Thursday, March 29, 2007

Facilitating Neighborhood - Next Steps

This week's meeting for the Theater District/North End focused on the results of security "sweeps" conducted by Sound Transit and Tacoma Police in cooperation with BIA Security and other area stakeholders. Clearly, this part of downtown is undergoing a major transition and is experiencing "growing pains" as more people move into the neighborhood and more empty buildings turn into restaurants and nightclubs.

For the short term, stakeholder vigilance and coordinated patrol presence will be needed to address public disorder. These activities are being augmented by surveillance cameras--and more are coming. Deploying the appropriate level and mix of security assets depends upon the successful working out of several resource issues that will culminate in the BIA's contract with the City of Tacoma for continuation past 2008, as well as on the willingness of stakeholders to do their parts. The transition is likely to be messier than anyone would like...

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has proposed stronger ordinances to give city government more power to shut down nightclubs that repeatedly get reported for violence, excessive noise and other public nuisances. Some property owners think that Tacoma should follow this course, as well. Discussion at Wednesday's meeting touched on the development of an "entertainment district" as advocated by groups such as the Responsible Hospitality Institute.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tollefson Plaza Event This Friday

The Click! Network is sponsoring to a "Back to Baseball" event in Tollefson Plaza this Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This will be a great opportunity for downtown workers and residents to "get your feet on the street" and welcome baseball back!

The event offers a Lou Piniella base throwing contest, baseball tunes from Tacoma School of the Arts, and free hot dogs, popcorn and lemonade. Meet Tacoma Rainiers Rhubarb the Reindeer and celebrate the addition of 100 baseball games on Chicago-based Superstation WGN, added to the Click! channel line-up on March 30 for the first time in this cable market.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Solving the Rubik's Cube

Yesterday's edition of The News Tribune ran our response to columnist Peter Callaghan's recent call for elimination of all downtown parking requirements--essentially, put it in context.

Parking--as the downtown Parking Advisory Committee has learned over the past year--is a subject of complexity akin to the Rubik's Cube. No single "magic bullet" will bring the solution we all seek.

Hopefully, more stakeholders will read these two pieces, consider the relevant issues, and investigate the Lloyd Center Transportation Management Association in Portland and Seattle’s Urban Mobility Group, two great models for another piece of this puzzle.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Third Annual Urban Art Festival

The Urban Art Festival has applied to present their third annual event on Sunday, June 24th, in Fireman's Park--one of downtown's ten great public spaces.

To participate, contact organizer Linda Honeck at (253) 820-8342 or (253) 383-0579, or via e-mail at

Sound Off About Centralized Event Management

As proposed last October, the City of Tacoma is considering transferring some management and permitting responsibilities for special events to Metro Parks, beginning this June.

Two public meetings to discuss the proposed changes are scheduled for Monday, April 2nd:
  • 8:00 a.m. in the 9th floor Visibility Center at the Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market St.);
  • 6:00 p.m. in the board room at Metro Parks headquarters (4702 S. 19th St.)
This will be an opportunity for community event and festival organizers to provide input prior to a public hearing on April 17th.

City Council Votes on S. Park Plaza Next Tuesday

This coming Tuesday evening, the City Council will vote to move ahead (or not) on the South Park Plaza garage renovation, about which some Council members recently expressed concerns. Downtown stakeholders are encouraged to attend and demonstrate their support.

Public testimony on the issue will be accepted beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers during the regular weekly meeting.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Next North End Security Parley Set

A second meeting for business managers, property owners and residents from the north end of the BIA has been set for Wednesday afternoon, March 28th, beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the Simpson Community Room at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber. While the meeting is free of charge and open to the public, an RSVP is requested due to limited space.

One purpose for the meeting will be to review the results of stepped-up enforcement efforts by Sound Transit and Pierce Transit in the Commerce St. corridor. Pierce Transit is in the process of expanding its CCTV system at Commerce with the addition of one camera on the corner of 9th and Commerce. This will provide a closer view of the activity that takes place in the bus boarding area. This will provide a covert means for police and security staff to monitor activity in the area.

PT has also added a morning security officer at the Commerce facility Monday through Friday. He is a former TPD officer and has been assisting TPD with observations and video evidence. Additionally, PT has a TPD officer that works a morning shift--although his primary assignment is patrol of transit right-of-way, the agency has directed him to concentrate in the downtown corridor.