Amtrak Station: Committee Recommends East End of Freighthouse Square

The group of citizens tasked with assessing options for Tacoma's new Amtrak station recommends the station be located at the east end of Freighthouse Square, rather than the west end as originally proposed by WSDOT.

The News Tribune reports that the citizen stakeholder committee formally recommended the east end location yesterday, after considering a range of options for the location of the new station at Freighthouse Square. The recommendation was based on the committee's assessment of how the various options would fit in with the long-term vision for the future development of the Dome District, as well as which would be the least disruptive to the existing businesses at Freighthouse Square, and to parking access. 

According to the TNT, the advisory committee feels that the east end location will concentrate construction activity at the same end where Sound Transit will already be rebuilding its trestle. It would also allow for passenger drop-offs and handicapped parking under the elevated station, which would be three or four stories above street level.

Quite a few factors complicate the decision over where to locate the new station (the TNT covered many of them here). Not least of these are the many structural challenges of the quirky construction and layout of Freighthouse Square itself, its orientation to the existing tracks and surrounding roads, and a potentially insufficiently stable foundation. Whatever ends up getting built, it will likely mean tearing down at least a small portion of the existing Freighthouse structure to construct a new station. 

Ultimately the Federal Railway Administration has the final say in what gets built and where, but in the meantime, there are plenty of people and groups with opinions on the matter - including Amtrak, Sound Transit, the City, the property owner, WSDOT, the Dome District, and more. What's your opinion?

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Given the complexities of building on the freight house square station site, it may be worth looking into only having Amtrak Cascades stop at Freight house Square, like they do at the unstaffed station in Tukwila using only the existing platform. A new fully sized and staffed Amtrak station could be built in Lakewood adjacent to the Lakewood station to serve the cascades and coast starlight.

March 22, 2014 at 11:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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