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Next Steps for Tacoma Link Expansion

Sound Transit is continuing to move forward on the possible expansion of Tacoma's Link light rail system that would take it out of the downtown core and up the hill to the Stadium District, before looping around, up North 1st Street to MLK and the Hilltop neighborhood.

As a part of the environmental review phase, Sound Transit will be looking at potential community and environmental impacts of the route selected last year, including possible stations and expanded maintenance facilities at East 25th and G.

The transit agency will host a public open house on the expansion next Tuesday, May 20 at Allen AME Church in the Hilltop, where it will ask the public to help shape the future of the project.

At the open house, Sound transit will give the public the opportunity to learn a little more about the chosen route, and to comment on potential station locations. Attendees will also have the chance to review maintenance facility site options, discuss key design factors and potential environmental impacts, and to hear about next steps.

For those who can't make it to the open house, Sound Transit has posted an online survey, available through May 23, which shows not only a map, but street views of proposed stop locations, as well as an overview of possible expansion options for the operations and maintenance facilities.

Aside from giving the public the opportunity to make general comments on possible stop locations, destinations they would like to see served, and their general impressions of Sound Transit's handling of the project, the survey includes very specific questions like this one:

At Station Area #1 there is an option to move the existing Theater District Station to Old City Hall (near S. 7th St. and Commerce St). Should we move the station to Old City Hall vicinity or keep the existing station?

Although funding for the expansion of Tacoma's Link is yet to be identified, it's nice to see planning moving forward, and worth considering the possiblities for various stops, and for their various impacts on the blocks surrounding them - especially with the imminent adoption of the Hilltop Subarea Plan. 

What are your thoughts?


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Comments

talus

Looks like a good plan, but there should be a stop at MLK and Division too.

May 12, 2014 at 3:39 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Chris

I like the concept of a 6th Avenue and MLK station, but it is a bit far from the front door of Tacoma General/Mary Bridge and the North Slope doesn’t get much access, either.

If this comes down to an LID to pay for the local match, I think that the community will want to stipulate that ST adds a Division/MLK station.

May 13, 2014 at 4:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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talus

Totally.  Having a stop near the North Slope will probably improve ridership measurably given all the commuters to downtown Tacoma and downtown Seattle in that neighborhood.

May 13, 2014 at 4:36 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse

If I am a developer looking to build apartments of condos around this route, a stop at MLK and Division would be awesome in the sense that I could buy the Frisco Freeze lot, demolish it, and build next to that rail stop.

May 14, 2014 at 10:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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sid

Where are those condo owners going to go on the link that they can’t already get to in their vehicle, the Sounder? Down the street to where?  Do you really believe that a person that owns a condo is not going to own a vehicle in Tacoma?  This should not be about condos, it should be about getting people to work, to a real place.  But you pretty much nailed it, this is why this was built.  Dog and pony show.

May 14, 2014 at 5:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Dan

it should be about getting people to work, to a real place.

The last time I checked Multicare was Pierce County’s largest private employer and Franciscan was second. http://wwwb.thenewstribune.com/databases/top_employers/

I believe that the largest public transportation center in the County (the Tacoma Dome Transit Center) also qualifies as a “real place”.

May 14, 2014 at 10:04 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sid

Right, and all of Hilltop works at the transit center and the hospital.  Get serious, this route is a waste of money and resources.  Where are all the condos downtown on the line that currently exists and why is that link not packed with people going to the transit center now?  Because it goes nowhere and so does the new route.  It does not serve the masses in a meaningful way.

May 14, 2014 at 10:35 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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talus

They should raze the decrepit abandoned mini-mart on Division and M for condos instead.  The city needs to do something about that property anyway.

Sid, beating up on the route that’s been chosen won’t help bring tracks to your preferred route sooner—many people including me will be on your side when ST3 comes around, especially if this ST2 project is actually moving forward.  Trying to re-argue this will slow down all expansion.

May 15, 2014 at 8:16 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sid

Basically a link that still has no true destination with a purpose, on roads that are difficult to support this route.  I still don’t understand the purpose for the majority of people needing, or wanting to go on that route.  To the mall from Hilltop, ok, but the other route, not so sure.  We really missed the mark on turning something that could have been useful, into something not very functional.

May 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

While MLK was not my first choice I think this iteration of MLK link is pretty good and thoughtful.  So far the track isn’t extensive enough to have a true destination.  Hopefully ST3 will have a part in planning out the next stage after this exention is complete.

May 13, 2014 at 3:14 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Christine

Stadium and S. 4th?

May 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

I think the 4th stop is the one that makes the most sense as far as on stadium way.  You have the YWCA and most of the dense housing in the area.

May 13, 2014 at 3:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tyler

I like the route, but would like to see it continue down MLK to 25th and then reconnect with the existing line at the 25th St Station.  Creating a complete loop around downtown just makes sense for future light rail spur lines connecting to a central loop around downtown.

May 16, 2014 at 8:54 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Confused in the North End

Lacking a good transportation plan I can’t evaluate if this is a good idea or not.  I am not sure that people that work at the hospitals live along the transit route (a good plan would know that) and if they are willing to take the extra time the link will take to arrive at the hospital.  As for the rest of MLK, it seems like a fishing expedition for community investment, a quest that lacks any real focus as far as I can tell.  Tacoma seems to continue to concentrate on “things”, rather than a focus on the community. 

May 16, 2014 at 8:55 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sid

Great points.

May 17, 2014 at 10:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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