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Imagine Tacoma – Tacoma Trestle Arch
Given the ongoing concern over the current design of the Sounder Extension through the Dome District (i.e. Berm or Post/Beam), just imagine what the design at Pacific Avenue might have looked like if the City Council did not require Sound Transit to make a separated crossing:
Tacoma Trestle Arch:
With an ‘at grade’ crossing at Pacific Avenue, a large Trestle Arch could be constructed that incorporates all of the required safety features (crossing arms, signage, flashing lights, bells and whistles) and maybe some kinetic artwork that is propelled by the passing of the train within – think a very rail trestle take on the old Mousetrap Game. Watching a train cross Pacific Avenue may become one of the ‘things to do’ when showing around out-of-towners (like taking a photo in front of a Larry Anderson Sculpture).
With the Sounder Line having the right-of-way, well then the bLINK could follow the street lights and operate more like a street car trolley.
A Family of Arches:
Given that fact that the City Council IS NOT requiring any type of grade separation at East D Street (where the kiddies are), or East C Street, or Wilkinson, or Pine, or S. 56th, or S. 60th, or S. 74th (where Amtrak will be hitting some pretty good speeds), then maybe additional artistic arches could be developed at each of these crossings as well. With the loss of the amazing waterfront rail journey when Amtrak shifts over to this new line through Tacoma, maybe these artistic arches could provide some interested to the riders within the trains as well (“Yeah I remember Tacoma, that is where they have these art-infused crossing sculptures”).
Wow. All of the surrounding properties become much more viable for development as the train is ‘at grade’ and not 8 feet in the air at Pacific Avenue. Much easier (therefore financially less prohibitive) to develop without having to be concerned about shoring a berm alongside an operating rail system as well as trying to mitigate the vibration and sound of a braking/accelerating train into your new structure).
Wow and Wow. With an at-grade crossing, well the TOTAL cost of the project has just been significantly reduced. No HUGE excavation and relocation of utilities to drop Pacific Avenue 16 feet to get under a separated crossing (and has anyone figured the costs to the surrounding businesses to try and survive through such a project?). And no need to worry about dropping the Twin 96’ers that drain Nalley Valley. Yes Sound Transit needs to work a bit further beyond M Street to make their grade elevations work – maybe to Cushman or Sawyer – but we are talking only minor grading along this project extension.
Now about Post and Beam –with an ‘at grade’ crossing, all of the corresponding elevations drop between Pacific Avenue and East C Street – so maybe smaller vertical retaining walls will work just fine (with some nice climbing plants of course) and thus will maximize development on both sides of the Sounder Line.
Previously on Imagine Tacoma: El-evate Sounder
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