Imagine Tacoma – An Art-Splanade

With the recent ‘re-installation’ of Howard Ben Tre’s Water Forest and Martin Blank’s new installation of his Fluent Steps at the MoG, and combine this with TAM’s Plaza ReDesign Competition, imagine the delineation of a Public Art walking loop from the Union Station/UWT bLINK Station:

Free Chihuly Bridge
A good start for the walk would be to celebrate the entrance to the Chihuly Bridge (not visually imprison it from Pacific Avenue) – so the public can enter the bridge without having to go through the History Museum Arch (nice as it is).

Once at the MoG, you can dare the ‘stamps’ (Arthur Erickson’s term for the combination of stair and ramp) to view the art or circumnavigate the parking garage via the multiple elevator connections (Free the Fountains!).

Foss Waterway Esplanade
Enjoy the views and art installations along the pedestrian walkway and the rotating artwork filling the empty storefronts of Thea’s Landing and the public artwork currently along the Esplanade. Heck, maybe the Foss Waterway Authority could even turn the vacant hotel lot into a public open space in the recessional interim.

15th Street Connection
Connect back into the city grid via the recently installed access stairway or through the lovely lozenge shaped park to Hood Street (with maybe a side detour up to A Street to take in Doug Granum’s Locomotive Monument).

A Realigned Hood Street
Hood Street is really just a recent roadway (at the time of the Union Station Renovation) – so why not make a one-way down from Pacific Avenue to the TAM/Courthouse Parking Lot and thus allow for a pedestrian route along the Art Museum? With integration of additional art work from the public collection along this route (some languishing in hidden and rarely seen locations) – and some proper street lighting – this can fill-in the missing link of the chain.

Union Station
The end of the walk sitting beneath the glorious dome and signature catalyst for the rebirth of the Warehouse District.

Click to Enlarge


With a bit of promotion, including a self-guided map that you could download from the web, and this just might be another outing consideration for those day trippers coming to Downtown Tacoma.

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Electric Elliot

Nice tour. What do you think David Boe? Do you want to make a video or podcast tour of the Tacoma historic or art scene just like this? What do you say? Peer pressure!!!

June 11, 2009 at 11:04 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Happy Taco Man

I like it, I really do: and most of it seems reachable. Can I add to the peer pressure?

June 12, 2009 at 3:10 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool


June 12, 2009 at 3:20 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Great idea.  A few comments:

1. Move to the active side of Pacific at the Hood/17th/Link/TAM crossing.  Significantly increases storefront opportunities.  (This makes Union Station a spur.)

2. Noticed that “Tear down that fence” fence is now a celebratory gate.  Nice.  (Is this dead?)

3. Get an updated aerial.  Google maps is there already.  ;P

June 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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How about a re-paint of the Alt-Heidelberg sign on the side of that <span class=“caps”>UWT</span> building on Pacific Avenue. 

I wish someone would tackle that.

June 15, 2009 at 9:35 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sharon Styer

I like this.  I’ll get the Tacoma Photo Gang together and we’ll take the walk and post our photos on Flickr.

June 22, 2009 at 1:46 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Andrew Fry

This is great, and is pretty close to the walk that I take during lunch on a nice day. 

You could also cross the street from the <span class=“caps”>TAM</span> up to Tacoma Art Supply with pieces of public art in Tollefson and in the patch of lawn in front of Two Koi. 

Head up to the top of the Campus Stairs at the <span class=“caps”>UWT</span> where the audio art circle sits, then back down to the starting point.

June 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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