Spokane Bicycle News
By Anthony Hardwick
Nevada Heights, Spokane - Representatives from Spokane’s Transit Authority (STA) briefing the Nevada Heights Neighborhood Council on the Division Street Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project conceded that Governor Jay Inslee’s recent budget proposal complicated their timeline for the project's completion.
During the presentation Project Manager Hamid Hajjafari was asked what type of delays BRT could anticipate if the delays to the North South Corridor completion came to pass.
“These developments are so recent that we haven’t yet been able to factor them into the planning for this project. It does add an unforeseen complication if the corridor is delayed, but we will plan accordingly,” said Hajjafari.
Delays to STA’s Division Street BRT project would appear to be in direct conflict with Governor Inslee’s expressed desire to tackle climate change when signing last year's transportation infrastructure bill into law.
The North South Corridor is crucial to STA’s plans along Division. Completion of the North South Corridor would increase the efficiency of vehicles headed to and from the I-90 corridor by allowing them to travel those directions without navigating along Spokane’s busy Division commercial corridor. A reduction in thoroughfare traffic would allow STA to designate bus and right turn only lanes along Division.
The benefits of these designated lanes are numerous. Designated lanes would make it safer for right turning vehicles to avoid being rear ended by vehicles coming from behind them, thus reducing the urgency of right turns, which would lead to less collisions between pedestrians and right turning vehicles. Instances of vehicle collisions between cars trying to merge into the middle lane of Division after being stopped behind a pausing bus would be eliminated as well.
Couple these lanes with electric buses and proposed utilization of smart traffic signal technology and the reduction in carbon emissions in Spokane could be substantial. There are even plans to designate a section of the project for safer pedestrian and bicycle travel, reducing carbon emissions even further.
“A section of this project from the University District to Foothills Parkway will have safe options for walking and biking along Ruby and Division,” said Hajjafari.
Progress on the project is on hold while budget negotiations are underway in Olympia.
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