Spokane Transit Plan

Spokane, Washington

Spokane Transit Authority

Subconsultant to Nelson\Nygaard

2006 - 2009

CD+A worked with prime consultant Nelson\Nygaard to develop and assess a series of Downtown Transit Alternatives for the Spokane Transit Authority (STA). The assessment included an analysis of how effective the 'Plaza' STA's primary transfer center for passengers using its 'pulse' system of bus routes functions in the context of downtown land uses and one-way streets.

CD+A focused on assessing the pedestrian and transit environment inside and around the Plaza, a two-story building with indoor waiting areas, a mix of small scale retail establishments and eateries on the first and second floors as well as office space occupied by STA and the Spokane Police. The assessment criteria included the functionality and comfort provided by existing indoor and outdoor amenities at the transfer center, wayfinding and bus route signage, pedestrian and transit rider safety and circulation through the Plaza building, and pedestrian access to the center's bus bays and adjacent retail and office uses. After extensive stakeholder interviews and field observations, the team created a report that identified constraints and opportunities with regard to bus operations, transit rider experience and the fit of the transfer center activities in the context of the downtown. CD+A then developed a set of recommendations and design concepts for physical and programmatic improvements to the Plaza building and bus boarding areas. These included the relocation of customer care related and retail uses to the ground floor area, the removal of a pair of escalators that obstructed views and created unsafe areas on the ground floor, a separate transit shelter for paratransit vehicles, and improved signage and bus waiting areas in the outdoor bus boarding areas.

In parallel to the Plaza assessment, the team also explored potential locations for a relocation of the transfer center from the downtown to a different site. In this context, the team explored the pros and cons of moving the transfer center to the Spokane Intermodal Center, located at the edge of the downtown and home to Spokane's Amtrak station and intercity bus facility. CD+A developed a concept-level site design for a new STA bus transfer facility at the Intermodal Center. The design became the basis for assessing whether the site could be considered a viable alternative to the Plaza from the perspective of bus operation, vehicular and pedestrian access, and integration into the adjacent transportation and land use context.

The findings and results of the work were presented to the STA board and then documented in the Downtown Transit Alternatives report, which was endorsed in late 2008.