Monday, December 31, 2012

Pacific Avenue Reconstruction Starting

The signs are going up, the lightpoles are coming down.  The ground is opening, but the street are not closing.

On Wednesday, January 2nd, contstruction begins on Pacific Avenue.  The first phase of construction will be focused on the stretch from 9th to 13th and is expected to run until April.

To help keep everyone up to speed, the City has prepared a detailed detour plan that we've uploaded here.  One thing you'll note is that there are no actual street closures.  You can still get to your favorite office/shop/restaurant.  This does not mean to expect a little more dust and a few more people in reflective gear - because both will be out in full force.

In addition to the detour plans, there is a project specific page on the City's site detailing the project with updates and information:

We will continue to post more information as the project progresses as well.

First Night Tacoma 2012: The Year of the Snake

In case you missed it, today is New Year's Eve.  That means First Night is back.

Every New Year’s Eve, Tacoma hosts its own celebration. With the year of the snake 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. 

The first events are already underway now with access to the Children's Museum and the Glass Museum.  If the 6:30PM parade at Broadway & 9th will keep you out to late, the Children's Museum is hosting a parade through its space at noon today.

For the full schedule of events, please visit:

For a great summary of events, you can also check out the TNT article here:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pacific Avenue Open House

We've been talking about the reconstruction of Pacific Avenue for a while now.  This Thursday is the last chance to hear details about the first phase of construction (which used to be the second phase) before it starts.

The open house will detail detours, alternate routes, schedules, and construction plans.  The work will include a vaulted walk, sidewalk reconstruction, additional landscaping, historic street lights and raingardens to filter stormwater.  For a full size PDF of the construction detours and alternate routes, of which the image above is a snapshot, please click here

For more information on the project, please visit

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tacoma Link Expansion Survey

Sound Transit, along with the City of Tacoma and Pierce Transit, have identified six corridor alternatives regarding the expansion of the 1.6 mile long Tacoma Link light rail line. These corridors were chosen based on the following important criteria: 

  • Improve connections to regional transit
  • Increase transit ridership and reduce car use
  • Connect to an existing neighborhood or major activity center
  • Improve transit service between downtown Tacoma and at least one neighborhood
  • Serve existing or proposed areas of high density housing or jobs
  • Serve an area that is home to many low-income and/or minority residents, or has received relatively low infrastructure investments
  • Connect to an existing mixed-use center or a designated manufacturing/industrial center
  • Avoid major costly engineering challenges, such as corridors with steep elevation grades

As such, six corridors were identified (see map):

  • B1- 6th Avenue to Union Avenue via Stadium Way and Division Street
  • E1- 19th and Martin Luther King Jr Way via Stadium Way and Division Street
  • C1- 48th and Portland Avenue via E 25th Street
  • G1- Pacific Highway
  • D4- Tacoma Mall via Portland Avenue, 38th/48th Street
  • E2- A variant of E1 with a downtown loop component on Jefferson Street
Next steps include opportunities for public input and analyzing data regarding potential ridership, square footage, development potential, and capital costs. From there, the list will be whittled down to two potential corridors, followed by additional public comment leading to a preferred alternative to be presented to the Sound Transit Board in April.

To help in this process, Sound Transit would like your feedback. Please fill out their brief survey.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tacoma to Offer Free Holiday Parking Downtown

The City of Tacoma is offering free holiday parking downtown through January 1, 2013 in the Park Plaza North Garage, located behind Pantages Theatre.

The City is giving away 25 parking vouchers good for up to two hours to any interested merchant. An additional 25 vouchers may be purchased for $6.25 (or approximately $0.13 per hour). When a customer uses the voucher, the first two hours are free with every additional hour sold at half price, or $1.25 per hour.

If this promotion is successful, the City may seek to expand it into next year while Pacific Avenue is revitalized.

Downtown businesses interested in the promotion should contact Jennifer Smith of Republic Parking at (253) 627-4401.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wayfinding on Pacific Avenue and Beyond

At City Council's Economic Development Committee Meeting a couple of weeks ago, City staff presented an update on the Pacific Avenue project and wayfinding.  (A 4MB copy of the handouts is here.)  While we've been tracking the Pacific Avenue project as it continues to move towards construction, we were most interested in the discussion of wayfinding.

As you may recall, we asked you what gateways into downtown you thought were the priority and what destinations visitors were looking for.  And with 130 responses, you answered.  The wayfinding working group went through all the responses, including all the great open ended responses and recommended some locations to the City.  These can be found as the green and red dots on the wayfinding map in the handouts.

Looking forward, we are hoping for continued community support of the wayfinding project.  We believe that helping visitors get easily to their destinations is critical to making us a friendly, welcoming city.  If you have any additional thoughts on wayfinding for visitors, please let us know.

Friday, August 31, 2012

One Day, One Place, 57 Brewers

This Saturday will be the fourth annual Tacoma Craft Beer Festival at the 21st Street Park (which was recently nominated for a New Tacoma Award).  With sunny weather expected and 57 brewers, it should be a great time to hang out on the waterfront.

Last year, they had to stop selling tickets at 4:30PM due to the great turnout.  This year they've got 40% more brewers, but they still recommend coming early.

When: 11AM - 8PM (last call 30mins prior)
Where: 21st Street Park at 2101 Dock Street, 98402 (free shuttle from Freighthouse Square)
Cost: $30 for 10 tastes of 5.5oz and a souvenir glass

For complete details, please visit

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stadium Way Construction Open House

EDIT: Note that this posted to the wrong day and the open house was last night, Wednesday.  Sorry for the confusion.

The Stadium Way Arterial Project is well underway with part of the first phase getting wrapped up in time for Stadium High School to start classes next week.  While we've been talking about this project for a while, it's great to see some work getting completed.  The street near Stadium High School is looking great with many of the details incorporated in the South 9th and Broadway LID projects being extended to the north end of downtown.

To find out about more about what's coming next, including the closure of Stadium Way, the City is hosting an open house this evening:

Wednesday, August 29
6 p.m. 
Council Chambers on the first floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building
747 Market St.; 98402

From the City of Tacoma: "Representatives of the City and contractor will be present to answer your questions. Construction is under way and will continue into summer 2013."

For more on this project, please visit the City's project website at:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Celebrate & Support at the Spaceworks Cakewalk

Spaceworks has had an amazing year - landing permanent leases for several vacant spaces and helping numerous artists explore their future - much of it highlighted in last week's paper.  Now it's time to celebrate these successes and raise some money for 2013.

On September 15th, from 6-9PM, Spaceworks will be throwing a free party at 311 S. 7th St. 98402. In grade school tradition, there will be a cakewalk with an opportunity to win fabulous cakes and art.  Tickets for the walks will cost from $5-20 - this is a fundraiser after all.  To entice you further they'll have a DJ, refreshments, and a performance from the BareFoot Collective.

If you like goodies from Dulce Cupcakes, Angel Cakes, Hello Cupcake, Corina Bakery, Celebrity Cake, or Amocat, you should definitely join us.  

If you like art from people like Jeremy Gregory, Chandler O'Leary, Jessica Spring, Oliver Doriss, Lance Kagey, Kyle Dillehay, Janet Marcavage,  Lisa Kinoshita, Diane Hansen, Brian Hutcheson, Amy McBride, Sean Alexander, Kenji Stoll, Maria Meneses, Nate Dybevik, Goldfinch, The Warehouse, the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, and others this will be your chance to get ahold of some works.

If you support creative entrepreneurs  in Tacoma, filling vacant storefronts, and making downtown more vibrant then you want to support Spaceworks now and in the coming years.  For more on Spaceworks and how you can support it, visit the Spaceworks blog.  For more on the Spaceworks Cakewalk, visit the Cakewalk page.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LINK Extension Open House

Just last year downtown Tacoma welcomed another LINK light rail stop to Commerce.  While this stop adds a number of potential new riders to the system, it would pale in comparison to an expansion of the link into another part of town with jobs, attractions, and people.

Sound Transit continues to evaluate potential expansion options for LINK as it moves forward on the alternatives analysis.  Most recently, the Chamber joined with other stakeholders to prepare a report on potential alternatives that was delivered in January of 2011.

Tomorrow is another opportunity to hear the updated schedule on Sound Transit's plans for this long discussed extension.  For a comprehensive history dating back to a 2004 expansion study, please visit Sound Transit's Tacoma Link Expansion page.  From the press release:

Sound Transit to host open houses on Tacoma Link expansion

August 21, 2012
Public invited to provide input on possible transit corridor and mode options for expanding Tacoma Link system
Sound Transit will conduct two open houses on Wednesday, August 22 as part of an early scoping process to solicit options for expanding the 1.6-mile Tacoma Link system that now operates between the Tacoma Dome and Theater District stations.

The events will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the People's Community Center at 1602 South Martin Luther King Jr. Way and from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome Station Plaza at 424 East 25th Street.

[Full release here]

Spaceworks Creating Businesses and Filling Vacancies

In the past, Spaceworks has done a great job of highlighting local artists doing work in and around Tacoma. While continuing to support artists, the Spaceworks program has shifted to include more creative entrepreneurs who are turning their work into businesses.

This shift has not gone unnoticed as Kathleen Cooper of The News Tribune noted on the cover of Sunday's paper:  

"What began as a program to use vacant downtown storefronts as showcases for Tacoma’s vibrant artists has started to focus on business incubation, and it’s working. 

In the past few months, three groups that found free space in commercial buildings through Spaceworks Tacoma have made the leap into the marketplace. A youth-focused creative arts organization, working in the city for a decade, has its first permanent headquarters. A man who rehabilitates and sells antique pianos has his own shingle. And four women who create unique home d├ęcor will open their retail store next month in the heart of Tacoma’s Antique Row."

As the Chamber continues to support innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the County, we look forward to strengthening Spaceworks role in helping small businesses get off the ground.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Downtown Lunch Concerts

It's sunny.  It's Friday.  It's lunchtime.  What are you going to do?

In addition to regular events like the Frost Park Chalk Off and the Chamber Luncheon, the Tacoma Theater District has put together a once a month free concert series in Ledger Square.

Today they are featuring Bump Kitchen.  According to the Volcano, "Northwest funk, R&B, and blues amalgam Bump Kitchen have managed to make a name for themselves in recent years thanks to constant touring and some searing groove-craft."

Along with providing a little lunchtime entertainment, the Theater District has teamed up with several Theater District restaurants to offer a pre-made box lunch.  So pick your favorite lunch spot, or try a new one, call them up for a lunch and check out the event.  Lunch providers include:

- Amerawcan Bistro (327-1962)
- Broadway Quick Stop Cafe (274-1060)
- Commerce Teriyaki (274-0601)
- Corina's Bakery (627-5070)
- Dorky's (627-4156)
- Inifinite Soups (274-0232)
- Margaret's (274-8788)
- Over the Moon (284-3722)
- Puget Sound Pizza (383-4777)
- Rain City Cafe (383-2233)
- Stink (426-1347)

For more on the series, please visit the Theater District website at

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wayfinding at Downtown Gateways

(To go directly to the survey: )

While we've talked about wayfinding in the past, it was focused on Pacific Avenue redesign and coordinating work with that construction.  Now we are looking more broadly at wayfinding in the greater downtown.  The goal of wayfinding is not advertising, cheerleading or community building.  Instead the system should help Tacoma's customers and visitors get where they are going.

To that end, the Chamber, Dome District, Go Local, Sound Transit, Tacoma + Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Tacoma Waterfront Association have joined the City in working to identify key locations where visitors enter downtown.  Based on the 10 locations identified, we are now working to determine what destinations visitors would be trying to reach if they arrived via one of these gateways.

This is where you come in.  We have prepared a survey looking at these 10 locations asking for feedback on the likely destinations.  It typically takes about 15 minutes to complete and will be used to help guide the process of deciding which locations for signs as well as what appears on them.

With all the talk of wayfinding over the last couple of decades, we think another 15 minutes is worth it to successfully locate these signs.

The survey is here:

New Tacoma Award Recipients Honored

Businesses, organizations and individuals who make outstanding contributions to downtown Tacoma were recognized with the annual New Tacoma Awards at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s monthly Luncheon held today at the Pacific Grill Events Center. 

Keeping with last year's awards, the awards themselves are beautiful glass sculptures hand-crafted by Hilltop Artists mounted on bases.  The New Tacoma Awards are proudly sponsored by Absher Construction Company.

The 2012 New Tacoma Awards recipients are:
  • First Night Tacoma-Pierce County received the Union Station Award that recognizes leading organizations, companies or individuals that have built or sustained momentum for revitalization. As a celebration of rebirth and new beginnings, First Night was itself reborn five years ago after a brief hiatus.  This year, it again showed its strength bringing thousands of people downtown for a full day of family friendly celebration. While the coalition of people and organizations contributing to First Night each year changes a little it has been a welcome celebration of the New Year.  Each year First Night reminds people who might not otherwise come downtown that downtown is a safe and fun place for all ages.  As the nominator said, “We need to cherish this institution.”
  • LeMay – America’s Car Museum received the Ghilarducci Award that recognizes successful new development, renovation or beautification.  Past decades of annual LeMay family car shows have brought patrons and participants from around the world.  With the opening of the LeMay Museum, heralded by USA Today as one of the top 10 events to attend worldwide in 2012.  Harold and Nancy LeMay’s vision to preserve their unique collection is a gift not only to our community, but to the world of car enthusiasts as well. This year’s Ghilarducci Award winner builds on the successes of Tacoma to increase the visitor draw to downtown.  America’s Car Museum has truly global appeal while engaging volunteers in its mission.  In the nominator's words, “I cannot tell you the joy that volunteers and visitors experience when viewing these one-of-a-kind collections."
  • The Swiss received the Schoenfeld Award that recognizes exemplary performance and pizzazz as a retailer. While The Swiss started out in a forgotten corner of downtown, downtown has come to it.  With the continued growth of UWT, Owners Jack McQuade and Bob Hill have been updating their approach to make the 19 year old institution more family friendly during the day while still, in the words of the nominator, “rocking the old space since before reclaimed buildings were cool.” Owners McQuade, Hill and Bertagni were downtown pioneers when they opened The Swiss in 1993.  Since then, they’ve faced street reconstruction, construction of a University, the death of a partner, and a constantly evolving downtown.  With great sandwiches like the Heart Smart Art to go along with musical acts drawing people to downtown Tacoma, we look forward to The Swiss contributing to downtown’s renaissance for decades to come.

  • Tim Waer, Tacoma South Sound Sports, received the Popham Award that recognizes the individual who has done the most to build community spirit.  Tim has always had incredible energy for Tacoma, Pierce County, and athletics.  This past winter he turned his energy towards bringing these sports downtown with the first Let's Play Sports and Fitness Fest.  In less than two months he pulled off an event at the Convention Center that brought thousands of kids, parents, and athletes to downtown Tacoma.  This year’s Popham winner continues to build his record of community involvement and support of downtown and the greater Tacoma community.  While much of Tim’s energy has gone toward the success of Tacoma as a mecca for amateur sports, what many people don’t realize is just how many visitors this brings to downtown Tacoma every year.  With the Let’s Play Festival this January, downtown saw thousands of true amateurs, many under 12, come experience downtown.

  • Wright Park Sprayground & Playground received the second Public Places Award that recognizes the best activation of a public park, open space or area within the public right-of-way. While Wright Park is over 100 years old it had a less than stellar reputation among families. Under the guidance of the Tacoma Metropolitan Park District and the Greater MetroParks Foundation, a revamping of the park was undertaken.  With the reworking of the ponds and playground and the addition of the sprayground last summer, Wright Park has become a year round family destination again. The coalition to rebuild Wright Park stems not only from public agencies, but from the extraordinary gifts of the community.  As part of the three-point-five million dollar Zinna Linnik project and capital campaign, not only was Wright Park given new life, but McCarver Park was completely renovated as well.  Without these investments, the community might have slowly forgotten about these downtown jewels.

The Luncheon, held at the Pacific Grill Events Center, was sponsored by Cascade Regional Blood Services.  The next Chamber Luncheon is scheduled for Friday, August 10, 2012.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Future of South Downtown Survey

On the topic of surveys, the City has put out a survey on the future of South Downtown.  The City is undergoing a multi-year planning process for the area including the Dome District, Brewery District, Hillside, UWT, and the Foss Waterway.  (These boundaries are identified by the black line above.)

The survey can be found here:

It has about 50 questions and will take about 10 minutes.  The City and the stakeholder group working on the plan will use these responses to help guide the planning process for the future of this area.  As an added bonus, once you finish the survey, you can see what other people have said so far.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Congratulations to the 2012 New Tacoma Award Nominees!

Each year the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations making outstanding contributions to downtown Tacoma with the New Tacoma Awards.  This year the Chamber, in coordination with sponsors Cascade Regional Blood Services and Absher Construction, will honor nominees and winners at the Chamber Luncheon on July 13th at the Pacific Grill Event Center.  For more information on the program and to register, please visit the Chamber's website.

The 2012 New Tacoma Award Nominees are:

The Ghilarducci Award recognizing successful new development, renovation or beautification:
  • 21st Street Park
  • LeMay - America's Car Museum
  • Old Post Office
The Popham Award recognizing the individual that has done the most to build community spirit:
  • Athena Hitson, The Space
  • Melanie Rushforth, Tap into T-Town
  • Tim Waer, Tacoma Sports Commission
The Public Places Award recognizing the best activation of a public park, open space or right-of-way:
  • Frost Park Chalk Off
  • Polar Plaza at Tollefson Plaza
  • Temporal Terminus: Marking the Line along the Prairie Line Trail
  • Words at Tollefson Plaza
  • Wright Park Sprayground and Playground
The Schoenfeld Award recognizing exemplary performance and pizazz as a retailer or restaurateur:
  • 1022 South
  • Corina Bakery
  • Stink
  • The Swiss
The Union Station Award recognizing organizations, companies or individuals that have built or sustained momentum for revitalization:
  • Downtown: On the Go!
  • First Night Tacoma-Pierce County
  • Stadium Thriftway
  • Tacoma Farmer's Market (2010 Winner)
  • Voices of the City Initiative
Congratulations to all the nominees!  For a list of prior winners, please see the Chamber's website.  We look forward to seeing you on July 13th.

Downtown: On the Go Returns to the Farmer's Market

Last month our guest ZipCar brought down one of their Audi's to tempt downtown Tacomans.  After many visitors walked away with free driving time, we're looking forward to hearing more from ZipCar in the coming months.

After such a successful turnout in June, we are returning to the Farmer's Market this Thursday, July 12th.  Come by and visit us to hear about what is happening in the downtown transportation world.  We will have information on the Stadium Way construction project, our upcoming Walk Poetic event on August 1st, and how to be a DOTG member.

We will also have more of our popular $7 bike helmets.  We've already sold ~200 so far and have had to restock our popular sizes.  You can also ask for a tour of our Park Plaza North bike cage located right across the walking bridge from the Farmer's Market.

If you are more of a walk DOTG fan, we will also have our $10 Walk Tacoma t-shirts.  Regardless of how you get around downtown, we'll have something for you.  For more on upcoming activities with Downtown: On the Go, please visit us online at

Friday, June 22, 2012

New Tacoma Awards Nominations Closing

2011 New Tacoma Award Winners
Each year the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber works with the downtown community to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and events.  This year is no different.  With the New Tacoma Awards event coming soon, July 13th, the nomination deadline is looming.  If you love what someone is doing downtown, nominate them for an award:

  • Popham Award: Building community spirit
  • Schoenfeld Award: Retail/Restaurant pizzazz
  • Ghilarducci Award: New development or renovation
  • Union Station Award: Building momentum for revitalization
  • Public Places Award: Activation of a public space
The online nomination form can be found here.
Registration for the event is here.

Last year's winners in the image at the top are (left to right):
Union Station: Theater District Association; received by Rick Jones (back)
Schoenfeld: Harmon Hub, received by Carole Holder
Ghilarducci: Joy Building @ UWT; received by Milt Tremblay & Mike Wark
Popham: Tammy Blount with TRCVB
Public Places: Spaceworks; received by Amy McBride, Rebecca Solverson, & Ben Ferguson

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Prairie Line Trail Extension

Recently, the City of Tacoma hired a consultant to look at options on a very short segment of the Prairie Line Trail: South 21st Street.  While the crossing iteself is less than 100-ft, choosing a way to cross that encourages trail users to continue safely on the trail to and from UWT will be critical to making it a success.  At the same time, looking at vehicle routes, delays and back-ups it's clear 21st is used as a main route to SR-509, I-705 & I-5.  Finally, the question of cost magnatude comes up - weighing the value of dollars here versus elsewhere on the trail.

By last week the options were narrowed down to three crossing alternatives:
  1. Road Diet - reducing one vehicular lane in each direction on 21st and creating a mid-traffic landing median.
  2. Adding a Stop Light at C Street - routing PLT off of the rail line to the light & back again.
  3. Combination of #2 & 3 - the best (or worst?) of both options: removing a lane westbound and routing users to the light.
A PDF of the presentation can be found here:

We'd love to hear your feedback if one of the crossings works particularly well (or poorly) for you as a PLT or S. 21st St. user.

Free Bike Cages for Bike Month

If you didn't know, DOTG manages two bike cages in downtown Tacoma.  The bike cages provide handy, safe, & dry bike parking at all hours.  In honor of bike month they are now being provided free of charge.

Okay, so the weather outside is a little questionable right now, so we may have to extend the free period into June where we're sure it'll be sunny.  This is your chance to try the cage out and see just how convenient they are.  Once the free period is over, it's only $25 for the year if it works for you.  (That's about 2 days of car parking in the same garages.)

To sign-up for the free cages, please contact Downtown On the Go at

For more on the bike cages and other bike parking in downtown, please visit

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

BIA Renewal in Tacoma Weekly

The Tacoma Weekly noted this week that the BIA was beginning its 25th year.  As Maintenance Supervisor Jim Burgess was reflecting on its beginnings, "Downtown has changed a lot since then."

Tacoma Weekly reporter Steve Dunkelberger goes on to note that the BIA was "founded in 1988 as a way to provide litter clean up and early evening security for downtown workers who were finding themselves having to walk through rows of homeless people panhandling, drug dealers selling dime bags and otherwise empty streets."

Today, the BIA is proud to point out that most of these challenges are a thing of the past in the central business district.  This is due in large part to the vigilance of all parties, from the property owners to the City to the local agencies and businesses.

For more on the article, please visit the Tacoma Weekly at

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bike to Market Day with Downtown On the Go

Gear up for Bike Month by biking to Opening Day at the Tacoma Farmer’s Market on Broadway between S. 9th and 11th on Thursday, May 3 from 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m . 

Map Master’s will be on hand to show you safe, quick, and easy bike routes.  Downtown On the Go will be offering tours of the Park Plaza North Bike Cage and selling low cost bike helmets. 

Plus….Pierce Transit will show you how to load your bike on the PT bus bike rack so you can get back up the hill later in the afternoon.  

To see a full schedule of Bike Month events, go to

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Employers invited to Live Downtown Interest Session

Downtown employers are invited to join Downtown On the Go on Thursday, March 29, 2012 from 4 – 6 p.m. to learn about their Live Downtown program, a free benefit for employers.


* Improves your employees’ commutes
* Aids in employee recruitment and retention
* May reduce your parking costs

Downtown On the Go has partnered with HomeStreet Bank, O’Connor and Associates, American Financial Solutions and other downtown businesses to offer discounts on home ownership and rentals for your employees. They can save up to $6,000* on a new home or up to $2,400 a year on a rental property. And it costs you nothing.
* Depending on loan amount.

Thursday, March 29, 2012
4–6pm, short presentation at 5pm
BLRB Architects | 1250 Pacific Ave, Suite 700
Take the bus, the Tacoma Link or enter garage via Commerce St. and we’ll validate your parking.
Light refreshments will be provided.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chamber Luncheon Featuring: Downtown Tacoma, Sponsored by the Port of Tacoma

On March 9th, the City Center Luncheon was reborn as the Chamber Luncheon with 80 people in attendance.  This change was brought about by the increasing demand for updates and information on what is happening in our community, including the greater Tacoma area.  For more on this change, please see the previous blog post here.

Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland
After introductions from Tom Pierson, President and CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, and Don Johnson, Port Commissioner for event sponsor the Port of Tacoma, the jam packed program brought Mayor Strickland to the podium.  She provided an update on coming changes in 2012 for the City of Tacoma.  In addition to the budget challenges faced by the City the Mayor highlighted the need to encourage innovative entreprenuers. 

<continued after the break>

Pacific Avenue Reopened

Commuters can now get from one end of downtown Tacoma to the other on Pacific Avenue, thanks to an earlier than expected opening of our main street in association with Sound Transit's D-to-M Street Project. Vehicles, transit, bicycles and pedestrians all have access to the roadway, including safe crosswalks and new sidewalks.

Beginning Tuesday, March 20, 2012, A Street will be closed between 25th and 26th streets and will not reopen. This section will be re-graded and re-paved to serve as a pedestrian and bicycle underpass.

According to Sound Transit, work still to be completed includes:
- Solidifying the rail bed and lay track from D to M Streets
- Completing the Pacific Avenue rail bridge
- Installing new crossing gates, signals, and other safety equipment along the rail line
- Building a new pedestrian underpass on A Street
- Re-paving South Tacoma Way and make improvements to South C Street
- Providing landscaping to the area

The bridge will also undergo a paint job before it's officially done. The final phase of construction for the project is anticipated to be completed, with trains running to South Tacoma and Lakewood, by fourth quarter 2012.

Local members of the Sound Transit Board prepare to tour the project after the opening of Pacific Ave.

Crews are still doing work on South Tacoma Way but Pacific Avenue is open to all traffic.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Downtown Parking Going Market Based

As previously discussed here, the City of Tacoma is considering updates to its downtown parking regulations.  After hearing public testimony on January 24th and in recent Environment and Public Works Committee meetings [EPW], EPW recommended amendments to the package that would remove the cap from structured parking proposed as part of a downtown building.

As one councilmember put it, by moving away from the "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" nature of the parking standards the City is choosing to honor transparency and encourage development.  A number of downtown property owners, the Tacoma Chamber, and other interested parties joined the BIA in encouraging the City to move to a truly market based solution.

If the amendment proposed by EPW is incorporated into the regulations, the City will allow developers to build only the parking they need, not too much, not too little.  The City will be discussing this proposal on February 14th at 5PM in council chambers and again on February 21st at the same time.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Learn More about Transportation in Downtown Tacoma

UPDATE: New date & time for the Public Health & Transportation Forum: 2/16/12 @ 1PM

Downtown On the Go is presenting two transportation-related forums this February:

On Feb. 2, 2012, in partnership with Futurewise, we’ll discuss transit-oriented communities as they relate to Tacoma and the South Sound. Presenters from around the region will talk about the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Growing Transit Communities program, which has partially funded Tacoma’s South Downtown Subarea Plan and the MLK Subarea Plan.  Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to discuss and visualize how transit-communities communities can developed and how they can be beneficial to a community, its residents and its businesses.  (Note: This workshop is oriented towards public officials, planners, designers, developers and community leaders, and is open to the public. A social will follow the presentation.)

Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, 2-4 p.m.
UW Tacoma, Carwein Auditorium
REGISTER today with Futurewise

On Feb. 16, 2012, DOTG will partner with Transportation Choices Coalition and the Coalition for Active Transportation to host a forum that will address the connection between public health and transportation and all of the momentum around this locally, in the legislature and nationally. A recent bill in the state legislature (HB 2370) proposes including health in the state transportation system policy goals and has brought new interested on this collaboration. The panel will be moderated by Victor Colman, Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, and will include Representative Andy Billig, D-Spokane, Julia Walton, inova planning, and Kirsten Frandsen, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department. More information about the panelists is available on the DOTG website.

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, 1-2:30p.m.
UW Tacoma, Carwein Auditorium
Register today at
Transportation Choices Coalition

(Post provided by DOTG's Kristina Walker.  For more information on these or other DOTG activities, please contact Kristina at 253-627-2175)