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Freighthouse Square Amtrak Station, Take Two? Take Three…?
The latest proposal for the new Tacoma Amtrak station location at Freighthouse Square puts it right in the middle of the existing semi-historic building, according to The News Tribune.
WSDOT's latest recommendation comes after public outrage at the not-so-affectionately dubbed "Amshack" design originally proposed for the west end of the building. Okay, "outrage" may be a strong word for it, but the most vocal public sentiment was definitely against the conceptual design that would have demolished the old shopping center's most visible face at East 25th and East D, and replaced it with a steel and glass structure.
In response to the negative public reaction, WSDOT invested in additional study of the possible locations, hiring of a local architect to help with the process.
In March a citizen panel came back with a recommendation that the station be located at the east end of the building, in part because they deemed it least disruptive to other uses of Freighthouse Square. A station at that end would be elevated several stories above the street below, requiring a significant amount of construction, including elevators to make it work. According to the TNT, that option would have cost nearly twice as much to operate as the central and west end locations, which would be able to operate basically at grade. The added cost makes the east end a no-go for WSDOT.
The proposed central location would be located just west of the existing Sounder station. Like the unpopular west end location, that location would require a tear-down of the existing Freighthouse structure, with the replacement built in the original footprint. The existing construction is just too old; foundations are weak, wiring is outdated, and the layout is... quirky. A new design would bring updated infrastructure, and a more open layout for Amtrak operations.
You can learn more about WSDOT's latest proposal, and some of the research on the other options at a public meeting hosted by WSDOT today at 4 at UWT. If the public likes what they see, the plan can move to federal review this summer. Construction could begin as early as late 2015. Activation of the Point Defiance Bypass route is currently anticipated for spring 2017.
The old building will not be easy to add a new station to, regardless of the location. We've got three proposed locations. Does the central location seem like a good compromise?
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