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

Getting There: STA moves to buy land for West Plains Transit Center

By Mike Prager Mike Prager, (509) 459-5454

The Spokane Transit Authority board last week voted unanimously to buy 10.5 acres of land for a West Plains Transit Center next to Interstate 90.

The sale price is $1.1 million.

Earlier this month, STA was awarded a $1 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration toward the $12 million transit center cost.

The agency also received a $951,000 federal grant for planning the project and $8.7 million from the state for mobility improvements.

STA officials said winning the grants confirms that the West Plains needs improved transit service.

The cities of Cheney, Airway Heights and Medical Lake along with Fairchild Air Force Base will benefit.

Once the transit center is built and fully operational, West Plains riders will be able to travel across that part of the transit service area without having to go into downtown Spokane to change buses.

Along with easier transfers, the transit center will also provide a park-and-ride opportunity for commuters.

The property is located along the eastbound off-ramp at the Medical Lake interchange. It has street access for a driveway on Westbow Road.

The state Department of Transportation plans to design transit-friendly features into its planned upgrades at that interchange, which serves state Highway 902 to Medical Lake and shipping and manufacturing businesses along the freeway.

Full implementation of the transit center will hinge in part on voter approval of Proposition 1, a transit sales tax measure on the November ballot.

Voters are being asked to approve two sales tax increases of one-tenth of a percent – the first hike next April and a second tenth in April 2019 to last through 2028.

The ballot measure would finance a range of improvements, including a Central City Line of electric buses on a route from Browne’s Addition to Spokane Community College on the east.

All parts of the STA service area would see service improvements under the ballot measure, including new high-performance routes, park-and-rides, and better night and weekend service.

If the ballot measure fails, it will take longer for STA to implement the contemplated improvements on the West Plains, officials said.

Seltice Way revitalization to be discussed at open house

In Coeur d’Alene, the city is inviting residents to an open house on a planning effort to revitalize the area along Seltice Way between Northwest Boulevard and Huetter Road.

The open house will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Frontier Ice Arena, 3525 W. Seltice Way.

The session will begin with a 20- to 30-minute presentation on basic concepts for the project, which involves the city, Welch Comer Engineers and Ignite CDA staff.

Ignite CDA, the city’s urban renewal district, has committed to putting up $3.5 million over two years for the $4.5 million estimated price tag.

The district gathers tax money from increases in property values stemming from economic development and then uses that money to pay for public infrastructure improvements.

Washington state has a similar tax incentive program for public works.

The meeting in Coeur d’Alene this week is a follow-up to an earlier public meeting, said Tony Berns, executive director of Ignite CDA.

Potential developers of a new mixed-use community at a portion of the former Stimson mill site will be at the open house. They are considering purchase of about two-thirds of the 80-plus-acre mill site.

About 30 acres on the west side of the former mill site is owned by Lancze Douglass, a Spokane residential developer, who has proposed an apartment project there, Berns said.

The city revitalization project will include new paving, reconfigurations of intersections of Seltice Way at Atlas Road and Grand Mill Lane; pedestrian and bicycle routes; transit facilities and new lighting.

A double-lane roundabout at Seltice Way and Atlas Road is under consideration, Berns said.

In a news release, Sam Taylor, the deputy city administrator, said a roundabout would be less expensive to build and maintain than a traditional intersection. Plus, roundabouts are shown to reduce severity of injuries in accidents, he said.

Indiana Avenue paving to start Tuesday

In Spokane, a project to rebuild Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry streets will move to the final phase of paving starting on Tuesday.

Construction should continue through next week with some lane restrictions during daytime hours.

On Main Avenue in the downtown area, new back-in parking and street dividers have been installed as crews work to change the traffic and parking configurations between Bernard and Pine streets.

The segment of Main from Browne to Division will have new parking in the center of the street with a midblock pedestrian crossing and other amenities.

Paving of Lincoln Street from Fourth to Eighth avenues has started, but the street won’t be open to traffic until Oct. 14. The Monroe Street segment from Fourth to Eighth should fully open by Oct. 4.

Downtown project to cause some street closures

Work on Monroe and Lincoln from Main to Second avenues continues to cause traffic congestion, crosswalk disruptions, and street and sidewalk closures.

On Tuesday, eastbound lanes of Riverside Avenue will be closed from Monroe to Madison streets.

Partial paving is expected on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, work on Wall Street from Main Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard will be finished by Friday.

Also, work to extend the Ben Burr Trail into the University District and install new stormwater facilities has forced closure of Second Avenue from Napa to Arthur streets.

Third Avenue has lane restrictions from Arthur to Altamont streets.

Around the Valley

In Spokane Valley, Montgomery Avenue from Argonne to Hutchinson roads will be closed starting at 7 a.m. through Friday for paving. A detour is in place, but congestion is expected.

Also, 44th Avenue between Locust and Schafer Branch roads has lane restrictions and gravel through Oct. 7 when paving will be completed.

Appleway from Park to Dishman-Mica roads has two closed lanes through October.

Bates Road from Boone Avenue to Rego Court will have flaggers directing traffic on weekdays. Wilbur Road from Boone to Broadway avenues and Rego from Bates to Wilbur will be closed through next Monday.

In the county

In Spokane County, work continues on Argonne Road north of the Spokane River with consistent delays and backups.

Also, work is continuing on Country Homes Boulevard.

Highway work

On state highways, new intersection advance warning signs are being installed at U.S. Highway 2 and Colbert Road and U.S. Highway 395 at Deer Park.

Multiple intersections in Spokane, Lincoln, Whitman and Stevens counties are getting new signs and striping during evening and nighttime hours.

The work has been moving from location to location, but where it is occurring, drivers can expected lane restrictions and delays.

A new roundabout at Wellesley Avenue and Freya Street is under construction until Oct. 10. The intersection remains closed. The roundabout will serve a future north Spokane freeway through Hillyard.