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Spokane voters to decide on expanded bus service

Bus service in northwest Spokane would see significant improvements under a ballot measure that would raise the sales tax by an additional 0.3 percent to bolster transit.

Spokane Transit Authority would create a north-south line running from Five Mile Road to a new transit center near 57th Avenue and Regal Street.

The route would be pieced together from several existing routes. The change would occur in 2016 and could be expected to draw 200,000 annual boardings.

It would feature frequent service, expanded hours and new passenger amenities. In the future, the line would have high-performance transit service, which runs more quickly than regular buses in part by requiring passengers to prepay fares.

The North Division route No. 25 would also see upgrades to ready that line for high-performance service. Sidewalk gaps also would be filled in.

Mail-in ballots are being sent to voters next week for the April 28 special election that will decide the tax measure under STA’s Moving Forward plan.

The measure would raise $275 million in new revenue over 10 years, when the tax would expire unless reauthorized by voters. The proposal includes bus improvements throughout STA’s service area, and includes a proposed pilot route to Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene in 2024.

In addition to the new north-south line, bus riders in northwest Spokane would see improved night and weekend service.

Bus No. 33, which runs east-west on Wellesley Avenue, would see Saturday service upgraded from its current hourly schedule. The bus serves shoppers at Northtown Mall. That change would take place this fall if the measure is approved.

Indian Trail would see service improvements with the addition of night and weekend service.

Currently, bus No. 23 provides inbound service on Indian Trail Road starting just after 5 a.m. on weekdays, but not evening service after a 5:53 p.m. inbound departure and an outbound bus leaving the Plaza at 6:05 p.m.

The improvements would begin this year in phases with a single bus added for evening service in 2015.

“That’s a significant improvement for that area,” said Karl Otterstrom, planning director for STA.

Bus No. 21, which serves the West Central area, would be redrawn to provide east-west crosstown service. It would link up with a proposed Central City Line from Spokane Community College to Browne’s Addition via the University District and downtown.


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