Next Phase of Work for Historic Water Ditch Trail

The Historic Water Ditch Trail, part of a 110-year-old trail system through Tacoma and out to Mt. Rainier, is partially finished. 

The black line shows the full 2+ mile trail, as it will be when phase 2 of construction is complete. Phase 1 segments already completed are shown with the red line.

The long-term vision for the trail is to restore 6.5 of those miles through Tacoma, linking south Tacoma to downtown and the waterfront. 

The finished trail will connect the Tacoma Mall and Downtown Tacoma regional growth centers, and ultimately will connect to regional trail and multi-modal transportation systems. 

A 2007 PSRC map shows the long-term (long-long-term) planned connections.

This week Tacoma City Council is scheduled to approve funds for the next phase of work on the trail.

An earlier phase of the project, begun in 2008, completed three miles of trail to Class I bikeway standards of 10 foot wide paved paths with two feet of crushed rock shoulder on either side.

The next phase of work is expected to begin this summer, with completion anticipated by year end.

This phase will complete work on unimproved sections of a two-mile stretch of the corridor, including sidewalks, curb ramps, trail lighting, concrete retaining walls, landscaping, fencing, and striping of crosswalks and bike sharrows in the roadway. This phase of work will also connect the main trail to the South Tacoma Sounder station.

It's almost starting to look like a coherent trail system...

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So very happy to see a large trail system taking shape!!! Let me know if I can speed things along!

June 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

Would like to see the City use up to date maps. The historic Gray Middle School was demolished to build a ball field where no ball has ever been tossed.

June 10, 2014 at 8:18 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

Also, would be nice to have a more correct name such as the “Water Flume Trail” and recognize the engineering and grades that makes the trail even possible.

June 10, 2014 at 8:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Good idea; I second the change to “Water Flume Trail”. I know nothing of the correctness of one over the other, I just think “flume” sounds way more fun!

I could say, “Hey Tim, wanna ride the Flume with me this weekend?” It’s much nicer than informing someone you’re going out on “the ditch”.

June 11, 2014 at 10:42 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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For God’s sake, just concentrate on renovating our crumbling infrastructure starting with the pavement.

June 12, 2014 at 9:08 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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You should be happy your City is going after these dollars.  Because where else would they go?  Another bike/ped project somewhere else most likely.

June 12, 2014 at 12:32 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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You should be happy your City is going after these dollars.  Because where else would they go?  Another bike/ped project somewhere else most likely.

No I am not happy.  This City should be focused exclusively, in the City Manager’s words like a laser, on restoring and preserving our EXISTING pavement infrastructure before spending one thin dime on any discretionary project and that includes staff time used to go after grant funding for discretionary projects.  The City knows this, I went to a series of open houses last summer and the City Manager was in front of the residents acknowledging that the management philosophy Tacoma has pursued for the last few decades has resulted in a crisis situation.  It is a crisis, AND the powers that be continue to not deal with it.  The last thing Tacoma needs is to be distracted from dealing with what is a CRISIS, and I mean THE LAST THING we need is to be distracted with a discretionary project regardless of who is funding it.

June 13, 2014 at 10:11 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jenny JRegistered

My understanding is that this is focusing on pavement. Maybe not pavement for cars, but it’s still a part of the city’s infrastructure, and not everyone drives a car.

June 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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