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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

STA open houses will seek public input on bus service plans

The Spokane Transit Authority is taking its proposals for improving bus service to a series of four public open houses starting this week.

The first will be Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, in Spokane Valley.

Transit planners hope to share their ideas for improving bus service while maintaining existing service levels. At the same time, they are looking for public input on their plans, contained in the document called “STA Moving Forward.” It outlines two dozen transit improvement projects, including a downtown Central City Line from Browne’s Addition to Gonzaga University.

“In addition to sustaining existing service, the community identified about two dozen transit projects that could be implemented over the next 10 years,” said Susan Meyer, the chief executive officer of STA, in a statement.

“Our goal is to have a community-supported plan that gets more people to work, strengthens economic development, improves long-term air quality and ensures service to seniors and people with disabilities,” Meyer said.

The other open houses will be Oct. 28 at the Wren Pierson Community Center, 615 Fourth St., Cheney; Nov. 6 at the STA Plaza, 701 W. Riverside Ave.; and Nov. 7 at the Quality Inn Oakwood, 1919 N. Division St. All are from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Planning work for transit improvements began two years ago and has involved earlier rounds of public input.

Meyer has said the agency hopes to position the transit system for future growth in population and workforce, and a shift in transportation habits that may favor public transit in the future.

Planners think that annual ridership could grow by 30 percent, to 15 million boardings, in the next 10 years.

The plan hinges on voter approval of a sales tax increase of 0.3 percent.

The open houses come at a time when business leaders in the downtown area are questioning the viability of the STA Plaza and the bus system’s use of the central plaza for arrivals and departures. Concerns revolve around the types of people attracted to the plaza and problems associated with them.

The STA board has put on hold until November a vote on approving a $5.8 million remodeling of the plaza.

A business task force is studying transit issues and the plaza.

Monroe, Lincoln work will progress next year

Work on Monroe and Lincoln streets will move to downtown Spokane and lower South Hill areas next year, city officials said.

The work will include street rehabilitation and repaving from Second to Eighth avenues. Concrete pavement is planned for the segment of Monroe from Fourth to Seventh avenues, which is subject to heavy wear from studded tires on the steep hill there.

The work also involves new curbs in some areas, pedestrian lighting, disability-accessible curb ramps, landscaping with 45 trees and stormwater facilities. Also, a water main will be replaced.

Funding for the street portions of the job is pegged at $5 million using state and federal grants.

Crews this year are improving the segments of Monroe and Lincoln from Eighth to 17th avenues.

Road, freeway projects bring delays, closures

• Interstate 90 at the Latah Creek Bridge could see lane restrictions Tuesday morning while crews undertake a bridge inspection. Delays should be short, officials said. Lane restrictions also are possible through Thursday at the top of the westbound off-ramp for I-90 at Evergreen Road because of work on an intersection island.

• The Keller Ferry is expected to resume service this morning after undergoing repairs to its hull over the weekend.

• The Centennial Trail from Sullivan Road to Mission Avenue will be closed and detoured to Indiana Avenue from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday so a contractor can get ready for demolition of the southbound bridge for Sullivan Road over the Spokane River. The project is also causing a lane closure on the northbound bridge, which will carry two-way traffic during demolition and construction of the new bridge.

• Also in Spokane Valley, sidewalk projects will cause single lane closures at various points along Sprague Avenue and at Appleway Boulevard and Farr Road. In addition, Appleway from Thierman to Park roads has lane reductions because of landscaping work.

• The Spokane Regional Transportation Council is holding a public meeting to take comment on an update of the agency’s plan for transportation services for people with disabilities, youth, seniors and low-income individuals. The open house will be Oct. 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. at SRTC offices on the third floor of the Intermodal Center, 221 W. First Ave.