For an STA memo responding to seven points in the recent Policy Center 17-page Policy Brief released last week titled, Overview of Spokane’s electric trolley proposal: The case, the cause and the concern over the $72 million electric trolley plan for downtown Spokane, click here.
Last week the Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP) Board voted to endorse the Spokane Transit Authority's April 28 Proposition No. 1 ballot measure. If approved by voters, the measure will provide an estimated $120 million of capital for new transportation projects while providing funds to sustain current service levels.
Most importantly the measure also provides the operational funding for a proposed Modern Electric Trolley (MET) system called the Central City Line, estimated to bring millions in matching state and federal funding; creating jobs and making permanent improvement to streets and pedestrian services along the route.
The MET was originally proposed in 1999 as part of the Plan for a New Downtown when the DSP requested a streetcar system serving the inner downtown area. A Streetcar Feasibility Study was commissioned in 2004 and the project was slated in the 2008 Downtown Plan Update. Independent economic analysis of the MET estimates a $45 million increase in land value and another $130 million in development for a total increase of $175 million in property value.
The following are key elements vital to downtown that will see completion only if the ballot measure passes:
- Extended hours to include Saturday night service past 11pm for bus and paratransit service. This provides greater support for evening employees and downtown nightlife.
- The construction of neighborhood and community transit centers including: the West Plains Park and Ride, expansion of the Upriver Transit Center at Spokane Community College, direct service between the Logan and Lincoln Heights neighborhoods. These direct routes and satellite stations will improve customer service while reducing the number of busses arriving at the downtown Plaza, allowing STA to reduce its load/unload footprint down to the area immediately around the Plaza block.
- Implement High Performance Transit (HPT) service on the Central City Line and Cheney, new passenger amenities, and efficiencies in bus loading at the STA Plaza.
- Increased service to the Eastern Washington University campus and connectivity for students to the University District.
- Provide direct, non-stop service between Liberty Lake and downtown during peak hours.
- Create a pilot extension of HPT “lite” service on I-90 east to Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.
- Continuation of existing services extended out 10 years
Transit services are vital to the future of downtown Spokane. Enhancing those services in a proactive manner keeps the community ahead of growth projections and preserves one of Spokane’s most desirable attributes; ease in getting to and from work and the downtown area. It further mitigates present deficiencies in accessible parking for some areas of downtown. Reliance on public transportation is an ever growing concern among younger generations. This initiative aligns with our desire to retain and attract young innovative minds. For these reasons we believe this measure aligns with the vision of downtown’s strategic plan and needs your support. Please vote yes on April 28. For more information visit the STA’s Moving Forward website here.