STA board won't replace bus benches - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

STA board won't replace bus benches

Jonathan Brunt
Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE, Wash. - It's a showdown for the right to sit down.

The Spokane Transit Authority board on Thursday rejected a $38,000 contract to replace some of the bus benches ordered removed by the city of Spokane because they violate the city's sign regulations.

More information from

www.spokesman.com

That decision means riders may have no place to sit unless Spokane Mayor Mary Verner reverses her order to advertising companies to remove their 250 bus benches within city limits by May 25. The proposal before the STA board Thursday would have provided 100 benches that comply with the city's ordinance, but it failed after some questioned why the transit agency should have to bear the cost of a city regulatory decision.

Verner, following a review started by former Mayor Dennis Hession's administration, decided last summer that the benches should no longer be allowed to remain in the city's right of way. City leaders say the signs have been illegal since a 2001 sign ordinance.

Thursday night, Verner said she will work with STA to try to find a way to maintain the benches.


KHQ will be hosting a live blog at 5 p.m. to discuss city priortities. Do you think that the City of Spokane should be dealing with other issues besides bus benches? What would you make a priority for the city if you were in charge? Log on to KHQ.com at 5 p.m. to discuss your thoughts with Bill McGinty.  You can set up an e-mail reminder for tonight's live blog right now.

Previous Coverage from KHQ

The law has been on the books for year years, but the city did not decide until October, 2008 that all bus benches with advertising should be removed as part of a program to limit outdoor advertising in town.

That has sparked a fight between the city and Emerald Outdoor Advertising, which had the contract to provide the benches. The company hasn't removed its 223 signs, arguing that officials reneged on a pledge to create an open process for the decision.

Under the bench contract, Emerald paid the city $9,500 a year for the right to place the benches at bus stops. The company was responsible for buying, installing and maintaining them.

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