Good News for Prairie Line Trail

As we move into spring, and weather more conducive to construction work, the Prairie Line Trail is moving forward.

Phase two of construction on the UWT portion of the project is about to start. On Monday excavation begins for the regional water quality treatment facility near 21st Street, followed by work to accomodate footing excavation for retaining walls. The University will try to minimize construction impacts on both the Grand Staircase and Commerce Street, but you may run into closures from time to time as work progresses. The plan is for work to be complete on this section next fall.

And there's good news on the City-owned portion too. After lengthy negotiations with BNSF, the City of Tacoma has finally finalized the agreement to purchase sections of the trail between 21st and 25th, and from 17th north to the Foss. That means that work can move forward for those sections of the trail as well. 

Community members with an interest in the trail are invited to join "The Friends of the Prairie Line Trail" group when it meets next Thursday, April 24, at 4 p.m. in the Tioga Library Building Research Commons (3rd floor atrium). The Friends of PLT group includes individuals with interests including promoting non-motorized transportation, fostering an active downtown Tacoma, and telling the story of the trail - its beginnings and the beginnings of Tacoma, its heyday as a major arterial of commerce and travel, and its intersection with various historic moments in Tacoma's history. There has also been discussion of fostering the various areas along the trail as public gathering places, and sites for public art.

Maybe you find one or more of these ideas intriguing - maybe you have a whole new idea for the trail - maybe you want to join the group and make it happen...


Do you want to help the folks at Exit133 pay our bills and keep up with of all things Tacoma? Do you want to see even more coverage? Exit133 has always been free to read and comment, and it will stay that way. However, over the years, readers have contributed to the bank account to help us keep up our coverage of goings-on around town. Contribute and this message disappears!

Support Exit133

Comments

JDHasty

“After lengthy negotiations with BNSF, the City of Tacoma has finally finalized the agreement to purchase sections of the trail between 21st and 25th”

If the City has money for this, then the City has money to restore the pavement that has been neglected for decades.  I am sick and tired of reading about million dollar per block streetscape and trails and every other type of discretionary spending in one little area of Tacoma, while the rest of the city goes without.  AND, make no mistake, I live and own properties in and around The Proctor District and it is not my neighborhood that is getting short shrift. 

Knock this nonsense off until the City of Tacoma has dealt with what already has become a crisis of monumental proportions!  A crisis brought on by decades of irresponsible budgeting and programming of revenues.  A person does not have to drive more than thirty minutes to see what other comparable communities have accomplished with less far less revenue than Tacoma has squandered and by that I mean far less per capita revenue as well.

April 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Xeno

I can’t speak to all funding sources of this project but I do know it is heavily grant funded.  It is also utilizing a lot of dynamic grants with high pedestrian improvement criteria.  It being a pedestrian project, the monies aren’t necessarily being deverted from another viable street repair project.  They are simply two different types of projects. So it is quite presumptive to assume that the Prarie Line Trial is a discretionary project.  I also read that it was one of the highest ranked projects in the PSRC region when they sent out the dollars.

Secondly, Tacoma remains to have one of the lowest per capita revenues for streets of a city of its size.  You can’t compare it to other cities around it because they either have very high per capita rates or they have way less road miles to maintain.  Tacoma has the worst of both worlds.  Low per capita funding and high road miles.

April 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Dan

This was the number one ranked project in the region in last year’s Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).  I have some familiarity with the program.  I do not work for the City.  All of this information is publicly available.

Funding Recommendation List:  http://www.psrc.org/assets/10182/TAPFundingRecommendation.pdf

Eligible activities for TAP include:
 Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure
 Environmental mitigation
 Community improvement
 Historic preservation if related to a transportation facility
 Archaeological activities related to transportation impacts

TAP Power Point: http://www.psrc.org/assets/9877/TAP-Workshop-Presentation-20130722.pdf

The city is spending about $560,000 matching money and getting $2,384,372 from federal programs in return.

Tacoma’s application: http://www.psrc.org/assets/9945/Tacoma-PrairieLineTrail-WEB.pdf

We live in a city with very constrained budgets.  I want my city’s staff to be looking for bargains like this.  I do hope that they continue to apply for preservation grants in other competitions that are upcoming.  I know that last year the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) funded the preservation of the Delin St. Bridge (Tacoma Ave. by Goodwill).  I haven’t seen any pavement rehabilitation projects recently, but bridges are also important. When they go down everyone notices. We’ll just have to wait and see.

April 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JDHasty

It may be the number one ranked project by some outside entity, but it most definitely is not what residents told the City they wanted the City of Tacoma focusing on.  Go back to the survey done last spring and take a look at what residents identified as Tacoma’s number one priority and this project does not even appear on the list.

April 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Xeno

That outside entity is the entity that gives money for projects.  That money wasn’t going to repair a new street because we have those projects on the PSRC TIP as well.  PSRC is who decided this project was a priority to do when they decided to rank it so high and give money to fully fund the project.  You keep wanting to blame the City where there is no blame to be given on this subject.

April 22, 2014 at 1:39 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JDHasty

Perhaps that needs to be addressed as well.  The money they “give” is the same money they take out of a community.  I would submit that perhaps the residents of Tacoma are more in touch with what their community in in greatest need of.  Perhaps not, but at least the local politicians and senior staff would have one less excuse to bandy about.

April 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JDHasty

Tacoma remains to have one of the lowest per capita revenues for streets of a city of its size.  You can’t compare it to other cities around it because they either have very high per capita rates or they have way less road miles to maintain.  Tacoma has the worst of both worlds.  Low per capita funding and high road miles.

That is because politicians have diverted revenues from infrastructure maintenance to fund all kinds of pie in the sky nonsense and outright graft.  I will agree that “Tacoma has the worst of both worlds,” Tacoma politics is totally corrupt and Tacoma voters in the aggregate seem to like it that way.

April 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Xeno

I don’t dispute that funding for roads could have gone another direction.  I think your mission to seek out and expose corruption is a laudable goal but for your sake this project isn’t an example of discretionary or misappropriation of funds.

April 22, 2014 at 1:42 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

nwcolorist

What this comes down to is that the city (and the public) put more importance on exciting and trendy issues than the basic and important purposes of government, one of which is providing decent streets.

In fairness to the City of Tacoma, I have seen an uptick in street paving work in my area. It’s a good start, but there is much more to be done.

April 21, 2014 at 8:11 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

talus

A downtown that competes with other downtowns in the region is a necessity for a functional Tacoma, and projects like the Prairie Line are part of making our city competitive.  This doesn’t make street maintenance any less important, but let’s not create false (and limiting) choices.  Functional cities can walk and chew gum at the same time.

April 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Garrett

Xeno makes a great point that funding these days is, unfortunately, complicated. It may be the case that the City had a choice of grants for the Trail (or some other similar type of improvement), or no grant at all.  And, as Dan points out, the PLT was the number one choice by the PSRC TAP.

While maintaining nice, new roads would be fine (expensive, but fine, I suppose) I do not think that the conditions of Tacoma’s roads necessarily constitute a “crisis.” An eyesore, or a “problem” (or, free ‘traffic calming’ in my opinion) but probably not a crisis.  In my opinion a crisis is a bridge falling, or a public health emergency.  Furthermore we could probably all have a rousing conversation over the basic and important purposes of government, but I’m sure one thing it is not is providing decent streets.  I would offer as a starting point the basic and important purpose of (local) government is to promote a healthy happy citizenry.  Then all sorts of funding decisions, including transportation infrastructure but also other services including police, fire, etc., fall out from that concept.

April 22, 2014 at 7:15 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Post A New Comment

Please enter the word you see in the image below:


Potentially Related Articles