Exit133 is about Tacoma
Tacoma Council Picks Favorite and Least Favorite Routes for Link Expansion
It looks like the A1/B1 route will be chosen as Tacoma's preferred alignment for the future expansion of the Link Light rail.
Following last week's study session discussion, Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution identifying its preference for the route the Link would travel to get out of downtown and up to the Stadium District, before continuing on to the Hilltop.
The A1/B1 route got the most support from the public, according to Sound Transit's summary of public outreach efforts, with A2/B1 getting some support as well. The recommendation accompanying Tuesday's resolution is that only the first choice route alternative be forwarded for environmental review to save time and money.
The least favorite of the options is also made clear, with the resolution including a request to remove from consideration the A3 and B2 options.
At Tuesday's study session Sound Transit staff presented the results of public outreach efforts, and Council discussed their own preferences and concerns relating to the various route options. Most Council comment was in support of the A1/B1 alignment, with some reservations expressed around the potential for an accessible stop on Stadium Way, preferrably at South 4th. The B1 option got fairly unanimous support.
In Thursday's report to Council, City Manager Broadnax shared responses from Public Works staff on the question of a stop on Stadium Way at 4th.
- In terms of ADA accessibility, the stop would be possible, as the grade of Stadium Way around 4th falls under the maximum 2% incline to allow for ADA accessibility.
- In response to the question of whether the design of Stadium Way would allow for an in-lane stop at that location (or whether traffic would back up onto I-705), the assumption is that it is likely that such a stop could be designed, a complete traffic analysis and traffic counts will be necessary.
- The question of this stop can be evaluated in the environmental review process.
Another issue brought up related to the accessibility of a stop at this location was the question of whether a hill climb or other improved pedestrian access to navigate the steep slope at 4th would be possible. In response to this question, Broadnax reported that the City could request that such options be considered, but also that funds would need to be identified above what was already being considered for the cost of the project. Pedestrian access at that point would need to include adequate ADA access, which could include pedestrian switch-backs, an elevator, or possibly some sort of an escalator. None of those are cheap - either to construct initially, or to maintain, and it is probable (if not certain) that Sound Transit would leave such funding to the City.
It sounds like there are still some questions to answer, but unless something unexpected happens in the next couple hours, we're probably looking at the A1/B1 Stadium Way/out-and-back on MLK alignment moving forward to the Sound Transit Board, and likely moving on to the environmental review process. We'll have to wait for the answers to questions about a potential Stadium and 4th stop. Would it be a deal-breaker for the route if it's not possible?
Read more previously from Exit133: Link Expansion: Choosing an Alignment.
Do you want to help the folks at Exit133 pay our bills and keep up with of all things Tacoma? Do you want to see even more coverage? Exit133 has always been free to read and comment, and it will stay that way. However, over the years, readers have contributed to the bank account to help us keep up our coverage of goings-on around town. Contribute and this message disappears!Support Exit133