Council votes to allow advertising on bus benches - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Council votes to allow advertising on bus benches

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane City Council voted Monday night to allow advertising on bus benches located in the city.  Some of the benches are currently in the right of way and violate City ordinance related to off-premises advertising. 

The ordinance being voted on tonight created several heated discussions from citizens on both sides of the ordinance as well as council members at Monday's council meeting. Public testimony and discussion of the ordinance took over three hours before a vote was reached.

The vote to allow advertising passed 6 to 1, with council member Richard Rush casting the only no vote.

Council will vote next week on a proposed ordinance to place limits on signs for advertising and businesses.

Early Monday Spokane Mayor Mary Verner announced she is promoting a bus bench replacement plan that meets the needs of the City's bus riders. Her goal:  Benches in the public right of way that are safe and comfortable and are placed where riders need them.

"Right now, we have a system that may serve advertisers, but unfortunately, leaves the end user out of the equation," Mayor Verner says. "We have benches that are too close to the curb, blocking sidewalks, blocking curb ramps for wheelchairs, and located yards from a bus stop.  That just doesn't make sense."

Mayor Verner is forming a committee to develop a plan to meet her goals.  The committee will consider where benches are needed, how they should be placed, and what they should look like. 

The committee will use some of the information compiled by the Spokane Transit Authority in 2008 when the STA agreed to replace benches in 100 locations where they are needed most. The STA Board suddenly backed away from that agreement.

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