Spokane homeowner losing part of her yard to a new bus stop

Spokane homeowner losing part of her yard to a new bus stop
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Spokane’s plan to expand and improve public transit will cost some people their privacy.

The Central City Line (CCL) is a new six-mile bus route that will eventually connect Browne’s Addition and Spokane Community College. It winds through downtown Spokane, the University District and Gonzaga University.

#STA is working to develop a new six-mile bus route between Browne’s Addition and Spokane Community College. It will connect through downtown, the University Dist. and Gonzaga Univ. Here is the look at the route. What you don’t see is how one local woman is impacted.. #KXLY pic.twitter.com/vlrNsqV56H

— Ariana Lake (@arianaKXLY) June 3, 2019

One of the stops planned near Chief Garry Park will cut into part of Maricruz Monrreal’s yard.

“It feels like they just tossed a dirty diaper and it landed on my property,” Monrreal said.

She takes pride in her property. Her front yard is filled with flowers, grass, trees and shrubs. But Spokane Transit Authority (STA) will tear part of that out when they build a new bus stop near Mission and Cook. The yard next door will also undergo a similar change.

“I don’t mind growth and expansion and, you know, more bus stations. I don’t mind none of that. But, don’t do it in front of my property,” Monrreal said.

It may not sound fair to her, but it is legal, according to an STA representative. Karl Otterstrom, who serves as the STA director of planning and development, said in an email to KXLY that the construction is happening within the public right-of-way.

Otterstrom said “in the case of this area, the public right-of-way extends about 15 feet north of the existing sidewalk.” He went on to note that it is common for landscaping near a home to extend into that area, as is the case for Monrreal.

Here is the planner’s drawing for that bus stop near Chief Garry Park. Maricruz’s home is the one on the right. You can see that her yard and her neighbor’s will be impacted by this bus stop. She’s worried about her safety. #KXLY pic.twitter.com/TcHRG8587i

— Ariana Lake (@arianaKXLY) June 3, 2019

This isn’t your average bus stop going in outside Monrreal’s home. Plans show overhead lighting, a heated area, cameras and an overhang to protect riders from inclement weather.

The updated bus stop is part of making the Central Line comfortable and convenient for riders. But, Monrreal worries the space will attract homeless people to the area just feet from her front door.

“What bothers is me the fact that they are gonna completely change the outlook of my place. Not only that, but the window, that’s my bedroom window over there,” Monrreal said.

That window would have a centered view of the bus stop.

“Mostly there’s a lot of people coming in and out and there’s a lot of people drinking, people smoking, people littering, you know,” Monrreal said.

She said she’s made her concerns clear to STA through emails and even had a personal meeting with a representative. She works nights, so she hasn’t attended community meetings, but believes STA is well aware of her position.

Part of what STA emailed to me was comments that detail the land used in this bus stop is part of a public right of way. The #STA person I talked to explained that in the case of this area, the public right of way extends about 15 feet north of the existing sidewalk. #KXLY

— Ariana Lake (@arianaKXLY) June 3, 2019

“I don’t think they would like this one their property. I did comment that to them,” Monrreal said.

Otterstrom said he has heard her complaints and STA is “working to address concerns with other changes in designs, such as a fence between the yard and the bus stop.”

It’s a solution that Monrreal said doesn’t really help.

“I told them, look, you can put diamonds and gold in there. It will still be in front of my window,” Monrreal said.

She said that just because they can do this, doesn’t mean they should. Her hope is that STA will look into other bus stop locations that aren’t in someone’s front yard.

“It will definitely change everything I have planned and I dream of, you know,” Monrreal said. “Shattering somebodies dream like that is not fair. It’s just not fair.”

Otterstrom said STA has no plans to change the location of the station. The new location will be in use starting in late 2021.

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