Spokane Transit Authority held the first of two public meetings Saturday about bus service in Browne’s Addition.
About 20 people showed up soon after the doors opened.
The meetings were held because some Browne’s Addition residents complained when STA eliminated the original Browne’s Addition Route 40 and replaced it with Routes 60 and 61, giving the neighborhood 15-minute service to downtown and 30-minute service to the airport.
Mike Maurer, who lives on Coeur d’Alene Street, and Steve Eugster and Karl Fleming, both of whom live on West Pacific Avenue, were among the first to complain to STA when as many as eight buses an hour began running past their homes.
On Saturday, STA presented three solutions to the bus service: Keep it as it is; reroute the buses to Spruce, which would mean eliminating parking on Spruce, by Coeur d’Alene Park; or remove Route 61, which would leave the 30-minute service to the airport.
Joy McMahon, who lives on Pacific and Spruce, said she likes the last solution best.
“It takes the main traffic away from Pacific and around Coeur d’Alene Park,” said McMahon, who doesn’t ride the bus. “Also, I’ve never seen more than six people on a bus here at any one time.”
Bus opponents said the buses are loud, travel too fast and make the old houses shake.
“I think they downgrade the historical feeling of the neighborhood,” McMahon said, adding that when the bus goes by, the china in her closets moves around.
Fleming – who conducted a bus study together with Eugster – said he doesn’t want all buses out of the neighborhood.
“I’d prefer to have the old route 40 back, but that’s not an option listed by STA,” Fleming said.
Eugster and Fleming claim that only main arterials have the bus frequency that’s now going down residential streets in Browne’s Addition.
“We are looking at 117 buses a day. It devalues the quality of life here,” Fleming said.
Bus supporters were planning a rally in support of the new bus routes to be held Wednesday night at the next STA meeting.
Dean Lynch, who lives on Oak Street, said he lives close enough to downtown that he can walk, but with more frequent bus service his ridership has increased fourfold.
“It’s just so much more convenient,” Lynch said. “Where I live I hear the trains, I hear the helicopters, I sometimes hear the planes – buses are just part of it all.”
STA spokesperson Molly Myers said the drop-in meetings had been set up in response to feedback about the new bus routes.
“We have comment forms for people to fill out and we’ll go over all the feedback once the two meetings are over,” Myers said.