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Imagine Tacoma – El-evate Sounder
What do you get if you cross the new ‘D’ Street Overpass, Kunstler’s ‘Long Emergency’, BSNF Prairie Line Deal, Burden’s Walkability and the Angelou Economics/Via Architecture Study – all with the Sounder Rail Expansion through the Dome District?
How about an elevated Sounder/Amtrak railway structure? Having originally imagined an enlightened route at a ‘lower level’ cut for the new train expansion through the District below the street level (alas the engineers cannot exceed the limitations of a 2.85% grade slope) – Imagine Tacoma now looks at bringing the trains in ABOVE the street grid. Let the rail line structure be a ‘comb’ instead of current Sound Transit thinking of it as a ‘wall’ or a ‘dam.’
Such a design elevation would:
- Allows for A, C and D streets to remain safe for pedestrians and vehicles from on-grade crossings of the trains. Circulation from I-705 to the Foss Waterway is not constricted by train movements (and if you want a Whole Foods or similar downtown, the best place is in the Dome District due to topography and access to I-5).
- The space under this elevated train structure could be occupied by all sorts of possibilities. The South Bank in London has trains coming into the city in an elevated condition and all sorts of variety of uses are located under the ‘arches.’ Maybe even the Elephant Car Wash is located within the arches?
- Elevating the rail along the whole route allows for Pacific Avenue to remain un-violated.
- Structural Options: Elevating the line would allow for the railway design to react easier to soil conditions, existing infrastructure and more convenient for maintaining the existing business during construction of the line.
And why not expand the number of rail lines while we are at it? Rail is our past and future folks. Lets have Sound Transit work with all of the government agencies to upgrade this project as a show piece of the new investment in our local, regional and national railways. Let’s not settle for half the project no matter how much public art we get to cover the walls of the current proposition.
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