Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Downtown, a new Link station is headed our way

A new Tacoma Link light rail stop is planned for S. 11th and Commerce. The downtown business community including DaVita, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber and other members of the Tacoma Partnership have advocated for a Link stop at this location, which will provide better Link access for businesses and residents in the north end of downtown.

The plan presented at today’s City Council Study Session calls for two station platforms. The south bound station is proposed for just north of the South 12th St. skybridge, in front of the School of the Arts building. The northbound station is planned for just south of 11th St, near Chase Bank.

The additional stops will increase the headway or time between trains from ten minutes to twelve minutes. Members of the business community believe this increased time is worth the additional ridership and access to businesses a stop at this location will provide.

Design of the stations by city staff is 60% complete and includes additional security cameras and better lighting in the area around the stations. The station designs will require Link trains to stop in the roadway adjacent to the platforms. The existing sidewalks will be extended out to meet the tracks and new platforms. The construction cost is estimated to be $350,000. The City of Tacoma will pay for cost associated with construction and maintenance of the new stations.

The Sound Transit Board of Directors must give its approval for the proposal to move forward. The proposal and plans will be discussed at a number of Sound Transit committee meetings in the coming weeks and will go before the entire Sound Transit Board for a vote in October. If approved, construction could begin in January 2011 and completed in March 2011.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Prairie Line Trail Update

On Monday, August 9, 2010 the City of Tacoma applied for design and construction grants as part of the ongoing process of transforming the abandoned Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad corridor into an urban pedestrian and bicycle trail.

The Prairie Line Trail will be a linear park linking planned redevelopment in the Brewery District to the University of Washington Tacoma, Tollefson Plaza, Tacoma Art Museum and the Thea Foss Esplanade. The trail will provide better access from the south end of downtown to the Foss Waterway and will be a benefit to businesses and employees. Additionally, the Prairie Line Trail will connect to other regional trails including the Historic Water Ditch Trail and the Scott Pierson Trail.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Access to parking improves in Park Plaza North

Park Plaza North (923 Commerce St.) is one of the largest City-owned parking garages in downtown Tacoma. It is also the most central and easy to access garage for theater-goers, shoppers on Antique Row and visitors to the City’s Municipal Building. Pedestrians can cross the skybridge near the Theater on the Square on Broadway. Vehicle access is on Commerce St.

Until now, the closest parking stalls in the garage to the Broadway skybridge access point have been largely reserved for the City of Tacoma motorpool vehicles. This week the City moved the large code enforcement trucks and other City owned vehicles to the top level of the garage, opening up convenient parking for the public. Thank you City of Tacoma!

This change is one of the steps being taken by the City to improve on and off-street parking in downtown. Paid on-street parking starts in downtown on September 20th. For more information go to http://www.dowtowntacomaparking.com/