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Tacoma City Council Meeting - August 11, 2015
FINAL READING OF ORDINANCES (First and Final Reading)
Ordinance No. 28312 An ordinance approving and confirming the assessment and assessment roll for LID No. 8648 for the construction of permanent pavement with curbs and necessary storm drainage on South 69th Street, from Durango Street to South Madison Street, and on South Proctor Street from South 69th Street north approximately 225 feet.
FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES
Ordinance No. 28313 An ordinance vacating the alley lying between East 25th Street and East 26th Street from the east margin of East G Street to the west margin of East J Street, to allow for construction of the Sound Transit Tacoma Trestle Replacement Project.
The consent agenda was adopted without comment. Ordinance 28313 will get a final reading at a date to be determined.
Public comment this week was entirely focused on the Link light rail expansion proposal. A Multicare VP spoke in support of the station location at 6th and MLK, but voiced concerns over the proposal to locate a stop in the vicinity of 3rd and MLK (the Division and MLK stop), citing that location’s proximity to parking and ER activities. Owners of the Old City Hall Annex Building and businesses at that location shared their concerns related to plans to relocate the Theater District station from the current terminus to a spot in front of Old City Hall. The property owners don’t want it there, and say that other business owners adjacent to the current location don’t want it moved. They also expressed concerns over the cost of the relocation, and impacts to traffic getting on and off I-705, and parking. A member of Tacoma’s Transportation Commission spoke to relay the commission’s position in support of both keeping the 4th and Stadium Way location, and adding a stop at 4th and MLK, both to better serve the nearby neighborhoods within the walkshed for both locations.
Resolution No. 39254 A resolution awarding a contract to Engineering/Remediation Resources Group, Inc., in the amount of $408,665, plus a 20 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $490,398, sales tax not applicable, budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, for the construction of the East Tacoma PCB Cleanup Project Phase I.
The resolution was adopted without comment.
Resolution No. 39255 A resolution recommending to the Sound Transit Board of Directors that the project to be built for the Tacoma Link Expansion be the alignment and stations examined in the Environmental Evaluation completed by Sound Transit in June 2015 and as approved by the Federal Transit Administration.
This resolution recommends to the Sound Transit Board that the Tacoma Link expansion project be built, endorsing the route and station locations as proposed, and allowing the project to move to the next phase of design. The current route has been through an environmental review process, including public input. During the public process, the station near Division and MLK was added, and public support was heard for the 4th and Stadium Way stop.
Regarding concerns from public comment, staff confirmed that the expansion will install double lane track for the entire route, which will involve a significant reworking of the area near the current terminus and Old City Hall. Also, that station location is effectively only a half a station at this point, serving as the turnaround for the Link. The extension of the line will require that either a second station be built on the other side of the street, or an entirely new station will be needed to serve light rail traffic going both ways, so the additional cost of the relocation is less than what it sounds like.
Deputy Mayor Boe also added his perspective regarding the relocation of that station that moving it further north would mean a more even spacing of station stops between the existing 11th and Commerce stop and the proposed 4th and Stadium Way location. Boe also clarified with staff that regardless of what happens to that section of the line, parking in front of Old City Hall will go from angle to parallel, and that the relocation of the station would free up parking at the current location, for a net wash, or possible gain of one parking spot.
Boe also brought up the changes to the way the Link operates – the light rail will continue to have control over traffic signals as they do now, but the light rail will operate as essentially a “bus on rails” running in line with traffic the whole way.
Counilmember Thoms expressed a desire that the impacts on the I-705 exit and other intersections continue to be monitored.
Mayor Strickland noted that in light of the growth Tacoma expects to need to accommodate, and the increased density, people will be moving here, density will increase, and people will be looking for alternatives to driving. Tacoma will need to accommodate that change to more walking and public transit. The mayor specifically expressed support for the 4th and Stadium location, and in the vicinity of 3rd and MLK based on public support, and the density of the neighborhood around that second location, which the mayor described as the densest residential district in the county. Strickland also noted, however, that although the plan should be crafted to serve people in the areas as well as possible, we can’t have stops on every block, and people are going to need to get used to walking a few blocks to catch transit.
Deputy Mayor Boe offered an amendment expressing a preference for stations to be built as center platform configurations wherever possible. The middle of the street design, like what we see at the UW Tacoma station stop now, Boe said, is generally a safer design for drivers and cyclists on the road, and pedestrians waiting for transit. Improving visibility for everyone helps to prevent collisions in the street, and crime that might occur at more shadowy street-side stations, while reducing negative impacts on surrounding businesses and historic buildings.
The resolution as amended was adopted. This sends the issue to Sound Transit for next steps.
FINAL READING OF ORDINANCES
Ordinance No. 28311 An ordinance amending Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation for non-represented employees and employees represented by the Professional and Technical Employees, Local 17, and to implement changes to reflect the organizational structure.
The ordinance was adopted without comment.
The main topic of conversation at this month’s Citizens’ Forum was the future of the Click! network. We heard from more than half a dozen commenters asking the council to stick with Click!, or at the very least to be sure all options have been exhausted before proceeding with any deal that would take it out of public control. Several commenters asked that the council remember to consider the bigger economic impact of Click! – in terms of value to local businesses, quality of service and customer service, savings to customers of all types, impact on rates charged by competitors, and more. We also heard frustration with the way the Wave deal came up, and calls for a closer examination of TPU’s numbers and statements related to Click!.
Aside from the Click! issue, we heard from a number of other commenters with a variety of public safety concerns. One commenter expressed frustration at not being able to get an answer on questions about police providing security at Best Buy. Another commenter spoke to the density of marijuana stores, asking that the council consider requiring buffer distances between establishments to prevent clustering, and that money from taxes on the controlled substance be directed to crime prevention in communities with the highest concentrations of the businesses.
Two other commenters spoke to crime in their neighborhoods – one on the Eastside, asking that something be done about the congregation of pot smokers and dealers on the East 32nd street overlook, the other concerned about the proliferation of fireworks in her neighborhood near the Tacoma Mall, asked that the council seek creative solution for stopping people from setting off fireworks, which are illegal in Tacoma.
COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
Councilmember Campbell addressed the Citizens’ Forum comments regarding issues near the 32nd Street bluff, which overlooks the Tacoma Dome, saying that there is a meeting scheduled to discuss further strategies for reducing crime in the area.
Campbell also announced that the McKinley Hill Street Fair happens this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 35th and McKinley, and reminded us that the Eastside Farmers’ Market continues every Wednesday from noon to 4 a the Salishan Family Investment Park.
Councilmember Ibsen announced a community cleanup happening at the Narrows Park and Ride on Saturday, August 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more on the items on this week’s agenda, see our City Business Preview for the week.
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