Thursday, December 22, 2016

How Buses Will Work If Lanes Are Reduced on Monroe Street

There has been a lot of talk lately about a proposal to reduce about a mile-long section of Monroe Street from five lanes to three. Businesses are worried about the impact a long-term construction project will have on their bottom line, people who drive through the area are concerned about delays and a lot of people have voiced complaints about getting stuck behind buses stopping at multiple bus stops through the area if there is just one lane in each direction.

According to The Inlander, Monroe is STA's third busiest route, with nearly 650 bus trips taken on the route every week. So the newspaper asked STA how things will work with buses stopping to pickup and drop off passengers on a narrowed roadways.

To start, the Inlander reports, STA plans to reduce the number of bus stops in that stretch- but only by one stop, so there will be a total of three stops.

STA officials are hoping that off-board ticketing that lets bus riders pay ahead of time will speed up the boarding process and "level boarding" will put wheelchairs at the same level as the buses, which will reduce the time required to load them onto buses.

Even if STA didn't reduce stops or implement the other technology that could speed things up, officials say the lane reductions would only add about 25 seconds to your commute during the "rush hour" period.


Charles Hansen said...

I mainly ride the #28 bus and it stops on Spokane Falls Blvd by WSU and blocks traffic while loading or unloading, but it is pretty quick stop and go. Between the #26 and #28 buses it has 15 minute service like Monroe so anyone can see what it will be like on Monroe when the construction ends.

SRTC Staff said...

Seems to me that it's not going to be much different than it already is as far as buses are concerned. I think the business aspect of losing customers to construction is a bigger deal.

Charles Hansen said...

Right now you can pass a bus in the other lane, which will go away when the construction is done. A lot of people say they will not use Monroe when it is three lanes because of the buses blocking traffic, I think is a plus for the businesses. Those that come can get to the businesses easier and safer. Construction no matter how much they try to not impact the businesses will impact the businesses but in the long run much better for everyone.

SRTC Staff said...

A lot of people I have talked to say they don't pass buses on Monroe now because the lanes are too narrow, so they just hang back and pace them. I realized not everyone does this but if some are already doing it, a lot might not change. And adding 25-30 seconds to your drive through the area doesn't change anything in my book.

I agree with in the long run, the businesses will do better. I have been communicating directly with one business owner, who also happens to be a planner for her job, who doesn't think her business (a restaurant and bar) can stand 6-8 weeks of construction. She doesn't have much complaint about the project other than that.

Charles Hansen said...

I know when they did the construction on Market the construction workers ate at the local restaurants so that helped, but surviving the construction is still hard.

SRTC Staff said...

Maybe the city will employee the same program they did with the construction downtown recently where they challenge different businesses or agencies to patronize the businesses, then they in turn are charged with challenging a different company. Either way, Monroe is going to need work at some point so it will happen sooner or later.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.