Newly built Spokane bus stops under construction again, here’s why

Robin Velazquez is proud to own one of the newest businesses on North Monroe Street.

“It’s been super exciting,” Velazquez said.

Stepping inside her antique shop, Rejuvenate, will take you back in time. When you peek out the window though, you’ll see a piece of the neighborhood’s future under construction.

Crews are building a new high performance transit stop outside of Velazquez’s shop, on the corner of Monroe and Alice. It will be one of two locations for the specialized stops along that stretch of Monroe Street. STA spokesperson Brandon Rapez-Betty said four additional, smaller bus stops are also seeing upgrades this November.

Those locations are part of a more than 11 mile north-south route that spans from Five Mile to Moran Prairie. STA has promised that s ervice and bus stop improvements will make riding the bus a faster, more convenient, and comfortable way of getting around town.

In 2016, voters agreed to increase the local sales and use tax to pay for those improvements and many others included in STA’s 10 year plan. Included in that, are the changes on Monroe Street.

The stops under construction again are the same ones that were rebuilt when the City of Spokane completed updates to the Monroe Street Corridor last year. Rapez-Betty said STA reimbursed the city for transit-related upgrades then, including the bus stops. Now the transit group is spending more money on those bus stops.

During the city’s project, STA laid the groundwork for what will be the final upgrades to those six stops. Rapez-Betty says the new construction happening now was part of a long-term plan that was designed to save money.

” We had two options. We could have delayed the transit elements for three years and then come up and dug out the sidewalks and the roads, or we could have implemented everything together and just taken out the surface of the cement, ” Rapez-Betty said.

The STA spokesperson said the November construction is focused on removing the cement’s surface and putting in place what they need to move forward with the final elements of construction. Changes are directed at making the Monroe-Regal Line more user-friendly. The larger, high performance transit stops will include more lighting, monitors with real-time updates on where a bus is, and enhanced shelters.

But updating the newly built Monroe Street bus stops does come at a cost. Rapez-Betty said STA will pay about $120,000 to demolish, rebuild and finish the new work on those six locations. That’s on top of what was already spent during updates last year.

Rapez-Betty said construction is expected to wrap up next week in the area. Until then, business owners, including Velazquez, will make the most of their situation as they hope past construction pays off in their future.

“It hasn’t hindered our business or anything because of the support we have on this street,” Velazquez said.

This bus stop near Monroe and Montgomery is under construction. Eventually it will include a shelter with better lighting and a real time bus update information sign. This is part of the Monroe-Regal Line upgrade #4NewsNow

— Ariana Lake (@ arianaKXLY ) November 14, 2019