Oct. 19, 2009 at 1:28pm

Sound Transit's Latest Renderings

Not so bad, or lipstick on a ber... err pig?

As requested by the city council two weeks ago, Sound Transit has presented renderings of what the berm design will look like once completed. What do you think? Good, bad, somewhere in between? Does this affect your position on the matter?


I'll start with my thoughts. To me it looks just awful, and reminds me of the outskirts of Bellevue or Everett. Even with those pretty little flowers and trees, and the nicely manicured lawn that is clearly intended to soften the otherwise hideous blow to our streetscape, I can see where this will go.

To me this design looks like a heavy rail line ramming through our city with little regard to what it destroys. Rather than a design that "tip-toes" around the urban fabric, designed to have as little impact as possible, we have a design that leaves a physical wake of dirt and gravel behind it from which we may never recover.

Also, it looks like someone forgot the chain-link fencing that will have to go alongside the tracks to protect pedestrians from themselves. I imagine regulations require such a fence to be 20 or 30 feed beyond the tracks/gravel, meaning even if that grass was somehow magically maintained, everything on the other side of that fence would become weeds and litter. Just look at our highway overpasses and existing rail berms to see what it will look like when that lipstick washes off...

comments [3]  |  posted under berm, city council, sound transit, tacoma


by NSHDscott on 10/19/2009 @ 2:25pm
I actually think these cartoons look pretty nice, but you're totally correct with your skepticism. Since neither Sound Transit nor the City of Tacoma has promised to spend the money to first build out the landscaping and irrigation and then to pay to maintain and water it, who's to say we'll have grass and trees? Is grass even eco-friendly given its water consumption? (No.)

The cartoons also don't show the inevitable fences, as you said. I'd also add that two criticisms of P&B design are that it will attract bums and graffiti. Well, the berm also has graffiti-attracting surfaces, and where would a bum rather hang out, on a grassy hill or on concrete under a roaring train?

by Ann on 10/19/2009 @ 4:55pm
I agree with NSHDscott's comments above. I'm glad to see the post and beam structure over B Street gulch -- not so crazy about the huge cement wall under 705 but it's preferable to an earthen berm and at least seems to save some of the parking spots. I think the problem spot is still the "gateway" bridge area.

by Nick on 10/19/2009 @ 6:06pm
Also, my question is this: why is the city dragging their feet, nitpicking over some parking spaces and possibly killing the jeopardized LeMay museum, while Sound Transit has seen virtually no resistance from our leadership?

I swear sometimes I think it's opposite day at 747 Market St...


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