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Prairie Line Trail Progress… Or Lack Thereof…

Perhaps you've been wondering what was going on with the construction of the Prairie Line Trail? Well, in short, not much, at least not yet. Things are on hold. Things are taking longer than expected. But things will happen. Eventually.

Praire Line Trail: UWT Station

Construction of the UWT portion of the Prairie Line Trail is on hold. A request for bids for the Prairie Line Trail UWT Station project had been put out, soil remediation has been completed, and we were expecting to see work begin soon, but now the project has come to a halt.

The News Tribune reports that construction was delayed when all bids for the work came back significantly higher than what the University had budgeted for the project.

UWT remains committed to the project, and will look for cost-saving opportunities before requesting a new round of bids, hopefully early next year. The University hopes to be able to begin construction next spring, and complete the work in the fall.

Prairie Line Trail: City-Owned Sections

The TNT further reports that the City-owned sections of the trail are also not moving forward particularly smoothly. Earlier this year the Tacoma City Council authorized a deal between the City and BNSF that would trade BNSF right-of-way needed for completion of the trail to the City, in exchange for which the City would hand over certain City-owned properties to BNSF. Although that deal has been in the works for more than a decade, it has apparently not been finalized yet. The City hopes to see it completed sometime this month.

Maybe in a few years we can have a Downtown to Defiance event that includes the Prairie Line Trail, through UWT, down to the Foss, Ruston Way, and on around to Point Defiance. Maybe someday...

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Sigh…it seems as things like this take forever. Although I’m all in favor of the Prairie Line Trail, for it to be particularly useful, it will need to have a seamless connection to the Water Ditch and Scott Pierson/Narrows Bridge/Cushman Trails.

Dreaming of future trails…a connection to Pt Defiance Park and also thru Puyallup or Fife to the Foothills Trail w/a protected bike lane would provide a cycling infrastructure as good if not better to what King County has w/Burke Gilman, Sammamish RiverTrail, and the I90 Bridge.

September 17, 2013 at 10:33 am / Reply / Quote and reply


And this friends is but one example of where YOUR State Motor Vehicle Fuel Taxes have been going for the last decade.

September 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm / Reply / Quote and reply



September 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Not true.  Our State MVFT goes to highway purposes only.  That’s mandated by Amendment 18 to the state constitution.  You would know that if you do the kind of work you say you do.

http://www.leg.wa.gov/JTC/trm/Documents/TRM_1315Update/6 - 18th Amendment.pdf

Of course, these fees only pay for about a third of the highways.  The rest comes out of the general fund.  You should know that too…


September 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


I have studied the City of Tacoma’s Six-year Transportation Improvement Plan for years and funding for this very project has been sourced from State Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax revenues.

You can take a look on the Citys own website and validate what I am saying, you should do so unless you don’t care if you are known as a liar or as an idiot?

September 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


http://cms.cityoftacoma.org/planning/Prairie Line Trail/PLT City Council Study Session Packet (6-4-13).pdf

There is a link for ya’. I have made it perfectly clear, for years, that The City of Tacoma has been playing fast and loose with what falls under the rubric of “transportation” and has used a very plastic and flexible definition.

September 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


This is an urban bike/pedestrian project.  I’m sorry but every modern person recognizes bike/ped projects as legitimate transportation projects, every modern transportation administration/grantor does as well; WSDOT, PSRC, Federal Highways, ect.  This isn’t the 1980’s folks, get with the times.

September 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


The City of Tacoma has forfeit the legitimate option to spend on any discretionary projects until such time as our pavement is in decent shape. This is what happens to families who have been financially irresponsible, it limits their future options.

You need to “get with the times.” I have sat through four sessions on Prop 1 within the last few weeks and City government has flat out said that they have polled residents and residents have made it absolutely clear that the residents want the city to focus on maintenance and preservation. The City gives that directive a name, “Back to Basics,” and says that the City is listening.

You cannot spend the same money twice and from what I hear Tacoma is going to respond to residents wishes this time. If they do, then it is you who are going to need to heed your own counsel and “get with the times.”

September 18, 2013 at 9:05 am / Reply / Quote and reply


This is preservation, preservation of the first road that created this city.  It is unusuable since the City let the trail get into such dire shape.  It was the most basic road, ingress/egress of this City… 

I have gotten to go to at least one of the Prop 1 meetings as well, and if you think that for some reason this project isn’t the basics I suggest you put your input in the TIP review or to your district Transportation Commissioner and provide input specific to projects you don’t like or feel as warranted under the criteria of what you heard at that meeting, because people obviously feel different.

September 18, 2013 at 10:35 am / Reply / Quote and reply


I have a good friend whose son has a POS 1980s Camaro sitting on blocks in the driveway. He calls it a “project car” and for two decades I have seen him devote most of his energy and revenue to this “project car.” I drive past it on my way home from work every evening and there he is, rain or shine, out under the carport working on his “project car.”

In my opinion he would be better served by putting a little time, money and effort into a “project coat of paint” on the house and perhaps a little time money and effort into doing a little “project lawn maintenance” so that his home would not stand out in a neighborhood of well kept homes.

This trail is simply NOT A PRIORITY for me, nor is it a priority for the vast majority of residents of Tacoma, in fact when compared to our failing pavement it shrinks to insignificance among residents priorities. Like I say, if those it will primarily benefit see it as a priority they can float an LID to pay for it.

September 18, 2013 at 11:31 am / Reply / Quote and reply


It has been a priority project on the 6 year transportation improvement program for many years that gets more than its share of public comment each year.  If you and several denizens of Tacoma feel so compelled at this project not fitting into your personal definition of what is transportation, or simply isn’t a priority in your heart of hearts, I suggest making comment next time the TIP is up for review.

September 18, 2013 at 10:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Gas tax and VMT tax have separate rules.  It is very common to use VMT taxes for bike/ped.  You are correct on gas tax has rules, but they aren’t held as tightly as just highway construction.

September 17, 2013 at 10:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Perhaps you would like to let readers know about Tacoma’s lobbying efforts that resulted in many of the constraints on Motor Vehicle Fuel Taxes being loosened? Tacoma was not alone, but Tacoma was one of the ring leaders. If not I will get around to it.

September 18, 2013 at 9:09 am / Reply / Quote and reply


I’m not here to do your homework or be lured into a strawman fallacy.

September 18, 2013 at 10:51 am / Reply / Quote and reply


Suit yourself.

September 18, 2013 at 11:22 am / Reply / Quote and reply

Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

At least they opened the stair case again!

September 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


The economic impacts of bike trails are generally a net gain to the surrounding communities, not a drain on the taxpayers.  I would imagine that the local bike shops would love to rent bikes to hotel patrons.  I almost always rent a bike when I visit other cites.  So much so, that I’m planning on buying a folder to take with me for my future trips.

“...an estimated $6.7 million of public funds was spent to construct off-road paths and add wide paved shoulders to roads…provides substantial economic benefits to the area: an estimated $60 million annually…53% report bicycling as a strong influence in decision to return for subsequent visit. 43% report bicycling as an important factor in selecting this area for vacation…”

September 18, 2013 at 9:59 am / Reply / Quote and reply


Then perhaps innkepers and bike shop owners can tax themselves and help out those who live in close proximity to the trail if they wish to float an LID to pay for it and then it is none of my business. It is my business when the City tells me that a road that has failed costs 14 or more times as much to rebuild and to maintain that same road before it fails. Tacoma has a heck of a lot of roads that are on the cusp and what we do in the next couple years with our money will determine whether we maintain or rebuild those roads.  Maintaining out pavement is a NEED, a trail is a WANT.

September 18, 2013 at 11:37 am / Reply / Quote and reply


Perhaps we could create a LID for people who have feet and/or rely on wheels that could take advantage of the trail?  What a great idea!

September 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Perhaps we could create a LID for people who have feet and/or rely on wheels that could take advantage of the trail?  What a great idea!

If you actually paid taxes it would be one thing, but you don’t. So I will consider your rants in that light.

September 19, 2013 at 11:10 am / Reply / Quote and reply


I pay property taxes and own a car and pay those taxes.  Thanks for playing the assumption game.

September 20, 2013 at 10:18 am / Reply / Quote and reply


My feelings are: If the people who reside in that part of town want it, let the cliff dwellers living in the tax abated condos float an LID for 100% of the “local participation.” They should have the resources available given their history of not paying property taxes to pay for their share of parks, police, fire, transfer station and on and on that they enjoy. 

There is technology, that the City of Tacoma has i.e. GIS that can be used to generate a 3D map that will graphically represent the amount of money spent on a block by block basis and if Tacoma were to produce such a graphic downtown and Hilltop would resemble a topographical map of Whitman County with Step Toe Butte standing tall and the rest of Tacoma like the Palouse wheat country that defines the rest of Whitman County.

September 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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