Thursday, November 08, 2007

Three Ways to Improve Transportation Downtown

Getting into and around Tacoma's City Center may get easier in the near future due to three initiatives announced during the past week.

The Transit & Parking Committee organized by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber has released the latest version of its white paper offering stakeholder suggestions on how to improve transportation services downtown. This report augments the recommendations made last week by City Manager Eric Anderson.

The Committee is also working with the Chamber to launch a new program: Destination Downtown Door-to-Door. This program will build momentum—augmenting current CTR programs that already promote use of excellent local and regional transit services—to promote awareness and utilization of commute options. A long-term goal for this project is to establish the organizational foundation for a sustainable transportation management program serving downtown Tacoma’s various stakeholders, envisioned as a cooperative effort between the Chamber, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, the City of Tacoma, and individual businesses and property owners.

One key commute option for downtown employees, residents and visitors--and one that has enjoyed record-breaking success since its deployment--is the Link. One of Link's weaknesses, however, is that it has stopped running by 8:00 p.m., making it a poor choice for students (classes generally run until 9:00) or for patrons of restaurants, bars and/or cultural centers.

Until now, that is. Earlier this week, Sound Transit announced that it is looking to expand the light rail system's hours until 10:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Public comment is needed to secure this service change.

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