Was “The Plaza” The Right Name?

In 1995, Spokane Transit opened up their downtown transit hub. Called “The Plaza,” it’s arguably the crown jewel of transit in the Spokane area, and easily a contender for the best transit facility in the Pacific Northwest. Before the facility was opened, there was a long discussion between STA officials, city councillors, and the general public about what the name should be. Many names were proposed, but “The Plaza” ended up winning. In a slightly serious but mostly satirical piece, the Spokesman-Review made an argument for why “The Plaza” was the wrong choice.

Once again, the city of Spokane puts Plaza in a hole
(March 8, 1993)

Hasn’t Plaza suffered enough?

For more than a century, the little town 20 miles south of Spokane has been overshadowed by its bigger neighbor.

All that’s left in Plaza is a Grange hall, a grain elevator, and maybe a dozen house.

Now, the Spokane Transit Authority has decided to heap on more indignities by calling its downtown transit hole, er, center, The Plaza.

“Yeah, they’re stealing our name, aren’t they?” said Arlin Paulson at the Plaza Grange. “That just figures.”

The unincorporated town was settled in 1872, a year before Spokane Falls was officially recognized, and named after Plaza, PA.

At the turn of the century, Plaza had two general stores, a confectionery, two hardware stores, a blacksmith forge, a bank, two churches, and a school.

But Spokane began drawing Plaza’s commerce away and State Highway 195 was diverted so that it stopped going through town. Now the STA is stealing the town’s name. It’s a pattern of criminal neglect.

As unofficial (not to mention uninvited) legal counsel for the people of Plaza, we’d just like STA to note that we could be talking class action lawsuit. And that it’s not too late to change the name of that money pit.

How about The Rosalia?

Obviously, STA declined to act on the advice of the Spokesman-Review, and “The Plaza” stuck. Personally, I think it was the right choice. Though it’s primary function is a transit hub, it is also a center of commerce smack dab in the middle of downtown with multiple retail tenants, including a Subway that will be opening in the coming weeks. It’s also linked to other parts of downtown via the SkyWalk system. Changes will be seen in the coming months. The process has already begun with a modification of the Wall Street bus zones and opening the street to two-way traffic. Over the next year, major modifications will be done to the interior of the building, and the Sprague Street zones will likely be rebuilt to widen the sidewalks and create more room for waiting passengers. As changes happen, I’ll keep you all updated on that.


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