Spokane Transit Authority plans to develop a $5 million park-and-ride transit hub at the southeast corner of Mission and Greene streets, directly across from the Spokane Community College Campus.
The agency intends to lease about eight acres of land that the Washington state Department of Transportation has set aside for uses related to the North Spokane Corridor project and to purchase six acres of adjoining land and possibly a vacant warehouse on the site, also owned by DOT.
The financial details still are under negotiation, but such an approach ultimately will save the agency money to lease the property, says Susan Meyer, STAs CEO.
She says the interagency collaboration with DOT also helped secure a $2.9 million grant for the project from the states Office of Transportation Management.
Long term, its a great location, because of the proximity to the school, Meyer says.
The grant is being combined with a $2 million match from local sales taxes, operating revenue, and interest earnings to fund the project.
About $1 million is set aside for right-of-way acquisition, and $3.7 million for engineering and construction, $200,000 for design, and $300,000 for capital equipment, communications manager Molly Meyers says.
Spokanes Taylor Engineering Inc. has created a conceptual design for the project, which indicates there will be room for 10 bus bays and nearly 700 parking spaces on the parcel.
The agency plans to include customer amenities such as covered shelters, lighting, and signs.
The design phase of the project is about three months behind schedule, but STA still intends to have the transit hub ready for use by September 2008, Meyer says. The project is expected to go to bid in March.
Once the new facility is completed, STA plans to vacate the transit center it currently operates on the west side of the SCC campus, shifting all five of the bus routes that serve the area to the new park-and-ride lot. The bus routes will be reconfigured slightly to accommodate the changes, Meyer says.
She says it makes sense to do that now to coordinate with DOTs North Spokane Corridor. That route is planned to pass over the college campus where the bus stop is now, which likely would force STA to move the stop from the campus anyway.
Meyer says the project will create a transit hub that ultimately will serve the public better, providing access to bus routes that take passengers to all areas of the city without needing to transfer at the downtown plaza.
STA operates several other park-and-ride lots. Meyer says the agency hopes to expand one it operates at Liberty Lake, and plans to launch several new services this fall, including early morning commuter routes and downtown express service from a North Side park-and-ride lot at Hastings Road that will include on-board wireless Internet access.
The agency recently introduced a new fare system, and wireless communications access for riders on its double-length Cheney route buses, Meyer says.
She says changes such as those have contributed to a 13.9 percent year-to-date increase in ridership, up from 9.4 percent increase in 2006.
Contact Jeanne Gustafson at (509) 344-1264 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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