August 3, 2009 in City

Seat damage a ‘sad waste’

Repairing vandalized cushions will cost STA more than $13,000
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Colin Mulvany photo

STA mechanic Ron Scouton removes a vandalized seat cushion from a bus last week. More than 100 seat cushions have been slashed.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Damaged bus seats are stacking up at the Spokane Transit Authority’s bus barn. They’re waiting for repair because a rider with a knife has been slashing the seat fabrics.

More than 100 seats have been damaged, and maintenance workers are spending a lot of time fixing them.

STA officials are asking the public to help identify the person causing the damage, estimated at more than $13,000.

“This is a very sad waste,” said Molly Myers, communications manager for STA.

She said the agency believes the vandalism is being committed by one person acting alone.

Most of the damage has been done to the fronts of the seats and is not noticed until after a bus is finished for the day.

Last week, STA staff distributed yellow notices to riders asking for help identifying the culprit. “This vandal is robbing you of the money you pay in fares and taxes,” the notice says.

The reaction inside STA is one of “disgust” over the senselessness, Myers said. “We’ve had to take one full-time person off other functions” to fix the seats, she said.

Riders are asked to notify the driver if they see vandalism occur or if they find a slashed seat when they board. Also, riders may contact transit security officers at the STA Plaza or call STA at (509) 328-7433.

Freya work under way

Work started Saturday evening on the $9.5 million replacement of the Freya Street railroad overpass just north of Alki Avenue. The city previously funded a new intersection at the southern foot of the old bridge, which is actually two structures built side by side. The new overpass should be completed by next summer.

Fancher Way to the east is designated as the preferred detour because it also has a railroad overpass. Havana Street is frequently blocked by trains along the BNSF lines just south of Trent Avenue.

Freeway ceremony approaches

Plans have firmed up for an opening ceremony for the first usable leg of the North Spokane freeway on Aug. 22. It is the same date that officials broke ground on the freeway project in 2001.

A ribbon-cutting will be at 1 p.m., to be followed by a classic car parade. Afterward, two lanes of freeway will open to the public.

The initial two lanes on the 60 mph highway will be expanded to six when the limited-access freeway from Interstate 90 to Wandermere is completed.

The first segment will run from the vicinity of Francis Avenue and Freya Street to Farwell Road. In 2011, a second segment from Farwell Road to Wandermere is scheduled for opening.

STA is providing shuttle service from parking areas for the opening event.

Repaving, other work could make driving tricky

Repaving of Mt. Spokane Park Drive (state Highway 206) from U.S. Highway 2 to Bruce Road starts this week, and the job will result in some closures and delays. A pilot vehicle will shuttle drivers through the work zone.

Starting today at 7 p.m., the road is closed from U.S. 2 to Yale Road until Thursday at 6 a.m. The intersection adjacent to Yoke’s supermarket at Market Street and U.S. 2 will be closed, and northbound U.S. 2 will be reduced to one lane at times.

Detour routes will be shown with signs. Access to Yoke’s will be maintained.

•Mt. Spokane Park Drive at Mount Spokane State Park is open to the general public Fridays through Sundays, but restricted to authorized users only on Mondays through Thursdays while the roadway up the mountain is rebuilt in a two-year project. The road is reportedly rough in the construction zone.

•Work on repaving U.S. 2 from state Highway 211 to Newport in Pend Oreille County may result in short delays, with flaggers directing traffic around the work sites.

Similar projects and delays are occurring on U.S. Highway 395 from the vicinity of Loon Lake to Immel Road north of Chewelah.


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