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Route 12: East Sprague Loop

The East Sprague Loop is the kind of route that fascinates me. Tiny, short stretches of condensed, multi-use, inner- to mid-city roads are the perfect areas to throw transit infrastructure. It empties the users from the longer routes that travel to the suburbs and surrounding areas, allowing those vehicles to stop less often closer to their origin, fewer buses/streetcars are needed to fulfill the demand, and (most importantly) the streetcars appear more frequently and predictably, meaning that memorizing a schedule (ideally) isn’t necessary.

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The East Sprague Loop turns around at Freya. I think it’s important to point out that this route (unlike the STA route) stops before it gets outside of Spokane’s city limits. The majority of Spokane Valley residents have made it very clear that they are unwilling to pay for public transit. This doesn’t mean those of us who live in Spokane shouldn’t be able to take a bus to Spokane Valley, but it does mean frequency and reliability for City of Spokane residents should be the priority.

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Like Crestline, Sprague transitions from two lanes each way to one with a middle turn lane. The problem with Sprague’s implementation is that the road surface doesn’t make bicycling on the right edge of the lane very viable. From Altamont into downtown, ruts, potholes, and cracks are the bicyclist’s number one safety concern.

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The Pedestrian Overpass, The Sherman Bridge, The Bridge to Hookerville. Whatever you call it, it will be a game-changer for East Sprague. I’m excited to see a couple hundred bicyclists a day crawling through this lot in a couple years and I’m jealous of the individual(s) who turn the building on the left side of this picture into a bicycle/coffee shop. I’m available as a barista/wrench man.

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The Sherman Overpass will help alleviate the dangers of the narrowing of Sprague right as it crawls back to a four-lane road. However a bicyclist chooses to navigate this intersection, doubts can be made regarding their judgement, which really means doubts should be made regarding the intersection’s design.

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Best non-downtown spot for a drink along the way: Sprague has a number of hidden treasures, even with Budge Bros. and Jones’ Radiator closing and The Iron Goat moving. Can’t recommend The Checkerboard and Bennidito’s enough, even if Sonnenberg’s is on the top of my list.
Next Sunday Monday: Trying to cram another thing into the weekend has been a little tough the last couple weeks. From now on, you can find new #1923streetcar posts every Monday! We checked out Route 14: Fort Wright > East Trent this weekend after riding Route 14. My description last week was spot on: “It’s a flat, straight shot on some of Spokane’s fastest roads.” Fun, too!

Published in 1923 Streetcar The City War on Cars

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