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Imagine Tacoma – Thea Foss Connections II
With the Tall Ships Festival approaching and the comments of Lars Gemzoe’s presentation to the Tacoma City Council about the lack of connection to our waterway still ringing in my ears, Imagine Tacoma project #6 revisits the connection of the Thea Foss Waterway to Pacific Avenue at South 15th Street and Hood Street.
Using the existing infrastructure as a framework, imagine some modifications:
South 15th Street and Pacific Avenue
Remove the vehicular access going East on 15th Street and create a strong pedestrian walkway connection to the Foss Waterway. Possibly modify the end of the 705 Exit with a marker that is representative of the Foss Esplanade Walkway (and add concrete bollards similar to those at the end of the Chihuly Bridge).
An artwork installation under the exit ramp for the Tacoma Gnome? Maybe hire the Jersey Devils to create another ‘Fremont Troll?’ I have heard that the Fire Department wants to keep the South 15th Street access from Pacific Avenue – but with an improved South 14th Street, maintaining access down Hood Street AND the new ‘East D Street Overpass’ nearing completion, the access is there – just not as incredibly convenient (seems I would have a greater concern with the LINK).
Reinforce South 14th Street at the entrance to the Thea Foss Waterway from I-705 (another marker?) Separate this traffic down ‘Court A’ from the pedestrians with concrete barriers and landscaping.
Connection to the Foss
It this already in the works? There already seems to be a ‘block-out’ for extending the South 15th Street pedestrian route to a stair tower for access direct to the Foss Esplanade Walkway.
Make Hood Street a one-way down from Pacific Avenue until it reaches the TAM parking lot – this will allow for greater separation of the roadway from TAM and allow for a landscaping edge along the building’s facade. There already are great mature street trees – and they are all the same species!
Kinetic Artwork Marker on Pacific Avenue
How about a design commission/competition for a kinetic sculpture that is inspired by the Murray Morgan Bridge, the history of the Thea Foss Waterway, and the TAM. McChesney Architects have created such a sculpture/pavilion in Blackpool that is pure delight. Let’s out Hammer the Hammering Man (and really – doesn’t the Hammering Man really belong in Tacoma?).
Imagine a hardscape Activity Park under the I-705 elevated structures – a mountain bike challenge course and/or skateboard chutes – designed artistically (envision concrete waves) partially covered and could have lighting from above.
Let us make the connections to the Thea Foss Waterway a high and vital priority as the City of Tacoma implements urban design du jour projects.
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