Imagine Tacoma – Climbing the Hill #2

With word that the old escalade at the South 12th Street Hill-climb is soon to be demolished and with recent experience of the steepness of pedestrian routes at the core of downtown (East to West that is) along with the continued lament about the L-O-N-G super blocks along Pacific Avenue (no even numbered street going West if you haven’t noticed), imagine some additional connections to create a continuous walking route from the City/County Building down to the Thea Foss Waterway:

Tacoma Park (Tacoma to Court E): Remove the fencing for this half-block. With proper maintenance of the planting and with the recent installation of lighting, these silly little fencing rails need to go away (and if on a beautiful Friday lunchtime the gates are locked – what is the point of these pedestrian ‘exclosures’ in a pocket park?).

 

McCormick Park (Court E to Fawcett): Remove the interior fencing here as well. If the exterior fences are to remain due to security concerns (which I am sure is not an imagined concern) – then make it a proper high fence with large gates on each end of the route. London is full of these wonderful pocket parks that are only open during the day (watch ‘Notting Hill’ again to refresh your memory of the concept).

Beautify Fawcett: For the stretch South along Fawcett, improve the landscaping and lighting along the pedestrian route (the lighted and striped crosswalk is already there!) – some larger street trees along the existing suburban parking lots would be nice.

Public/Private Partnerships Connections (Fawcett to Court D, Court D to Market, Market to Court C): Work with property owners adjacent to additional connection routes to develop pedestrian routes along their building to connect down to Court C (somehow that City is able to do this with the Pacific Plaza Project – so why not at other connections as well).

Court C to Broadway to Commerce Hillclimb: This existing portion works pretty well – and to my knowledge it has the only open public convenience in Downtown.

Commerce to Pacific: New and improved coming soon.

To the Foss: Once down to Pacific Avenue – improve the connection at the Murray Morgan Bridge and South 15th Street. And what ever happened to the imaginative Brodsky/Utkin Trestle idea at South 12th Street?


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Comments

MattonGrant

Nicely thought out Mr. Boe.  I have often wished for such a staircase while walking around downtown.

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Now go design a floating stage.

July 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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MattonGrant

Funicular.

All the Cool Cities have one.  Can’t we go Baracking for More Dollars and get one?

July 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Chris K.

This may be a good idea, but we solved this problem about a century ago with a cable car.  Additionally, stairs don’t change the amount of energy that must be spent to climb the hill, they just make it more… ya know, stepped.  People have their limits.  Few are going to make the trek from A to <span class=“caps”>MLK</span>, no matter how nice the urban pathways are.

Additional commentary on Tacoma’s cable car loop :

  The only US cities to have cable cars after Tacoma were Seattle and San Francisco. Tacoma’s one simple line lasted so long because it solved a problem … the Tacoma Railway and Motor Company’s cable line, … was meant to be part of an integrated system, connecting electric lines on different levels with the downtown area.

  Hilton states, “If one were to choose the single cable line which was most justified by geographic and economic considerations, the Tacoma installation would be the probable choice.”

 

July 22, 2009 at 7:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

…imagine some additional connections to create a continuous walking route from the City/County Building down to the Thea Foss Waterway:

Good ideas.  One of the problems in downtown Tacoma that contributes to its deadness are the “superblocks” that that are installed.

Small blocks help a city to thrive according to Jane Jacobs.

This interactive exhibit explores contemporary New York through Jacobs’ groundbreaking views on the elements of a healthy city, the value of small blocks, the importance of civic activism and the benefits of a diverse and dynamic neighborhood.

July 22, 2009 at 7:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse

I’d prefer cable-cars.  People just won’t climb that hill on foot and downtown suffers for it.

I like the idea of a line on 13th to <span class=“caps”>MLK</span> to 15th to Foss and a seperate one on 11th to <span class=“caps”>MLK</span> to 9th to A street.

Put cable cars on the ballot and it will pass.  This would be a <span class=“caps”>GREAT</span> investment for Tacoma.

July 22, 2009 at 11:55 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

and so I say thanks but no thanks on those cable cars to nowhere.  30% of American children are little lard pugs. Forcing them to climb their fat asses up stairs is a good thing. 

Climb those stairs fatty!  Does a body good.

July 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Squid

ix-nay on the cable cars and a full-blown funicular not necessary.  Just buy an open-air lift on e-bay from some ski resort that is either going out of business or upgrading.  You could go from the Foss to the top of the Hill for less than $1M.

July 23, 2009 at 8:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse

I actually thought of that too Squid.  That sure would make Tacoma interesting!

July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Mofo from the Hood

What this town needs is a reliable rickshaw service.

July 24, 2009 at 4:46 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim C

@RR #6: It is amazing, over a relatively short two centuries, how badly Americans have neglected the physical capacity of our muscle and sinew out of sheer laziness.  I’m thinking back to the time I spent on vacation in a little hill town outside of Florence, Italy – I was dumbfounded to see the bent-over little old ladies leaning on their pushcarts walking up hills longer and steeper than 12th, on centuries-old <span class=“caps”>COBBLESTONES</span> to boot; they did it every day of their lives.

We can’t climb five city blocks without asking for mechanical assistance.  We do suck, don’t we?

July 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I'm for Change (for tacoma)

Another way to look at it is maybe Americans are just a very efficient organism.  Aren’t most animals genetically programmed to not expend energy so they can survive?  only needing to hunt/track down food and procreate?  What other animals needless wander and exercise?

July 24, 2009 at 4:45 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim C

Ha – we’re too efficient for our own good, <span class=“caps”>IFCFT</span>, that’s the problem.  The endgame is Walt Disney & Ted Williams reincarnated in Gundam-style mech suits.

“Give me your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle…”

July 24, 2009 at 7:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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