that it was important to keep the Jefferson Street viaduct open during this work because it was the only railroad bridge tall enough to accommodate the double-decker bus that the Spokane Transit Authority was thinking about bringing into its fleet.
With visions of those huge, red buses that ply the streets of London dancing through our heads, we called up STA.
“They were looking at it for the EWU route because ridership has skyrocketed,” said Molly Myers, STA’s spokeswoman. “It was just an idea to be able to double capacity. That is a suggestion that came up during our planning process during brainstorming. It never got to that level of specificity.”
So we let it lie. Until Monday, when we saw this.
We may have found a spokesman for a Spokane Transit Authority ad campaign.
Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander has been flying to Spokane every couple weeks in the last few months to serve as one of the Spokane's five Use of Force commissioners.
After he disembarks from his plane at Spokane International Airport, he takes a Spokane Transit Authority bus downtown.
“I really enjoy that bus ride,” Alexander said. “It's really a handy way to get in from the Airport.”
(This praise for the bus was unsolicited when I asked him a few questions after Thursday's Use of Force Commission meeting.)
Alexander is reimbursed for his plane trip and often a meal when he's in Spokane. He usually flies in the morning and flies out after the meeting
He does not bother getting reimbursed for the $1.50 bus ride.
Even without newly elected officials on the Spokane City Council, power appears to be shifting in the New Year.
One year after the council removed Nancy McLaughlin from the board overseeing the Spokane Transit Authority, the Spokane City Council voted to reappoint McLaughlin — the council's only self-described conservative — to the seat. The move booted Councilman Jon Snyder from the position.
City Council President Shogan, who proposed the change, said reappointing McLaughlin to the seat is “strictly a matter of representation.”
The city has three seats on the STA board. Spokane's other two members are Amber Waldref, who represents Northeast Spokane and Richard Rush, who represents South Spokane. Snyder also serves South Spokane. Shogan said he supported the change because the city should have an STA representative from Northwest Spokane.
Waldref, who along with Rush and Snyder voted against McLaughlin's appointment, noted that having representatives from each council district is not a requirement and isn't routine for other boards on which council members sit.
Asked why he supported adding McLaughlin back to the transit board after he supported her removal from it last year, Shogan said that last year he “had a different concern.”
He declined to explain what that concern was.
Shogan and Snyder have had a few contentious debates in the last couple months. Shogan led the effort to create a tab tax - a proposal that failed later on Monday largely because Snyder voted against it. But the most public and ugly argument between the two was over the proposal to defund a vacant deptuy fire chief position (audio of that debate from Dec. 20 is above).
Spokane's local government cable TV station is improving its live offerings.
Starting on Jan. 19, CityCable 5 will begin airing live the monthly meetings of the Spokane Transit Authority board.
The transit board has some big votes in the coming months, including deciding which routes and services will scaled back to deal with budget problems.
Spokane's Communication Director Marlene Feist, who oversees CityCable 5, said City Councilwoman Amber Waldref, an STA board member, requested the live coverage.
STA is the fourth governing board that the station will carry live on a regular basis. The others are the Spokane County Commission, Spokane City Council and the Spokane Park Board. The channel occassionally carries Spokane Plan Commission meetings live.
STA's meetings are at 5:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.
Let me get this straight.
The Spokane Transit Authority wants benches at its bus stops.
A company that sells advertising has benches at many of those bus stops, where it rents the bench backs as signs for its ad customers.
The city doesn’t like signs on the backs of benches because they offend the aesthetic sensibilities of some city officials and residents. It has essentially made such signs illegal and told the ad company to remove the benches.
After the city makes the advertising company remove its benches, STA will spend $87,000 to put up new benches.
Who wins here?