Friday, April 30, 2010

Plans Progress for Downtown Parking

The Parking Management Advisory Task Force (PMATF), appointed in March to make recommendations on the paid on-street parking system has worked diligently to create a on-street parking system that prioritizes customers, clients and visitors to downtown Tacoma, ensures 15 percent vacancy of on-street stalls, and is easy to use and understand.

The Task Force has an ambitious schedule of topics to address before the pay stations are turned on for public use in early September. To date, the Task Force has made the following recommendations. The public is encouraged to attend and share their thoughts about these recommendations at the monthly public meeting. The next public meeting is May 6th, 5-6pm in the Pantages Theater Lobby (S. 9th and Broadway).

Days of Paystation Operation: Monday – Saturday
The PMATF recommended Monday through Saturday operation based on current days of operation and consistency with other local jurisdictions – thereby making it easy for customers to understand. Furthermore, there was no data to support the need for enforcement on Sundays.

Hours of Paystation Operation: 8AM – 6PM
The PMATF recommended 8AM – 6PM operation based on current hours of operation and consistency with other local jurisdictions – again simplifying the system for customers. While consideration was given to the need for later hours in certain portions of downtown, the data collected showed on-street vacancies increased to about 50 percent by 7PM. Until more data is collected, the PMATF did not feel comfortable extending these hours.

Time Limits: 2-Hour Time Limit
The PMATF recommended a 2-hour base time limit (consistent with other jurisdictions) rather than another time limit or unlimited time. The PMATF felt that unlimited time purchases would encourage all day parkers to compete with customers for on-street spaces. By establishing time limits, the City retains the ability to use other tools (price and chain parking restrictions) to encourage all day parkers to use garages and lots.

Criteria for Paystation Locations
The PMATF has worked with a representative of the potential vendor to establish criteria for the draft map of the placement of paystations. These criteria will help determine the draft map which will be later refined by on-the-ground work.

Area of Enforcement Buffer Time Limits
The PMATF recommended a 90 minute time stay and enforced buffer area around the paid area to discourage employees from parking here to avoid paying. The boundaries of the buffer zone are S. 4th, S. 21st, Dock St. and Tacoma Ave.

Revised Chain Parking Ordinance
The PMATF has reviewed Tacoma’s chain parking ordinance to find a more effective way of limiting chain parking and encouraging all day parkers to park off street in a garage or lot. The Task Force continues to evaluate this issue

Communications Plan
The PMATF continues to work with the consultants on a communications and marketing plan. In partnership with the City staff a local advertizing firm will be hired to develop the communications campaign.

Exception Spaces
The PMATF is currently evaluating the process for requesting and or locating short-term 30min stalls, loading zones, valet zones, etc.

The PMATF plans to take up the following issues in the coming months:
- Parking Signage
- Paystation Graphics
- Display Graphics
- Receipt Design
- Parking Fines
- Other Municipal Code Changes
- Parking Permits (Residential, Construction, Service, Delivery, etc.)
- Other topics

For more information about Downtown Parking and the Parking Task Force go to To share a comment please email

other post on this topic:
Council endorses parking meters
Paid on-street parking is coming

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spaceworks Tacoma to fill downtown’s vacant storefronts

Spaceworks Tacoma is seeking artist, creative entrepreneurs and property owners to join in an effort to fill downtown Tacoma’s vacant storefronts with creative, innovative and active uses. The initiative is a partnership between the City of Tacoma, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, and Shunpike.

The intent of Spaceworks Tacoma is to build a critical mass of destination quality art installations, creative retail opportunities, artist studios and events in downtown Tacoma. These opportunities will serve to put feet on the street and reinforce Tacoma’s burgeoning image as a city for and about the arts.

Spaceworks Tacoma will connect property owners looking to gain exposure for their available retail spaces with artists and entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. For a limited time and reduced rents these connections will help to breathe life into downtown’s streetscape.

A community information meeting will be held April 28th from 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. at Suite 133 (703 Pacific Ave.). This is an opportunity for community members, artists, entrepreneurs and property owners to learn more about the Spaceworks Tacoma initiative and how they can participate.

For more immediate information go to:, find us on facebook or contact

Friday, April 16, 2010

Unveiling of NEW Plans for Elks Temple & New Tacoma Award Winners at City Center Luncheon

Businesses, organizations and individuals who make outstanding contributions to downtown Tacoma were recognized with the annual New Tacoma Awards at the Chamber’s quarterly City Center Luncheon today.

Grace Pleasants and Rick Moses from Elks on Broadway LLC presented exciting updates for the revitalization of the historic Elks Temple. While there was mention of previously announced plans including a brew-pub, spa and a ballroom, the developers presented new designs for a rooftop bar and a 100-room hotel for McMenamins—drawing applause from attendees. A groundbreaking during the first quarter of 2011 and then a grand opening fall of 2012 is anticipated.

The 2010 New Tacoma Awards winners are:

Doyle’s Public House and Dragonfly for the Schoenfeld Award that recognizes exemplary performance and pizzazz as a retailer.
Pacific Plaza, LLC for the Ghillarducci Award that recognizes successful new development, renovation or beautification.
Tacoma Farmers Market and Stan Selden for the Union Station Award that recognizes leading organizations, companies or individuals that have built or sustained momentum for revitalization.
Derek Young for the Popham Award that recognizes the individual who has done the most to build community spirit.

Find more photos of winners on the Chamber's website.

Nominees of the New Tacoma Awards were recognized at the luncheon as well, including 1022 South, Angela Jossy (The Speakeasy Art Cooperative), Jeff Brown (BCRA), Business Examiner, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Quincy Henry, Seabury School, Tempest Lounge, Watermark Gifts and William W. Phillip Hall, University of Washington Tacoma.

Attendees also learned about Spaceworks Tacoma, (creative uses for vacant space) and heard information on Spring/Summer sports events from the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Commission.

The Luncheon, held at the Courtyard by Marriot was sponsored by Gordon, Thomas, Honeywell. The next City Center Luncheon is scheduled for Friday, July 16, 2010.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pierce Transit Downtown Commuter Survey

Pierce Transit is redesigning its routes and the way they deliver service. Over the past six weeks, they have talked to thousands of people and gathered input from people across Pierce County. They heard very clearly from the downtown Tacoma community that changes were needed to the downtown portion of the draft plans. Before they finalize any changes, they want to get your thoughts on a few draft proposals.

Below is a link to a quick web survey specifically designed for the downtown commuter. Please consider taking the survey whether you ride the bus or not, as it will take less than two minutes and will provide Pierce Transit with invaluable information to be used in shaping their next round of system drafts.

Downtown Tacoma Commuter Survey

Please note that this survey will close Thursday, April 22nd. If you have additional comments, please visit to provide specific input or see the draft plan details. Thank you in advance for taking the time to provide Pierce Transit with your preferences!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Fireworks in Tollefson Plaza, no kidding

In the wake of Seattle’s announcement cancelling the Lake Union 4th of July Fireworks show and Tacoma’s invitation for all to join Tacomans at Freedom Fair on Ruston Way. The Washington Recreation and Parks Association has applied for a permit to light up Tollefson Plaza with fireworks on April 15th as part of their State Conference. This private event is unrelated to the Independence Day celebrations, but certainly a creative use for our barren cement plaza in the heart of downtown.