Broadmoor Transit CenterPosted: January 27, 2014
In a previous post on a BFT system revamp, I touched on the idea of building a transit center out in the West Pasco area. At the time, I suggested that a temporary facility could be operated from an empty gravel lot next to Broadmoor Park Outlet Mall until a transit center could be designed and built.
Currently, there is an unofficial “transfer point” in West Pasco, located at the corner of Broadmoor Blvd (Road 100) and Chapel Hill Blvd. At this intersection, three routes converge: Route 66, Route 67, and Route 225. The routes are not timed to meet within a few minutes of each other, so not many passengers try to transfer here. Apart from the stop flags near the intersection, the only form of passenger amenities is a passenger shelter served by Routes 67(EB) and 225(WB) on the NE side of the intersection.
In the past, officials at BFT have acknowledged the need for a transit center in the West Pasco area, stating it would likely be located somewhere in the Road 68 area. Beyond acknowledging the need, it appears that little else has been done. Over the last decade, development in West Pasco has boomed, and hundreds of new homes and businesses have sprung up. In response, BFT extended Route 67 in 2004 to bring service to Burden Blvd, Road 68, and Sandifur Pkwy. However, service had to later be moved off Road 68 to Road 76 in response to the continued delays from traffic congestion in the area. Since then, the only other major change to transit service in West Pasco was the linking of Route 66 and 67 in September 2011.
If a transit center were to be built in West Pasco, the selection of sites would be somewhat limited. While the land value is a big issue to contend with, the current traffic patterns and the street grid also narrow the options. Most of the new developments have been built in the typical suburban style with cul-de-sac’s and windy roads abound, which just leaves the traffic-heavy arterial roads through the area. There isn’t a whole lot of leeway to have any of these routes deviate too far to serve a transit center, so the only option is to find a spot that’s convenient and close for all three routes to connect to.
As it just so happens, there is an area in West Pasco where that happens. Even better, it’s the same area where the unofficial “transfer point” already exists. If you look at the map below, you see all the properties in the area around I-182 Exit 7, with several of the potential sites for Broadmoor Transit Center to be built at highlighted. (The sites for two key future projects, the new Delta High School and the proposed waterpark, have also been highlighted.)
In picking the sites for Broadmoor Transit Center, I had a few basic criteria. One, the site needs to be at least 1 acre in size. Secondly, the cost of the property needs to be under $500,000 at a minimum, but preferably it would be under $350,000. Lastly and most importantly, it needs to be easily accessible to buses and riders alike. For this reason, several potential sites were not put into consideration.
For Broadmoor Transit Center, these are the 8 properties to consider:
- #1: Parcel 115210025 – Located at the corner of Broadmoor Blvd and Chapel Hill Blvd, this 2 acre parcel would seem like an ideal candidate. However, that location comes with a hefty price. Valued at $1,045,400, this parcel is highly unlikely to be the location of Broadmoor Transit Center.
- #2: Parcel 115470029 – This 1.5 acre parcel is at the corner of Broadmoor Blvd and St. Thomas Drive, next to the Circle K gas station. With a value of $392,100, this parcel is much more reasonably priced than the parcel across the street. However, an issue with this parcel is the location at the corner of St. Thomas Drive. There is no traffic control device to stop traffic on Broadmoor Blvd so that buses can cross safely, and there is no way to build a second point of entry/exit away from all the traffic that passes by.
- #3: Parcel 115470019 – Located east of #2 and the Circle K gas station, this parcel has several advantages compared to #1 and #2. For one, it’s got plenty of room to build with 2.46 acres. It’s also close enough to the main arterials, but far enough to deal with any concerns about traffic control. If you look closely at the map, you’ll notice a road easement on the east side of the parcel, which is where a new road, St Francis Lane was recently built and opened. With a value of $321,800, it’s also a much cheaper choice. However, it is worth noting that this property is owned by Tri-Cities Prep Catholic High School, who may have future plans for this piece of property.
- #4: Parcel 115470018 – This parcel, which is also owned by Tri-Cities Prep Catholic High School, is located east of the school and north of Silver Creek Apartments. With 3.18 acres, this is the largest parcel under consideration. Valued at $346,400, its also more expensive than some of the other larger parcels. The biggest concern with this parcel is it’s location, which is the only parcel that requires an off-route deviation of any significance. (Note that Route 67 does use St. Thomas Drive on the turn-back loop for Saturday service, but no stops are made near this parcel.)
- #5: Parcel 115430028 – Located north of Exit 7, this parcel is located on the east side of Broadmoor Blvd and surrounded by Bedford St on the south and Dunbarton Ave on the east side of the parcel. At 1 acre, this is the smallest parcel under consideration. With the close proximity to the Interstate exit, this is also the closest parcel for all three routes in West Pasco the connect at. Valued at $305,700, it’s also among the cheapest parcels under consideration.
- #6: Parcel 115430017 – Located right next to #5, this parcel is also located on the east side of Broadmoor Blvd and is surrounded by Sandifur Pkwy on the north and Dunbarton Ave on the east side. It is valued slightly higher than its neighbor, at $310,300. With 1.02 acres, it is also slightly larger. Due to the proximity of this parcel to the Broadmoor Blvd/Sandifur Pkwy and Dunbarton Ave/Sandifur Pkwy intersections, there would be concerns about accommodating buses in the traffic lanes when entering/exiting the transit center.
- #7: Parcel 115460010 – With 1.76 acres, this is among the larger parcels under consideration. Valued at $421,700, it is also the second-most expensive parcel under consideration. Located on the SW side of the Bedford St/Sandifur Pwky intersection, this parcel is easily accessible by all routes. It’s also at a central point with several service industry employers within walking distance. However, just like #6, the proximity to the primary arterials does raise concerns about buses interacting with local traffic.
- #8: Parcel 115450045 – Located on the NE edge of the proposed waterpark and west of Broadmoor Park Outlet Mall, this parcel is at a key location on Sandifur Pkwy. Valued at $258,700, this is also the cheapest parcel under consideration. With 1.1 acres, it’s also among the smaller parcels. While this location is located along Route 67, it does require a significant deviation for Routes 66 and 225. This parcel is the only one under consideration that has had any previous site preparation. There is signage along Sandifur Pkwy advertising it as part of Broadmoor Park Outlet Mall, but it is also likely that this parcel may become part of the planned waterpark.
On the basis of the cost for the parcel, Sites 1, 2, and 7 are immediately taken out of consideration. Also eliminated are Sites 4 and 8 as both these sites have serious issues with access (in regards to route deviations). At the end, there are only three serious contenders: 3, 5, and 6.
Before getting into the possible site plans for each potential parcel, it is necessary to determine what features and amenities will be needed at Broadmoor Transit Center. First, there’s the obvious need for bus bays. As mentioned earlier, Routes 66, 67, and 225 all congregate in the area. While it is unlikely that any new routes will be introduced to West Pasco in the new future, it goes without saying that the transit center should be built with the future in mind. To be on the safe side, we’ll assume that there should be at least eight bus bays (Route 225 would take two for the EB and WB buses), which also allows for an allowance for bus staging and/or capacity for Dial-A-Ride buses. Like every other BFT transit center, there would also an operator rest station (bathrooms and maintenance closet), passenger shelters, and public parking. All other BFT transit centers with parking available have at least 50 spaces, so that would be the bar for the minimum amount in this proposal.
With all these factors in mind, I’m left with the conclusion that only one site has any merit in this proposal: Site 3. On the basis of cost it has the most “bang for the buck,” it is the easiest for buses to access (with the new Saint Francis Lane helping to facilitate that), and while not generally a consideration for transit agencies in Eastern Washington (except for Spokane Transit Authority), it also has the highest TOD potential.
Below is a generalized concept graphic of what Broadmoor Transit Center could look like at Site 3.
As I mentioned earlier, this transit center will be designed to be a basic transit center. On the east end is the bus island itself, with four bays on both sides for a total of eight. The four bays on the left will require buses to turn off the street, while the four bays on the right will be directly accessible from the street (much like how Dayton Street TC is designed, though designated bays will be utilized here). There were a lot of possible ways to place the bus island on the property, but having it directly accessible from St Francis Lane (the unmarked road running through the dirt between Chapel Hill Blvd and St Thomas Dr) is the best option and gives the transit center further “future-proofing” for any changes to BFT routes. Though not shown in the graphic, the previously mentioned operator rest station would be located somewhere in the greenspace adjacent to the bus island. In the interest of being a good neighbor to the gas station directly to the west of the property, it would also be worthwhile to consider adding public restrooms to the transit center as well (something that is not seen at any other BFT transit center except Three Rivers TC). The parking would be on the west and north ends of the property. The light grey box in the graphic is shown to give an idea of how it would fit into the site, though it would obviously be laid out better.
With this proposed new Broadmoor Transit Center, I also think it would be crucial to revisit the structure of the bus routes in West Pasco. I won’t harp on it too much since this is a subject better fit for one of my BFT revamp posts, but the two images below sum it up quite easily, showing the comparison between the current structure and how they could be revamped after Broadmoor Transit Center is open.
The key factor to note in the structure of the new routes in the map above is that it would not be feasible to do so without a dedicated transfer point, whether it were to be Broadmoor Transit Center or something else.
As always, I welcome your comments below or your tweets to @ziggzagzac. Is Broadmoor Transit Center the right idea, or should BFT do it another way or just leave things how they are in West Pasco?