New & Improved Stadium Way Open to Cars and Bikes

Stadium Way is open today - just in time for doors to open at Stadium High School for the 2013-14 school year, and not a moment too soon for drivers whose daily commutes have been disrupted all summer.

Cars and bicycles can enjoy the new and improved roadway, minus the potholes and questionable lane markings, and plus new pavement, bike lanes,  street lighting upgrades, and landscaping, including a rain garden to help with stormwater management. Another new addition is a traffic signal at South 4th Street, which depending on your commute, may or may not feel like an improvement. Landscaping plantings will arrive soon.

Pedestrians will have to wait a little longer for the completion of new handrails, upgraded ADA-accessible sidewalks, benches, garbage cans, and other pedestrian street amenities, but it's bound to be a more enjoyable walk when those upgrades are completed later this month.

Aside from the obvious problems with the old road, under the surface Stadium Way was structurally unsound, with decades of poorly un-engineered fill holding up the road along the steep hillside. That sub-structure was improved, in coordination with new sewer lines, stormwater lines and other utilities; and seven retaining walls, including the big one along Schuster Parkway, were replaced. Most of the cost of the project was covered by federal grants, with the City picking up the remainder.

Did you enjoy an improved commute this morning?


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Comments

Mike

I did use Stadium Way this morning and I was disgusted by the amount of graffiti that was scrawled across all the buildings and murals while the road was closed to traffic.  I was especially horrified to see that the mural of boats on the water that has been on a retaining wall since I can remember was defaced to the point that it is completely ruined.  It is a shame that closing the road left an unmonitored area for taggers to easily damage property.  I would guess that thousands of dollars of damage has been done. Someone needs to do a story on this, especially the mural destruction.

September 4, 2013 at 10:10 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sarah H

Mike - this makes me so sad to hear. I know the mural you are talking about.  Its just so sad that people look for places to take advantage of and deface them. 
I emailed the city about the amount of graffiti on Pacific under the Stadium Way overpass (where Schuster turns into Pacific) via the Citizen Request website so we’ll see if that is taken care of. 
Before Stadium was closed I noticed the boat mural had a small amount of graffiti on it already and it was never cleaned, so I’m not sure if anyone nearby was keeping an eye on it and keeping it up.

September 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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JesseRegistered

I drove through here about an hour ago.  They did a beautiful job.  In fact, since everyone knows how bad this was before this project was done, perhaps it can be the poster child for what kind of infrastructure downtown needs to succeed.  It should be used as before and after examples for the 2% ballot measure coming up for vote.

September 4, 2013 at 10:17 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim C

I’m not sure a road construction project that required an 18-month shutdown of the right-of-way is a poster child for anything. Obviously the engineering challenges particular to Stadium Way had something to do with it but I think the idea that the city could do a better job planning these types of closures, especially in relation to other concurrent projects, isn’t mine alone.

September 5, 2013 at 1:04 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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JDHasty

I agree, major projects in Tacoma are not managed very well in that regard. Impact on residents and small businesses does not appear to be of much concern to the City of Tacoma.

I tried to get a construction schedule for the S Tyler project for my mother and it literally took weeks to get any answer back from the City.

September 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sid

Enough with Downtown already, take care of the districts that need help too.

September 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

The road was literally falling off the hillside.  And the TIP does address several projects in other districts.  Have one in mind?  Suggest it to City Council when they will review the TIP.

September 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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JDHasty

Suspend all construction projects except pavement restoration, maintenance and preservation would be my choice until Tacoma has an OCI of 70-75

September 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Ronnie

It may look all smooth and pretty now. I have a friend I visit often on Stadium Way and watched as the same inferior materials were used
that break down so quickly into potholes. Why would we pay more for more of the same over and over? Union Ave is the best example of the one year duration of the materials this city chooses to use. There are other options. Wonder why we use the same over n over??

September 4, 2013 at 5:16 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse

I hope the asphalt surface is cheap and everything else is top notch.  Why?  Because the center of the road will probably be torn up again in about 5-8 years to install streetcar tracks… Or so they say…

September 5, 2013 at 10:44 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Chris

Jesse is correct.  No need to put in long term materials as Tacoma Link extension up Stadium Way is planned.  We’ll need to be putting in concrete slabs anyway for the track.

September 5, 2013 at 11:53 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

don’t know about stadium way but Pac Ave is looking pretty killer http://i.feedtacoma.com/NineInchNachos/kalakalakart-book-ferry-launching-little/

September 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tom Llewellyn

Thank God this thing is finally done.

Excited to be able to actually get on the freeway without driving miles out of the way. Also happy to have access to Stadium Thriftway on the way home.

The previous road—and its potholes—cost me a tire.

Let’s pass Prop. 1 and get on with more improvements. Will they be perfect? Hell, no. But don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

September 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

Let’s defeat Prop. and get on with trying to keep utility rates affordable for the beleaguered Tacoma ratepayers. Will defeating Prop. 1 make our utilities affordable for everyone? Hell,no, but let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good.

September 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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talus

I’m with Tom - pass prop. 1.  It’s going to be great to have a safe and scenic bike route to/from downtown on Stadium.  A great way to climb that hill when one isn’t feeling up for the more vertical routes…

September 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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JDHasty

If Prop 1 represents additional funding for bike lanes and trails and million dollar per block streetscape then rewrite the the City spent two hours at McCormick library Wednesday night telling bald faced lies to the people who attended.

I get the impression that someone in authority at the City has been telling you that Prop 1 will provide additional funding for new bicycle facilities. If so then the City needs to resolve this discrepancy.

I am an avid bicyclist, but unless and until our pavement is restored I think that it is flat out irresponsible to be spending money on amenities. Tacoma has documented that between 2006 and 2012 all but $7-$17/year/city resident of our available “transportation” dollars were spent on discretionary projects, and only $7-$17/year/resident was spent on street maintanence and traffic operations combined. Other comparable Cities in the region we’re spending five to twenty times as much on these basic government obligations and as a result Tacoma simply cannot afford any discretionary until the deterioration this “deferred maintenance” has caused. Once that deterioration has been dealt with we can once again talk about funding discretionary projects using our available transportation revenues.

September 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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talus

Nope, I was just offhandedly agreeing with the previous post that mentioned Prop. 1 and then moving on to celebrate the topic at hand, the newly completed Stadium Way with nice bike lanes.  Glad I gave you an excuse to vent though…

September 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sid

Now let’s get the bike folks a safe ride to D-Town from Lincoln on the Yakima bridge, very unsafe for them, makes me nervous when I see them, but love them for staying healthy.

September 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

It was striking to see how badly Tacoma ranked in road network scores to comparable cities.  We seriously need Prop 1 passed.  Our utilities are already the most affordable in the metro area.  And besides, the City already offers a bunch of programs to those who are low income and on fixed incomes to assist their utility rates.

September 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

“Our utilities are already the most affordable in the metro area. ” xeno

Any evidence of that?

Also, isn’t affordable a good thing? If something is affordable then let’s leave it alone!

September 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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ChadK

September 5, 2013 at 6:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

Chad, I looked at the information in your link.

The chart is labeled “Bill Comparison” but in smaller print the information is identified as a “rate comparison”.

So what is it, a Bill Comparison or a Rate Comparison?

September 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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ChadK

Well gosh Fred, since the rate one pays for electricity drives the size of the bill, they’re not mutually exclusive,  But here’s another link for you that shows rates per kWh in our area as well as large metro areas around the US: http://www.seattle.gov/light/accounts/rates/NUand25CitiesRateTable.pdf.  Again, it shows that xeno’s comment was accurate: our utilities are the most affordable in the metro area.

September 5, 2013 at 7:46 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

Sadly, I’m not going to do the math for you.  As stated above and below our rate comparison in the Metro area is one of the cheapest which means smaller bills in the end.  If we want roads like the rest of the Metro area we need a taxing structure similar to ensure our highly used streets get maintained.

September 6, 2013 at 10:41 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

Well they aren’t “mutually exclusive,” but they aren’t the same thing. The electric bill is a combination of several factors only one of which is the electric kWh “rate.”  But while the bill and the rate aren’t the same thing, the chart never clearly indicates what is being compared. I was surprised to learn that the monthly electric “bill” for Seattle Light customers was about the same as Tacoma, in one case even LESS. Maybe you didn’t notice that. Again, while it may be interesting to compare kWh’s between different cities the only comparison which really has any significance is the actual billing including delivery costs and local taxes.

Furthermore, the entire discussion of comparative utility costs must include comparisons of water, sewage, solid waste disposal, cable TV, internet bills, natural gas, cell phone and other utilities.  Nobody has even claimed that these costs are at advantageous or even affordable levels.

September 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

Mind showing any proof of these claims?  We’ve done our homework, have you?

September 6, 2013 at 10:41 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

Sure, this is from the information provided by ChadK

Tacoma small commercial electrical bill $694
Seattle small commercial electrical bill $621

That means that for some customers Tacoma City light is not as affordable as other regional electric suppliers. I guess that invalidates your previously unsubstantiated claim.

September 6, 2013 at 11:08 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

This is just grasping at straws.  That’s for a small commercial unit, with Seattle City Light.  The only category that TPU lags behind.  On average TPU is still the lowest out of the five once you include all categories.

September 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

“On average TPU is still the lowest out of the five once you include all categories.” xeno

So are lower rates a GOOD thing or a BAD thing?

It sounds like you want our rates to become LESS affordable. But don’t let me puts words in your mouth. 

Also are very affordable electric rates beneficial to most ratepayers…or not? I’m a typical ratepayer. I’d like to see a few less potholes but I don’t want to trade my existing utility rate to get that.

September 7, 2013 at 11:30 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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tacoma1Registered

I’m a typical ratepayer.[/quote
Not really. Typical Tacoma rate payers just have residential utility bills. You have a business and a residence.

September 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

And simply put I want to trade my existing utility rate for less potholes because I know they are already a bargain.  I don’t look at lower rates as a good or bad thing, but as a market we are losing no leverage over any other Utility District.  Nobody likes prospective higher taxes, but nobody likes terrible roads that affect real estate, car repairs, and accidents/insurance either.  Prop 1 is a no-brainer “Yes” vote.

September 8, 2013 at 8:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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tacoma1Registered

I can see how higher utility rates benefit Tacomans. Since the utility companies will pay the tax on their earnings, and the utility companies also supply power,water etc to neighboring communities, assuming that rates do go up, residents of Fife, Fircrest, Ruston….will also be contributing to the maintenance of Tacoma’s roads. 

We certainly know that people that live in the neighboring cities use our roads. They may as well help to pay for them too.  Likewise, business owners that attract traffic and road congestion from out of towners (causing wear and tear upon our roadways) will be paying a little extra too.

September 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

“I can see how higher utility rates benefit Tacomans” tacoma1

You see NO benefit to having lower utility rates? What about the folks on low or fixed incomes who may be struggling to make ends meet?

“We certainly know that people that live in the neighboring cities use our roads. They may as well help to pay for them too. ” tacoma1

So the folks from neighboring cities use OUR roads, but we don’t use THEIR roads? How would you like to be taxed in order to use the roads in UP, Fife, Lakewood, etc? Hardly seems fair to take taxes from ratepayers in other areas to pay for Tacoma repairs. I’d go so far as to call it immoral.

September 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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tacoma1Registered

As a Tacoma taxpayer, if Simpson Paper’s customers (who happen to live out of our city/county/state borders) end up paying to resurface some of Tacoma’s crumbling roads, I’d still be able to sleep at night.

September 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

....and if some politicians in another city/county/state end up applying a tax to tacoma1’s living expenses to resurface some of THEIR crumbling roads, you’d still be able to sleep at night I assume?

September 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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tacoma1Registered

If I’m using their roads, then I should pay.

September 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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JDHasty

It is one of the major factors that I object to. I knew that TPU would be looked to as a savior because they have been so well managed and have cash reserves. We know now that TPU’s debt rating WILL suffer if this tax is not passed on. See The New Takhoman website and John Hathaway’s PDRs regarding this next week. So the people who reside outside Tacoma are paying for what my fellow Tacomans voted to perpetuate. That is immoral.

September 7, 2013 at 8:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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tacoma1Registered

It doesn’t take a genius to manage a monopoly.

September 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

I would.  That is why we are a country in the first place.

September 8, 2013 at 8:29 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred davie

The reason why we are “a country in the first place” isn’t because Americans wanted taxation without representation but because we opposed it. You should have paid attention in school.

September 9, 2013 at 6:40 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

You’re not being taxed in this proposition and are also confusing taxation with a prospective rate increase due to the proposition.  I’d say you need to go back to school.

September 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

Tacoma citizens are going to vote on a measure to increase the taxes which will be applied to their OWN utility bills and also to the utilities bills of people who live OUTSIDE the voting boundaries.  That’s pretty much the definition of “taxation without representation.” That’s not why we are a country in the first place. Sorry you don’t get it.

September 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

I bought a coffee in Seattle once and the city sales tax apparently went into the City of Seattle budget.  Call King George III, I’m disenfranchised!

September 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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tacoma1Registered

If u want fair, u can find that in Puyallup right now.

September 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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thackerspeed

I’m pleased with the new and improved roadway, and I like the improved sidewalks with more lighting.  As a Stadium District resident, and one who wants the freedom to travel in safety at any hour, I ask that we all practice our civic responsibility and watch out for the social deviants who wander these streets for the purpose of committing crimes against people and property.

It’s up to the law-abiding and responsible citizens to set the rules and enforce them.

September 9, 2013 at 11:17 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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