March 27, 2014 in Washington Voices

Spokane Valley may get more bus shelters

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A half dozen new bus shelters will be installed in Spokane Valley this summer and now it appears the Spokane Transit Authority has enough left over from a federal grant to put up five more.

But there’s a catch: The city would have to acquire the easements, as well as pay for the design and construction of the 12-by-12-foot concrete pads where the additional shelters would be installed.

Spokane Valley has relatively few bus shelters, which bothers Mayor Dean Grafos, particularly since STA has been using the grant money since 2006 to install shelters throughout its regional service area.

“We certainly didn’t get a lot of those shelters,” said Grafos, adding that he views them as worthwhile amenities for residents and visitors alike.

Although it’s unclear what the city’s costs would be to take advantage of STA’s offer, council members agreed Tuesday night that they should work with STA in exploring the opportunity further. Engineering staff identified several locations along Sprague Avenue that would meet the siting criteria.

Councilman Ben Wick, however, noted that transit ridership is high around the Spokane Valley Industrial Park as well and urged that potential locations be explored there as well.

The transit enhancement grant is intended to pay for shelters at transit stops where there’s either high usage or long wait times. The shelters provide transit riders with protection from inclement weather while waiting for buses.

This summer, five shelters will be installed at bus stops along Sprague Avenue and a sixth on Appleway. All are among the busiest stops in the Valley, which also has an STA transfer station at University Road and a park-and-ride lot near Spokane Valley Mall.

City leaders said they remain concerned about the potential costs of acquiring right-of-way agreements and site prep for the additional shelters and want better estimates before narrowing the options.

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