Tacoma Urbanist

Mar. 22, 2008 at 12:40am

Seattle Transit Blog Supporting Tacoma Streetcars

Last week, I have discussed, how different Tacoma groups and neighborhoods have been coming out in favor of streetcars in Tacoma including Central Neighborhood Council, Hilltop Action Coaltion, New Tacoma Neighborhood Council, North End Neighborhood Council, Tacoma Transit and Parking Committee and the West End Neighborhood Council.

Including a significant streetcar system between Tacoma's neighborhoods in the next Sound Transit package gained yet even more momentum and credibility yesterday with the support of the well known and well read Seattle Transit Blog

More Streetcars in Tacoma Demanded!

The Tacoma neighborhoods are demanding that any Sound Transit proposal in the future must contain funding for a streetcar system in Tacoma connecting its neighborhood mixed use centers”.

Strong language. We've been following the Tacoma Streetcar issue for awhile now, and I personally love the idea.  My question is this: is that streetcar part of a regional transit network? If it is, then it could be part of a Sound Transit package. The Tacoma Link car in place certainly does, as it connects Sounder, Sound Transit express bus, and Pierce Transit buses to downtown Tacoma.

In response to the question, yes, a streetcar connection could use the current Sound Transit LINK technology and be part of a "regional transit network" as LINK in Tacoma is now.

Locally, the Business Examiner covered the issue in a spirited manner yesterday:

Street car advocates come out swinging

As Sound Transit officials wrestle with the possibility of sending another funding package to voters in November, a group of Tacoma neighborhood groups have requested that the agency consider a city-wide expansion of light rail service. Today, New Tacoma Neighborhood Council announced its support of a proposal that would extend Tacoma's Link Light Rail by building a modified, more affordable web of rail connections between Tacoma's neighborhood business districts. 

"With the failure of Proposition 1, we support Sound Transit placing an intracity streetcar network within the city and believe that this must be in the next Sound Transit proposal with prompt funding," wrote Jonathan Phillips, chair of the North End Neighborhood Council, in a letter to Sound Transit officials.

Sound Transit spokesperson Linda Robson declined to comment about the future possibility of vintage streetcars in Tacoma, but did say that officials were considering extending the current link system from 10th Street and Commerce to Tacoma General Hospital....

Given the limits of current deliberations by the Sound Transit board, Tacoma Streetcar founder Morgan Alexander remains optimistic about the possibility of streetcars coming to Tacoma. City officials, led by City Manager Eric Anderson, will convene an exploratory committee in July that will begin developing a vision for a Tacoma streetcar network. If streetcars don't end up on a ballot this year, said Alexander, the push will continue.

I am sure there will be more to come on the streetcar issue and Sound Transit.  Let's hope something can be worked out.

comments [2]  |  posted under tacoma


by Erik on 3/22/2008 @ 6:58pm
Update: The transit arm of the News Tribune via Andrew Austin has come out in support of an intracity street car network within the City of Tacoma:

It is logical that neighborhoods from across Tacoma are supporting this streetcar plan. Neighborhood oriented intra-city streetcars will do much more for Transit oriented development and creating a sense of place in our city than a light rail to Sea-Tac/Seattle would.

The Streetcar plan is a pro-Pierce County policy. By giving choice riders more commute options into Downtown Tacoma and making our neighborhoods better places to live; it will spur development downtown and bring more jobs to Tacoma.

Why should we believe that we have to ship 30% of our brain power and workers to Seattle forever?

Lastly, the streetcar plan is a matter of dollars and sense practicality. There is no way any ST2 proposal will have enough money to get light-rail from Sea-Tac to the Dome. Tacoma residents will not vote for a plan that bring extends the Sea-Tac light rail to Federal Way or Fife. The Streetcar plan will connect Tacoma’s neighborhoods, spur transit oriented development, bolster downtown Tacoma, and give more people access to the good regional transit system already in place.

It will do all of this for less money than a Sea-Tac light rail extension and garner more citizen support. Sounds like a good move to me.

Read the whole post:


by Erik on 3/23/2008 @ 10:16am
Today, Dan Voelpel from the News Tribune takes on the Streetcar issue as it relates to the next Sound Transit package and interviews Morgan Alexander on the issue who is the president of Tacoma Streetcars.

Great article


Streetcars pick up traction, but will Sound Transit listen?

If momentum counts for anything, the grass-roots movement to build a streetcar network in Tacoma has it now.

This month two more neighborhood councils, representing the North End and downtown, have allied themselves with Tacoma Streetcar’s simple vision: a citywide streetcar network connecting Tacoma’s neighborhoods.

Also this month, Sound Transit announced that its 2007 ridership jumped 12.5 percent compared to an overall U.S. increase of 2 percent. That means Sound Transit recorded roughly 1.5 million more trips on its fleet of express buses and commuter trains. Rising gas prices should drive those numbers up this year – and might drive more support for streetcars.


Read the whole article here: