Exit133 is about Tacoma
Imagine Tacoma - Streetscape Fascism?
With the City of Tacoma embarking on a repaving of Pacific Avenue between South 15th and South 26th, while it is also continuing to refine the Downtown Plan Update (that includes a proposal for creating pedestrian signature street typologies hoorah),
Historic Street Lights
Tacoma has fantastic historic street lights along Pacific Avenue – truly Tacoma iconic fixtures.
So instead of burying them within ugly gangly street trees….
… or slammed-up next to building facades….
… or used as convenient standards for every incarnation of direction signage idea ever conceived, what about creating an actual master plan layout for these streetlights along Pacific Avenue? Such a plan could then require street trees to be placed in subservient relation to both these historic light standards and also in coordination with the building facades behind. And rather than leaving it up to each developer or public works director to pick out the type of tree species for each Pacific Avenue project, why not designate signature street tree species for the streets and avenues – thus providing variety within Downtown while creating a cohesive vision down each street (taking a page out of Baron Haussmann’s Napoleonic Plan for the grand boulevards in Paris).
And while we are at it:
Lose the Rubbermaid trash cans and commission a concrete ‘Tacoma Can’ designed in coordination with the Historic Street Light that would have a removable metal top – one for trash and one for recycling (we want to be green right?). These could be located in pairs kiddy-corner across each intersection along Pacific Avenue so that pedestrians can actually have a place to deposit their rubbish (because if I have to pack it out, I am also going to pack it in).
Commission a ‘Tacoma Bollard’ that can be used at pedestrian crosswalks and areas where pedestrians and traffic converge – e.g. Chihuly Bridge, Transit Center, Tollefson Plaza (designed to be seductively leaning friendly per Lars Gemzoe’s recommendations).
Free the Trees! Pots are fine for shrubs and ornamental plantings, but lose the WWII concrete pill boxes – they are obscene obstructions along the sidewalk (“No Tree Pot for You!”).
So while the Pacific Avenue Streetscape (sic) does convey an eclectic and random lazes-faire design independence, maybe it is time to bring a bit of unified controlling order to Tacoma’s Grand Avenue.
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