Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Friday, May 10, 2019 at 12:02 p.m.
Up until now, if you wanted to walk from East Sprague to the academic buildings in Spokane’s new University District you couldn’t get there from here.
“So the railroad viaduct here was a barrier. It was a barrier, particularly for pedestrians and bicyclists who had to go all the way around to get to the other side,” said Marlene Feist from the City of Spokane.
Now, the University District Bridge straddles the busy BNSF railway in a single bound. A graceful gateway to new opportunities for people on both sides of the tracks.
“It’s focused on people if they are on bike or on foot. It’s a place where business and education grow together. It was an idea and opportunity to move people and it moves people,” explained Lars Gilberts of the University District.
On the south side of the bridge, a new STA bus line will move students, staff, even patients between Spokane’s University and Medical districts.
Senator Andy Billig helped secure $12 million in funding from Washington State.
“This is a bridge to education, this is a bridge to economic development and it’s a bridge to better health by helping people to walk or bike to work or school more,” said Billig.
The bridge also connects new growth and investment to the East Sprague corridor.
“Now the opportunity site for the redevelopment and revitalization of our community is to the south. Where we’re seeing Avista building its Catalyst Building. Where the Gleason Institute is going to be located. And then we have lots of other land that’s prime for redevelopment to serve all of these folks who come every day to this University District,” predicted Feist.
In fact, the bridge is already serving up new customers at the nearby Something Else Deli.
“There’s lots of new people in the neighborhood, there’s lots of new faces and they’ve telling me they’re new and they haven’t been in before and it’s really great and we’re excited,” said Galen Soucy of the Something Else Deli.
Investors are excited as well. Developers now want to purchase property the City bought in order to build the bridge for future growth in the area.