Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Here are the rest of Spokane Mayor Mary Verner's responses to topics we asked her to reflect on as she prepares to leave office. The rest is in an article running today online and in print.
Background: As mayor, Verner opted to end the city’s court partnership with Spokane County and created a separate municipal court. This year, it became clear that the city-led regional trash system is likely to disbanded in the next few years as a result of city disagreements with the county and other cities. Also this year, an attempt to regionalize animal control services failed.
Verner: “Go carefully into the realm of regionalism. (She noted a study from Eastern Washington University about regionalizing local government.) There are some benefits in certain subject areas or service delivery areas and then other communities … don’t get what get what (they think they’re) going to get. You don’t always get a cost savings, Nor do you always get an improvement in service, which is why you have to approach it carefully and do a thorough analysis.”
Background: Verner was criticized by council members Richard Rush and Jon Snyder for not ensuring that Second Avenue was rebuilt with a bike lane, as called for in the city’s bicycle plan. But she’s also supported expanded bike lanes in other parts of downtown. Verner has generally agreed that roads paid for by the 2004 street bond should by completed only curb-to-curb and has argued that a new street bond be more encompassing.
Verner: “I think we’ve been working toward a good balance of installing bicycle infrastructure with the other transportation investments that we must make, including ongoing street maintenance. I’m glad that we have provided that opportunity for more people to get around on bikes safely and people of all ages and all skill levels, and I’m also glad and proud that we have not allowed one voice to dominate. We have a bicycle advisory board that has gone through its own evolution and (has a) better understanding of what an advisory board does. We’ve created the Citizens Design Review Committee that gives the bicyclists and pedestrians and schools an opportunity to help design our projects before we go out and do the projects. We’re talking about the phase two street bond – the next of the three series of street bonds that were anticipated in 2004 – and appropriately providing for bicycle infrastructure where it should be included. So I think we’ve struck a good balance on bicycle infrastructure.”
Mayor Mary Verner must be tired of media events at City Hall.
And who can blame her? Except for the Chase Gallery outside the Council Chambers, it’s a pretty bland environment.
Monday she decided to talk about non-conforming bus benches in front of (wait for it..) non-conforming bus benches.
She picked a pair at Monroe and Indiana.Word is she’d heard the bench seats, which are essentially wooden 2-by-4s, were all broken last week. What better place to illustrate the problems?
Except that Emerald Outdoor Advertising had fixed the seats in the intervening days. So Verner emphasized that they were on the sidewalk, cutting off space for pedestrians and wheelchairs, and of different designs.
Verner also had to deal with the basic law of press conferences in the wild, which is: Stuff happens…
Let me get this straight.
The Spokane Transit Authority wants benches at its bus stops.
A company that sells advertising has benches at many of those bus stops, where it rents the bench backs as signs for its ad customers.
The city doesn’t like signs on the backs of benches because they offend the aesthetic sensibilities of some city officials and residents. It has essentially made such signs illegal and told the ad company to remove the benches.
After the city makes the advertising company remove its benches, STA will spend $87,000 to put up new benches.
Who wins here?