For the first time, some Spokane STA riders may be happy their bus isn’t moving.
After a public outcry over some proposed route changes, the Spokane Transit Authority has revised its plans.
Proposals for a dozen areas in Spokane County have now been amended. The changes will affect routes on the South Hill, the North Side, Airway Heights and the Valley.
“The public does have the comfort (of knowing) that we listened to them,” said Allen Schweim, STA executive director.
“We’re trying to be sensitive about this,” Schweim said. “Just because we haven’t said yes to everything, doesn’t mean we haven’t listened to everything.”
STA officials said the revisions were prompted by more than 3,500 written comments and three hours of often angry public debate at a hearing last month.
The nine-member STA board of directors will vote Nov. 26 on the entire proposal, which requires a majority to pass. If the plan fails, it will go back to STA staff for more study.
This is the first major revamp of STA’s routes in 16 years.
The original plan, guided by a Portland consultant, called for more frequent service using the same number of buses. That meant most buses would stay on arterials and not veer down residential streets, causing many riders to walk farther to bus stops.
For Virginia Lake, the bus that now passes only 50 steps from her east Broadway home would have been eliminated.
“I would be at a loss,” said the 74-year-old Valley resident, who lives at Grace Court retirement apartments.
And although she is thrilled her bus route may stay the same, she said she’d love to see more buses pass by her home daily.
“Oh please tell them to leave the bus on the road, but ask them to please make it (every) 30 minutes,” she said.
Some Valley riders criticized the original plan that would have dropped the U-City Limited, which takes them north on University, onto Mission and Mullan and then straight downtown on Interstate 90.
Now STA is planning to bring the route back, but cut out midday service.
For Brant Neal, who moved to his University Road home to be near his bus stop, the revisions are good news, even if it means cutting out midday service.
“It’s a slight inconvenience for the overall good,” said Neal, who rides the bus daily to work downtown.
The original proposal would have affected 933 bus trips a day. The revisions reduce the number of affected trips to about 300, said transit planner Connie PetersonBrady.
The biggest criticism of the original plan, Brady said, was that riders would have to walk farther to catch a bus.
“We’ve made quite a few changes, and people will see that,” she said.
North Side resident Mary Pryor said she is happy to hear the bus she takes downtown to the drugstore and bank will probably remain close to her home.
Pryor, 81, said under the original plan, she would have had to walk either two long blocks or six blocks to another bus stop.
Under the revised plan, she’ll be back to only half a block.
“I think it’s great because I won’t have to worry now,” she said.
The amended route changes are now on their way to the STA board. If the plan passes, STA officials said they want to review it in one year. The route changes will be paid for through a reallocation of the budget, Brady said.
Board member and Millwood Mayor Jeanne Batson said she never wanted to see changes to the buses in the first place.
“I told them leave it alone,” she said. “Why change anything?”
Batson said she will not vote for the proposal, even with the new revisions.
Sharie Stearns, board member and Medical Lake mayor, said she needs to look harder at the new recommendations before making a decision.
She said what she did see seemed to cover riders’ concerns.
“I’m not against change, but it’s got to be change for the good,” she said.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Revised routes The following are proposed revisions to STA’s original plan to change routes. Line 1 (Nevada): Reinstated service on Addison would run north in the morning, south in the afternoon. Line 2 (Hollywood): Would travel on Driscoll Road and service SFCC. Line 9 (East Broadway between University and Sullivan): Would restore hourly route that the original proposal eliminated on Line 18. Line 10 (Park and Liberty): Would arrive every 30 minutes on Lines 10 and 14. Line 10 (East Trent): Hourly service would resume on Trent. Line 12 (U-City Limited): Would arrive every 30 minutes during peak hours. No mid-day service. Line 13 (Fairwood Limited): Would return to present location on Waikiki and Mill. Line 14 (Upriver Drive at Farr and Maringo: Would arrive hourly. Currently, arrives every 30 minutes on Line 10. Line 14 (Broadway between Havana and Park): Would arrive hourly. Currently, arrives every 30 minutes on Line 15, hourly on Line 17. Lines 20 and 21 (Airport/Airway Heights/Geiger/Medical Lake): Would become two routes. One would go to Airway Heights, Fairchild Air Force Base and Medical Lake. The other, to Spokane International Airport and Medical Lake. Lines 21 and 37 (Spokane Industrial Park): Would arrive every 30 minutes on Line 42. Line 48 to pick up peak service. Line 43 (24th and Bowdish): Hourly service to 24th and Bowdish would resume. Line 34 and 35 (Cable Addition and Cannon Hill): Lines 34 and 35 would be combined into Line 37. Line 5 will offer service every 30 minutes between Bernard and Grand. No service planned on 24th between Lincoln and Bernard. Line 36 (Lincoln Park/ Altamont): Would become one route, and pick up areas served by Lines 8 and 7. Line 53 and 54 (Barker Road from Appleway to Mission): Would arrive every 30 minutes. Currently, arrives every 20 minutes on Line 9.
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