Friday, January 16, 2009

Parking Requirements (or not) in the IFSA

The Planning Commission heard recommendations last week from the City Council’s Environment and Public Works Committee and the City Manager to eliminate parking minimums and maximums in the International Financial Services Area (IFSA) downtown. The draft amendment was approved to move forward by the Planning Commission, and they will hold a public comment session on February 4th. The City Council is expected to hear public comment on the proposal in April.

The IFSA, as you might guess, is the area between 8th and 15th, Commerce Street and I-705. So what does this recommendation mean? Basically, there are current minimum and maximum parking requirements for new development, and lifting those regulations would allow for a market-based approach to determining the number of off-street parking stalls that accompany new development in the IFSA.

And why might this change matter? The proposal cites two overarching reasons. The first is that eliminating parking minimums and maximums in this area would be an added draw for potential developers. Land availability, strict development restrictions, and limited parking options are common challenges for those looking to develop in urban areas, and this could provide an additional incentive to move to Tacoma.

The second reason is largely environmental. The proposal follows the City’s Green Ribbon Climate Action Task Force recommendation to focus planning and zoning decisions on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Eliminating parking minimums will discourage single-occupancy vehicles and encourage transit and non-motorized transportation, which is good for business as well as the environment.

The Planning Commission Public Hearing will be February 4th at 5:00 pm at the City Council Chambers in the Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market Street, 1st floor). Click here for more information.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Taking Action in Tacoma: How to Shape the Future of Your Community

SAVE THE DATE for this free two-hour workshop on how citizens can effectively participate in the land use process facilitated by the Cascade Land Conservancy's Cascade Agenda Cities Program

WHEN: 6:30-9:00 p.m. , Thursday, January 29th

WHERE: Philip Hall, UW Tacoma.

WHAT: Cascade Land Conservancy recognizes that citizens who are knowledgeable and proactive can have a powerful influence on how their communities grow. This event will help you become a well-informed, well-organized, and well-prepared citizen who is ready to participate in local decision-making process and guide local neighborhoods toward a complete, compact and connected future.

The interactive, evening session will provide a brief overview of growth management goals, key players and typical stages in the planning process. Building on this knowledge, we will focus on how to effectively participate at each stage, create strong messages and advocate for the long-range vision of the neighborhood. The session will connect citizens with tools, local case studies and other Tacoma area residents interested in improving the quality of life in their neighborhoods.

The event will take place from 6:30-9:00, Thursday, January 29th, at Philip Hall, on the campus of UW Tacoma. Map and directions to Philip Hall are available here. To RSVP (requested, but not required) or for more information please contact Jeff Aken at or 206.905.6928.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Commute Trip Reduction News
Downtown: On the Go! – Reinvent Your Commute

The Chamber is excited to partner with the City of Tacoma, Pierce Transit, and Pierce County to be a resource for your downtown business and employees' transportation needs, and to promote transportation efficiency and economic vibrancy downtown. This monthly newsletter keeps you up to date with Commute Trip Reduction activities downtown, ways we can assist you, and how you can get involved.

For information or questions about the Chamber’s Commute Trip Reduction efforts, or to subscribe to this newsletter, please contact Jessica Holden:

Dicey roads? Leave the car at home!
December’s icy, snowy roads were a good reminder of why it is important to have commute options. Being able to catch a bus or call up a carpool buddy with 4-wheel drive means employees are able to get to work safely. We even heard that the snow encouraged people to walk to destinations to which they normally drive – a great opportunity to explore your own foot power and enjoy the beautiful snow.

If you plan to ride the bus in severe weather, be sure to check for snow route information, and be aware that routes may be running slower than usual.

New Year, New Commute
Do your New Year’s resolutions include a healthier or greener lifestyle? Consider adjusting your commute to include biking, walking, and transit – you can even combine these methods depending on your route, the weather, or your mood. We are ready to help you get started! Visit or contact us.

FREE! January Bus Passes
Are you or your employees interested in trying out the bus this month – for free? The Chamber is excited to offer prospective downtown bus riders a January Puget Pass. Please contact Jessica at the Chamber if you are interested.

Upcoming Events
Transportation Specialists Luncheon: January 14, 12-1 pm – If you coordinate a transportation program for your downtown worksite, or are thinking about starting one, we invite you to join us for an opportunity to talk with other downtown businesses about what they are doing. Come share and learn from one another, and enjoy lunch on us. Please RSVP to Jessica by January 9.

Downtown Commuter Social: February 12, 5:30-7 pm – Due to weather, we postponed this event originally scheduled for December. Join us at The Hub Restaurant in February to socialize with other downtown commuters and sample tasty appetizers as our way of saying “thanks!” for your smart commuting! Please let Jessica know if you plan to attend.

Featured Business: CH2M HILL, Inc
Each month, we feature a downtown business and their Employer Transportation Program. Let us know if you have a program you’d like to share.

CH2M HILL is committed to ensuring their employees have great commute options, and they are continuing to build their program. In fact, 100% of the staff at their Tacoma office take advantage of these benefits!

Why an Employer Transportation Program?
“Reducing commute trips is an important goal for CH2M HILL because we are an environmentally conscious employer striving to make a positive impact on our environment and our communities. By encouraging and providing many ways for our employees to use commute options to get to work in particular, as well as shopping and other activities, we benefit the environment and our employees at the same time.”

About CH2M HILL’s Program:
  • Secure bicycle storage is available for employees who choose to bike to work.
  • Compressed work week and telework options are available to employees.
  • Employees who regularly take the bus, train, carpool, vanpool, bike or walk to work are allowed two free days of parking per month.
  • We are hoping to offer discounted bus passes to our employees in our new Tacoma office in the coming months. In the meantime, we are able to offer 'loaner' Flex Passes to our Tacoma employees in order to use Sound Transit and Metro services.

What are employees saying?
“CH2M HILL’s transportation program benefits our employees by providing many options for their commute, help lower their commuting costs, and contribute to a reduction in their carbon footprint, which most employees are proud to say they do!”

Advice for other businesses:

“Contact the Chamber or Pierce Transit to get started!”

December Chamber Commute Rewards
Downtown Chamber commuters who log their trips on are automatically entered to win great prizes each month.

In December, all it took was SIX smart commutes (biking, walking, ridesharing, or transit) to be eligible for these prizes:
  • $100.00 gift card to Maxwell's Speakeasy + Lounge
  • 2 $20.00 gift cards to King's Books
  • 2 $20.00 gift cards to Buzzards CDs and Video
In January, downtown employees who log at least SIX non-drive alone commute trips will be eligible for more exciting prizes from local businesses.

For more information or help using, please contact us or visit

*Special January Drawing!*
Downtown commuters from Chamber businesses who log at least ten bus commutes on in January will be entered to win one of ten FREE February Puget Passes!

Friday, January 02, 2009

REGISTER NOW for 2009’s First City Center Lunch

Friday, Jan. 16th, 11:30 (registration) 12:00-1:15 (program)
at Pacific Grill’s New Event Center, 1530 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA 98402

Don’t be left out in the cold…the Winter City Center Luncheon will keep you up-to-date on new developments and events downtown. This quarter’s luncheon will feature presentations on:

  • The University of Washington Tacoma’s Joy Building renovation
    The Joy Building is the last of the University of Washington Tacoma’s campus heritage buildings located along Pacific Avenue to be renovated. Upgrading the Joy Building is the next step in fulfilling UWT’s campus master plan. The renovation will provide additional classroom and faculty office space to support expanded and new degree programs and will serve to transition the campus toward the new 4-year curriculum.
  • Downtown Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Improvements
    Representatives from the Tacoma Police Department will discuss CPTED improvements proposed for Fireman’s Park, University of Washington Tacoma and the Tacoma Art Museum. The premise of CPTED is that the proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the incidence and fear of crime, a reduction in calls for police service and to an increase in the quality of life for residents.
  • Sound Transit Sound Improvement Project in the Dome District
    A Sound Transit representative will describe the proposed Sounder D to M Street ignal and track improvements in the Dome District, which will extend Sounder commuter rail service to stations in South Tacoma and Lakewood. A citizens advisory committee is currently working with Sound Transit staff to approve right of way width and track height as the new rail line crosses through the Dome District.
  • Preview of Tollefson Plaza’s Lunar New Year Celebration
    Join the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber to ring in the Lunar New Year and celebrate Tacoma’s Asian communities. The Lunar New Year, celebrated by communities across Asia is a time for renewal and a chance to welcome and celebrate the year to come. Tacoma’s Lunar New year celebration in Tollefson Plaza will kick off on January 30th at 5:00 p.m. with a traditional dragon dance and food from Asian cultures that celebrate this occasion.

Register on line at or contact Janice at the Chamber, 253.627.2175

Price: $20 Ambassadors prepaid
$25 Members prepaid
$30 Members at the door
$35 Non-members prepaid or at the door