Exit133 is about Tacoma

Tacoma Public Market?

The Tribune has a story today about the feasibility of, and the four finalist sites for, a full time public market in Tacoma. I hope the folks that brought us this study aren’t the same folks that brought us the convention center.

The News Tribune (Link)

Update: Just to clarify – I have received a couple of emails telling me that the market study authors are in no way related to the convention center.

To further clarify – I would love to see a full time public market in this town.


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

Comments

Erik B.

A troubling development after 9 years of Tacoma studying the matter while other cities like Seattle and Portland are building one new line after another.

Unfortunately, the “hybrid” would fail to connect the nearby high density node of Stadium and simply parallel much of the existing Link line,and therefore, result in low ridership.

Then there are the additional troubling proposal to 1) simply have a bus line run on the new link extension and 2) require a city wide transportation plan before the Link extension could proceed.

Each of these would add a significant delay to the Link extension.  Requiring a city wide transportation plan could add a year or two to the process alone and cost several hundred thousand dollars which the council is not likely to allocate.

Below is the analysis of transit advocate Chris Karnes on the council’s actions who has attended more of the Sound Transit meeting than than anyone else I know of:

__________________

I don’t think that I can mince words about how foolish this kind of reality-divorced groupthink makes the Tacoma City Council look to Sound Transit and to the rest of the Puget Sound.  This only serves to embarrass the city and to show how little they understand the factors that influence how public transit operates.  They are attempting to hijack a process without a system plan or Transit Master Plan, and jumping in with their own uninformed long range vision.  By making this request, the City Council has actually weakened their own position in the process of selecting a preferred alternative, and has strengthened the voices of the community calling for other well-documented corridors.  I only hope that Sound Transit will see this for what it is and continue with the established schedule.

The idea is to build, “a parallel line to the existing line, within walking distance, that travels through no dense residential areas, exceeds the possible budget substantially, and potentially has a circuitous double-back on itself north to south to reach St. Joseph Medical Center.”

I don’t think that I can mince words about how foolish this kind of reality-divorced groupthink makes the Tacoma City Council look to Sound Transit and to the rest of the Puget Sound.  This only serves to embarrass the city and to show how little they understand the factors that influence how public transit operates.  They are attempting to hijack a process without a system plan or Transit Master Plan, and jumping in with their own uninformed long range vision.  By making this request, the City Council has actually weakened their own position in the process of selecting a preferred alternative, and has strengthened the voices of the community calling for other well-documented corridors.  I only hope that Sound Transit will see this for what it is and continue with the established schedule.

The idea is to build, “a parallel line to the existing line, within walking distance, that travels through no dense residential areas, exceeds the possible budget substantially, and potentially has a circuitous double-back on itself north to south to reach St. Joseph Medical Center.”

If I were to suggest this as a transit planner, I would be fired for gross incompetence.  It is divorced from the reality that we already have 1.6 miles of track in the ground, that the City has already invested millions in the reconstruction of Stadium Way to make it streetcar ready, and the fact that there are significant sections along Pacific Avenue and S. 25th St that are single track and capacity constrained.

They don’t even know where the terminus should be.  How are you supposed to evaluate an alternative without knowing a specific terminus?  That sounds more like three different alternatives than just one.  The city obviously has no clue about what it’s doing. They failed to create a plan to prepare for this decision and now they are grasping at straws, desperately trying to retain some level of relevance.

The full analysis is located here:

www.tacomatomorrow.c…

March 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

talus

Thanks for publishing a legible version of David Boe’s sketch.  To answer the question, no, it’s not too late think more comprehensively about expansion, but that thinking need not be done at the expense of a well thought out process already underway.  It’s common sense to extend the existing line up Stadium to the hospitals and then onward to 6th or Hilltop.  Use a transportation planning process to inform subsequent expansions of that streetcar line, new lines, and future Pierce Transit routes and modes.

March 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Jesse

Is this route for Tacoma Avenue or <span class=“caps”>MLK</span>?

March 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Sid

Glad they came around to remembering that humans actually do live in other places other than 6th Ave., or Stadium.  It would be ridiculous to <span class=“caps”>NOT</span> include the link service to the South side of I-5.  Great job slowing this joy ride and considering a more forward thinking approach.

March 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Darin

I made a typo in my previous comment. A route on Portland ave was shot down by the council because the tribes proposed casino was part of the case to get federal funds. The council rejected the route for moral and religious reasons.

March 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Buck Futz

Sort of a Hilltop to EQ Casino express.

March 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Darin

Nothing that has come out of the planning process says that sound transits long term plan of 6th ave as the primary route through Tacoma that other lines can link to is wrong. This is regional transit money that has to be used for regional mobility and ridership. The idea of needing a transit master plan is separate conversation. The last minute out of left field hybred plan has no place in this conversation when its time to pick a route. Sound transit will not let a city interfere with its core mission of regional mobility. Bringing the wrath down on Tacoma to make us am example just as ST3 planning is in full swing hurts Tacoma.

March 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Chris

Boe’s idea – is not even one alternative, it’s a vague corridor without a specific terminus that relies on single track along 25th St. to support bidirectional travel on two parallel lines separated by five blocks.  I just don’t think this corridor is worth delaying environmental review and engineering contracts that are ready to go.

Re: Appropriate technology for our geography.  Council’s understanding of our transit geography would be helped by looking at historic track configurations.  That’s exactly what we did in our feasibility study in 2006-2007.  This project has taken so long to develop that it outlasts our city councilmembers.  We simply can’t get enough airtime with them to keep them educated about what’s happened so far and what their role is now.

We need a transit master plan like Seattle and Bellevue have to help guide our discussions in the future.  It has been on the City Council’s agenda since 2011. No movement.

Years come and years go and we are still left with no extension of Tacoma Link.  It’s time to stick to the process and to send one or two of our best options on to the Sound Transit Board for environmental review and conceptual engineering.

The City Council’s role right now should be to review the analysis and the public feedback that has come in.  There’s limited time to do that between now and when their recommendation is needed.

Where is their draft recommendation?  The public needs a chance to comment on it.

March 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Jesse

Tacoma Avenue or <span class=“caps”>MLK</span>??  Anyone??  Beuller?  Beuller???

March 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

jsisbest

The B1 line just keeps looking better and better! 

In terms of process, I’m not sure that this helps anyone.  Boe, we all voted for you and appreciate having an architect on the Council, but I think that you’re overstepping just a bit on this one.  While we’d all love to share our own visions and ideas with Sound Transit, I think that your proposing of a “hybrid plan” is detrimental to the public process.

March 26, 2013 at 4:32 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

David Boe

Whoa, you all need to take some deep cleansing breaths.

1.  Delay – there is no delay.  Regardless of the Hybrid or not, the recommendation from council is going to take longer due to some members of council being away when ST Alternative(s) were originally scheduled to be reviewed and a route(s) recommended by council to the ST Board (original timeline by ST had it as ‘Spring 2013’).  After a corridor is chosen by the ST Board, then there is at least a year or more of environmental review, funding allocation, preliminary design, etc…  So right now there is no delay based on the Hybrid Concept – so you can stop beating that drum.

2.  Corridors:  ST specifically is not looking at streets – still just corridors.  So though the term ‘Stadium’ may be used as a corridor – it does not mean it is running up Stadium Way the street.  The Hybrid option is just a vague as ST corridors and does not call out specific streets just an access to mid-hill/hilltop from the South – as included in the back-end of ST Option E2.  Also the Hybrid is based on the Alternatives already put forth by the Stakeholder group – just combining them and shortening them to at least look at a future expansion of the system that can connect more than just one neighborhood in the City.

3.  Funding:  Lots of work to be done on funding.  Right now there is $50m and the rest is optimism (Fed Small Starts are off-line at the moment and who in town has $50m to put toward the system?).  There is the real possiblity that we might have verly little construction funding for the project (so what, extend the existsing <span class=“caps”>LINK</span> to Old City Hall?).

4.  Tollefson Plaza:  A physical testiment to the City of Tacoma <span class=“caps”>NOT</span> questioning the urban impacts in the selection of the original route of the <span class=“caps”>LINK</span>.

5.  Alternate Modes:  The Hybrid <span class=“caps”>DOES</span> <span class=“caps”>NOT</span> propose alternate modes – that is my own personal opinion based on my own professional experience working on light-rail projects in the past – and the new technology that combines electric and hybrid technology that is creating zero-carbon transit systems – but was not part of the direction given to ST as part of the Hybrid route.  They are only looking at light-rail.

March 26, 2013 at 4:58 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Darin

This was nice of Boe to give us his thoughts. This changes nothing.Sir this uproar is something that started by your last minute proposal. Where haveyou been all this time? You still do not addressed regional limitations on the sound transit funds. This is all talk. We expect and deserve better.

March 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

lois stark

Hi all – I’m a member of the Stakeholder Roundtable for the Tacoma Link Expansion; I was also a member of the earlier Roundtable that helped to develop the alternative routes currently being studied.

The Roundtable has been talking about possible hybrid versions of routes to include an eastward extension to the casino for several of our past meetings (well before it was mentioned by Councilmember Boe).  Many of the members, including myself, think connecting the casino with the Convention Center and Theater District makes sense as this links several of our entertainment venues.

When the Roundtable talks about “corridor” we are talking about a 1/2 mile wide corridor rather than a specfic street that that the extension will be built within.  We often will say “I support the X option” as shorthand for “I support the 1/2 mile corridor that includes and parallels X Street”.  I mention this just to say that it is still rather broadbrush at this point.

I prefer the E2 corridor to connect our medical service providers (and employers) with our major transit hubs.  As I’ve stated at the Roundtable meetings, I would also a support a hybrid of E2 with an extention to the casino area.

One concern with the 6th Ave corridor that I voiced at the last Roundtable was the operating time of the Link.  Currently the Link stops around 10pm which is pretty early to serve the many restaurants/bars along 6th.  Of course this is also a problem for the Theater District.

I’ve found that it’s pretty normal when reviewing alternatives in a public planning process to end up with a hybrid to combine the best elements of a few options.

March 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Erik B.

But there would be significant delay by trying to adhere to the three new late minute proposals.

Lewis Kamb’s article in the Tribune does report that there would be significant delay from trying to have Sound Transit consider yet a new transit route after vetting over 20 routes and after 9 years being spent on the issue.

Just as Sound Transit was set to end nine years of study by identifying a short list of preferred routes for expanding Tacoma Link light rail, City Manager T.C. Broadnax this week requested that the regional transit authority take more time to analyze a new “hybrid corridor” as a possible extension for the city’s transit system.

….

Sound Transit spokeswoman Kimberly Reason said Friday that it’s unclear yet how the additional analysis will affect the project time line or whether more public input must be garnered about the hybrid route.

“We’re still trying to determine that,” Reason said. “The hybrid idea encompasses an area that already has been part of an exhaustive evaluation process, but the answer to your question really is, it’s too soon to say.”

Requiring a whole new round of public comment on the hybrid model, with a vetting process could certainly take many months if not a year.

www.thenewstribune.c…

Of course, if the council started formally demanding that the light rail link extension be replaced by a bus, which two councilmenmber suggested (requiring passengers to abruptly exit the Link), the timetable could be pushed back further as further studies were done.

Fortunately, Ryan Mello stated his opposition to this proposal:

“We’ve never engaged the public in an alternative transportation mode discussion,” Councilman Ryan Mello said. “For these monies and this purpose, we’ve chosen the mode. That train has left the station.”

Third, requiring a citywide master plan would further delay the matter potentially for years considering the cost.

David Boe, from his comments in the articles in the Tacoma Weekly and The News Tribune, indicate that he doesn’t just want to look at a “hybrid route,” he doesn’t just want to look at wireless electrified bus rapid transit, he wants to see if we can delay this process to do a comprehensive, citywide transportation study.

www.tacomatomorrow.c…

Tacomans were promised.  Promised, that if they dutifully went along and funded Sound Transit 2, starting in 2008 by a new taxes for all of their projects, that the City of Tacoma would received a light rail extension for Link, not a bus route.

The City Council and Sound Transit should support and honor this commitment.

March 26, 2013 at 9:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Erik B.

For those seeking to get the keep the 7 year process moving forward as Sound Transit narrows down the final Light Rail extension routes for consideration, Chris Karnes has scheduled an event.

Looks like there will be a number of people who have worked a lot on transit issues attending.

See below

____________

Join us for an evening to rally for the expansion Tacoma Link light rail.

We will have information about next steps, information about each of the alternative corridors, and an opportunity to sign a letter of support.

After more than 7 years of study, it is time to move forward with an extension of Tacoma Link.

The Amocat Cafe will be serving beer this evening. Program/speakers to follow at 6:00pm

When: April 5, 2013 5:00 p.m.

Where: Amocat Cafe located at 625 St. Helens in downtown Tacoma

Link to event on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/eve…

March 26, 2013 at 9:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

tacoma_1

Maybe, after we extend it, we run the damn thing till the bars close.  One of the things Tacoma needs desperately is later transit service. If we extend link, but not the hours of service, we don’t gain very much at all now do we?  I am friggin tired of being stranded in downtown Tacoma at 7:05 PM.

March 26, 2013 at 9:16 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

tacoma_1

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to let the casino operate in downtown T Town, or on 6th ave, than building them their own private light rail line?  And couldn’t the city tax that new location and the conventioneers up the wazzoo?

March 26, 2013 at 9:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JJ

I can’t think of a single zero carbon (CO2 emissions involved) transit system.Maybe lesser carbon use transit systems though.

March 26, 2013 at 11:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Darin

This is interesting to read. Its that we are all wanting to get city council to chose our fave route. The council did not by support ST2 in the first place. There was enough money to bring link from federal way to Tacoma. The council divided and no consensus. So the council has never been on board from day one. We have the money for a Tacoma link extension due to a divided council . Sound transit does regional mobility. it chose 6ave. to tcc with extension over the narrows bridge next. anything else is a secondary thought.

March 27, 2013 at 7:22 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Darin

ST3 planning is fully underway. Tacoma and Pierce country are not participating. What we will get in transit improvment for years will come from this. I would love to see transformation of <span class=“caps”>MLK</span> that link could bring but is has to be part of the core mission of regional mobility to get funded. Council said no to the tribe to partner for link on Portland ave to a new eqc and a new salashan. If we can see the big picture we can all get much of what we want most. The council needs to here that this a must not an options.

March 27, 2013 at 7:35 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Jesse

“Wouldn’t it be cheaper to let the casino operate in downtown T Town” — tacoma_1

Give them the land on the east side of the Foss.  Then you could run a cable-car up 11th from east Foss to <span class=“caps”>MLK</span>.

“Sound transit does regional mobility. it chose 6ave. to tcc with extension over the narrows bridge next” — Darin

That’s a great light rail route but not a good streetcar route.  <span class=“caps”>IMO</span>, outlying business districts outside of the downtown core should be served by light rail that is headed for longer distance destinations.  Think <span class=“caps”>MAX</span> in Portland as a light rail model vs a downtown and close-in streetcar.

March 27, 2013 at 7:35 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

RR Anderson

I would like to see a hyBOErid that includes the Kalakala and a Space Elevator in the port.

March 27, 2013 at 7:56 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

talus

The existing Link is nearly zero-carbon as it is, because it’s on the Tacoma Power grid.  Tacoma could exclusively use hydropower, wind, solar, and other renewables (not that a lot of hydro sites don’t have their own environmental issues) if Tacoma Power would make a couple of investments that allow it to quit buying any coal and natural gas energy from other utilities.

March 27, 2013 at 9:30 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JJ

It takes lots of carbon based furnaces to reduce iron ore for steel to build the the train and tracks.Just saying and this does not include the carbon use in transporting materials or construction.

Even hydro electric power is not zero carbon emissions as the dams use concrete (again carbon reduced) as well as lots of electrical wiring.The same with wind turbines and solar as well.These are however much less carbon emissions harmful than coal powered electric plants though.

The larger the mass ratio of the vehicle as compared to the desired transported component the more energy is wasted.That’s one major reason why heavy mass vehicles such as automobiles are so extremely energy inefficient as compared to a low mass vehicle such as a bicycle

In the late 21st century due to anthropogenic climate change those hydroelectric dams might very well lack the required glacial melt from the Rocky Mountains to be able to operate so without hydroelectric power it’s a doomed future proposition unless a massive alternative energy substitute is found.Be prepared for a energy poor and high cost future

March 27, 2013 at 9:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

jsisbest

There’s something strange about the priorities of future transit being to connect the casino with the hospitals. I think that there is a demographic there…  Can we make sure that the Hybrid line stops at the smokeshop along the way?

It’s these kind of missteps that lead people to question public projects altogether.  What are the objectives here?  Because last time I checked, the casino wasn’t a big revenue producer for the city.  And I’m not sure that the audience of Styx reunion concerts and cage fighting events are the hotel and restaurant patrons we’re trying to attract to our city. 

I hope that this project moves forward with the thoughtful and engaged process. And the hybrid speed bump is left in the rear view.

March 27, 2013 at 10:31 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

talus

Good points, JJ.  The Columbia system that provides most of the region’s power is likely to be pretty resilient (power-wise — maybe not ecologically) because of all the water storage in its Montana and Canadian headwaters, which can make up for less storage in snowpack/glaciers.  That’s not so much the case for the dams on the lower Snake River (they already don’t have much flow moving through them in the summer, and they’re horrible for salmon).  I suspect both the Nisqually and Cowlitz systems will see lower productivity in the summer.  I also wonder how long those dams/reservoirs will last in river systems that carry so much glacial sediment.

Either way, streetcars, buses, bikes, and feet will make better use of our limited resources than cars.

March 27, 2013 at 10:33 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Chris

@lois stark #13 “One concern with the 6th Ave corridor that I voiced at the last Roundtable was the operating time of the Link. Currently the Link stops around 10pm which is pretty early to serve the many restaurants/bars along 6th. Of course this is also a problem for the Theater District.”

I don’t understand the argument.

Is there a law or something that prevents us from operating past 10pm? No.  If the demand is there for service, and funds are available to operate, streetcars can run on the tracks any time they have electricity and an operator.

March 27, 2013 at 11:00 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Stanley

The “mid-hill” route looks a lot like Tacoma’s long-lost cable car route, which connected with hilltop local streetcars and the first interurban to Steilacoom.

March 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Chris

@28.  The mid-hill route does not look anything like the cable car that ran up 11th and down 13th from A to K.

This is more what you’re looking for

The Steilacoom line was electric streetcar.  You wouldn’t want to use cable traction for an excursion line out that far.  It wouldn’t make any sense.

Cable traction was used to ascend Tacoma’s steep slopes, though.  It was a good application of that type of technology.

March 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Darin

Its fun so watch the conversation.  The project here is an extension of Tacoma link,which is a form of light rail. Local street cars are a different conversation. If we want a streetcar network. and I do we have to pay for it or get local finding options to enhance what ST3 can offer or let the city but it itself. This money can’t and won’t be used for a local project. There seems to be some push for <span class=“caps”>MLK</span> but its not paid for and no local money so far. To get anything from sound transit you have to provide a solution and way to pay for it.

March 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

philip terry

I have several questions. Foremost, where does the money come from. Government @ evert level is broke. Second, why not busses? Busses; cost less, can alter routes and don’t require rails. Business on Pacific Ave went under because of construction.

March 27, 2013 at 1:54 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Jim C

I think it bears mentioning that the proposed terminus everyone keeps referring to as “the casino” includes the Pac Highway corridor which has more hotel rooms and opportunity for commercial development in a two-mile strip than the entire city of Tacoma, I would be willing to bet.  Oh, but that’s in Fife, isn’t it.  Maybe we should call it the Fifoma Link.

March 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Chris

@31 – Voters approved funds for Tacoma Link extension in 2008.  Funds come from the sales tax and a small motor vehicle excise tax.  This is not debt that we’re taking on – it’s really funds that are being raised as we speak.

Secondly, the per service hour costs for Tacoma Link light rail will actually decline after the extension is built because we’ll be able to take advantage of more economies of scale.  Keeping the line at 1.6 miles is not efficient.  Also, buses, at least the way that we do them generally in the United States, do not encourage economic development, while rail demonstrably does.

March 28, 2013 at 8:50 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Mofo from the Hood

“A route on Portland ave was shot down by the council because the tribes proposed casino was part of the case to get federal funds. The council rejected the route for moral and religious reasons.”—Posted by Darin @5.

Everybody is a comedian.

Egalitarianism is a religion practiced by proponents of government systems, like regional transit, in inefficient markets abandoned by free market capitalism.

March 28, 2013 at 9:00 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Jesse

Now that the <span class=“caps”>ULI</span> study is out, I thought maybe I’d share my ideas on routes as the <span class=“caps”>ULI</span> agrees with me on the lack of importance of the hospital in regards to north-south development on <span class=“caps”>MLK</span> and emphasis on east-west connections to <span class=“caps”>MLK</span>.  I guess you could say I agree with David Boe as far as a corridor goes. 

Here’s my take on the streetcar:

i.feedtacoma.com/Jes…

March 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

RR Anderson

HyBOErid!

April 2, 2013 at 12:45 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Post A New Comment

Please enter the word you see in the image below:


Potentially Related Articles