Getting There: Spokane airport to offer quicker screenings
Spokane International Airport is among 60 airports around the country that will offer an expedited passenger screening process for pre-approved travelers.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced last week a major expansion of its Pre Check program, which began in 2011 and operates at 40 major airports.
Bringing the program to Spokane will offer passengers here one more option for improving their travel experience and getting on their flights more quickly, said Lawrence Krauter, airport director and CEO.
“It’s a big customer-service priority for us to get Pre Check,” Krauter said.
Pre Check boarding passes will have an identifying code. Separate lines will be set up for enrollees. Those travelers can wear shoes, a belt and a light jacket; keep laptops in their cases; and carry compliant amounts of personal liquids and gels in their walk-on bags.
TSA said it expects to have Pre Check operating here by the end of the year.
The new system will benefit “road warriors” who fly frequently and could shorten lines for non-approved travelers, Krauter said.
“Anything that can speed up throughput at the airport is a good thing,” he said.
The airport will encourage travelers to enroll in the service, Krauter said. TSA will charge $85 for enrollment, good for five years.
An application can be started online, but the traveler must show up at a TSA enrollment center to provide fingerprints and proof of identity. The nearest enrollment locations will be at the Seattle and Portland airports.
Krauter said the Spokane airport has asked TSA to open an enrollment center here, but that may not occur for some time.
In addition to applying directly with TSA, passengers can be enrolled in Pre Check through a frequent-flier invitation from their airline. Also, passengers can qualify by being enrolled in trusted traveler programs of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service.
The qualifying frequent flier programs are operated by Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian and United airlines along with U.S. Airways and Virgin America. JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines will be added soon.
STA changing routes, procedures
The Spokane Transit Authority announced last week several route changes starting this coming Sunday.
At the Plaza in downtown Spokane, STA is revising operations at loading zone No. 10 on Sprague Avenue at Post Street. Passengers will arrive there but load in new locations around the Plaza. The change is intended to reduce pedestrian congestion created by passengers waiting for buses along the sidewalk at that intersection.
Another change involves improvements to connections to express bus service through Spokane Valley.
Spokane Community College riders will have new designated boarding areas with better signs to reduce confusion about where to catch a bus. An upgraded transit center is opening there.
On other routes, some buses will have new departure times, including from the Plaza.
Riders should check for changes at the Plaza or at spokanetransit.com or by calling (509) 328-7433.
STA staff will be at the Plaza and major transfer points to answer questions as the changes take place.
Work scheduled around Spokane
In Spokane work starts today on Fiske Street from 17th to 19th avenues where new curbs, curb ramps, sidewalks and pavement are planned. In addition, stormwater drainage is being upgraded.
On Tuesday, Post Street in front of City Hall will close through Oct. 10 to install a new crosswalk, sidewalks and a Centennial Trail link as part of a series of improvements on both sides of Spokane Falls.
Bridge Avenue from Lincoln to Monroe streets also is closed through Oct. 15 for construction of the Centennial Trail extension westward through Kendall Yards subdivision.
Pavement crack sealing is underway in Browne’s Addition and the West Point neighborhood.
Repaving work also is being done on Monroe from Rowan to Francis avenues.
The Maple Street Bridge is closing at 7 p.m. tonight through 6 a.m. Tuesday for installation of traffic messaging signs at the north end of the bridge.
Indiana repaving starts soon
In Spokane Valley, resurfacing of Indiana Avenue from Pines Road to Mirabeau Parkway tentatively is set for two weeks later this month.
During the work, Indiana will be reduced to a single lane of traffic in each direction. Driveways may be temporarily blocked.
In addition, the Mirabeau Park and Ride lot will be closed for one day during the construction. Spokane Transit Authority will announce the date.