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.


  1. I wonder if ST has done any analysis on potential drops in ridership due to increased headways. That aside, it will be good for some business access, now lets work together on getting Tacoma Link into some neighborhoods for more car-free commuting!

  2. Nice work Chamber! That will improve downtown.

  3. Just what I wanted. T-Link to go no farther than it currently does, and for it to take longer to do so in the process. Don't see how that's gonna help downtown at all. The Chamber made a mistake on this one IMO.

    The biggest problem that I see is that the timing will be all off now. Currently, I don't have to wonder when Link departs to take it. I know it leaves every 10 minutes. With the extra stop, and headways of 12 min (or longer) I will no longer know where T-Link is, or how long the wait will be. This will likely be a net ridership loss, not a gain.

  4. So, um, if this is sort of a done deal (which I think was a poor choice), let's take it as an opportunity to "fix" our possibilities for the Link extension. Remove the Theater district station (yay, 10 min headways can come back). Dismantle the Commerce Transit Center to allow transitioning of the Link tracks up to Broadway. Shazam! We can now run Link up pedestrian-friendly St. Helens instead of car-focused Stadium Way. You can all praise my genius now.

  5. Jamie
    Consider yourself praised. Good idea.

  6. Tacoma_Ben3:25 PM

    This stop is more important than an inconvenience in not knowing exactly where the trains are. By far, the bulk of downtown workers are centered on the area between 13th and 9th and most of that is poorly served by the current stops. In the long run the plans are to extend the train to additional places (where people live?) and the easy timing will go out the window. Let's focus on making what we have work and directing future expansion to where it will work best. St. Helens would be awesome but I cannot see ST abandoning the existing terminus. Can both work somehow?

  7. This stop is gonna reduce capacity of the overall system substantially. With a 12 min headway vs the current 10 min headway, it'll reduce the number of trips from 6/per hr down to only 5/hr, a 20% reduction. How that'll work out to an increase in ridership is a mystery to me.

    It's also gonna eliminate the future ability to double system capacity by coupling two cars together. This stop just isn't physically big enough.

  8. Robert11:02 PM

    I want to know how this will effect the bus traffic. it says Link trains will stop in the roadway adjacent to the platforms. so buses already running late will get stuck behind the link and get even farther behind schedule hmmmm there was a lot of thought put into the project