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Tacoma Trestle Comment

Sound Transit is ready for another round of public comment on the Tacoma Trestle project that will replace the existing wooden, single-track train bridge to the east of Freighthouse Square and extend the passenger platform for increased capacity and improved reliability of passenger service.

The old wooden trestle structure is aging, and will need of structural upgrades in the next few years. It serves Sounder trains and will serve Amtrak when the Tacoma station moves to Freighthouse Square. The state's current schedule would reroute all Amtrak service by late 2017.

The new trestle will support a double-track rail bridge over South 26th and East G streets and crossover tracks. Other improvements will include building an expanded passenger platform to accommodate Amtrak passenger trains, making minor street repairs, relocating some utilities, replacing retaining walls at both ends of the bridge, and upgrading the railroad signals. 

The design is now 60% done, and Sound Transit is asking for another round of public input. 

In response to public input at the 30%-complete state, the overall goal here is for a "lighter and brighter" design and safer pedestrian experience, with portions of the wall lowered from the original design for better sight lines. It also removes an existing intermediate support column between East G and East 26th.

Comments also included requests that the design of the exit stairs reflect some element of Freighthouse Square, and that some art or aesthetic treatment be incorporated on the G Street side. This comment period asks for input on panel designs on the stairs, and a Milwaukee Railroad logo on the steel girder. Not exactly overly inspiring art, if you ask us, but maybe there's more to come. Final landscaping and fencing choices are still to be added, and Sound Transit will consider this current round of public comment.

You can view slides and share your thoughts online via the Sound Transit project comment page. Or better yet, attend the Tacoma Trestle Open House this Thursday to learn more and comment.

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I wonder if this all supports high speed rail…

Although Light Rail can do wonders for a cities in the right circumstances, I think eventually Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and Portland will be linked by high speed rail along the I-5 corridor.  So why not plan for it?  Let’s not do Light Rail along that corridor and instead insist on high speed rail and Federal Gov’t involvement (see; financing, planning, implementation) in it.

March 19, 2015 at 8:47 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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“Federal Gov’t involvement,” funny you should mention that:

To the surprise of absolutely no one familiar with the ways of Corruptifornia a consortium whose lead firm is controlled by Richard Blum, husband of Sen. Diane Feinstein, was awarded a nearly billion-dollar contract for the construction of the first phase of the so-called high-speed rail line to link San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The cost?  $552/inch

March 20, 2015 at 3:32 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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This is Sounder Commuter rail and Amtrak… Not light rail.

March 19, 2015 at 1:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Understood.  Sound Transit is putting together a package for Light Rail to Tacoma right now. If they pass it, why would there be Sounder service to Seattle AND Light Rail service to Seattle from Tacoma?  Likely, this corridor could become that Light Rail route (or partly) under those circumstances.  I’m saying, why not high speed rail instead?

March 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Nancy Pepper

I agree…why not go for the “gusto” and do the high speed rail from Portland to Seattle or even as far as Everett or Bellingham or all the way to Canada.  Go for it!!

March 20, 2015 at 1:36 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I understand there’s going to be high speed rail from LA to SanFrancisco in a few years along I-5.  Would be nice here too!

March 20, 2015 at 1:38 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Do the math, and you find that the low bid came in at a mere $35 million per mile.

And that doesn’t include the cost of rolling stock (that’s engines and cars to the normal among us). Nor does it include the cost of electrifying the route. Does it at least include the cost of land acquisition? No, it does not.

As this fiasco progress, remember that this $35 million per mile represents the best California can do on the section of track the High on Crack Speed Rail Authority selected to go first because it will be the cheapest.

March 20, 2015 at 2:40 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sound Transit only owns the tracks from Tacoma to Nisqually. All the tracks north and south of that are owned by Burlington Northern (that aren’t high speed capable). So it would only be high speed for 20 miles…As for why would we need Commuter rail between Tacoma and Seattle if we had light rail… It takes 39 minutes to go from Westlake station Seattle to the airport (only 12 miles); it would take forever with all the stops between Tacoma and Seattle. I believe light rail will go from Tacoma through Federal Way along I-5 to Seattle. Right now it parallels the 167 picking up passengers through the valley, Tacoma to Seattle in under an hour (38 miles). I am with you that the west coast needs high speed rail, unfortunately we don’t have any passenger only dedicated rail and real-estate is a premium around these parts.

March 19, 2015 at 2:08 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thanks for the good info.  It makes sense.

March 19, 2015 at 2:14 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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To be fair, much of the route between Seatac and Westlake is along MLK (speed limit) or stopping every minute in the downtown core, so that’s why it’s so slow. Between Seatac and Tacoma, I don’t imagine they would go through a bunch of unprotected crossings. Having said that, I think additional Sounder service would be much more cost effective than building an entirely new infrastructure for light rail.

March 22, 2015 at 11:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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No kidding!  Most of the infrastructure costs are sunk on Sounder.  The most value/dollar would be in building parking garages at already established stations.  The number one reason potential riders are not using Sounder is lack of available parking at the home end of their commute.

The platforms would have to be lengthened though if this were to happen, so cars could be added to existing trains.

March 23, 2015 at 5:56 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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