Jun. 23, 2010 at 7:24am
Work has crept from Lakewood, through South Tacoma, down the Nalley Valley and is now reaching downtown. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, the Sounder commuter rail extension work begins downtown, well, now! We received a letter warning us as such at work last week and it appears prep work for the track construction proper has already begun.
Utility work has closed "C" Street just off South Tacoma Way.
I'd imagine these vacated buildings will soon be coming down as well.
The empty lot adjacent to the Pink Elephant is being excavated.
Be prepared for all brands of closures and re-routings of nearby streets in the coming months and over time as they dip Pacific down and raise that famous berm up.
comments  | posted under berm, commute, construction, lakewood, rail, sounder, tacoma, trainComments
by NineInchNachos on 6/23/2010 @ 10:03am
by Altered Chords on 6/23/2010 @ 12:05pm
|I wish I were a kid again and could spend the whole day watching the work being done. Should probably have gone into construction instead of telecom sales.
I could have been one of the guys tearing down the Luzon building, instead I was proposing a fiber build to 2 different developers hoping to save the Luzon.
by KevinFreitas on 6/23/2010 @ 12:06pm
|Yeah, it'll be interesting to watch how construction unfolds. All the track and crossing prep work that's been done through the Nalley Valley and South Tacoma has been pretty unobtrusive. But here they're going to be re-routing traffic to/from the freeway on/off-ramps around Pacific and South Tacoma Way. Plus they need to start on that trestle and berm stuff. The landscape around there is going to change pretty dramatically over the next couple years.|
Here are the phases that sheet we got mentions:
Stage 1 (approx. 4 months)
by Erik on 6/23/2010 @ 2:35pm
|Insert berm Tacomic here....|
by Jesse on 6/23/2010 @ 4:56pm
|In a few short years that hood' won't even be recognizable.|
by L.S.Erhardt on 6/23/2010 @ 11:01pm
|For good or for ill, here we go.
Should be interesting, nonetheless.
What was officially decided about Pac Ave? They are going to depress it?
by KevinFreitas on 6/24/2010 @ 6:42am
|@Thorax: As far as I know, yeah. They're going to drop it down so the train can go over. Here we go indeed.|
by tacoma1 on 6/24/2010 @ 8:47am
|I found some artist renderings here:|
The A street pedestrian crossing maze like thing I am told is actually a ramp for bikes and wheelchairs. There will be stairs to one side of the ramp. I'm guessing that skate boarders just might like the ramp stair combo.
Personally, I'm looking forward to more trains, not just the Sounder, but more Amtrak too.
by Non Sequitur on 6/24/2010 @ 8:11pm
|The train is good.
The bridges are ugly.
This is a break-even?
by The Jinxmedic on 6/25/2010 @ 8:02am
|No berm = win.|
by tacoma1 on 6/25/2010 @ 8:27am
|The bridge renderings are a bit homely, no doubt. What isn't in the renderings are the landscaping and public art. |
The bridges in 3 D, with landscaping and public art adorning them will hopefully (and likely) look much better.
by fredo on 6/25/2010 @ 9:04am
|Do the sounder and amtrak trains run on environmentally friendly CNG or on environmentally harmful and unsustainable oil?|
by Nick on 6/25/2010 @ 9:20am
|I'm pretty sure they run on dreams and butterfly wings. Maybe some unicorn tears mixed in as well.
Either that or diesel. Either way, I figure it's moving more people per gallon than even my mini.
by fredo on 6/25/2010 @ 9:24am
|it's moving more people per gallon. nick
why do we need to move people? why don't we leave people where they are?
by Nick on 6/25/2010 @ 9:27am
|Heh, that's a good question. I wonder that myself sometimes.|
by L.S.Erhardt on 6/25/2010 @ 10:36am
|CNG is oil.|
"CNG" = compressed natural gas, and natural gas is actually methane. Methane is a hydrocarbon typically found both with and in oil.
Trains are actually hybrids. The wheels are powered by electricity which is generated via the diesel engines. An SD-60 locomotive (quite common) can move 1 ton of cargo about 400 miles per gallon of diesel. For comparison, an 18 wheeler moves 1 ton of cargo 100 miles per gallon of diesel.
Or, in other terms, a big rig gets in the neighborhood of 7 mpg. A train gets about 18. For cargo, obviously the train is more efficient.
So yes, the fact that a train can carry hundreds of people at 18 mpg is a helluva lot more efficient than any car, despite being a lot less efficient than a freight train.
@ Fredo: "why do we need to move people? why don't we leave people where they are?"
That's an easy one. It's because we can.
by fredo on 6/25/2010 @ 11:48am
|Wouldn't it be better to create a society that doesn't require so much transportation? You know, this is not sustainable, regardless of efficiency. Once oil is gone the Sounder train will stop. Better for people to find work close by and stop commuting.|
by Altered Chords on 6/25/2010 @ 4:26pm
|Fredo - no. not better. People have been migrating by foot, camel, donkey, horse, elephant, wooley mamoth, ostrich and emu for millions of years.
Probably easier to keep moving around. When the oil runs out (500 years?) we'll have nuke powered trains.
I'd prefer a time when the population is 1/1000 of what it is now and the forests echoed with laughter but I've ditched those bucolic dreams.
by The Jinxmedic on 6/25/2010 @ 4:31pm
|I have a feeling that between North Korea, Iran, and all the other crazy people in the Eastern Hemisphere, we will be back to foot, camel, donkey, horse, elephant, wooley mamoth, ostrich and emu well before the oil runs out.|
by fredo on 6/25/2010 @ 5:43pm
|People have been migrating by foot, camel, donkey, horse, elephant, wooley mamoth, ostrich and emu for millions of years.
right chords, but those modes of transportation didn't occasion huge infrastructural construction or deplete scarce resources, nor did they require anyone to subsidize anyone else's lifestyle.
by jenyum on 6/25/2010 @ 5:46pm
|Livestock consume tremendous time and resources. Not that that is relevant to the Sounder extension.|
by fredo on 6/25/2010 @ 6:37pm
|Yes jenyum, let's slaughter all our livestock so they will quit consuming all our resources.|
by jenyum on 6/25/2010 @ 10:35pm
|That was totally my point, thanks for putting those words in my mouth.
by fredo on 6/26/2010 @ 10:03am
|Good morning Jen. Well, you stated a problem and I provided the appropriate remedy. I enjoy helping people with their problems.|
by Altered Chords on 6/27/2010 @ 7:29pm
|Fredo: my point was that it would be far easier to continue moving people around but do it more efficiently than to "create a new society" where nobody moves around.
A society built upon motionlessness is doomed to starvation.
by fredo on 6/27/2010 @ 8:06pm
|Well chords, I wasn't actually suggesting that society become "motionless." I was merely suggesting that perhaps there are some advantages to having a society where people could locate their employment and residence within close proximity of each other. Doesn't it strike anyone, even intuitively, that moving commuters back and forth over dozens or hundreds of miles for employment is wrong? Transit enables society to engage in fanciful and wreckless decision making. And for the record, I don't think people living and working in the same general neighborhood are going to starve.|
by tacoma1 on 6/28/2010 @ 8:07am
If people chose to live near where they worked, that would be the ideal in a perfect world. But what do you do in the real world, in real life.
For example, I have a friend, who grew up in Tacoma, even went to college in Tacoma (UPS), upon graduating, went to work for Russell Investments. This person bought a house (in Tacoma), is raising a family here, and has kids in the Tacoma Public School system.
Now that Russell Investments has decided to move to Seattle...........
Should we require this family to move to Seattle to be closer to work?
Should we have required Russell Investments to not move?
by fredo on 6/28/2010 @ 8:26am
|Should we require this family to move to Seattle to be closer to work?tacoma1
Require him to move? No. Why doesn't he start his own investment company and stay here in Tacoma? Does he know that Tacoma has special tax incentives for companies in the International Financial Services field?
When your friend bought his home it was foreseeable that his employer might move. They could have leased a home in Tacoma rather than buy. In the future, your friend will have no option but to move to be near his employer. The oil required to run transit is running out. Has any heard about this?
by tacoma1 on 6/28/2010 @ 8:59am
My friend went to work for Russell 15 years ago. It was a Tacoma owned company back then. It wasn't foreseeable that it would move.
BTW, transit doesn't "require oil" to run. As soon as our govt stops providing oil subsidies, and peak oil starts putting upward pricing pressure on fuel, electric conversion of our rail system will begin.
All of the light rail that is going in right now is completely electric, for that matter.
by fredo on 6/28/2010 @ 9:12am
|I really don't see the "problem" your friend is having. He has a good job with a good company. He should sit down with his wife and have an in depth discussion about where the family should locate their home. People move all the time to be in close proximity to the employment of the breadwinner. Couldn't they buy a home in Seattle, couldn't the kids make new friends? And why isn't Russell providing relocation assistance to valued employees like your friend in their time of need?
And since you are an expert on such matters, don't we use oil to generate the electricity that we are going to use when oil is depleted?
My point is that our society's insane addiction to commuting is leading us down a calamitous pathway. This is going to have dire consequences in the future.
by tacoma1 on 6/28/2010 @ 9:20am
|In the State of Washington, we use hydro power to produce 90% of our electricity, not oil. |
My friend's spouse also has a job here in Tacoma. Both like their jobs equally, and both make similar money. I guess they should get a divorce to keep you happy.
by Nick on 6/28/2010 @ 9:27am
|"And why isn't Russell providing relocation assistance to valued employees like your friend in their time of need?"
Because they don't have to. What are they going to do, leave? In this job climate? Starting at the Northwest Mutual acquisition Russell's culture changed from a homegrown, promote-from-within company to a employees-are-a-commodity, ship-in-MBAs-from-elsewhere org with no ties to the community. The last thing one would expect from them would be any regard for an employee's well-being.
by fredo on 6/28/2010 @ 9:37am
|Because oil is available your friends are entitled to elect to commute to solve their "problem". Couples in the future may not have this luxury. I'm pretty sure that hydro will not provide all the energy needs of future Washingtonians but we can continue to fantasize about wind powered, atomic powered, water powered, or solar powered societies. Maybe we could connect a huge extention cord to the center of the earth and harness the Mole People living down there to some power generating treadmills.
I hope your friends don't get a divorce to keep Fredo happy. If that happens, please provide a posting. Would it really be so unreasonable for one of them to quit the "job they like" and get another job so that their lifestyle and employment was all in the same place? sounds like a power struggle at your friend's house. You know, marriages work better when spouses don't try to trump one another all the time.
by Nick on 6/28/2010 @ 10:01am
|... also I think Fredo's point is quite valid. It's one thing to provide regional mobility for the occasional need to travel. It's quite another to provide a subsidy that encourages a lifestyle that is unnecessarily taxing on resources. Is this really any different than the issue of PT providing bus service to rural areas?|
People will live where they can get the most for the least amount of money. It's just a giant equation, for which our state/local governments have control of some of those variables. We can tweak those variables to get the outcome we want. It won't happen overnight, but we can gradually set a course for where we want to go. Making it cheap to live 40 miles from where you work means you're going to live 40 miles from work.
What if we ramped up incentives for the opposite? Would we need hundreds of miles of 5-lane freeways and all this public transit infrastructure? Maybe our cities would be more densely packed, with all the sounder and freeway dollars being poured into streetcars, bike paths, free wifi, and free hoverboards for all (great scott, we've been waiting a long time for those!). Here's a fun hypothetical: what if it were cheaper (or at least comparative) to live close to where you work?
by tacoma1 on 6/28/2010 @ 10:12am
|Actually, my friend doesn't have a problem in her marriage, or with the commute. She can get work done on her lap top (on the Sounder) to and from Seattle, not a problem. Whether she is at her desk working on her desktop, or sitting on the train using a laptop, it's all the same to her, and to her employer. Plus she would much rather take the train than inconvenience the family. |
On the other hand, you seem to have a problem with transit and specifically commuters.
Is it as you say, you are concerned with the diminishing oil reserves, and would like to conserve as much as possible?
Or is it that you don't want any of your tax dollars to go towards the support of commuting?
It is cheaper to live close to work, specifically if you live within walking distance or a short bike ride (no car needed). Unfortunately, employers move, go out of business, lay people off, etc. Plus, downtown Seattle, the major employment center for the Pacific NW is just not livable IMO. Way too many drug dealers and crime for me. I'm more than happy to leave Gotham at the end of every work day. And DT Tacoma just doesn't have the employment base to support all of our citizens. One of the biggest employment centers in Tacoma is our Port. Who wants to live on the tide flats? Look at all the empty condos there. Apparently noone.
by Joel 413 on 6/28/2010 @ 10:46am
|Personally I would love to work closer to where I live, but the jobs in my career at the level I am at are not here. But yet I cannot afford the cost of living closer to work. So I take advantage of the benefits available to me. I ride to the bus and bus to work. And my wife is a stay at home mom because she chooses to. If we lived closer to my work, she'd have to work and we'd have to pay for daycare which would pretty much suck up her money from her job. what's the point?|
by The Jinxmedic on 6/28/2010 @ 11:19am
|We bought our house in Tacoma to be within walking and LINK distance to the new office. After we bought, office moved to Nevada instead. The Sounder doesn't go there. Oh well.
@ Tacoma 1 - The Milwaukee Road ran a fully electrified rail service from Tacoma over the Cascades to Othello (about 200 route-miles) from 1919 to 1957. (at Othello, engines were switched out to conventional Steam or Diesel units for the remainder of the trip to Chicago.) Seems like we're still playing catch-up to restore a technology that was once in place almost a century ago...
by L.S.Erhardt on 6/28/2010 @ 11:32am
|I'm 5 miles from home to work.
However, I really don't foresee the Sounder or the Link expanding service into the Port of Tacoma anytime soon.
PT has been cutting service over the last few years, making busing to work impossible for most port workers.
by fredo on 6/28/2010 @ 12:05pm
|"you seem to have a problem with transit and specifically commuters."
I guess I do since this is the entire point I'm trying to make. This lifestyle is not sustainable.
As a society we will have to find ways to live and work that DON'T require commuting. Maybe not in our lifetimes but in the very near future. We just don't have the resources to underwrite what is essentially a logistical nightmare.
by tacoma1 on 6/28/2010 @ 12:40pm
|So it's the consumption of the resources then?|
by NineInchNachos on 6/28/2010 @ 12:54pm
|race against time here too. we're going to use up all the oil and all that carbon going into the atmosphere is going to kill us all. Even if you're a complete moron and don't believe in global climate change, living closer to where you work is just better for your mental/spiritual well being. Walking naked from point A to point B is probably the manliest mode of transportation. |
by tacoma1 on 6/28/2010 @ 1:07pm
Ok, I like that one just fine.
How bout we take away all the federal oil incentives so it's more expensive to commute? That would be a good start towards encouraging people to live closer, drive less, use less fuel.................
Our federal taxes would go down too!
by NineInchNachos on 6/28/2010 @ 1:15pm
|as your City Council Representative I will sponsor a non-binding resolution to send a strong message to the federal government to stop all that federal oil subsidy. Also farm subsidy! Why don't we put our money where are mouth is when it comes to free trade? |
(paid for by the friends of RR Anderson for Jake Fey's vacant seat appointment)
by jenyum on 6/28/2010 @ 1:20pm
|Thorax: Pierce Transit is cutting route 60, the only remaining route that goes out to the Port, whether the growth alternative or the reduction alternative is chosen. Supposedly, part of the thinking in the new route plans is to allow greater access to employment centers but from what I can tell "employment centers" = "hospitals" and pretty much nothing else, because I can't see any other major employers that would benefit from the new routes.
Our city code allows for parking space reductions (25% of total requirement) if you are within so many feet of a bus stop and this now means nowhere in the Port/Tideflats will qualify for this exemption. Not going to help fill those empty buildings and draw more employers to the region, in addition to completely eliminating public transit for port workers.
So, you could live within 5 miles of your job and still have no way to get there (if you're not an all-weather bike rider) without owning a car. But at least when you get to work you'll have your pick of parking spaces, and after all, that's what's really important.
by Altered Chords on 6/28/2010 @ 1:25pm
|Nachos - I sure hope you live close to your office if you do it naked.
I loved the days when I worked out of my house. As one collegue described it: "my commute is sittin up in bed"
Of course, we had to drive to client appointments. We all did our best to minumize those appointments that way we are went broke and the company is no longer in business.
That's what happens when you don't use oil to get to work, the company goes under.
by L.S.Erhardt on 6/28/2010 @ 1:45pm
|According to the Port, a total of 43,000 jobs in Pierce county are in the port and tied directly to it. The Port is ultimately responsible for 115,000 jobs in the Great State of WA.
In a city of 203,000 and a county of 850,000 it seems to me that 43,000 jobs would qualify as an "employment center".
by tacoma1 on 6/28/2010 @ 2:18pm
|So, the reality is, people are going to still commute no matter what. We can't always control where our companies move to, or where our family's want to live. Our government can't dictate to it's citizens where to live and work - that would be communism. Our government can't dictate to companies whether to move or not - that would be socialism.|
Therefore, if you end up having to commute, and want to commute in the most ecological way: the least damaging to the environment, resources, etc. is to commute via foot, then via bicycle. I know very few of us do either. Next would be public transit, depending on where you live, that may be a bus, a train, a lightrail car. Nest best after that would be an electric car, when they finally arrive on the market. The worst way to commute is the way most of us commute, via the singular occupied gasoline powered automobile.
I'm ecstatic that the Sounder is going to get more service soon. And I support Pierce Transits Growth Alternative as well, even if some of the routes aren't ideal. More routes will always be better than fewer routes. Defunding transit isn't going to solve anything. The only way to move away from the most unsustainable form of transportation that we have (the SOV) is to fund as many bike paths, pedestrian walkways, and transit options as possible, while simultaineously defunding big oil.
by fredo on 6/28/2010 @ 2:57pm
|tacoma1, I will stipulate that transit (used correctly) makes a more efficient use of scarce resources (oil) than the family car, at least when it comes to employment commuting, if you will agree that people who live in close proximity to their employment make a more efficient use of scarce resources than transit riders.
by Nick on 6/28/2010 @ 2:59pm
The problems you describe are symptoms of *today's* conditions, which are a result of the affordability of commuting to work (relative to living close to work). And I disagree that it is cheaper to live closer to work. Look at the average cost per square foot for properties in downtown Tacoma or Seattle and compare that to the average cost per square foot for properties between 20 and 50 miles away. That difference is going to be many times the annual cost of owning a vehicle.
All I am suggesting is that public policies currently make the cost of commuting artificially lower than they would be otherwise. This has been changing as WA has started to implement "smart growth" policies which discourage suburban sprawl.
I'm not suggesting people that work in the tideflats ought to go live in the port, nor am I suggesting the government mandate everyone live within 10 feet of their job. I do think public policy and infrastructure should be set up in such a way that it is easier/cheaper to not commute vs. commute. If we're going to subsidize a lifestyle, we may as well encourage the more efficient of the two.
If our policies changed, so would living conditions and opportunities. If it were suddenly more expensive to live 40 miles from work, demand would shift, people would create more livable spaces closer to employment centers. Is this government dictating how/where we live? Of course not, and it's no more invasive than any of our current policies.
by tacoma1 on 6/28/2010 @ 3:43pm
|OK everyone, mark it on your calendars. I actually happen to agree with both fredo and Nick, weird..........|
and once again, NIN has a great idea on the nekkid commuting.
by NineInchNachos on 6/28/2010 @ 4:59pm
|damage to the environment is currently not being factored in at any serious level what I like to call the "Planet Earth Death Subsidy"
those bullshit 2 hour one-way I-5 commuters need to pay the true cost.
But how do you figure out how much a livable planet is worth?
by NineInchNachos on 6/28/2010 @ 8:42pm
|I would love to get your reaction Tacoma1....
Sound Transit takes legal action against Tacoma Rescue Mission
Sound Transit (ST) has filed a lawsuit against Tacoma Rescue Mission over a small piece of land ST needs to complete its Sounder commuter train line to Lakewood. According to ST spokesperson Kimberly Reason, after months of failed negotiations with the mission’s Executive Director David Curry, the public transportation agency has taken legal action to acquire the approximately 3,000-square-foot parcel. “It was our last-resort option,” she said.
by Mofo from the Hood on 6/28/2010 @ 8:51pm
|People aren't commuting to and from work. They're travelling to and from Walmart.
Why do I think that? It's the economy.
The other morning I was riding the bus to work (selling used cars in South Tacoma) and a couple of "bus people" guys got on the bus and one told this story: He's a golf caddy. One day he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with diabetes which he claimed made him ineligible to renew his caddy license. As a result, he lost his home, rental properties, vehicles, and his marriage. So that morning he was heading to the Tacoma Mall and he was going to hang out there for seven hours.
Conclusion: We're living in uncertain economic times. We need more and better highways AND public transit to commute to and from shopping centers.
by NineInchNachos on 6/28/2010 @ 9:36pm
|i'd like to trade in my tracer for a small pickup truck or vw bus type vehicle. Can you hook me up mofo?|
by Non Sequitur on 6/28/2010 @ 10:44pm
|Toll I-5. $1 per mile to leave Seattle, $2 per mile to head to Seattle.|
Toll I-90. $2 to Seattle, $5 to Bellevue.
Use the money to fund transit.
by Mofo from the Hood on 6/28/2010 @ 11:09pm
|I'm currently working two blocks from the Sounder stop at South 56 ST. and in my travels to and from work I've noticed that the progression of new train track and new concrete for car crossings has really developed rapidly in the past year.
Whichever way anybody gets to 58th & South Tacoma Way (Sabeti Motors, ask for Mofo), I would gladly help all my fellow bloggers on FeedTacoma sell their vehicle or buy a new car, motorcycle or scooter.
Speaking of new roadway, South Tacoma Way south from Pine ST. to Highway 512 has been resurfaced with asphalt and it is one of the smoothest drives in Tacoma. Also north of Pine ST. on So. Tac. Way, check out the engineering and construction marvel in progress a.k.a. the Nalley Valley Viaduct.
Is all this new roadwork and the new headquarters for Griot's Garage off 38th and So. Tac. Way coincidentally related to the construction of the LeMay car museum? I tend to think that all the commotion is hard evidence of the significance of cars and trucks to develop and sustain our level of civilization.
God bless the Amish and other assorted cultural reactionaries (bicyclists and streetcar groups), but freestyle happy motoring in cars and trucks is the dominant way of everyday travel in the U.S.A.. Look at a coast to coast roadmap.
by KevinFreitas on 7/20/2010 @ 12:10pm
|City Council to hear update on ST's D-M St. Sounder work.|
Listen live now: bit.ly/C5Ij2
by KevinFreitas on 7/20/2010 @ 12:25pm
|Notes set #1:|
by KevinFreitas on 7/20/2010 @ 12:35pm
by Erik on 7/20/2010 @ 12:44pm
|Great live blogging Kevin.|
Painful to read.
The construction impacts look to be very significant and unlike the LID, the area is going to be worse off when it is completed.
by KevinFreitas on 7/20/2010 @ 12:49pm
by KevinFreitas on 7/20/2010 @ 12:54pm
|"The construction impacts look to be very significant and unlike the LID,
the area is going to be worse off when it is completed."
Indeed. Nice to hear our Mayor and council continue to fight for using savings in the impacted community and encourage unprecedented coordination to help mitigate traffic concerns during construction for locals and visitors alike.
Let's face it, Tacoma is already tough enough for visitors to figure out, get around. Let's make this a way to show them we know how to make it better even during heavy construction.
by NineInchNachos on 7/20/2010 @ 1:03pm
|nice work kevin|
by Jesse on 7/20/2010 @ 6:01pm
|Also note the new fence around most of the Foremost Dairy site. Just sayin'.|
by NineInchNachos on 7/20/2010 @ 7:18pm
|what's happening with the dairy?|
by KevinFreitas on 10/22/2010 @ 6:59am
|The parking lot where the berm and track will start to rise up is closing today:|
This is the lot just behind Community Health and just to the side of the 705 overpass. From here the track will go over (and also close to vehicle traffic) "A" Street and through that empty lot behind the Elephant Carwash then over a sunk-down Pacific Ave and on up the hill via South Tacoma Way.
by ixia on 10/22/2010 @ 11:53am
|The Foremost in being turned into office space. I hear they have a tenant already.
Sweet!! Let’s send our love to the Dome District. To me this is the most obvious and convenient neighborhood to fill up with housing of all kind.
Although I have another home on the web I thought it might be nice to lead by example a bit and put this blog system up to the test myself.
So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.
Hey Clear Channel, Clean Up Your Crap!