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 kristinaw@tacomachamber.org 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: http://www.soundtransit.org/About-Sound-Transit/News-and-events/News-releases/Commerce-Street-Station-opens-tomorrow.xml

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: http://tacomadowntown.blogspot.com/2011/09/construction-on-so-9th-starts-monday.html

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.