Imagine Tacoma – Downtown Gateway

Building upon the comments from the trinity of urban design consultants in Tacoma this spring (Kunstler, Burden and Lars – oh my), Imagine Tacoma looks at the space ‘between the buildings’ at one of the main entrance to downtown – 7th and Pacific/Commerce.

Entering Downtown – and any of our Mixed-Use Centers for that matter – motorized vehicle operators should be made demonstratively aware that they have now entered a pedestrian realm. So extra wide drive lanes and extra turn lanes should be reduced to the minimum to allow the pedestrian walkways to expand and urban amenities to exist. For this gateway in particular, how about:

  • Keeping the entry and exit lanes to/from Schuster Parkway as single lanes as this will allow an increased median width along with planter strips each side of Pacific Avenue (so the pedestrian access to the Thea Foss and Walk the Water can be that much more enjoyable – and safer).
  • Add ‘rumble strips’ before entering Pacific Avenue from Schuster Parkway (designed musically – da, da, da, daaaah?).
  • Add center islands to all crosswalks with lighted bollards.
  • PAINT THE @#%*ing CROSSWALKS!
  • Organize the unique historic street lamps IN COORDINATION with the street tree layout so that there is ample ability for the historic street lamps to light the sidewalk and street (i.e. not the interior of street tree canopies).
  • Organize the street tree locations IN COORDINATION with the historic street lamps, adjacent building and signage (and while we are at it – selected a signature street tree species for Pacific Avenue that is columnar in shape, has a restrictive root ball, and does not drip sap/berries/etc… – I mean, do we really need 21 varieties between 7th and 21st?)

They say that guests make a positive or negative judgment about the quality of a hotel within 120 seconds upon entering the lobby– and that during the rest of the guest’s stay the hotel can either reinforce or struggle to overcome this initial impression. I wonder if that holds true for cities as well?


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