Here is the latest in Tacoma's efforts to extend light rail in Tacoma which have three new proposals which could case three days in addition to the 9 years which have transpired since Link extension has been studied: 1) replacing light rail extension with a bus, 2) requiring a Tacoma "citywide transportation study" before the process could continue, 3) consideration of a "hybrid" route rather than one of the multitude of Sound Transit proposed routes which have been narrowed down to three.
(Special thanks to Chris Karnes for his knowledge and advocacy of the issue and who has gone to more Sound Transit meetings on the issue than anyone else I know.)
|The Tacoma Link Alternatives Analysis schedule|
, 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.
Let's look at what that might entail
However, if this were to change, let's say at an emergency meeting of the City Council tomorrow,
we might be able to have it included in the funds that will begin
flowing from the vehicle license fee in three months time. At the same
time Council and staff could develop a scope of work, a public
involvement plan, and develop a request for proposals from an outside
It took Seattle 12 months to work on their transit master plan.
If all went well, a kickoff could be arranged sometime in July or
August, but probably in September, to allow for evaluation of the
proposals, and the bulk of the work would last about 12 months in
duration. The City of Seattle and the City of Bellevue encountered similar timelines
in the development and update of their transit master plans. At the
conclusion of that timeline we would be in late 2014. Council adoption
of the plan could then take place as early as January 2015.
There is one issue with this plan that should be highly concerning to Tacoma residents. It
would completely delay the start of development of environmental
analysis and engineering on a Tacoma Link extension until January 2015.
I highly doubt that the Sound Transit Board is willing to keep the
contractor on standby for that long. Preliminary engineering and
environmental analysis on the Sound Transit side are both funded and
scheduled and contracted to occur after ST Board approval of a preferred
However, the very same timeline has a lot of merit if we want to have
appropriate levels of study done to include a second phase of Tacoma
Link expansion in ST3 and potentially additional targeted transit
service from a state transportation package. ST3, by all indications
from rumblings in King County
(Legislature willing, of course) will be in November of 2016
. We obviously have to have some analysis completed by then to have any projects included in the package.
The clock is ticking. Let's not waste anymore time delaying what's already in the pipeline