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Council Moves Toward Decision on Link Expansion
The Tacoma City Council will be expressing support for one of the alternatives discussed for the expansion of Tacoma’s Link light rail in a resolution appearing on next week’s City Council meeting agenda.
Although the resolution request on the pending agenda so far only reads “Supporting the Tacoma Link light rail system expansion project to create a significant and important investment in Tacoma and an important addition to the regional transit system,” the magic 8-ball seems to suggest that Council is likely to choose the E1 North Downtown Central Corridor alignment for the project. The E1 route would extend the current Link route from its north end, up to the Stadium District, where it would hang a left, and head for the MLK corridor, turning south again, and running the length of the Hilltop neighborhood/medical mile corridor.
At Tuesday’s study session an informal head count had a majority of council members voicing support for the E1 alternative, although the numbers were far from unanimous. Supporters of this alignment argue that the route will draw high ridership numbers from already dense neighborhoods, and help to drive development in the Hilltop. A recommendation that came out of the recent visit to Tacoma by the Urban Land Institute might be of interest in this discussion; ULI experts suggested that the focus in developing the Hilltop be less on the north/south MLK corridor, and more on east/west connectors with other neighborhoods and downtown.
We also heard support for the C1 options which would extend the Link route to the east side. Supporters of that route argue that it would not only connect east side residents to jobs, services, and other destinations, but it would also help to drive development along a corridor with a lot of potential, both in terms of available space, and zoned capacity. The News Tribune reports that the Puyallup Tribe would be willing to consider a significant contribution to project costs to see a route that serves Portland Avenue. Other arguments in favor of the C1 route are that it would better serve City-owned assets like the Dome, Convention Center, and others; and that
Although MLK seems to be emerging at the top of the list, Council doesn’t formally make its preference known until Tuesday’s resolution.
This topic has gotten a lot of coverage and been the center of quite a few heated discussions about transit, priorities, and the kind of city Tacoma wants to be. So, are you tired of the debate, or are you fired up to keep the discussion moving?
Previously from Exit133: Tacoma Link Expansion, Is It The Journey Or The Destination?
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