Tacoma Urbanist

Dec. 22, 2007 at 12:05am

Multi Pronged Crackdown on Crime Launched to Re-take Frost Park at 9th and Commerce

Tacoma Police office Larry Frost was gunned down on September 9, 1977 in the line of duty when responding to a report of a brick being thrown through a window on 3510 S. 56th.

The park at 9th and Commerce St. in downtown Tacoma is dedicated to Frost's memory.  However, because of a poor design and other criminal elements in the area, the park has been the scene of drug dealings, fights, illicit activity and frequent arrests.  See TPD Sector One Report.

The TPD, BIA, and local merchants have struggled with the issues for the last two years with little improvement.  The dynamics between the phone booth (9th and Commerce), Winthrop Hotel, D Street Market and other factors made the area difficult to get under control.  See Tacoma Daily Index Article: One City, Two Downtowns:

According to statistics from the Business Improvement Area (BIA), 20.8 percent of downtown incident reports compiled by BIA bike patrols from January through March of this year occurred in the area near Ninth and Commerce.

That has changed in the last few weeks as the city has launched an effort to retake the park and the area around the LINK.

Here are some of the steps taken:



New Lights on North Park Plaza Parking Garage



Here's how the lights on 9th and Commerce look at night.  Pretty bright and so far seems to work.  They added the flag pole as well with lights on it.




Pantages repairs and expands windows on 9th and Commerce to add some activity and "eyes on the street." Here some potentially valuable space to use.




Phone booth removed by Diamond Parking who owns Spark Park.
  The
most discussed phone both in the city over the last two years.







Now D Town Market has been closed
.  According to the City:

Due to some complaints I had received about the D Town Market at 751 Commerce we conducted an inspection. During the inspection we found numerous code violations, numerous life safety electrical issues and fire hazard issues. The power was terminated and the business closed until the violations can be corrected.
Their landlord Diamond Parking is apparently removing them from space and looking for an appropriate tenant.

Hopefully, these steps will allow people to easily navigate up and and down 9th street again between Pacific Avenue and Broadway.  This should also make the use of the LINK station more attractive as well.  These steps no doubt took a long time in planning by the city.

How about a Bulldog News sort of place with coffee and a deli?



Wouldn't something like this be nice?


(By the way, there are three markets in the area left that I know of that sell similar items to the D Street Market : one on Pacific, Broadway, and St. Helens).

comments [13]  |  posted under tacoma, washington

Comments

by Twisty on 12/22/2007 @ 12:58am
I hope that the proximity of the transit facilities was taken into consideration. The park is all but adjacent to both the downtown transit center and the northern Link terminus. Link, as it is free, is becoming a magnet for vagrants.

by NineInchNachos on 12/22/2007 @ 10:56am
the news stand would be a swell idea.

by Erik on 12/22/2007 @ 11:32am
I hope that the proximity of the transit facilities was taken into consideration. The park is all but adjacent to both the downtown transit center and the northern Link terminus. Link, as it is free, is becoming a magnet for vagrants.

Doubtful. A blank "open space" like this in an urban zone usually gives a poor result as this one has. Frost Park is against a blank wall, the cavernous North Parking Garage and the blank side of the Pantages.

With that said, the D Street Market space across the street has the potential to add a ton of life in the area. A lot of glass and a corner spot. The adjacent space on 9th street in Spark Spark is for lease too. Filling these up with lively business could really change the area.

by andrew.austin on 12/22/2007 @ 1:00pm
Erik thanks for the post especially the insightful pictures. As I posted on exit 133 I think a deli (with news would be good) that has good lunch as well as basics for takeout like milk and eggs would be nice. Also maybe some nice higher end food items like spices and wine and vegtables. I also think that with the Harmon's new movie theater/pub down the street and some condos, then eventually the winthrop re-development this block and corner will really turn around.

by ensie on 12/22/2007 @ 6:37pm
My husband and I drove by there this evening and it was much quieter than it has been in the past. No people standing around on the street corners. No activity near the now nonexistent phone, no one loitering in the park. Maybe it's just due to the holidays, but I like to think that it's due to the changes made in the last few weeks and days. I really like the newsstand idea.

by Erik on 12/22/2007 @ 8:03pm
My husband and I drove by there this evening and it was much quieter than it has been in the past.

Yes, it is strangly shocking to see some much street normalacy. Typically, people look up from Pacific up 9th to see which side of the street would be easier to walk up.

If there was anytime for a group of people to get together to start a small business, this would be it.

Ok, here's some test names for the new business:

"Theater Coffee"
"Commerce Coffee"
"Theater Bistro"
"The Urban Deli"

hmmm. We will have to work on that. I am sure there are some out there.

Erik thanks for the post especially the insightful pictures. As I posted on exit 133 I think a deli (with news would be good) that has good lunch as well as basics for takeout like milk and eggs would be nice.

Sure. You are the transportation wonk Andrew. It would be nice to see what other cities place at their transportation hub.

by jenyum on 12/22/2007 @ 8:07pm
I parked down by Fireman's Park today, and there were no creepy groups of people about. LOTS of holiday shoppers on Pacific, but nothing creepy.

What was creepy was the sidewalk next to the drive through ATM on that corner, that forces you to walk between a blank wall and a high hedge. Very creepy, but without anyone loitering at the park it was less scary.

by jenyum on 12/22/2007 @ 8:19pm
An old-school East coast style coffee shop would be rad. Where you can get quick breakfasts like egg and cheese on a kaiser roll, or bagels and cream cheese, and drip coffee. Places where there are always cartons of orange juice and milk in the cooler. I've really missed those places since moving out of the tri-state area.

I guess you have to have espresso since this is the Northwest, but all the rest of that would work.

If we could just recruit some Manhattan coffee shop (or Jersey diner) owner who wanted a change of pace.

by morgan on 12/22/2007 @ 10:02pm
I would love to see something like this:
Salumi Artisan Cured Meats

Mmmmmmm.... fresh cured meat.

by billb on 12/23/2007 @ 10:24am
At one point there was talk of redevelopment of the entire North Plaza Parking structure. Anything recently?

by Erik on 12/23/2007 @ 4:01pm
At one point there was talk of redevelopment of the entire North Plaza Parking structure. Anything recently?

To its credit, the City of Tacoma has recently started working to rebuild the South Park Parking Plaza.

The North Park Parking Plaza certainly needs to be rehabed or knocked down completely to replace the cave on Pacific with retail and an appropriate building with parking it in. Aside from the recent talk concerning Russell, I have not heard of any plans for this garage. Unfortunately.




by Erik on 12/23/2007 @ 5:04pm
Mr. Mayor : Tear down this blightful "tombstone"

by Erik on 1/8/2008 @ 3:33pm
Looks like D Street market has re-opened with no change in tenant.