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Getting There: Citylink budget cuts force route changes

One urban line ending; two others adding stops

Citylink, the free bus system in Kootenai and Benewah counties, is facing major cuts in service next month to the urban lines in Kootenai County.

A reduced budget is forcing the system to reorganize routes to save money. But, at the same time, officials are proposing to increasing bus frequency and the number of stops.

“We are adding more stops. People won’t have to walk so far,” said Christine Fueston, the Citylink grant administrator for Kootenai County. “Really, it’s not all bad.”

A public open house on the proposal will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday in Room 1-A of the Kootenai County Administration Building.

Rural service between Coeur d’Alene and the Coeur d’Alene Casino will not be affected.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has been the system’s major local contributor, using its money as a match for a federal transit grant.

The tribe will continue to provide the matching money, but it is reducing its overall contribution to the urban service by $500,000.

As a result, the annual operating budget in the Coeur d’Alene urban area will drop from about $1.3 million to $800,000, Fueston said.

The municipalities in the region make contributions totaling $80,000 annually.

To meet the new budget, the proposal calls for eliminating one of the three existing urban routes and realigning the other two routes.

In doing so, planners could increase frequency to hourly from the current 85-minute interval.

However, buses would stop running at 10 p.m., earlier than they do now.The new blue route would serve Post Falls from Coeur d’Alene, but it would not extend to Stateline.

The new green route would alternate its direction of travel to serve Coeur d’Alene from the east side of downtown northward to Honeysuckle Avenue in Hayden.

The changes would likely take effect in mid-April.

The urban system carried 575,000 riders in 2011, an increase of about 25 percent over 2009, Fueston said.

Kootenai Medical Center provided some 19,000 paratransit medical trips at a cost of $293,000 last year.

For more information, go to KMPO.net.

Bike swap at fairgrounds

The first Spokane Bike Swap will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. Admission is $5; children 12 and younger get in free.

Vendors will be at the event. Individual bike sellers can check in from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Go to spokanebikeswap.com for details.

Kettle Falls bridge repair

The highway bridge over the Columbia River at Kettle Falls is due for major repairs to its 70-year-old pavement.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is planning a four-month project this summer.

An open house on the project is scheduled 4 to 6 p.m. March 28 at the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office ambulance training room, 425 N. Highway 395 in Colville.

“The bridge is a critical link between Stevens and Ferry counties,” Keith Metcalf, regional WSDOT administrator, said in a news release.

He said motorists will be stopped with short daytime delays regulated by a traffic signal. There will also be as many as 20 nighttime closures. Loads wider than 8 feet, 6 inches will not be allowed.

“It’s important we meet with drivers to discuss how they’ll be affected, and what they can and should do to plan ahead,” Metcalf said.

Work is planned on one side of the bridge deck at a time. A 2-inch layer of concrete pavement will be removed. Underlying concrete will be fixed where needed and a new surface poured.

The bridge serves both U.S. Highway 395 and state Highway 20.

U corridor open house

An open house to give final details on a University District-Sprague Corridor study will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the South Campus Facility Suite 260 at 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.

A presentation will show the preferred design to encourage redevelopment along the Sprague Avenue corridor and the south portion of the University District.

The study is part of a larger University District Master Plan and is related to the nearby Division Gateway Corridor project and a University District bike and pedestrian bridge over the BNSF Railway line at about Sherman Street.

The study’s goal is to encourage green, transit-oriented development.

For more information, go to developingspokane.org or eastspragueredevstudy .blogspot.com.

37th, Grand traffic light

An open house on a project to install a traffic light at 37th Avenue and Grand Boulevard will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Sacajawea Middle School, 401 E. 33rd Ave.

The $250,000 installation is being funded by Spokane Transit Authority.

Pedestrian safety patrol

The Spokane Valley Police Department conducted an emphasis patrol Friday to enforce laws protecting pedestrians crossing streets. Officers used a plainclothes officer as a pedestrian and waited for violators. Drivers failing to yield to the pedestrian were cited and given information about the basic rules of the road involving pedestrians.

The effort was a cooperative project involving law enforcement and the Spokane Regional Health District.


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