Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Parking AND Transit--City Manager Expands the Discussion
Densification of Tacoma's City Center will require a whole new paradigm for parking and transit to offset traffic congestion otherwise created by growth. That's the ambitious scope of the recommendations that City Manager Eric Anderson previewed for members of the Tacoma City Council at yesterday's Study Session.
Anderson gave a progress report on his series of public forums conducted throughout the greater downtown area, emphasizing that none of the recommendations is final at this point. His presentation followed the outline of last week's presentation to the Downtown Merchants Group.
While noting remarkable alignment with the recommendations of the Transit & Parking Advisory Committee, we were clear (when asked by Mayor Bill Baarsma to comment on Anderson's presentation) that there is still some ways to go before the business community can endorse the recommendations. Still, Anderson's apparent grasp of the new transportation paradigm and the openness displayed both by him and by key members of his staff (e.g., Kurtis Kingsolver) are powerful tools that can help forge consensus.
Most of the questions posed by City Councilmembers focused on cost--how much will building an effective transit & parking system cost, and which agencies will bear the expense? Anderson admitted that he has yet to engage local and regional transit providers in this discussion.
Anderson plans one more round of community forums, in addition to using other venues to continue the dialog. He anticipates presenting his final recommendations--presumably accompanied by a budget proposal--back to Council in October.