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STA's West Plains Facility Will Improve Connectivity

As Passenger Transport went to press, the Spokane (WA) Transit Authority (STA) prepared to break ground July 19 for the West Plains Transit Center, a facility to provide better service to residents by creating stronger connectivity between two cities in the region.

“Demand for the region’s public services is forecasted to grow in the next two decades,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA chief executive officer. “The STA Moving Forward Plan, which includes the West Plains Transit Center, was designed by the community and approved by voters to meet the needs of future commuters.”

The first phase of the transit center project is scheduled to open in fall 2018, and will include a 200-space park-and-ride lot. It is located near an exit on the most centrally located interstate highway among the three cities in the region: 6.5 miles to Medical Lake, 8.2 miles to Cheney and 5.6 miles to Airway Heights. The main transfer station in downtown Spokane is 9.2 miles from the new facility.

The transit center will allow for a direct connection between Medical Lake and Cheney; in the past, residents of these cities had to backtrack and transfer in downtown Spokane to travel between them. A second phase of the project, planned for completion in 2020, will include connections to Airway Heights.

“This project is a response to the needs the community identified,” Meyer said. “There is no question that the West Plains Transit Center will be an important connection hub and economic driver in the region.”

“STA Moving Forward” is the agency’s 10-year plan funded by Proposition 1, approved by voters in November 2016 to maintain, improve and expand public transit as the region grows. New revenue from local sales tax increases—one-tenth of 1 percent effective April 1, 2017, and a second one-tenth beginning April 1, 2019—will allow STA to grow service by 25 percent throughout the region, the first significant service expansion since the agency’s creation in 1981.

Other STA Moving Forward improvements scheduled for this year include the expansion of later night Saturday service, new regional routes and increased frequency of certain routes.

A schematic drawing shows the relative positions of the cities served by STA’s West Plains Transit Center.

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