Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gift Card Giveaway to Downtown Businesses

The City of Tacoma is wrapping up construction on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma.  To celebrate they are giving away gift cards each week to people who stop into at least two businesses in the project area.

Pick up your passport at any participating business. Then visit one additional business to be qualified to enter the a drawing to win one of five great prizes!  Drop off your Pac Ave Passport through December 31 at either Learning Sprout Toys or the Tacoma Art Museum's Franciscan Polar Plaza Skating Rink. No purchase is necessary.

There are a variety of downtown businesses participating some of which are below.  For the full list of businesses participating, please see below the jump.

Some places you may already go downtown that are participating:
Aesthetica Clinique (801 Pacific)
Blitz Florist (909 Pacific)
Dorky’s Arcade (754 Pacific)
Granolas Frozen Yogurt (1716 Pacific)
Lucky Penny (950 Pacific)
Pacific Grill (1502 Pacific)
Savor Creperie (1916 Pacific)
Tacoma City Grocer (1250 Pacific)

For more on the project and the passport, please visit: www.cityoftacoma.org/pacave

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Congrats to All of the New Tacoma Awards Recipients!

(left to right:) Tacoma Runners, Sue Schaeffer, Tacoma Waterfront Association, Dawn Lucien, Murray Morgan Bridge Rehabilitation, Frost Park Chalk Off and Dorky's Bar Arcade.
Congratulations to all of the New Tacoma Awards Recipients!

Each year the Tacoma- Pierce County Chamber recognizes individuals, businesses, and organizations making outstanding contributions to downtown Tacoma with the New Tacoma Awards.

In coordination with sponsors AmericanWest Bank, Tags Awards & Specialties, and Blitz and Company, the Chamber honored both award nominees and recipients at the Chamber's July Luncheon last Friday.

The 2013 New Tacoma Awards recipients are:

The Ghilarducci Award recognizing successful new development, renovation or beautification: Murray Morgan Bridge Rehabilitation. The bridge celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this year after years of renovation and renewed community energy. The renovated bridge reconnects the downtown core to the tideflats and both the east and west sides of the Foss Waterway.

The Popham Award recognizing the individual that has done the most to build community spirit: Sue Schaeffer with the Tacoma Waterfront Association. During her tenure at the Tacoma Waterfront Association, Schaeffer oversaw numerous improvements to Tacoma's waterfront, such as seaplane floats, Point Ruston, and improving connections to the Foss. Schaeffer has worked diligently from the beginning to grow the organization, engage members, and improve Tacoma's waterfront to be a destination enjoyed for generations.

The Public Places Award recognizing the best activation of a public park, open space, or right-of-way: Frost Park Chalk Off. For six months of the year, Joel Larson, RR Anderson, and others with the Frost Park Chalkies have met every Friday on the corner of South 9th and Pacific Avenue for the past six years. The chalk-offs bring people to one of north downtown's pocket parks for lunch, entertainment, and community energy.

The Schoenfeld Award recognizing exemplary performance and pizazz as a retailer or restaurateur: Dorky's Bar Arcade. Dorky's fun blend of old school arcade games and laid back bar scene on the corner of 9th and Pacific make it a premiere hangout spot for locals looking to relax and have a good time. Owners Caroline and Les have also worked to bring the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show to Tacoma from Seattle.

The Union Station Award recognizing organizations, companies, or individuals that have built or sustained momentum for revitalization: Tacoma Runners. Started in 2010, Tacoma Runners is a social running group that meets every Thursday evening at a local watering hole, bringing over 100 people. This popular group has a goal of healthily engaging the community and helping create connections between runners of all abilities.

Congratulations to all of our New Tacoma Awards recipients and nominees and thank you for all of your great contributions to making downtown Tacoma a wonderful place!

For information on all award nominees and past winners, visit the BIA blog.

Monday, July 15, 2013

7/17 Pac Ave Coffee Talk

Join the City of Tacoma on Wednesday, 7/17 from 10:00 - 11:00 am for Coffee Talk regarding the Pacific Avenue Streetscape project updates and upcoming work schedule. There will be an opportunity for input and feedback on the project. The meeting will be held at Dorky's Arcade located at 754 Pacific Avenue Tacoma, WA 98402.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Be on the Lookout for New Wayfinding Signs

Be on the lookout for downtown Tacoma's new wayfinding signs!

Today, Chris Storey, the Civil Engineer of the City's Public Works Department, presented a wayfinding update to the Tacoma City Council Economic Development Committee. You may recall previous discussions on the wayfinding project, which included public outreach, two open houses, surveys, and an advisory committee.

Currently, the sign designs are complete and the foundation installation is underway. Signs will be installed in two phases. Phase 1 consists of 11 signs along Pacific Avenue. Phase 2 will include 18 signs at identified downtown gateways, ranging from the Dome District to the Stadium District. Signage installation will begin next month and be completed this December.

The signs will be hard to miss standing at 13 feet high with large, readable print designed for cars travelling at 30 miles an hour. David Schroedel, the Chamber's Metropolitan Development Director, supported Storey in developing criteria for signage content. Criteria was determined based on the proximity of the destination to the current location and public feedback collected overa  ear from online surveys and open houses. Many responses came from area visitors and individuals from the hospitality industry.

A historic image covers the backside of the sign. The signs are removable from the base with the option to be changed out at a later time.

The Committee also discussed the future expansion of wayfinding and destination signage for the City, such as signs that lead to the different neighborhood districts, as well as utilizing existing transportation infrastructure to be used toward pedestrian oriented wayfinding options, like bus shelters and transit centers.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Congratulations to the 2013 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 AmericanWest Bank and Tags Awards & Specialties, will honor nominees and recipients at the Chamber Luncheon on July 12th at the Pacific Grill Event Center at 1530 Pacific Avenue, 98402 from 11:30 to 1PM.  For more information on the program and to register, please visit the Chamber's website.
The 2013 New Tacoma Award Nominees are:

The Ghilarducci Award recognizing successful new development, renovation or beautification:
·       Foss Waterway Sea Plane Floats
·       Murray Morgan Bridge Rehabilitation

The Popham Award recognizing the individual that has done the most to build community spirit:
·       Alex Hays, AB Hayes
·       Benjii Bittle, Broadway Center for the Performing Arts
·       Patricia Lecy-Davis, Embellish Salon
·       Penny Dennewith, Lucky Penny Cafe
·       Rusty George, Rusty George Creative
·       Sue Schaeffer, Tacoma Waterfront Association

The Public Places Award recognizing the best activation of a public park, open space or right-of-way:
·       Frost Park Chalk Off
·       Spaceworks Tacoma
·       Tacoma Urban Landscaping with Love Tacoma Lane

The Schoenfeld Award recognizing exemplary performance and pizazz as a retailer or restaurateur:
·       Azarra Salon & Wine
·       Creative Forces Gifts & Sundries
·       Dorky’s Bar Arcade
·       Print NW
·       Savor Tacoma Creperie
·       The Office Bar & Grill

The Union Station Award recognizing organizations, companies or individuals that have built or sustained momentum for revitalization:
·       Downtown: On the Go!
·       Downtown Tacoma Business Improvement Area
·       Hillside Development Council
·       Tacoma Runners
·       Tacoma South Sound Sports
·       Venti Productions

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 12th.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Downtown Tacoma Parking Update

Since paid parking began in downtown Tacoma in September of 2010, there has been a steady increase with over one million transactions taking place last year alone.

Today, Kurtis Kingsolver, Tacoma’s Interim Public Works Director/ City Engineer, along with the Parking Technical Advisory Group Co-Chairs Rollie Herman and Judi Hyman, presented a parking update to the Tacoma City Council Economic Development Committee. The presentation provided an overview of Tacoma’s parking system, key issues, potential solutions, and next steps.

The presenters identified two key parking areas. First, the area surrounding the Pierce County Court House and Bates Technical College in between South 9th Street and 13th and Yakima and Tacoma Avenue was identified as being at capacity for street parking. Currently, this area does not have paid street parking. Typically, those visiting the court house need parking for around four hours, whereas the nearby students need parking all day. Both users, however, likely do not have the ability to pay for parking.

The second area identified is the area surrounding the University of Washington, Tacoma from 17th to 21st Street and Jefferson and Pacific Avenue. Even with paid street parking, this area is often at capacity, limiting local business’ customer volume. The advisory group proposed three suggestions to encourage higher turnover: 1). Reduce the time from two hours to 90 minutes; 2). Extend the paid parking time from 6 pm to 8 pm; and 3). Remove Saturday’s all day parking.

The advisory group also described how the City could promote parking in their off-street parking structures by improving signage that would make it easier to locate and enter and possibly tying into the current Pacific Avenue Streetscape Wayfinding project.

Moreover, the advisory group noted how License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology may be used to promote better compliance, high scofflaw capture, and improved payment compliance through greater system efficiency and the collection of data.

Lastly, the City is well overdue for an updated Parking Master Plan (the last one was completed in 1992), which would take into account parking demand and occupancy data, pricing, an evaluation of the current system’s performance, an evaluation of the City’s role in parking, stakeholder input and public outreach, and a financing strategy.

Monday, June 24, 2013

New BIA Magnets Available

The new BIA magnets are now available!

Important information, such as emergency contact, BIA Bike Security, BIA Cleaning, and Tacoma Police Non-Emergency numbers are located on the magnets.

Contact Janice at 253.683.4882 or janiceh@tacomachamber.org to request a magnet!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

6/19 Pac Ave Coffee Talk

Join the City of Tacoma on Wednesday, June 19 from 10:00 am - 11:00 am at The Office Bar & Grill located at 813 Pacific Avenue Tacoma, WA 98402 for Coffee Talk on the Pacific Avenue Streetscape.

Get information on the project's upcoming schedule, ask questions, and provide feedback. Representatives from the City of Tacoma and the contractor will be available to answer questions.

Climb the Stairs at Murray Morgan Bridge

Climb the stairs at the Murray Morgan Bridge! The staircase, located between Dock Street and South 11th Street in downtown Tacoma, opened to the public Friday as a part of the Murray Morgan Bridge renovation.

The elevator will open by the end of next week, pending inspection.

For more information on the project, visit the City’s website

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First Annual Brew-Five-Three: Tacoma's Beer & Blues Festival

On Saturday, June 22, Tacoma will have its first annual Brew-Five-Three Beer & Blues Festival. Washington breweries, blues bands, and food trucks will take over Broadway for a 21+ block party. The event, presented by Broadway Center and The Beer Essentials, will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Broadway between 9th and 11th in downtown Tacoma.

Over 35+ Washington breweries and cider makers will be there, along with numerous Northwest Blues bands. Advanced tickets are already on sale for $25 ($5 for designated drivers) and will include 8 tasting tokens and a 2.5 ouce collectable pilsner glass. 

 There will also be two collaboration brews created especially for the event by local Tacoma breweries.

 Get your tickets soon!

Thursday, 5/30 Pac Ave Coffee Talk

The City of Tacoma is holding a Pacific Avenue Streetscape Coffee Talk this Thursday, May 30th from 10:30- 11:30 AM at Meconi's Pub & Eatery located at 709 Pacific Avenue.

The goal of the meeting is to provide information on the current and upcoming work schedule, and to seek your input and feedback on the project.  The City welcomes stakeholder comments and questions and welcomes you to attend.

For additional information, contact Mark D'Andrea at 253-591-5518; mdandrea@cityoftacoma.org,call the project's hotline at 253-591-2014, or visit the project website at www.cityoftacoma.org/pacave

Monday, May 20, 2013

Schuster Pkwy Closure 5/28- 7/19

As part of the Stadium Way project, southbound Schuster Parkway will be closed at S. 4th St. beginning May 28 and extending through July 19.  The closure will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday.  One southbound lane will be open after 9 p.m.  Traffic to downtown and/or I-705 will be detoured via S. 4th St./Dock St./S. 15th St.  

The Schuster Parkway sidewalk will be closed to pedestrians for 2-3 weeks during the road closure.  Signs will be in place notifying pedestrians when the sidewalk is closed.  The pedestrian detour will be the same as the vehicle detour. 

For additional information, including a detour plan, go to www.cityoftacoma.org/stadiumway.  Once you are at the web page, scroll down to Phasing Plan and click on Phase 1A to view the detour plan.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Development on the Foss

Today the Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Subcommittee excitedly listened to a presentation from the Foss Waterway Development Authority (FWDA) regarding the proposed sale and development of Site 1, an empty lot on the Foss Waterway sitting just north of 21st Street Park (under the 509 cable-stay bridge) and south of Albers Mill.

According to the proposal, Site 1 would be developed into The Henry, a mixed-use, residential and commercial structure, which would include 161 apartments, 13,000 square feet of office and retail space, 286 parking stalls, and potentially a rooftop restaurant on one end of the building, and a rooftop dog walk/park on the other. Development of the site would also include numerous offsite improvements to the park and the event space in front of Albers Mill.

The proposed sale price of the property is $25.00 per square foot for a total of $1,291,175, a price consistent with a recent appraisal of Thea’s Landing and Johnny’s Seafood, suggesting that the price is reflective of current market conditions.

The Henry Group, the only group to respond to the FWDA’s Request for Proposals, is the same group that pioneered the first development on the waterway, Thea’s Landing. Lessons learned from that experience are to be incorporated into the building design to provide better views of the waterway.

The project timeline has a bristling pace with construction expected to begin by the end of the year or earlier. Su Dowie, Executive Director of the FWDA, noted that the project was a valuable asset and could assist in getting “State Farm employees housing” downtown. As announced earlier this month, State Farm plans to expand its workforce in downtown Tacoma, bringing 1100 jobs to the area. Further, Dowie suggested that the development was not only a “great fit for the waterfront”, but also that it would bring stability and reassurance to other developers interested in downtown Tacoma.

The project now moves to the FWDA Board Agenda on May 22 and the City Council Agenda on May 29. Shoreline permits are expected to be approved May and June and the design review to be complete by September.

For more information on the project, visit The News Tribune.

Monday, April 22, 2013

PAC Ave April 22 Update and Coffee Talk/Mixer

The contractor is finishing tasks in Phase 1A and has started preliminary work (temporary lighting, potholing, and tree and underground storage tank removal) between S. 7th and S. 9th St. on the west side (expanded Phase 1B).  In an effort to stay on schedule, full construction will begin on the west side between S. 7th and S. 9th St. mid-late next week, weather dependent.  This will include temporary removal of all parking and the installation of revised pedestrian routes in this area.  Traffic detours that are currently in place (use of S.13th St/S.15th St. to I-705) will remain operational.

With this new work, the majority of parking in Phase 1A will open up, with the exception of the S. 11th to S. 12th St. (Starbucks) block due to planter/stair construction in that area.  For all other blocks, the contractor will reserve two parking spaces immediately adjacent to each rain garden to complete final tasks. 

Remaining tasks associated with Phase 1A include:

  • Continued work at each rain garden/landscaping
  • Miscellaneous sidewalk placement/replacement (vault infill, cobble sections, etc.)
  • Concrete planters/stairs between S. 11th and S. 12th St.
  • Installation of remaining street lights
A flyer update will be distributed to the S. 7th to S. 9th St. area businesses on Monday, April 22nd.
In addition, there will be Coffee Talk/ Evening Mixer on Thursday, April 25th from 5:00-6:00 PM at Tacoma Cabana 728 Pacific Avenue Tacoma, WA 98402 to discuss the project.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Pacific Avenue Streetscape April 16 Weekly Construction Update

A special public meeting was held last week at the Chamber to discuss the project's schedule and options for making up time due to unforeseen issues.  It was proposed to expand Phase 1B to include the west side of Pacific Avenue from S. 7th to S.13th Street. In preparation for this work, the contractor will begin tree removal, the installation of temporary lighting, and potholing for buried utilities within this expanded area. The contractor will contact adjacent businesses before this preliminary work begins.   

Construction Schedule & Progress

  • Sidewalks:  The pedestrian path through Phase 1A is generally complete.  Small portions of sidewalk yet to be constructed include areas receiving a cobble finish in the vicinity of bulb outs, and gray sidewalk panels immediately adjacent to the rain gardens.
  • Curb & Gutter:  The majority of the curb & gutter on the east side of Pacific Avenue between S. 9th & S.13th is complete.  Curb and gutter work at the rain gardens is expected to be complete by the end of the month.
  • Bulb Outs:  The new bulb out on the SE corner of S. 9th Street is complete and open to pedestrian traffic. The bulb out on the NE corner of S.11th St. is tentatively planned for completion this week.
  • Electrical:  Temporary lighting is being installed on the west side of Pacific Avenue between    S. 7th and S. 9th in preparation for the start of the expanded Phase 1B.
  • Rain Garden: Concrete work continues in each rain garden in preparation for the installation of the impermeable liners and the placement of treatment media, soils and plants. Work is expected to continue through the end of the month.
  • Planters:  Topsoil has been installed at several tree pit/planter locations. Select trees were planted last week from S. 9th to S.12th Street.
  • Vault Infill: Work on the vault infill at 1007 Pacific Avenue is ongoing and is expected to be complete by early April.
  • Traffic Control: The contractor has replaced a number of the water-filled traffic barriers on the east side of Pacific Avenue with orange traffic barrels. Parking meters and signs are expected to be installed within the next two weeks. Once these are in place, select areas will be opened for parking. 
  • Nighttime Security Precautions:  With spring & summer arriving and outdoor patios opening up between 7th and 9th, there is an increase in pedestrian traffic along Pacific Avenue.  The contractor will be taking additional measures to make the work areas along the sidewalks  as safe as possible for the public.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Council Briefing on Hybrid Link Expansion Tomorrow

There has been much discussion on the Tacoma City Council’s preferred expansion of the Sound Transit Tacoma Link. Tomorrow, the Council will hear Sound Transit’s evaluation of a hybrid corridor introduced last month that would incorporate different portions of the original proposed routes from the North End Central, Eastside, and North Downtown Central corridors.
Additionally, Sound Transit will also present information on a different hybrid option.

The Council plans to form a resolution on April 30 in support of a preferred route. For more information, visit the City Council’s website.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Pacific Avenue Streetscape April 9 Weekly Construction Update

Construction Schedule & Progress

• Sidewalks:  The last portions of the sidewalk on the east side of Pacific Avenue between S. 9th & S.13th Street should be poured by the end of this week. 
• Curb & Gutter:  The last portions of the curb & gutter on the east side of Pacific Avenue between S. 9th & S.13th should be poured by the end of this week.
• Bulb Outs: The new bulb out on the SE corner of S. 9th Street is expected to be completed by the end of this week.  Currently this work impacts eastbound and westbound traffic on S. 9th Street.
• Rain Garden: Irrigation and concrete work is ongoing as we progress through each rain garden. The liners will be installed this week with the under drain pipes and drainage gravel placed shortly after. 
• Planters:  The planting of trees & shrubs will begin later this week.
• Vault Infill: Work on the vault infill at 1007 Pacific Avenue began a few weeks ago and is expected to be complete by the end of this month.
• Traffic Control: Traffic control and temporary pedestrian access is in place on the east side of Pacific Avenue between S. 9th and S.13th. The outside lane of northbound through traffic and the parallel parking lane is closed for construction work.
• Daffodil Parade:  The 80th Annual Daffodil Parade will be taking place this Saturday, April 13th.  The parade route will be on Pacific Avenue from S.11th through S.19th Street, with queuing along Pacific Avenue from S. 7th to S.11th, including side streets. 
• Y Run for Kids:  The YMCA will be hosting their annual Y Run for Kids this Saturday with registration beginning at 7 am and the event ending just before the Daffodil Parade.  The run begins and ends in the 1500 block of Pacific Avenue at Tollefson Plaza. 

Road Closures for Daffodil Parade

The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and it is time for the 80th annual Daffodil Parade! The parade will take place this Saturday, April 13 with the following roads closed from 5 a.m to noon:
• A Street, Ninth Street to 24th Street
• Pacific Avenue, from Ninth Street to 24th Street
• Commerce Street, from Ninth Streeth to 24th Street
• East 11th Street from Market Street to Portland Avenue
• East 11th Street will be one-way eastbound from St. Paul to Portland Avenue

Impact on local freeways

The A Street and 15th Street exits from I-705 will be closed.  Schuster Parkway will remain open and Commerce Street will be accessible from the Stadium exit.  The I-705 on-ramp at Ninth Street will be open and drivers will be able to cross Pacific Avenue at SR-509 and 21st Street. 

For more information on road closures associated with the Tacoma Daffodil Parade, please call (253) 591-5932.

Opus Bank to Open Downtown

Downtown Tacoma continues to attract new businesses to the area. Irvine, California- based Opus Bank announced it will be opening a new banking office on the first floor of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce building at the corner of Pacific and 11th Street. Additional information can be found on the Business Examiner website.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Pacific Avenue Special Meeting Held Thursday

The Pacific Avenue Streetscape reconstruction is well underway. While there have been notable delays the City and the City’s contractor remain committed to completing the project this November.

In order to discuss potential changes to the project’s phasing and sequencing, gain stakeholder input, as well as answer any questions, stakeholders are invited to attend a special meeting held this Thursday, April 11 from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. at the Tacoma- Pierce County Chamber's offices located at 950 Pacific Avenue, Suite 300 Tacoma, Washington 98401.

For more information visit the project website.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

See the Murray Morgan Bridge in Action

Work on the Murray Morgan Bridge is wrapping up as the contractor performs final commissioning tests of the bridge operating equipment. During the tests, the bridge will be raised and lowered several times each day. Stop by and witness the rehabilitated bridge in action!

The Murray Morgan Bridge is located at A Street and South 11th in downtown Tacoma. Testing will be performed Monday, March 4 through Thursday, March 7 from 6 PM until 9 PM, Friday, March 8 from 6 PM through 6 AM Saturday, March 9, and finish up Saturday, March 9 from noon to 9 PM.

The bridge will remain open to traffic during testing, however prepare for delays.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tacoma Link Expansion Update

Today Sound Transit presented at the Tacoma City Council’s Study Session regarding the Tacoma Link expansion. We discussed the expansion and potential routes previously on the BIA blog.

From the six alternative corridors, Sound Transit identified three routes that rank the highest according to the six identified project goals. Project goals include the following:

  1. Improve mobility and transportation access for Tacoma residents and visitors
  2. Increase transit ridership within the City of Tacoma
  3. Serve underserved neighborhoods and communities in the City of Tacoma
  4. Use transit to spur economic development and other types of investments
  5. Ensure that the project is environmentally sensitive and sustainable
  6. Establish a project that is competitive for federal funding

The three routes were B1 North End Central, C1 Eastside, and E1 North Downtown Central. See map below.

Additionally, high ridership and economic development are top priorities for the Council. Councilman Robert Thoms noted that at a minimum, transit should move people and goods, suggesting that those particular routes that offer the highest ridership should be considered.

According to the Sound Transit review, both the B1 North End Central and E1 North Downtown Central corridors had a ridership response of 3.0- 3.5 million each year. This number assumes that Sound Transit will require a fee to ride the Link. The Link is currently free to ride.

Over the coming weeks, the Council seeks to make a route recommendation to the Sound Transit Board. If a route is identified, the environmental review will begin in May. For more information on how you may participate in the discussion, visit Sound Transit’s website.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Murray Morgan Bridge Closed Through Monday

Starting tonight, Thursday, February 21 at 9 PM, the Murray Morgan Bridge located at the intersection of 11th and A Street in downtown Tacoma, will be completely closed off to vehicle traffic and pedestrians through Monday, February 25th at 6 AM. Contractors will be using large cranes that take up the entire road to rebalance the structure. The bridge will be open for marine traffic with a two hour notification according to City officials.

The bridge also had a single lane closure that began Monday, February 18 through today in order to allow for minor finishing touches, such as work platform removal and the installation of windows and doors in the operator’s house.

The bridge officially reopened last week after being closed to traffic since 2007. 

For more information visit the City’s website

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Murray Morgan Bridge is Open

After more than two years closed, Tacoma's Murray Morgan Bridge opened without ceremony on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. But the vital transportation link between the Port of Tacoma and downtown Tacoma will not be without fanfare. 

The Cty of Tacoma is hosting Murray Morgan Bridge Week, Feb. 11-16, with featured discounts at local businesses.  A 5k Light The Bridge Fun Run is being held on Thursday, Feb. 14 (register here).

A Centennial Celebration  will be held on Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. that will feature speeches from local elected officials and a processional across the newly opened Murray Morgan BridgeDowntown On the Go is coordinating the multi-modal processional that will include bicycles, pedestrians, LeMay Museum cars and historical Pierce Transit buses. Contact dotg@tacomachamber.org if you are interested in participating.

Getting to the celebration
The Murray Morgan Bridge is located near the intersection of  11th and A Street in downtown Tacoma, easily accessible by many modes of transportation. Parking is limited, find your options on the celebration website.

Read more about the Murray Morgan Bridge.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prairie Line Trail Update

The Prairie Line Trail will connect the south end of downtown to the Foss Waterway, as a multi-modal corridor, with resting places, green space, artwork, and historic content. The trail is being developed in part by the University of Washington Tacoma and in part by the City of Tacoma. For more information on the trail's redevelopment click here. To take a look at some of the design through the UWT portion click here.

City Council met on Tuesday to discuss property donations and exhange agreements with BNSF Railway. The city will recieve 20-foot strips of land from S. 26th to 25th St., 23rd to 21st, and Pacific to 15th. This falls under a donations agreement, which also includes 80-foot right of way width from S. 25th to 23rd and at street intersections.

The exchange agreement shares that the city will obtain easements from BNSF allowing for the crossing of the rail line at 15th St. for furture widening of the I-705 overpass, and BNSF agrees to allow construction of a future pedestrian overpass near E. 23rd St. right of way. All of this is in exhange for the city vacating a portion of A St. for permanent closure of railroad crossing; a connection that has already been barricaded for sometime.

The council hopes to have resolutions transactions approved by early march, with a closing date approximately 90 days after approval.

For more information on the terms and visuals of these agreements see the City Council's January 29th Study Session for the handouts.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

UWT Prairie Line Trail Design

Japanese School Memorial.
Last week UWT unveiled their design proposal for their portion of the Prairie Line Trail. The proposed trail contains new resting places, green space, beautiful histortical content: such as the existing tracks from the Prairie Line, and new artwork like this Japanese school memorial. 

UW's next move is to start phasing construction on 21st St. so that pedestrians and bicyclists have a safer place to cross.
The University has come up with 3 phases to the create a safe crossing on 21st St. Descriptions are as follows:
  • Phase 1/C Street Crossing = This is the current alignment - a crosswalk crossing 21st St. at C St.
  • Phase 2/Double Median = Increasing safety by adding two medians. See below for example.
  •  Phase 3/Bridge and Tunnel = Future construction plans are to build a bridge with a tunnel underneath for the trail. It is unclear when this might be constructed. See example below.
We are excited to see what the Prairie Line Trail has in store for downtown and the BIA in the future. Look for another post soon on updates for the City's plans and designs are for the trail.

Phase 2: Double Median Design.

Phase 3: Bridge/Tunnel Design.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tacoma Link Expansion Update

Yesterday Sound Transit presented at the Tacoma City Council Study Session regarding potential expansion routes for the Tacoma Link. The Chamber has previously discussed alternative corridors for the expansion of the 1.6 mile long Tacoma Link light rail line. The Tacoma Link expansion process has included numerous opportunities for public input, including meetings with various stakeholders, open houses, online surveys, distributed mailings, roundtable discussions, media articles, and business district and neighborhood council briefings. Through this process have emerged six possible corridors that would expand on the current light rail that begins at the Tacoma Dome Station and ends in the Theatre District.

The six corridors were identified (see map) as follows:

  • B1- North End Central- 6th Avenue to Union Avenue via Stadium Way and Division Street
  • C1- Eastside- 48th and Portland Avenue via E 25th Street
  • D4- South End via Eastside- Tacoma Mall via Portland Avenue, 38th/48th Street
  • E1- North Downtown Central- 19th and Martin Luther King Jr Way via Stadium Way and Division Street
  • E2- North Downtown Central Loop- A variant of E1 with a downtown loop component on Jefferson Street
  • G1- Pacific Highway- Extending from Fife to the Tacoma Dome station

Noted in the presentation were the approximate costs and length of each corridor, as well as the pros and cons associated with each route. A recurring theme of several of the City council members was how each corridor would contribute to the City’s economic development.

The B1 route would link downtown with the busy 6th Avenue business district, potentially attracting many riders and providing faster service to the Tacoma Dome. The area surrounding this route is also already zoned to support higher density mixed use development, all important factors to consider. The C1 route would also provide faster service from the eastside to both the Tacoma Dome and downtown, however a high ridership for the area is questionable and the current zoning is not supportive of higher density mixed use development.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pacific Construction Coffee Talk

The new construction on Pacific Avenue has been quite the buzz these past few weeks. To view more from us on this issue click here.Today, the City of Tacoma held their first “coffee talk”. The event was located at Vinum Coffee and Wine Lounge and discussed the Pacific Avenue construction project. “coffee talks” are scheduled to occur monthly as the construction project continues.

The coffee talk had over twenty people in attendance including: Steve Rich, the project manager. The talk gave downtown business owners in attendance the ability to voice their concerns and share suggestions. One major topic was parking. It was mentioned that there will be more parking spaces coming soon, and free 2 hour parking at the Park Plaza North Garage with validation from participating businesses.

 Tucci & Sons are following a tight schedule, doing 16 months of work in 10 months.
Actions may be made to help get construction ahead of schedule where it is possible. The project is scheduled to end before the 2013 holiday season; their plans include a three week buffer period, which allows room for unexpected delays. For questions, concerns, or more information please visit: www.cityoftacoma.org/pacave.

Stay tuned for more updates and information on the next coffee talk.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Pacific Construction Updates & Feedback

As we discussed last week, Pacific Avenue is now under construction.  To start the project, the contractor began opening up the east side of Pacific Avenue between S. 9th and S. 11th.  This has had only a minor impact on circulation as they have gone out of their way to provide continuous access for pedestrians and vehicles.

As you watch the construction move forward, experience the detours, and make your way to lunch, the City wants to get your feedback on how the first two weeks of construction went.  They are particularly interested in any improvements that should be made now - rather than waiting months to see if things are moving smoothly.

To hear about what activities will be occuring in the next month and to share your thoughts on anything that could be improved, please stop by Vinum Coffe & Wine Lounge (1001 Pacific Avenue; 98402) next Wednesday, 1/16 anytime from 9-10AM.