September 13, 1997 in Nation/World

Sta Says Bus Routes Are Overdue For Overhaul Under Proposed Changes, Riders Face Longer Walks, Quicker Trips

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Spokane Transit Authority wants to make it easier for bus riders to reach popular destinations with more-frequent buses and more-direct routes.

But those same riders may have to walk farther to catch a bus if the STA approves a proposal for its first major route changes in 16 years, and that has some people upset.

“Oh, I’m so mad. I’m going to be stuck in the boondocks,” said Virginia Lake, 73, whose Valley retirement apartment no longer would be on a bus route.

Under an Oregon consultant’s proposal, STA would provide more frequent service using the same number of buses. To accomplish that goal, most buses would not stray from arterials onto residential streets.

Instead of hourly service in much of the Valley, buses would arrive every half-hour. A city rider could walk to a bus stop and know the wait would be no more than 15 minutes, rather than 30.

The ride to key points like shopping malls and colleges would be much quicker than it is now, said Jarrett Walker, the consultant who drew the proposed routes.

“STA has huge folders of letters asking for exactly what we’re doing,” said Walker. “People have been asking for years for more direct routes; they’ve complained for years that the buses wander around too much.”

In fact, most of the 700 people who have written to comment about the changes have at least something good to say about them, said Connie Peterson-Brady, transit planner. STA officials plan to use those comment cards to massage the proposal before deciding whether to adopt it, possibly as early as October.

Changes wouldn’t take effect until next summer at the earliest, said STA spokeswoman Teresa Stueckle.

The most common complaint is the longer walk required of many users.

Many city riders now walk no more than an eighth-mile; under the proposed changes, they’d walk up to a quarter-mile - roughly 4-1/2 lengths of a football field.

In the Valley, the walk for most users would be up to a half-mile.

In far-east portions of the Valley, as well as in Mead, users might have to walk two or three miles to catch buses that come every hour. But many of those neighborhoods now have no service at all, and riders who call would be picked up near their homes. Walker suggests charging extra for the service, but Peterson-Brady said rate changes haven’t been discussed by the STA board.

The change is overdue, said Walker. Many STA routes have not changed since the days when horses pulled street cars.

Those days, most people were trying to get downtown. Now, they’re going to NorthTown or the new Spokane Valley Mall. They’ve got classes at Eastern Washington University or one of the colleges in Spokane. Or, they’re living in one of the new subdivisions in Hangman Valley, which was all farms until recently.

The proposed changes should please people who think government should run itself more like a business.

By concentrating on the most heavily used routes and eliminating expensive side-trips, the agency should save money. Walker thinks ridership will increase.

Taxpayers will save money on street repairs, because residential streets aren’t made to handle heavy vehicles. Neighborhoods will be safer, too, without the lumbering buses, Walker said.

Try selling those benefits to Lake, who relies on the bus two or three times a week for shopping and other errands. Who cares that her bus would run twice as often if she has to walk a half-mile to catch it? Now, she only walks from her door to the sidewalk.

“A lot of the people who are concerned about walking distances are elderly women,” said Stuekle.

One disabled rider, who uses the buses so often she knows the schedules of most Valley routes by heart, said the proposed changes would force her to get her first driver’s license. She picked her apartment based partly on its proximity to bus routes.

“They should be expanding routes, not cutting them back,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

Rider Greg Hoch said STA service is just fine the way it is. Driving himself shaves just seven minutes off the trip from his North Side home to his downtown job, Hoch said.

“It wasn’t long ago they were bragging they come right into neighborhoods and we didn’t have to walk,” said Hoch, who would have to walk about six blocks under the planned changes.

The anonymous comments people have sent to STA show the difficultly of designing a transit system that pleases a majority of users.

One woman wants late-night buses from Eastern Washington University to Spokane on Sundays. One man wants monorail service to EWU from the Valley.

A 15-year-old South Hill boy likes the proposed route that would loop around the city. But he doesn’t want to walk “over six blocks to the new bus stop,” he wrote.

“If I have to start my car to get me to the bus, I will just use it to get me to the area of my choice,” wrote a 67-year-old woman.

Peterson-Brady said she’s not surprised that STA is hearing a lot of complaints. “People don’t like change.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo; Graphic: STA proposed route changes

MEMO: These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. THE PROPOSED CHANGES, BUS LINE BY BUS LINE

What will happen to the bus you ride? If you know the line number, the following list will tell you the changes in Spokane Transit Authority is proposing. In many cases, proposed line names are different from those used now. There are no Lines 27, 36, 40, 45, 46, 50 or 52.

Line 1 (Nevada): Combined with former Line 5 (North Standard). Fifteen-minute intervals, rather than 30, south of Francis. Service to include Whitworth College and Gonzaga University.

Line 2 (Northwest/Francis): Line 2 re-routed to become the western component of a new Francis cross-town route. Some neighborhood service eliminated. (See Line 13.)

Line 3 (Crestline): Slight changes. Parts of outer Hillyard loop replaced by Line 51.

Line 4 (Monroe): Combination of current Lines 4 and 23. Separate branches to Shadle Park and NorthTown malls. Fifteen-minute intervals south of Wellesley; 30-minute intervals beyond.

Line 5 (city loop): Former Line 5 replaced by Lines 1, 3, 4 and 6. New Line 5 loops through South Hill, Spokane Community College, Wellesley Avenue and Downtown. Fifteen-minute intervals.

Replaces Line 15, requiring Valley residents to transfer to reach either college.

Also replaces Line 30.

Line 6 (Division): Minor changes only. Eliminate direct service to Whitworth College and some neighborhoods.

Line 7 (Lincoln Park): Eliminated (see Line 39)

Line 8 (Altamont): Eliminated (see Line 14)

Line 9 (Sprague): Fifteen-minute intervals instead of 20. East of Sullivan, replaced by Lines 53 and 54. Line 9L to replace Line 12, with service only on weekdays, during peak hours.

Line 10 (Mission): Lengthened to Sullivan Transfer Station. Some service eliminated in Orchard Avenue neighborhood. (See Line 31 for service north of Spokane River.)

Line 11 (West Plains): Eliminated (See Lines 20, 21, 21X)

Line 12 (U-City Limited): Eliminated (see Line 9)

Line 13 (Maple): All-day, half-hour service (15-minute intervals during peak hours), rather than peak-hour service only. North of Francis, one branch to Hastings Park and Ride lot, during peak hours. Another along Indian Trail, replacing Line 2. (Branches peak hours only, 30-minute intervals.) Eliminate some neighborhood service along former Line 2.

Line 14 (Altamont): Limited changes west of Freya to eliminate Lines 8 and 17. Eliminate service east of Freya (see Line 44).

Line 15 (Crosstown): Eliminated (see Lines 5 and 44)

Line 16 (West Broadway): Fifteen- rather than 30-minute intervals south of Mission. Replaced by Line 13 north of Mission, with some neighborhood service eliminated.

Line 17 (East Spokane): Eliminated (see Line 14 and 44)

Line 18 (Broadway Feeder): Eliminated. No service on Broadway Avenue east of University Road. (See Line 48 for Barker Road service.)

Line 19 (Valley/Millwood Feeder): Eliminated. (See Lines 31 and 41)

Line 20 (Airport/Airway Heights/Medical Lake): Replaces Lines 11 and current Line 38. Thirty-minute intervals west of airport; otherwise hourly. Forms loop in Medical Lake with Line 21.

Line 21 (Geiger/Medical Lake): Former Line 21 eliminated in Valley (See Line 43). New route on West Plains provides more direct service to Downtown than current Line 11. Replaces current Line 31. Forms loop in Medical Lake with Line 20.

Line 21X (Medical Lake Express/Cheney): Replaces Line 11’s all-day, hourly service to Eastern Washington University with morning and evening service only.

Line 22 (32nd Avenue Feeder): Eliminated. (See Line 43)

Line 23 (North Monroe): Eliminated. (See Line 4)

Line 24 (Cheney Express): Neighborhood service eliminated.

Line 25 (Upriver Drive): Eliminated. (See Lines 31).

Line 26 (South Side Shuttle): Eliminated. (See Line 31)

Line 28 (Freeway Express): Eliminated. (See Line 48)

Line 29 (Garden Springs): Cannon Hill/Browne’s Addition service replaced by Line 38. Remaining route extended into Qualchan neighborhood. Hourly intervals, rather than 30 minutes.

Line 30 (West Main): Eliminated. (See Line 5)

Line 31 (Upriver): Current Line 31 eliminated. (See Line 21). New route replaces 25, eliminating service in some neighborhoods. Hourly, rather than 30-minute intervals. Extended to Spokane Industrial Park, replacing portions of Lines 10 and 19 (peak hours only). Replaces Line 32 north of Spokane River.

Line 32 (Napa/East Main): Some changes south of Spokane River. Replaced by Line 31 north of river.

Line 33 (Manito): Eliminated. (See Lines 5, 37 and 39)

Line 34 (Cable Add): Eliminated. (See Line 37)

Line 35 (Cannon Hill): Eliminated. (See Line 37 and 38)

Line 37 (Lincoln/37th Avenue): Former Line 37 eliminated (see Line 48). New route replaces Lines 34 and 35, with reduced neighborhood service. Supplemented by Line 38.

Line 38 (Cannon Hill/Browne’s Addition): Current route eliminated (see Line 20). New route replaces portions of Lines 29 and 35. Increased service to Cannon Hill neighborhood.

Line 39 (Southeast): Replaces Line 7. Service extended east of Regal, eliminated south of 57th and on 17th. Hourly, rather than 30-minute intervals. East of Regal, service during peak hours only.

Line 41 (Argonne): Replaces Line 19, extended to Sullivan Transfer Station. Service eliminated west of Argonne.

Line 42 (Pines): New line from Valley Transfer Station serving Pines Road.

Line 43 (South Valley): Hourly route replaces portions of Lines 21 and 22.

Line 44 (East Eighth/Broadway): Replaces portions of Lines 14, 15 and 17.

Line 47: Eliminated.

Line 48 (Pines/Sullivan/Spokane Industrial Park/Liberty Lake Express): Replaces portions of Lines 18, 28 and 37. No midday service.

Line 49 (Liberty Lake Express): One round-trip morning and evening.

Line 51 (Market/East Hillyard): Experimental hourly service from Hillyard, north on Market, east on Farwell. Deviations from route may be accepted by phone.

Lines 53 and 54 (Greenacres, Liberty Lake, Otis Orchards): On-demand service (requested by phone) to sparsely populated areas east of Sullivan Road in the Valley.

-Dan Hansen

2. MAKE A COMMENT

The Spokane Transit Authority is holding meetings this month to take public comment and explain proposed route changes.

The proposals may change, depending on comments at the meetings, and from surveys, letters and telephone calls.

No formal presentations are being made at the meetings, said STA spokeswoman Teresa Stueckle. People can come and go as they please, and get information about individual routes.

Meetings are scheduled for the following locations, dates and times:

Tuesday, 6-9 p.m. Cheney Library, 610 First St.

Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at The Plaza, 701 W. Riverside.

Sept. 23, 6-9 p.m., Valley Library, 12004 E. Main.

Sept. 24, 7-11 a.m. and 3-6 p.m., The Plaza.

These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. THE PROPOSED CHANGES, BUS LINE BY BUS LINE What will happen to the bus you ride? If you know the line number, the following list will tell you the changes in Spokane Transit Authority is proposing. In many cases, proposed line names are different from those used now. There are no Lines 27, 36, 40, 45, 46, 50 or 52.

Line 1 (Nevada): Combined with former Line 5 (North Standard). Fifteen-minute intervals, rather than 30, south of Francis. Service to include Whitworth College and Gonzaga University. Line 2 (Northwest/Francis): Line 2 re-routed to become the western component of a new Francis cross-town route. Some neighborhood service eliminated. (See Line 13.) Line 3 (Crestline): Slight changes. Parts of outer Hillyard loop replaced by Line 51. Line 4 (Monroe): Combination of current Lines 4 and 23. Separate branches to Shadle Park and NorthTown malls. Fifteen-minute intervals south of Wellesley; 30-minute intervals beyond. Line 5 (city loop): Former Line 5 replaced by Lines 1, 3, 4 and 6. New Line 5 loops through South Hill, Spokane Community College, Wellesley Avenue and Downtown. Fifteen-minute intervals. Replaces Line 15, requiring Valley residents to transfer to reach either college. Also replaces Line 30. Line 6 (Division): Minor changes only. Eliminate direct service to Whitworth College and some neighborhoods. Line 7 (Lincoln Park): Eliminated (see Line 39) Line 8 (Altamont): Eliminated (see Line 14) Line 9 (Sprague): Fifteen-minute intervals instead of 20. East of Sullivan, replaced by Lines 53 and 54. Line 9L to replace Line 12, with service only on weekdays, during peak hours. Line 10 (Mission): Lengthened to Sullivan Transfer Station. Some service eliminated in Orchard Avenue neighborhood. (See Line 31 for service north of Spokane River.) Line 11 (West Plains): Eliminated (See Lines 20, 21, 21X) Line 12 (U-City Limited): Eliminated (see Line 9) Line 13 (Maple): All-day, half-hour service (15-minute intervals during peak hours), rather than peak-hour service only. North of Francis, one branch to Hastings Park and Ride lot, during peak hours. Another along Indian Trail, replacing Line 2. (Branches peak hours only, 30-minute intervals.) Eliminate some neighborhood service along former Line 2. Line 14 (Altamont): Limited changes west of Freya to eliminate Lines 8 and 17. Eliminate service east of Freya (see Line 44). Line 15 (Crosstown): Eliminated (see Lines 5 and 44) Line 16 (West Broadway): Fifteen- rather than 30-minute intervals south of Mission. Replaced by Line 13 north of Mission, with some neighborhood service eliminated. Line 17 (East Spokane): Eliminated (see Line 14 and 44) Line 18 (Broadway Feeder): Eliminated. No service on Broadway Avenue east of University Road. (See Line 48 for Barker Road service.) Line 19 (Valley/Millwood Feeder): Eliminated. (See Lines 31 and 41) Line 20 (Airport/Airway Heights/Medical Lake): Replaces Lines 11 and current Line 38. Thirty-minute intervals west of airport; otherwise hourly. Forms loop in Medical Lake with Line 21. Line 21 (Geiger/Medical Lake): Former Line 21 eliminated in Valley (See Line 43). New route on West Plains provides more direct service to Downtown than current Line 11. Replaces current Line 31. Forms loop in Medical Lake with Line 20. Line 21X (Medical Lake Express/Cheney): Replaces Line 11’s all-day, hourly service to Eastern Washington University with morning and evening service only. Line 22 (32nd Avenue Feeder): Eliminated. (See Line 43) Line 23 (North Monroe): Eliminated. (See Line 4) Line 24 (Cheney Express): Neighborhood service eliminated. Line 25 (Upriver Drive): Eliminated. (See Lines 31). Line 26 (South Side Shuttle): Eliminated. (See Line 31) Line 28 (Freeway Express): Eliminated. (See Line 48) Line 29 (Garden Springs): Cannon Hill/Browne’s Addition service replaced by Line 38. Remaining route extended into Qualchan neighborhood. Hourly intervals, rather than 30 minutes. Line 30 (West Main): Eliminated. (See Line 5) Line 31 (Upriver): Current Line 31 eliminated. (See Line 21). New route replaces 25, eliminating service in some neighborhoods. Hourly, rather than 30-minute intervals. Extended to Spokane Industrial Park, replacing portions of Lines 10 and 19 (peak hours only). Replaces Line 32 north of Spokane River. Line 32 (Napa/East Main): Some changes south of Spokane River. Replaced by Line 31 north of river. Line 33 (Manito): Eliminated. (See Lines 5, 37 and 39) Line 34 (Cable Add): Eliminated. (See Line 37) Line 35 (Cannon Hill): Eliminated. (See Line 37 and 38) Line 37 (Lincoln/37th Avenue): Former Line 37 eliminated (see Line 48). New route replaces Lines 34 and 35, with reduced neighborhood service. Supplemented by Line 38. Line 38 (Cannon Hill/Browne’s Addition): Current route eliminated (see Line 20). New route replaces portions of Lines 29 and 35. Increased service to Cannon Hill neighborhood. Line 39 (Southeast): Replaces Line 7. Service extended east of Regal, eliminated south of 57th and on 17th. Hourly, rather than 30-minute intervals. East of Regal, service during peak hours only. Line 41 (Argonne): Replaces Line 19, extended to Sullivan Transfer Station. Service eliminated west of Argonne. Line 42 (Pines): New line from Valley Transfer Station serving Pines Road. Line 43 (South Valley): Hourly route replaces portions of Lines 21 and 22. Line 44 (East Eighth/Broadway): Replaces portions of Lines 14, 15 and 17. Line 47: Eliminated. Line 48 (Pines/Sullivan/Spokane Industrial Park/Liberty Lake Express): Replaces portions of Lines 18, 28 and 37. No midday service. Line 49 (Liberty Lake Express): One round-trip morning and evening. Line 51 (Market/East Hillyard): Experimental hourly service from Hillyard, north on Market, east on Farwell. Deviations from route may be accepted by phone. Lines 53 and 54 (Greenacres, Liberty Lake, Otis Orchards): On-demand service (requested by phone) to sparsely populated areas east of Sullivan Road in the Valley. -Dan Hansen

2. MAKE A COMMENT The Spokane Transit Authority is holding meetings this month to take public comment and explain proposed route changes. The proposals may change, depending on comments at the meetings, and from surveys, letters and telephone calls. No formal presentations are being made at the meetings, said STA spokeswoman Teresa Stueckle. People can come and go as they please, and get information about individual routes. Meetings are scheduled for the following locations, dates and times: Tuesday, 6-9 p.m. Cheney Library, 610 First St. Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at The Plaza, 701 W. Riverside. Sept. 23, 6-9 p.m., Valley Library, 12004 E. Main. Sept. 24, 7-11 a.m. and 3-6 p.m., The Plaza.


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