Thursday, December 01, 2011

Planning South Downtown

The City of Tacoma is planning for growth in the south end of Downtown.  To best determine what should be anticipated, they are turning to you for guidance.

The City wants to develop a plan complementing the needs of current residents, businesses and property owners with the need to accommodate 60,000 new jobs and 70,000 more people by 2030.  The south downtown area is expected to handle significant growth as up to 30 million more square feet of development could be developed.

Under this project, the City is evaluating the area bounded by South 15th Street, East D Street, I-5 and Yakima Avenue.  This includes major facilities like UW Tacoma, Foss Waterway, Tacoma Dome, and Brewery District.

For more information on the project and learn how to contribute, please stop by the Carwein Auditorium on the UW Tacoma campus from 4PM-7PM, today, December 1st or contact Chelsea Levy with the City of Tacoma at

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Third Thursday Art at Work

As November zips by we are already at this month's Third Thursday Artwalk.  However, with this being Art at Work Month there are a few more things on the calendar for this evening.  In addition to all the great venues available by foot or the Art Bus, there are a couple of items off the beaten path that jumped out:
  • Final lecture/discussion of the Conversations RE: Tacoma series is titled "Uncovering Tacoma's Authenticity: What's the Draw?"  Sponsored by the AIA, it promises to discuss how we can create a vision for Tacoma's future and sustain it.  For more info, please visit the Conversations website. ($10, 6PM, Museum of Glass)
  • Madera Architectural Studio is hosting their annual small works show.  While the MAE collection of local artisians is typically focused on building components and home furnishings, this show highlights scaled down works that are a bit more portable - and affordable.  For more info, please visit MAE's website. (Free, 5-8PM, 2210 Court A)
For a full list of events today, and the rest of the month, head over to the Art at Work website.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Free Downtown Parking Today

So I've received a few questions about this already, so I figure it is worth noting: Today, November 11th is Veterans Day, a City observed holiday.  This means the paystations are turned off and time limits do not apply to those spaces where holidays are excluded.  (This is not all spaces, so please read the signs.)

The best resource I've seen for parking holidays is located on the side of the paystations themselves or on the City's parking website here.  Scroll down to General Information for the holidays.

Regardless, have a good holiday and remember to appreciate the veterans and active duty service members in our community.  A list of events can be found here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More Wayfinding Feedback

After a great open house last night, there is plenty of feedback to sort through on how to best implement wayfinding along Pacific Avenue.  However, if you weren't able to make it, you still have a few days to provide feedback via this form.

If you can't access the form, please contact me at this link or simply answer the questions below:

1) Regarding vehicular wayfinding, what are your your top three priorities for destinations in each area:
a) Downtown Core
b) Downtown Theater District
c) Downtown UWT
d) Foss Waterway
e) Stadium District
f) Hilltop District
g) Dome District

2) Regarding pedestrian maps, what key locations should be identified on a kiosk at each of the following locations:
a) Pacific Avenue & South 9th Street (SW corner)
b) Pacific Avenue & South 12th Street (West side)
c) Pacific Avenue & South 17th Street (NW corner)

3) Any additional input for future phases of wayfinding in Tacoma?

Once you've got some answers, please send them to Sue O'Neill at the City, Patricia Lecy-Davis at Go Local, and/or David Schroedel at the BIA/Chamber.  If you're feeling extra daring, you could share your thoughts with the world by posting them below.  If you are trying to figure out what this is about, please visit our prior post on the subject.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Prairie Line Trail Public Art Tour

This Saturday, November 12th, at 2PM the Tacoma Arts Commission will be leading a 90-minute tour of the Prairie Line Trail.  This will be a great opportunity to learn about the significance and future of the Trail while enjoying a series of public art interventions.

Before the Prairie Line Trail followed Hood Street as it does today, it was the western terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad's transcontinental line (beating out other notable northwest cities).  Today the City is discussing how to best retain this piece of history while integrating it with modern uses (previously discussed here).  In addition, the City is looking at ways to build a non-motorized trail connecting the Water Ditch Trail through south downtown to and onto the Thea Foss Waterway.

(more below)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Be Downtown Campaign

Our Tacoma LINK is all dressed up for the holidays (though the action photo above doesn't do it justice).  In addition to the LINK makeover, there is a larger campaign to encourage customers to "Eat. Shop. Do. Skate." downtown.  This is part of Sound Transit's mitigation work associated with the temporary closure of Pacific Avenue as the Sounder commuter rail looks to expand.

(more below...)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Wayfinding Open House 11/9: Pacific Avenue & Beyond

There has been a lot of discussion about the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project and the reconfiguration of the street (most recently here).  However, this project also includes a consideration of wayfinding to and around downtown and beyond.

Next Wednesday, November 9th, the City of Tacoma, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, and Go Local will co-host a wayfinding open house from 5 to 6PM at the Chamber's offices (950 Pacific Avenue, 3rd Flr, 98402).  If you stop by any time during the open house, you can see current designs and provide feedback on visitor destinations and information for wayfinding signage and kiosks.

If you're curious about wayfinding, with a feeling that we've talked about this before, you'd be right.  While the conversation certainly goes beyond the life of this blog (& blogs in general) a quick primer on wayfinding within the BIA can be found in this post from over five years ago.

Focusing on helping people not familiar with downtown and Tacoma in general, what destinations do you send visitors to?  How do you give people directions to get there?  How do we better connect destinations, not only with signage, but also with design and infrastructure?  These are all big questions that allow us to attract and serve visitors better and deserve an appropriate level of thinking.

What: Wayfinding Open House
Where: Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, 950 Pacific Avenue 98402, 3rd Flr
When: November 9, anytime 5-6PM
Why: Gain feedback on key visitor destinations/information for wayfinding signage & kiosks.
More: or Sue O'Neill at 591-5789 /

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

9th Street Construction: To Be Continued...

We received word that the South 9th Street construction project (most recently mentioned here) will not be completed this year.  Rather than work through the holidays, the project will be shut down by November 10th - just in time for Veterans Day - and will not be reopened until late February, 2012.

In the meantime, there will be some minor work for a couple more weeks as the construction team works to address a newly discovered underground oil tank at the corner of South 9th and Market.  This should be wrapped up by November 18th.

Finally, there is the issue of Court C.  Part of this project involved reversing direction on Court C between 9th and 11th from one way southbound to one way northbound.  This is currently scheduled to occur on November 8th and 9th.  Please be aware of traffic that may be going in the wrong direction in the weeks following.  (I still see people going the wrong way on the 700 block of St. Helens.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last Fall Walk with DOTG Today

Join Downtown On the Go and City Club Executive Director Erik Hanberg at the final Fall Walk of the year.  The walk will begin today at 11th and Broadway in front of the historic Woolworth Building before passing through parks, historic neighborhoods and many iconic buildings.

The walking series, in which walkers met Fridays at noon, has seen nearly 200 people at its first four walks.  Each walk follows one of the walking maps created by DOTG in 2010.  The walks encourage downtown employees, residents and visitors to get out, get active and become more aware of walkable distances.

The maps are available at no cost at DOTG (950 Pacific Ave, Suite 300), many downtown businesses, or by contacting Kristina Walker, DOTG Manager, at 682-1739 or

As mentioned in the Weekly Volcano.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Last Chance for Broadway Farmer's Market

The past couple of weeks have verified that Fall is really here.  With it comes the end of our favorite summer institutions - including the last day of the downtown farmer's market.  Today is forecasted to be sunny, though brisk.  What a great way to end the farmer's market season. 

After today, the Broadway Farmer's Market will likely reopen in a little over 6 months.  This means that now is the time to stock up on all that fall produce.  For more on the Broadway Market, please visit their website.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pacific Avenue 60% Drawings Public

If you missed the open house put on by Downtown On the Go and the City of Tacoma you missed out on seeing the current design for Pacific Avenue.  Not to fear though, the City has provided us with a copy of the technical drawings.  You can view them or download them here.  Also uploaded is a copy of the presentation

(Please note that these are not small files - particularly the design drawings.  The hosting site does make it possible to view them without the full download though.  Please be patient with it.)

As was discussed at the meeting, the 60% stage means that the street layout has been essentially identified.  After all the feedback received on the draft 30% drawings (versions 1 through ???) the City and their consultants had plenty to review.  The City Council took all the public comment into consideration and gave direction to staff on how to move forward.

This means the big picture questions have been answered, unless there has been a major oversight.  The next stage of the project is to refine the drawings to reflect a lot of the small details: street furniture, curb elevations, specific plant locations, etc.  Answering these questions will take the project to 90% and eventually on to construction drawings that will be put out for bid.

At 60% review, the question really is, was something overlooked?  Are there specific details that should be considered going forward?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tonight: Hood Street Corridor Open House

Tonight, the University of Washington, Tacoma is hosting an open house on the future development of the Hood Corridor.  The Corridor runs through the middle of the UWT campus with direct ties into the surrounding community.  To ensure future connections between the campus and the community a strong and inviting pathway is critical.

The architectural firms Atelier Dreiseitly + SRG Partnership will showcase some of the unique features of the Hood Corridor in an interactive display.  Visit the Joy Building Lobby any time from 3PM to 7PM to share your thoughts on the project. 

Hood Corridor Open House
10/18 @ 3PM-7PM (anytime)
1700 Block of Pacific Avenue
Joy Building (campus map)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Celebrate Downtown at the 10/21 City Center Luncheon

UPDATED 10/17/11

Ice skating, fire breathing dragons, public art installations, and kids.  Where can you find them all in one place?  At this quarter's City Center Luncheon on 10/21.  You can register here.

A quarterly event highlight what's happening in and around downtown Tacoma, each quarter the luncheon features topics important to the people who live, work and play downtown.  This quarter is focused on all the exciting events in downtown as we head into fall and winter.  The current program includes the following:

First Night 2012: Year of the Dragon
Every New Year’s Eve Tacoma hosts its own New Year’s Eve celebration.  With the year of the dragon coming upon us, this gathering of every age, color and stripe brings music & dance, fire & ice, laughter & wonder all together culminating in a midnight embrace of all that is good and right in the world.  This celebration brings together about 10,000 people from Tacoma and beyond for a full day of festivities.  Learn more about this year’s plans from Co-Director Lance Kagey.

Polar Plaza: Ice Skating Rink in Tollefson Plaza
Ice skating in public parks is often reserved for northeastern cities and our northwest imaginations – until this year.  The Tacoma Art Museum and Franciscan Health System are bringing an ice rink to Tollefson Plaza just in time for the holidays.  Cameron Fellows of the Tacoma Art Museum will share more information about how you can make your triple lutz dreams a reality.

Art is Everywhere: Art @ Work Month & Prairie Line Trail Installation
This November is Tacoma Arts Month.  This 10th anniversary edition will illustrate the city's collective talent and get people involved in the arts.  This will be an opportunity to become an active part of Tacoma's cultural life.  In addition, the Prairie Line Trail will be seeing a special installation connecting its past to the present.  The City of Tacoma's Amy McBride will be sharing more on the hundreds of activities occuring next month.

Kids in Your Business: SOTA, SAMI & Downtown Businesses
You've seen teenagers wandering the streets of downtown.  Many of them are associated with some of our downtown schools.  Now the Tacoma School of the Arts as well as the Science and Math Institute are offering businesses the opportunitiy to show selected students the other side of their business through a brief 12-day internship.  Career Counselor Michaele Sein-Ryan will talk more about this rewarding opportunity for businesses and the community.

When: Friday, October 21, 2011
Time: 11:30 (registration) 12:00-1:15 (program)
Location: Courtyard by Marriott, 1515 Commerce Street, 98402
Sponsor: Rainier Connect

To register for the luncheon visit the Chamber's website, call or email Janice Hutchins (253) 627-2175,

Prices: $25 Members pre-paid by October 18th
           $30 Members at the door
           $35 Non-members/Walk-Ins

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Business of Business in Tacoma

There has been a lot of talk lately about economic development in Tacoma, but what does that really mean?  And who will make it happen?  City Club of Tacoma has asked Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President and CEO Tom Pierson, Columbia Bank President and CEO Melanie Dressel, and City of Tacoma Interim City Manager Rey Arellano to share their thoughts about what's next for our fair city.  Janine Terrano of Topia Technology will moderate the discussion.

City Club: The Business of Business in Tacoma
Tacoma Art Museum (1701 Pacific Avenue 98402 - map)
October 19th
11:30 - Doors
12:00 - Lunch

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pacific Avenue Design is at 60%

We've been following the progress of the Pacific Avenue redesign and planned reconstruction for a while now.  (Most recently here.)  On September 28th, Tacoma-based AHBL, the lead consultant on this phase of the project, presented information to the City of Tacoma's Environment & Public Works Committee.  We've uploaded the information from that meeting, including the drawings showing 60% design completion.

The full (2MB) presentation can be downloaded here.  Some highlights include a 3-lane road from 7th to 9th, a 4-lane road from 9th to 17th, and extra turn pockets at 11th and 13th.  In addition, there is information on parking, rain gardens, lighting, and signage.

Needless to say, there is only so much that can be gleaned from a presentation without hearing the presentation itself.  With that in mind, the City and Downtown on the Go have scheduled a public presentation to share more details on the project.  The presentation is tenatively scheduled as follows:

60% Design Drawings Update
October 20th @ 5:30PM
Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
950 Pacific Avenue 98402, Suite 300

How to get there:
Pierce Transit Commerce Street Station
Sound Transit Commerce Street Link Stop
On-Street Parking on Pacific & S. 11th

More details on the presentation will follow, but please note that this is intended as an opportunity to hear about the current street plans.  The City and the consultant have received extensive public feedback during the conceptual planning phases of this project.  They are now putting this input into action with the latest designs.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Occupy Tacoma Event Friday

Please read the link below regarding the Occupy Tacoma Walk event that is scheduled tomorrow, October 7th.

The walking route will be along Pacific Avenue, so occupants of buildings should be aware of this event.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Walking Downtown

For those of you living, working or playing in downtown Tacoma, you probably know how to get to and from your destinations, but what about the spaces in between?  On Friday, The News Tribune featured an article on some of those in-between spaces that should be destinations on their own.

The article focuses on the walks around downtown promoted by Downtown On The Go and their series of walking maps.  Partnering with Multicare, the Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau, Pacific Lutheran University, and the City of Tacoma's Office of Sustainability, Downtown On The Go produced a series of five walking maps covering most parts of downtown.  The article goes beyond the history included in the maps to tell some additional downtown stories.

The maps themselves each cover a route about 40-50 minutes long while including a series of highlights along the path.  At under an hour, any of them can be completed during a lunch hour.  The five maps currently available include:

-Downtown to Hilltop
-Brewery District to South Downtown

-North Waterfront to Theatre District
-South Waterfront to Tacoma Dome Station
-Wright Park to Stadium District

Electronic copies of these maps can be found at Downtown On The Go's "Walk Tacoma" page.  Hard copies can be obtained by contacting Kristina Walker, Downtown On The Go Manager, at or 253.682.1739.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Downtown Park Construction

Throughout downtown Tacoma there are a number of tiny parks under construction.  This unified effort is not funded by the City or a specific entity, but is a concentrated attempt to rethink how we use our public urban spaces as part of PARK(ing) Day.

PARK(ing) Day is a an annual, worldwide event that invites citizens to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks.  Here in Tacoma, a number of businesses and non-profits have decided to participate by creating their own park for a day.  If you are wondering where the park nearest you will be found, please visit the Tacoma PARK(ing) Day Google Map.  If you are nervous about venturing into these parks on your own, please join Downtown On The Go on a 1-hour park tour beginning at 12-noon in front of the UWT Bookstore at 1754 Pacific Avenue, 98402.

For more information on PARK(ing) Day here in Tacoma, please visit Downtown On The Go.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9th Street Design Drawings Available

Based on some questions we were getting, including those here, we asked around a bit and came up with the site plan for the improvements on South 9th Street.  The City of Tacoma was very helpful in providing these and we've put them online here.

Of note, this is mostly a resurfacing of the street combined with sidewalk replacement.  During the process, the City is adding bulbouts to shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians, improving crosswalks, adding accessible curb ramps, and some minor relocation/improvements along the street.  The majority of this work is planned for the south side of the road (adjacent to the Pantages & Rialto) as the north side saw significant improvement with the Broadway LID.

The improvements are nowhere near the scale of those taken on around the corner as part of the Broadway LID.  This is why the construction can be scheduled to be complete in only two months.  This is also why you will not see street furniture such as benches or lighting included in the site plans.

S.12th LINK Stop is Now Open

As of today, the new LINK stop between S. 11th & S. 13th is officially open.  This stop fills a hole in the downtown LINK system that has been noted since the system went live in 2003.  Today virtually all businesses within the BIA area are less than a 5-minute walk from a LINK stop.

The S. 12th Street stop adds major downtown buildings to this list like the Wells Fargo Building, the Tacoma Financial Center, and the Commerce Building - where the BIA is housed.  As Chamber President & CEO Tom Pierson said, "The additional stop will connect people to businesses and keep feet on the street."  With the Tacoma LINK already carrying over 3,000 riders a day, we look forward to this stop allowing even more people to enjoy all that downtown has to offer.

As the transportation advocate for downtown Tacoma, Downtown on The Go will host a dedication ceremony at the new stop at 2PM on September 29th.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Sound Transit press release:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9th Street Improvements: Updated Schedule

In case you hadn't noticed, the South 9th Street construction project has been delayed.  While this is not uncommon for construction projects, the impact of this project on downtown businesses is significant.  Thankfully the delay is not long and construction will resume later this week.

The City notes that traffic control devices, including alternative pedestrian routes, will be installed today.  With the Farmers Market adding traffic to the street, removal of the sidewalks will not begin until Friday.  Cosntruction work may continue Mondays through Saturdays, conditions permitting.

Construction will begin with curb/gutter/sidewalk replacement and generally run from Commerce Street up the hill to Market Street.  Once this work is done, about 1 month, street work will begin.  The entire project is still scheduled to wrap up no later than November 10th.

Prior post:

Friday, September 02, 2011

Construction on So. 9th Starts Monday

The South 9th Street Improvement Project, which runs between Commerce Street and Market Street in Downtown Tacoma is scheduled to start Sept. 12.

The project includes removing and replacing the concrete panels in the street and sidewalk as well as construction of bulb outs and crosswalks.  Construction will require the contractor to close two of the four lanes on 9th Street. The remaining two lanes will provide one-lane of travel in each direction.

Pedestrian safety and mobility will be improved with new ramps and bulb outs at Court C, between Broadway and Market Street, and at South 9th Street. These improvements will require a change in traffic direction on Court C from one-way southbound to one-way northbound between South 9th and South 11th streets.

Work in this area will take place between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. The project is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 10, 2011. Weather and unknown site conditions may impact the schedule.

For more information, visit the project website.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

South 13th Street Completed

Last week we noted the improvements to S. 13th St. between A and Pacific, but also the lingering presence of construction materials. This week we saw the work wrapped up, materials returned to their warehouses, and a new west bound lane opened on S. 13th.

Several years ago, the City undertook a study evaluating the impacts of one way streets throughout downtown and the impacts on mobility and the economy. The message was clear: In a city Tacoma's size, one way routes result in more cars circling, confusion of visitors, and higher costs of doing business. Since that time, the City has slowly converted more and more of its downtown roads to accomodate two way traffic. (For those who may not remember, S. 13th St. used to be one way eastbound for much of its length through downtown.)

With S. 13th St. having a westbound lane for its full length this will allow drivers leaving I-705 at the ability to drive straight up 13th to their destination without extra circling. As BIA Maintenance Supervisor, Jim Burgess, noted this morning, "It was really nice. I came off the freeway, got the light at 13th and Pacific and was at the shop in no time."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Streetscape Improvements

With all the focus on the redesign of Pacific Avenue, you may have missed an important improvement elsewhere in downtown - the repair & reopening of South 13th Street.

A section of South 13th Street between Court A and Pacific Avenue began to sink into the underground parking garage some time ago. This resulted in the closure of the sidewalk and one lane of S. 13th St. on the south side of the road.

After several days of cranes and construction crews the structure has been reinforced, the road lifted & the sidewalk repaired the space has reopened to traffic. This should ease the daily back-up of commuters headed to the freeway down South 13th Street.

While the repair construction may be complete & the road open, the construction signage has simply been pushed to the side rather than entirely removed. We will be looking forward to what improvements are next at this location.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grand Opening: Downtown Tacoma’s Newest Bicycle Infrastructure

On Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011 at 8 a.m., Downtown On the Go and the City of Tacoma will be officially opening their Bike Cage in Park Plaza North Garage (923 Commerce) with a ribbon cutting and grand opening. The public is encouraged to attend.

Tacoma’s newest bike parking, the Park Plaza North Bike Cage, is conveniently located on the 5th floor of the garage, directly across from the skybridge to Broadway. Designed to remove barriers to bicycle commuting by providing a secure area to store bicycles, the bike cage was a collaboration of Downtown On the Go and City of Tacoma staff. Early studies found that many offices in downtown do not allow bicycles to sit in offices and do not provide bicycle parking, yet there are many downtown employees who like to commute by bike.

“Having options for potential bicycle commuters is crucial to increasing the number of cyclists downtown. And the more cyclists on the streets, the less cars, which means, less congestion. It’s a win-win for everyone,” says downtown business owner Judi Hyman of TwoKoi Restaurant and Chair of Downtown On the Go. Both the city and Downtown On the Go would like to install additional bicycle parking facilities if the demand is there for this one.

Those interested in using the cage can sign up with Downtown On the Go by downloading a form from the Downtown On the Go website, picking one up at the Grand Opening on Aug. 30 or by visiting Downtown On the Go (950 Pacific Ave, Suite 300, Tacoma, WA 98402). The cost of the cage is $8 per quarter or $25 per year. Users will receive a quarterly code and will be able to lock bikes to the bike racks at any time.

Contact Kristina Walker, Downtown On the Go Manager, 253-682-1739, for more information. Photos of the Bike Cage are available for viewing at the Downtown On the Go Facebook page.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Downtown Block Party

In case you missed the couple thousand door hangers, the blog posts, or the teasers, this is one last reminder about the free Downtown Block Party planned for tomorrow from 5-10PM on Opera Alley. (For the unfamiliar, Opera Alley is the portion of Court C lying between St. Helens Avenue and South 7th Street in the heart of the Theater District.)

The Downtown Tacoma Neighbors describes the event as "giving attendees the chance to feel what it would be like to make their neighborhood a better place by working collaboratively and creatively...It will be hard for them to leave at the end of the night without a sense of inspiration to think outside-the-box about their own neighborhood."

With activities ranging from board games to wall ball to duct tape art there is bound to be something for everyone. For more details on the event, activities and participants, please visit the Downtown Tacoma Neighbors' website.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

City Acquires $1M For Pacific

The News Tribune reported earlier this week that another $978,300 has been allocated to the renovation of Pacific Avenue. This brings total funds available to a little over $5M of the $8M needed to complete the project.

As the City continues to work towards a final design, concerns continue to be raised about how to accomodate all users of Tacoma's "Main Street." The City is challenged to balance the needs of drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit while still maintaining an attractive street and integrating innovative stormwater features.

For more information on the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project, please visit the City of Tacoma's page for the project here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

City Manager Priorities

The City of Tacoma is asking for feedback from people throughout the City about the next City Manager. Specifically, they want to know priorities, goals, personality, & management style.

To take part in the survey and influence the beginning of the search, please visit the City's survey site at

Friday, August 12, 2011

Homebuying Downtown

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported on a study by Fiserv identifying Tacoma as the best place to buy a home over the next two years:

"Despite the gloomy picture for the national economy and housing market, residents of [Tacoma], on Washington's Puget Sound, are in for a 25% increase in home prices by spring 2013...David Stiff, Fistserv's chief economist, says cities like Tacoma and Seattle have strong, diverse economies and should fare well over the next two years."

In addition to the prospect of increasing property values, Downtown On The Go has developed additional buyer incentives that could reduce the cost of buying downtown by several thousand dollars by partnering with businesses providing reduced closing costs and down payment assistance.

If owning a home isn't right for you, Downtown On The Go's "Live Downtown" program has also teamed with rental properties offering discounted rents of $100-200 per month.

Visit Downtown On The Go's website for more information on these great opportunities.

UPDATE (3:30PM):
Also of note, the Puget Sound Business Journal just reported that "mortgage rates fell to new lows this week. Freddie Mac says a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to an average of 4.32 percent."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SB I-705 to Close

Southbound I-705 (onto I-5) will close around S. 11th St. every evening from 8PM until 6AM the next morning from Monday, August 15th through Friday, August 19th.

This means southbound traffic from Schuster Parkway, Stadium Way and the 9th Street on-ramps will be re-routed onto Pacific Avenue and onto I-705 via the South 13th Street on-ramps.

The closure is intended to allow work to continue on the Murray Morgan Bridge. To re-open the bridge to vehicular traffic, construction will continue through 2012.

For more information on the Murary Morgan Bridge Rehabilitation Project, please visit the City of Tacoma's website.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Saturday at Tollefson Plaza

This Saturday will be a busy for Tollefson Plaza with shuttles arriving at 5:15AM to take participants to the start of the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon in Gig Harbor. With the race starting at 7:30AM, the winners will likely be returning to Tollefson a little over an hour later while some of the 1,000+ participants will take four hours. Don't be surprised to see runners coming down Jefferson from Center Street in the early hours.

A few hours later, at 12-noon, the Tacoma Convention Center will open its doors to the public for General John M. Shalikasvili's Memorial Service. The service for the former Chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff (1993-1997) will begin at 1PM and is expected to draw 1,700 people including several dignitaries.

Before the service is completed, Tollefson Plaza will see James Grayson Sinding's interactive art installation "Words" delivered. At 2PM, refrigerator-magnet-style words will be dumped into the plaza allowing the public to create their own pithy plaza poetry. Across the street, the Tacoma Art Museum will be celebrating with free admission all day.

With all of this attention to the area, it will be a big day for the Plaza. Don't be suprised if the surrounding blocks seem to have a few more people, cars and closures. Hopefully, you can take part in one or more of the festivities and enjoy a Saturday downtown.

For more information on the above events, please see:
-Tacoma-Narrows Half-Marathon
-General John Shalikashvili Memorial Service

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

National Farmers Market Week

With the sun shining, you're probably looking for a place to have lunch outside or even take a break and do some shopping. Why not visit the Broadway Farmers Market this week during National Farmers Market Week?

Come one, come all. We're celebrating! The Tacoma Farmers Market is honoring healthy food, economic value and community importance of shopping local. Want to see what the hype is about, organic or natural? Well gather the family and meet a farmer today. Also, enjoy an open mic with a performance by Billy Farmer!

For more information on the Broadway Farmers Market, including a list of vendors, please visit them online.

Thursdays, including 8/4

10:30 - 4PM
900 Broadway; 98402

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Water Improvements at 9th and Broadway

Tacoma Water will be replacing 36 feet of 16” CI water main that runs north-south in Broadway at the intersection of S. 9th St (See map). This work will likely affect both East bound lanes of S. 9th St. as well as the parking and sidewalk on that side also. This work will be done by Tacoma Water crews during normal business hours and is anticipated to take place in the next couple of weeks and should only impact S. 9th St. for a couple of days. Tacoma Water crews will maintain through traffic during construction using flaggers. Access to St. Helen's for cyclists will remain open.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Businesses Remain Open During Construction

Business owners surpass the construction’s disruptions to keep their businesses open to the people of Tacoma.

Construction workers in bright, yellow helmets roam the streets of South 25th and South 27th Street. Large cranes plow and transport enormous amounts of debris from one location to the other. Bright, diamond-shaped, orange signs read ‘detour’ and ‘sidewalk closed’.

In June, Pacific Avenue closed between South 25th Street and South 27th Street for an 11-month construction, D-to-M Street Project. This project will bring streets to new grades and construct an overpass that will allow the Sounder Train to extend service to Lakewood. Detour routes are available and, in order to keep South Tacoma Way traffic moving, Sound Transit built a special bypass road.

Although the construction expects to continue through May 2011, businesses remain open. The businesses affected by the construction, such as: Freighthouse Square, Alfred’s CafĂ©, Celebrity Cake Studio, The Melting Pot, Crystal Voyage, Stanley & Seaforts, and the Tacoma Dome want the community to know that they are open for business.

Find information and detour maps online on Sound Transit’s D-M Street Project page.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Planter Basket Repairs

The City of Tacoma’s Streets and Grounds will be repairing the planter baskets that are currently hanging on Pacific Avenue and A Street. The baskets will be removed by the vendor and may remain down for a week or two before they are all repaired and returned to their proper places. The repairs will include replacing the wire hangers which have become a safety concern as they are too lightweight, are stretching and in some cases breaking.

Questions can be directed to Rob McNair-Huff, City of Tacoma Community Relations Manager, at 253-591-5054.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

D-to-M Project Moves Forward - Pacific Avenue Closure Begins Next Week

The week of June 6 marks the beginning of an 11-month closure of Pacific Avenue to bring streets to new grades and construct an overpass that will allow the Sounder Train to extend service to Lakewood. The closure will affect Pacific Avenue between South 25th Street and South 27th Street.

To minimize disruption to the community, Sound Transit is building a special bypass road to keep South Tacoma Way traffic moving, installing temporary signalization to improve traffic flow, making road improvements to new detour routes, communicating with the public about traffic impacts, and constantly working to efficiently complete the required Pacific Avenue work.

For more information on the project, detour routes, or to sign up to receive notices, please visit the D-to-M Streets Project Page.

Friday, May 13, 2011

9th Street Improvement Project

The 9th Street Improvement Project in downtown Tacoma will improve intersections for pedestrian travel at the intersections of South 9th Street at Broadway, St Helens and Market streets. Design will include all current ADA standards. Work will include new cement concrete sidewalks, concrete crossings, curb and gutter, and street reconstruction work.

The city met with the public in May to gather feedback about the scheduling, sequencing and detour routes for the improvement project. Construction is scheduled to start this July.

Project Schedule:
Advertise: May 2011
Construction Start: July 2011
Project Completion: October 2011

For more information contact: Dan Soderlind, Project Engineer at 253‐591‐5263 or

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Freighthouse Square Train Extravaganza and Sound Transit Open House

Date: May 14 and 15 (Saturday and Sunday)

Time: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Location: Freighthouse Square (2501 East D Street, Tacoma 98421)

Train fans, you won’t want to miss a weekend of train-related events in Tacoma! From special tours of a modern Sounder train to excursions on a restored vintage steam engine train to model train layouts, there’s something fun planned for the whole family! Sound Transit is partnering with the Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Show & Swap Meet, Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, and Freighthouse Square to put on this exciting community event.

Please see the website for additional schedule and admission information.

Record Number of Attendees at Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center

The Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center (GTCTC) welcomes three major conventions in May, resulting in record numbers for the GTCTC: The Infant and Early Childhood Conference, Washington Education Association and the Boeing Company. Along with other events held in between these groups, the economic impact to the local community is estimated to be over $2,361,000. With the exception of two, one-day meetings, all of the events will take place within the first twenty-two days of May.

The total attendance for all events in May will be over 17,030. This will result in more than 4,375 guest room nights for Tacoma area hotels.

Local businesses are encouraged to welcome attendees into their establishments by printing welcome signs which are always available on the GTCTC's website,, by selecting the Resource tab, then Media Newsroom page.

For more information, contact the GTCTC at 1-888-227-3705 or online at or

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pacific Avenue Streetscape Design Project ~ Open House on May 9th

Mark your calendars for the Pacific Ave Streetscape Design Project Open House on Monday, May 9th from 4-6:00pm at UW Tacoma's Philip Hall. At this Open House, the public will be able to give feedback on the preliminary designs for the future streetscape. Construction is estimated to start sometime in early 2012 and conclude at the end of 2012.

Full information regarding the project, including a fact sheet, project description and schedule, and community involvement efforts can be found by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

100th Anniversary Celebration of Tacoma's Union Station

On Sunday, May 1st join the City of Tacoma and the U.S. General Services Administration in celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Tacoma's Union Station.

"New Beginnings," the statue in front of Union Station, depicts a newly arrived prospective citizen with carpetbags at his side and was a gift from the Chamber to the city to celebrate the Chamber's centennial (in 1984). The statue portrays the optimism evident in Tacoma's early town builders and entrepreneurs.

The 100th Anniversary events include an anniversary ceremony featuring many esteemed speakers (e.g. Deputy Mayor Walker & Congressman Norm Dicks) and panel discussions about railroads, revitalization, and diversity.


Union Station 100th Anniversary Ceremony
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 @ Union Station Rotunda
Doors open @ Noon (attendees encouraged to arrive early; government photo id required)
Event begins @ 1pm

Several other events are planned in Tacoma on May 1st and parking will be extremely limited, so consider taking the bus! Pierce Transit's Bus Routes 1, 11, 13, 41, 42, 53, 500, and 501 all stop within walking distance of Tacoma Union Station.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spaceworks Spring Opening

Clear your calendar for the Thursday, April 21st Third Thursday Art Walk, when artists Jeremy Gregory and Chris Sharp host the Spaceworks Tacoma spring kick-off party at their studio at 904 Broadway (across from the Pantages) at 5-7pm.

Meet these and other Spaceworks artists and take a tour of Chris and Jeremy’s awesome painting studio, which features works-in-progress, and a skateboard quarter-pipe for stress relief. Then, start your art walk to see all the amazing new Artscapes projects energizing the neighborhood.

For more details on this Thursday's event, check out the Spaceworks site:

Spaceworks Tacoma is a joint initiative of the City of Tacoma, Shunpike and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. The project is designed to activate empty storefronts in downtown Tacoma with art and creative enterprise.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pierce Transit System Reduction Public Hearing Comes to Downtown this Thursday!

Attend the Thursday, April 21st Pierce Transit System Reduction public hearing in downtown Tacoma to weigh in on how PT implements 35% reductions before they are adopted at the May 9th Board of Commissioners meeting. Be sure to advocate for the maintenance of as much service as possible to the most populous city in the county (and especially downtown)!

Thursday, April 21 · 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Tacoma Municipal Building - Council Chambers
747 Market St

To view the proposed reductions as well as information on two additional public hearings – Puyallup/South Hill (April 25th) and East Pierce County (April 28th) – click here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Broadway Center Recruits "Voices of the City"

Nominations are due April 21st for "Voices of the City", a civic engagement opportunity offered by the Broadway Center for Performing Arts. Applicants with diverse perspectives on Tacoma and deep connections to the community are encouraged.

Once selected, this group of participants (20 max) will engage in workshops that will help them to develop the presentation of their stories in whatever way inspires them - music, movement, text, visual art, etc. Stories will be shared at the Broadway Center's Community Arts Festival in October.

To be a participant: If you are interested in being one of the 10-20 Participants, please call the Broadway Center at 253-573-2518, email: or click here to request or download the application.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stadium Way Redesign Public Meeting this Wednesday!

In summer of 2011, Stadium Way will begin to take on a new design. The design will feature complete streets concepts such as wider sidewalks, bike lanes, maximized planters and lawn areas, and use of planters for filtration of storm water runoff.

Plans are close to being finalized, so use this opportunity to see them, offer feedback, and ask questions.

Event Details:
Wednesday, March 30th from 6-9pm
City of Tacoma Municipal Building, Council Chambers
747 Market St.

City of Tacoma Project Staff Contact:
Raymond van der Roest

For more info on the Stadium Way Redesign project, click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

D to M Street Construction Update

Sound Transit continues work on the D to M Street Track and Signal Project connecting Sounder trains from Tacoma Dome Station to Lakewood. For the week of March 23-30, you can expect to see on the D-to-M Streets Track and Signal Project:

• Sewer line work continues on A Street between South 26th and South 25th. Crews will be placing concrete to create the walls for the vault structure. Crews will also begin retaining wall construction on A Street. There will be no pedestrian access on A Street between 25th and 26th Streets during this work.

• Clearing and grubbing work along the track alignment from South C Street to M Street will not require any traffic control.

• Abatement and building demolition have begun on properties now owned by Sound Transit. Buildings to be demolished this week are the former Star Fuel and Ice, former Paramount Electric Warehouse, and then the former Kings Inn Motel. Demolition will continue throughout the month. No traffic control is required for this work.

• Traffic detour work continues between Delin Street and South Tacoma Way. Crews finished installing piles for the shoring wall and began excavation for the future traffic detour that will be used during the 11-month temporary closure of Pacific Avenue. This work will require temporary lane closures on South Tacoma Way; traffic will be maintained in both directions.

• Storm drain work at the corner of South C Street and South Tacoma Way will require temporary closure of South C Street. Crews installing storm water pipe will require lane closures on South Tacoma Way. Pedestrian traffic will be rerouted to Pacific Avenue via South 25th Street during the South C Street closure. This work will continue throughout the month.

• Street improvements continue on East C Street from East 25th Street to East 26th Street. East C Street is currently scheduled to reopen in April. East D Street and Pacific Avenue will remain open as main arterials.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Congratulations to the 2011 New Tacoma Award Nominees!

Each year the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations making outstanding contributions to downtown Tacoma with New Tacoma Awards. This year the Chamber will honor New Tacoma Award nominees and winners at the City Center Luncheon on April 1st at the Pacific Grill Event Center. For more information on the program and to register for the event visit the event page on the Chamber’s website.

The 2011 New Tacoma Award Nominees are:

Schoenfeld Award Recognizing exemplary performance and pizazz as a retailer or restaurateur
- 1022 South
- The Harmon Tap Room
- The Mix
- Harmon Hub

Ghilarducci Award Recognizing successful new development, renovation or beautification
- Spaceworks Tacoma
- The Joy Building, University of Washington Tacoma
- Ben Gilbert Park

Union Station Award Recognizing leading organizations, companies or individuals that have built or sustained momentum for revitalization
- Bruce Kendall, Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County
- Go Local - Shift Happens
- Theater District Association

Popham Award Recognizing the individual that has done the most to build “community spirit”
- Tammy Blount, Greater Tacoma Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Mike Longergan, KLAY Radio
- Craig Perry, Dock Street Marina
- Emily Reiter, Business Examiner
- Mark Van Cooney, Hotel Murano

Public Places Award Recognizing the best activation of a public park, open space or area within the public right-of-way
- Spaceworks Tacoma - 2 nominations
- The Projecting Drop
- Frost Park Chalk Artists

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chamber Seeks Metropolitan Development Director

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is seeking a Metropolitan Development Director.

For a full job description, requirements and application details, click here.

Submit a letter of interest, writing sample (no more than two pages) and resume by email to Cathy Thompson no later than 4:00 pm on Monday, April 4, 2011.

- OR -

Mail to:

Human Resources Department
C/O Cathy Thompson
Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
P.O. Box 1933
Tacoma , WA 98401

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Emergency Sewer Repairs Downtown

UPDATE:  3-25-11

UPDATE:  3-24-11

Sewer repairs near South 15th & Market will block streets for about a week.

Traffic will be diverted in the vicinity of South 15th and Market streets for about a week while crews repair a sewer main that collapsed March 15.

Traffic is expected to be closed on Market Street between South 13th Street and South 15th Street, and along South 15th Street between Fawcett Avenue and Broadway.

The estimate for the duration of this job could change as work progresses and the scope of the collapse is uncovered. The pipe in this area was installed in 1906.