Monday, February 04, 2008

Team Assembles to Push Commute Options

The big push is on to help downtown employees find new ways to get to work, reducing costs for development and spurring deployment of new commute options. A team of key staff people from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, City of Tacoma and Pierce Transit have begun meeting to shape a program that will help reduce traffic congestion--or at least hold the line as employment rises--in downtown during the next year.

Portland consultant Rick Williams is helping this group develop and implement a comprehensive action plan that includes the folowing strategic steps:
  • Establish a Premier Partnership, made up of downtown's top private and public executives (a commitment made by the Chamber as part of its contribution to Project Destiny);
  • Assemble a downtown geocode--location in geographic space converted into computer readable form (a task for City staff with their extensive Geographic Information System);
  • Overlay infrastructure on the geocode and assess service delivery (a job for Pierce Transit);
  • Target marketing (cooperative effort by all three parties);
  • Reach agreement on transit & parking goals (a cooperative effort by all parties following successful completion of the other strategies).
Partners in this combined effort are looking for a new, jazzy moniker for this unprecedented alignment of business, government, and transit agency--GTEC doesn't cut it; neither does Destination Downtown Door-To-Door.

1 comment:

  1. The big push is on to .... reducing costs for development

    First and foremost is to allow Tacoma to meaningully compete with Seattle, Portland, Bellingham, Olympia and other cities and allow the market to determine the amount of parking for each potential new building as these cities do:

    Tacoma anqtiquated parking requirements are keeping downtown Tacoma in a holding pattern with a broken streetscape.

    Here's Skagit County planner Andre Stone's analysis of Tacoma's anticompetitive downtown regulations on parking:

    A minor study was recently completed for the property located immediately south of to-be-renovated Luzon Building at 13th and Pacific. The property is 27,000 square feet and sits less than 100 yards from a Link light rail stop. For the property to be fully developed as allowed in the Downtown Commercial Core zoning district—a 40 story, 800,000 square foot office and residential building, it was determined that about 960 parking spaces would be required, assuming that 1.2 spaces per 1,000 rentable square feet of space were required, per zoning regulations. If each parking space takes up 400 square feet and costs $25,000 (typical per-space cost for a multi-level garage constructed in a seismic zone), then a 14-story parking garage costing approximately $24 million would be necessary just to meet the minimum requirements. If given the choice between building an office building in Tacoma, with its onerous parking requirements, or building in Seattle, with no parking requirements and for millions of dollars less, I think developers would pick Seattle every time.

    Tacoma needs to quickly be competitive and allow Tacoma to function like a city again if it is serious about competing. Tacoma should have stayed up on this issue and follow these other west coast cities years ago.