Imagine Tacoma – Tall Ships Connections

Having circumnavigated the Thea Foss Waterway Esplanade numerous times over the Tall Ships Festival this past weekend, it was painfully reinforced to me mates (and dogs) just how bad the pedestrian connections are from Pacific Avenue down to the Waterway (or in the case of Murray Morgan Bridge – not at all!). As we assisted eager visitors wandering around Fireman’s Park in confusion (asking ‘How the @)#( do you get there from here?”) and when a good soul taped-up hastily made signs to provide direction for pedestrians to access the event – it is obvious we have a serious problem City of Destiny. So Imagine Tacoma revisits past Thea Foss Connection concepts – Free Chihuly Bridge, 15th Street Connection, Murray Morgan Bridge, Prairie TAM Companion, Tacoma Gateway – along with considering what a true 4th Street Connection might be.

Connect 4th Street to Pacific Ave, Stadium Way and Broadway
Excavate the old walkway through the woods that is level with Pacific Avenue and that then provide a springing level for a walkway over Schuster Parkway to the Thea Foss. This terrace level can connect up to Stadium Way as well as down to Schuster (and can be extended for an entrance to a ‘Walk the Water’ route to Ruston Way). Not only connect the Northend of Downtown to the Foss but the St. Helen’s District/Stadium District as well.

Pedestrian Walkway
A cable stayed structure that has minimal vertical pier structure that ends at a lookout platform (with stairway and elevator connection down to Thea’s Park) for viewing the increased BSNF train traffic as well as the boats on the water (and maybe a relocated Cheney Stadium – Gas Tank Park? – to watch the Tacoma Tugs).

Since these types of project always seem to take a bit of time, let us start working today to connect the Thea Foss Waterway into Downtown in preparation for Tall Ships 2011. Anyone interested in coming aboard?

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Tacoma (A)roma

Man I love these Imagine Tacoma posts…I wish they were official plans instead of our dreams.

July 10, 2008 at 4:45 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Very true regarding the poor access to the Foss, especially the north end to which you’re proposing this new connection. The drawing looks beautiful and is a great idea. I also like that it provides a pedestrian bridge over Stadium Way. (There’s a crosswalk there now that must be the most-ignored crosswalk in the whole city by drivers. Especially with the 505 Broadway construction right there, it’s quite dangerous to cross.)

Now, any thoughts what this bridge might cost? Could it be done for a million?

July 10, 2008 at 4:49 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I couldn’t agree more, TA. What can we masses do to convert these dreams to plans? I’m politically unconnected and really have no clue, but I don’t think there’s been a single Imagine Tacoma that I didn’t drool over.

July 10, 2008 at 4:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Yes, can we please just make all of David Boe’s “Imagine Tacoma” posts a master plan for downtown Tacoma? Just tell me where to sign!

July 10, 2008 at 6:07 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I really love the idea of more pedestrian connections to the waterfront, and i like this bridge in particular because the cable-stay design makes good reference to the mast and rigging of a tall ship, but i don’t like how it abruptly ends… i would like to see it maybe connect to the walkable green roof of and unbuilt office building, or spiral down meet the ground. I like the overall idea, but im not a big fan of it ending in an elevator shaft.

July 14, 2008 at 4:40 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Is <span class=“caps”>BNSF</span> getting the green light and separating from Amtrak, which appearently is going through S. Tacoma? 

I like the cables of the design, it mirrors the 21st st bridge, but don’t like the elevator stop either, but what to do about that ending? 

Trying to direct people to Foss from Stadium is a nightmare.  And what was the plan for the urban path right of way agreement, now you can’t get to the water from from 15th St?  I figured out how to do that after 5 years in town. 

The best path (without stroller) was the Murray Morgan bridge, but, oh well, stronger minds prevailed on that one.  Bet the port was happy, lots of cigars that day, eh?

July 15, 2008 at 1:23 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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