Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of August 19, 2014

Envisioning Tacoma

At this week's study session the City Council will be updated on Tacoma's citywide strategic visioning process. The citywide outreach effort included the July 30 Tacoma 2025 visioning workshop, which saw hundreds of attendees, as well as ongoing opportunities to comment online via tacoma2025.com. This week Council will hear an update on that outreach, along with what the next steps will be.


City Budget 

The Council will also be updated at study session on City outreach efforts related to the current budget process. Budget office staff will update Council on the process so far, including the five district open house style meetings held so far, as well as additional community meetings, and an online survey.


Heavy Haul Corridor

Tacoma's heavy haul industrial corridor designates certain public streets within the Port of Tacoma where trucks hauling sealed, ocean-going containers are allowed to increase the maximum loads, with a special over-weight permit. The annual fee per vehicle is $3,000; the money collected is put towards repair and maintenance of roads within the corridor.

An ordinance scheduled for a first reading this week would add a few more streets to those designated by Tacoma Municipal Code as Heavy Haul Corridor (see map at right), as requested by the Port in order to improve operations and efficiency.


Julia's Gulch

A resolution on this week's City Council meeting consent agenda would authorize an interlocal agreement with the Port of Tacoma clarifying the rights and responsibilities of both the City and the Port relating to Julia's Gulch. The management of the gulch, which is jointly owned by the City and the Port, has been covered by an existing agreement between the City and the Port, which dates back to 2008.

The proposed new agreement would contract with Metro Parks to "facilitate expanded public access and recreational use of the property." The Port supports this arrangement, but has asked that the City assume any increased liability that comes with increased use.


Stormwater Runoff

A purchase resolution on this week's Council meeting agenda would authorize an additional $650,000 for "unforeseen overages" related to the Stadium Way improvement project. That brings the contract total to $13,290,777, about $2.5 million more than the original project contract total of $10,740,777. The project went over budget when it turned out that initial project plans were insufficient to deal with stormwater runoff. The Commerce Street/Schuster Parkway stormwater trunk provides stormwater drainage for 90 acres of downtown Tacoma, and several... issues arose during the construction that required additional time and work to properly accomodate large volumes of stormwater.

The contractor experienced delays due to bad weather, including 20 inches of rain in three months, which caused saturated ground conditions, delaying work. Additional storm and wastewater manholes were added, unmarked utilities caused changes and delays, and a 35-linear-foot retaining wall was added. The project increased from the expected 75 days to 110, including some weekends.



Beginning next Monday you'll see some changes to parking rates for downtown Tacoma. Metered parking rates in the downtown core will increase from $.075 an hour to $1 an hour. On the other hand, some City-owned parking garages will be less expensive for stays of less than a full day. Three hours of parking will cost you just $2, down significantly from the current price of $7.50.

  • Tacoma Parking Garage, also known as the A Street Garage (110 South 10th Street)
  • Park Plaza North (923 Commerce Street) 
  • Pacific Plaza (1137 Commerce). 

The changes are meant to ensure a low-cost alternative for people who want to spend more than an hour or two downtown.


Other Items

Also appearing on this week's Council meeting consent agenda are the first readings of a pair of ordinances related to the construction of a 44,500 square-foot furniture store and associated parking along the east side of I-5 between South 48th and 49th. The first of the ordinances would vacate a currently unused portion of South 49th Street between South Wilkeson and I-5 for fire and utility access, and for additional parking for the store. The second ordinance would approve the re-zoning of a piece of property at 48th and Wilkeson from single-family residential to community commercial to allow for the construction of the store.

A second purchase resolution on this week's agenda would authorize an additional $400,000, plus sales tax for "office systems and ancillary furniture" from Business Interiors Northwest for a cumulative total of $1,968,000, budgeted from various departmental funds.

A final purchase resolution would award a $433,495 contract, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for a Compressed Natural Gas Hybrid Automated Side Loader Truck. The CNG hybrid truck is an addition to the solid waste fleet, which stores energy from breaking, and can have up to a 50% fuel savings, and significant emissions reduction.

This week the Council is scheduled to hear the final reading of an ordinance that would approve a 10-year, non-exclusive telecommunications franchise allowing tw telecom of washington, llc to to construct, operate and repair a telecommunications system throughout the city. The first reading of this ordinance was at the July 29 Council meeting.

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