Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of September 22, 2015

Amtrak Station

Plans are moving forward for the relocation of the Tacoma Amtrak station to Freighthouse Square. At this week's study session the city council will hear from WSDOT about the latest Freighthouse Square Amtrak Station design details. Along with the WSDOT project update, the council will also hear about a Citizens' Advisory Committee to convert South 25th Street in front of Freighthouse Square to a one-way eastbound street between East D and G streets.


Recreational Guns & Slingshots

Tacoma Municipal Code currently prohibits carrying, shooting, or discharging any air gun, air rifle B-B gun, or slingshot in the City of Tacoma. The code makes these acts misdemeanor offenses, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. 

An ordinance on this week's regular council meeting agenda for a first reading would decriminalize possession of air guns, air rifles, BB guns, and slingshots in Tacoma, while preserving the misdemeanor offense of discharging or shooting such items in the City; and allow for a limited exception for the discharge of air guns, air rifles, and B-B guns for recreational purposes in an indoor, licensed business facility. The proposed changes would permit licenses to be granted for businesses offering indoor, recreational air gun use.


Greening South Tacoma Way

One part of the vast expanses of concrete that make up so much of South Tacoma Way is in line for a green makeover. A $292,500 contract on this week's council meeting agenda for approval would depave portions of the almost fully-paved South Tacoma Way Business District. The South Tacoma Way Greenscape Project would replace that pavement with green infrastructure to promote stormwater infiltration, improving water quality in the Flett Creek Watershed.

The project would use bioretention, Silva Cells, and permeable pavement between South 52nd and 56th streets along the main corridor, managing 95% the stormwater run-off in the area, and eliminating the need for the more costly replacement of the roadway. Parking lanes would be reconstructed with permeable pavement, bioretention facilities in concrete bulb outs would treat additional runoff, and stormwater would drain from surrounding buildings and sidewalks into "Silva cells" in the sidewalks. 


Economic Development

At its meeting this week the city council Economic Development Committee will discuss the new alliance between the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, and the implications for Tacoma. The committee will also hear a presentation on the growing tech sector in Tacoma from local business leaders. That presentation will also include a disucssion of potential strategies to attract more tech companies to Tacoma. 


Neighborhoods & Housing

At this week's meeting of the city council Neighborhoods and Housing Committee, topics of discussion will include short-term rentals and the proposed Narrowmoor Conservation District in West Tacoma. From the sound of it that second one is moving forward, although allowing for infill development within certain guidelines.

The short-term rentals conversation will be about possible ways for the City to address the regulation of the new industry growing thanks to online sites like VRBO or Airbnb. It's still just a discussion at this point, as the City weighs the benefits and concerns, and looks at how other cities are handling the issue.


Other Items

Three items on this week's agenda would proclaim October 1, 2015 as Denny Faker Day, October 2, 2015 as Tacoma-Pierce County Manufacturing Day, and recognize the 75th anniversary of Bates Technical College. 

The council will also consider the reconfirmation of Bill Gaines as the director of Tacoma Public Utilities.

A second purchase resolution on this week's agenda would award a $299,930 contract budgeted from the Wastewater Fund for consultant engineering services associated with the update and calibration of the Central Treatment Plant wastewater collection system model update and capacity evaluation.

The Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee of the city council will also meet this week to discuss Community Solar, an Intergovernmental Agreement for Puyallup River Bridge repair, and a of the Pedestrian Crossing Improvements program.

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Permeable asphalt should never be used next to buildings where the foundations are older than 1930.  Before this time, there was a considerable amount of contaminants in concrete from the kiln process and the dirty sand they used.  Sometimes concrete contractors would just form in the inside of a foundation and let the concrete fill the narrow void of the dig out - thus allowing dirt in the mix.

Please look in to the use of this asphalt and what it would mean to the historic business district on that street.  The foundations aren’t likely great and adding new hydrostatic pressure to them might be the ruin of some of those buildings.  Look in to it.

September 22, 2015 at 1:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

Yes. Not sure where this idea came from. There are also various enclosed/blocked tunnels around and under South Tacoma Way in the specific area targeted for this “greening” so the costs will expand and climb once the digging begins.

On a safety note, I am also wondering why we would want to bulb out the secondary evacuation route to the south from Tacoma and create an unneeded chockpoint.

I-5 is primary southbound but it is doubtful that it would stay open long during a major evac and SR-99 (STW) is the alternate.

September 22, 2015 at 2:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Well, this is actually the second time I have given this warning here about permeable asphalt next to an old building.  The first time was on Pacific Avenue north of 9th Street.  The city looked in to it and changed the plan on Pacific to have rain gardens that drain out of the area via pipes instead of using permeable asphalt there too drain directly into the ground.

September 22, 2015 at 2:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse and Tim, good comments - please be sure you give your input directly to the city, too, please.  Thanks.

September 24, 2015 at 8:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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