A New Vision for Transit in the Region's Busiest Corridor
Since 2020, STA and the Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC) have been collaborating on a study called DivisionConnects that looks at transportation and land use in the Division Street corridor. Phase 1 of the study involved engaging the public widely and performing an in-depth analysis of bus rapid transit (BRT). Using the results of this evaluation along with input from panel members from the STA and SRTC boards, the Board of Directors of STA and SRTC adopted a locally preferred alternative for an approximately nine-mile BRT route in the Division Street corridor.
Phase 2 of the DivisionConnects study will identify and propose land use opportunities that will support and complement the BRT line and seek to understand what changes the public would like to see in the corridor.
Locally Preferred Alternative
The locally preferred alternative envisions the Division Line BRT operating with zero-emission 60-foot buses and qualifying as a “fixed-guideway” BRT project under the Federal Transit Capital Investment Grant program. The service plan is for buses to operate every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes or less on nights and weekends. In the short term, STA expects the Division Line BRT to run from the Spokane Central Business District, near the STA Plaza, along Division Street to the current Route 25 terminal at the Hastings Park & Ride. In the long term, the line will continue on to a new transit center at E Farwell Road and Highway 2. The work performed during the preliminary engineering stage of the project will determine the route (also called the alignment) the Division Line BRT follows through downtown. BRT stations will be at major intersections and near destinations.
The Division Street BRT is expected to operate in side-running lanes that are dedicated to business access and transit buses (BAT) through a majority of the corridor, primarily between North River Drive and the “Y.”
DivisionConnects is also exploring protected bicycle lanes on Ruby Street as well as improvements for pedestrians, ADA accessibility, and bicycles throughout the corridor.
BRT stations can be similar to light rail stations in other cities in that they are branded and provide many advantages. Some advantages for bus riders include nearly level boarding, the option to board through any door, the ability to pay fares before boarding, real-time information from station signs, and improved crosswalk markings. In addition, the BRT receives a dedicated lane and prioritized signals. These features significantly decrease travel time.
BRT services benefit communities in a variety of ways, such as the following:
- Saving money and time for riders and decreasing transportation costs for households
- Improving traffic safety by decreasing traffic congestion and calming car traffic to safer speeds
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with an electric bus fleet
- Improving public health with better air quality and more opportunities for pedestrian and cycling activities
- Offering residents a competitive, smooth, and reliable alternative to private vehicles
- Increasing pedestrian comfort and safety with thoughtful station design and location
2020-2021 – STA and partner organizations (SRTC, City of Spokane, Spokane County and WSDOT) initiate corridor planning with community input.
2022-Beyond – The following phases and milestones are subject to collaboration among interested parties and project funding, including a potential $50 million allocation in the proposed state transportation revenue package.
Begin preliminary engineering and exploring the effects on the environment (also known as environmental scoping).
Subject to funding and approval by the Federal Transit Administration, enter the project development phase to undertake full design, engineering and environmental review.
2023 - 2024
Seek full funding for the Division BRT project through state, federal and local sources.
Construction of the project may begin.
2027 - 2029
Bus Rapid Transit will be introduced on Division Street in response to the upcoming opening of the North Spokane Corridor. This Division BRT project will accommodate growth in ridership and support economic redevelopment efforts.
Estimated Costs and Funding
Preliminary Cost Estimate: $120-150 million (in 2020 dollars)
- Preliminary Engineering Funds: $2 million
- Project Development Funds: $12 million
- Seeking approximately $75 million in federal funds
- Seeking approximately $50 million in state funds
A full funding plan and a comprehensive budget will be developed during the project development phase; the figures above do not include changes in costs that may occur over time.