Freighthouse Square Amtrak Station Final Designs Ready for Public Review

Final designs for the new Tacoma Amtrak station at Freighthouse Square are ready for public review at an open house scheduled this week

The plans have long since left behind the initial design look dubbed the "Amshak" by the not-so-adoring public. A citizen stakeholder group was formed, and public meetings held to inform the (re)design process.

The result is a plan for an open and airy space with wood beams and plenty of glass. The station has also been moved from the proposed west end location to middle of Freighthouse Square. This compromise location preserves the familiar west end facade, but comes at far less expense than the east end location that got a fair amount of public support.

The glass walls of the new design would let in plenty of natural light, and be designed to be opened to allow an open-air option in more pleasant weather. There's no sign of the proposed clock tower in these designs, but the City and WSDOT have left the door open for the addition of one at some point in the future.

An open house to share the design with the public is scheduled for this Tuesday, October 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Jane Russell Commons on the UW-Tacoma campus. WSDOT plans to share details on materials and colors for the exterior of the station, and plans for wayfinding signage, among other project details.

The News Tribune reports that WSDOT plans to put out a request for bids for the project next spring, and hopes to have construction complete and trains running through the new station by fall 2017.

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If there is not a clock tower, there should at least be atop the E. 25th St. facade of the new Tacoma Amtrak station the bold neon letters “Go by Train” as adorns Portland Union Station’s clock tower.  Old-timers in Tacoma might recall the old brick transportation powerhouse (now-demolished) along the railroad tracks near Port of Tacoma Road with the big pink neon letters “Milwaukee Road” that could be seen from I-5.  Inside the Tacoma Amtrak station, there should be a mural in the waiting room area of Tacoma Union Station so that guests understand that Tacoma is more than just a railroad stop but in its history had been a rail destination.  Tacoma may not have light rail connections to its international airport, as otherwise the cities of Portland and Seattle possess, but Amtrak Cascades/Sounder will make it easy for business executives based in Tacoma to reach colleagues in Seattle and Portland almost as quickly as if flying to Portland from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  This revitalized Amtrak connection is important to the city’s economy—one hopes Freighthouse Square also is gradually upgraded to be more tourist-friendly and that perhaps the tribe’s business development arm Puyallup International might develop some of the tribes lands near Freighthouse Square (Iike a former motel along E. 26th St.) to create new private-sector Tacoma jobs.  The new station budget may be tight but Tacoma at least did not settle for an Amshak.  Until the construction of the grand Union Station that is now the new federal courthouse, Tacomans referred to their earlier railroad depot as an outhouse for a railroad leader perceived to favor Seattle.

October 26, 2015 at 5:37 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Irrespective of what is built the property along the tracks will be strewn with garbage and will be so poorly maintained that it will be an eyesore. 

Basically what will be built will be a larger version of the broken-down piece of “art” that is sitting across the street in front of the entrance to the parking garage rusting away.  This facility will add all of the charm and class of a 1984 Camaro sitting in a front yard on blocks does to any neighborhood.

That is just the way Tacoma rolls.  Nothing is maintained, the entire focus is on adding the newest example of the cheap, crass and tawdry while not doing a thing to maintain what was built just a couple years ago.  If Tacoma were a family and Tacoma politicians were the parents, that family would be living in a home w/a blue tarp on the roof, nothing in the refrigerator except a few ounces in the bottom of a fifth of vodka and a half an onion.

October 27, 2015 at 12:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Stan Christoph

Here’s an alternate idea for an interesting clock tower feature:

With or without train sounds!

October 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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