Morgan's Brain

Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:00am

Berm vs. Elevated Tracks - Tuesday at Noon!

Sound Transit thought a giant mound of dirt with tracks on top right through Tacoma's downtown would be fine. Others thought better. Now it's time to decide.

From my "in" box:


The Tacoma City Council will be discussing a Sound Transit Resolution at Tuesday's Study Session.  The Resolution is relates to receiving and forwarding the Project Advisory Committee recommendations to Sound Transit regarding the following three issues:
Pacific Avenue Bridge Profile.
South 'C' Street.
Construction Methodology used to Elevate the Tracks.
Tacoma Municipal Building North, Room 16
733 Market Street
Chris E. Larson
Engineering Division
Phone:  253-591-5538
Fax:      253-593-7745

comments [11]  |  posted under tacoma


by NineInchNachos on 1/26/2009 @ 11:54pm
hey will you be public commenting?

by Erik on 1/27/2009 @ 12:18am
And just what are the "Project Advisory Committee recommendations"?

by tacoma1 on 1/27/2009 @ 8:50am
I don't know all of the proposed plans, but the end result is going to have be a permanent structure. Strong and stable enough to support 50 mph plus heavy rail trains.

I personally wonder what all the controversy is about. This part of Tacoma is really on the edge of downtown. There isnít much commerce or residential space going on there. I don't see how the track will bisect much of anything. There is already a natural geographic barrier nearby with the hillside. Not only that, I-5 slices right through and divides Tacoma just a few blocks away.

by Nick on 1/27/2009 @ 9:27am

It's not so much an issue of what is affected right now, as it is what is affected in the future. Once tracks are laid, they tend to stick around for a very long time (one look around town will find you some good examples). Can we say this will be the edge of downtown 50 to 100 years from now?

As Tacoma grows, this area is going to to be a prime area for development with its close proximity to the downtown core. With a rail line plowing right through the middle of it, we would be creating some very serious problems down the road.

It would be particularly frustrating knowing that many of us had the foresight to avoid this at the time it was built (if things continue as planned).

by tacoma1 on 1/27/2009 @ 9:57am

OK, I agree that the train tracks (once built) will be here for at leat 50 - 100 years, probably much longer. But, I-5 is also not going away either, and is very close to the train route. This has always been an industrial area. I don't think it will ever be suitable for residential. If I were king for a day, charged with growing downtown Tacoma, I would fill in the empty lots on Pacific, Commerce, St Helens, Broadway, Tacoma Ave, etc. first, and continue building it up towards hilltop and stop at TG's and St Joe's. We have tons of empty lots suitable for residential, office space, retail and restuarants space in this area.

by morgan on 1/27/2009 @ 10:05am

There actually is quite a bit over there- although there has been much disinvestment. I would not say it's on the edge of downtown, it is firmly in downtown. Besides LeMay, there were other development plans that have been shelved due to the poor planning of this project.

A simple extension of the existing LINK streetcar line would have made much more sense. In an era when cities are removing heavy rail through the commercial core, Tacoma is putting one in. Go figure.

by tacoma1 on 1/27/2009 @ 10:20am
So is the question:
1) How to put in the tracks? i.e. berm v.s. tressel.
2) Where to put in the tracks?
3) Don't put in tracks at all?
4) All of the above.

I still don't understand what people are objecting to.

by morgan on 1/27/2009 @ 10:43am
This just in:

January 27, 2009

To: Tacoma City Council Members
From: PAC Members
CC: City Manager

RE: PAC Recommendation for the Sound Transit "C to C" Track Portion of the D to M Street Extension

The PAC members would like to thank all the Council Members for attending the walk-through on Friday, January 17th. We were encouraged by the Council and citizen turnout for this event. We commend the City Public Works Department for the effort to identify the route for the walk.

Like all of you, we are concerned about doing what is right for Tacoma now and into the next century. The past 25 years of development in Tacoma have been amazing. Our goal is to make the next 25 years even better. The best solution possible with the most flexibility for future opportunities around the track area of the "C to C" extension portion can be pivotal to that process.

The drawing handout we received from Sound Transit on Friday includes many of the principles outlined in the PAC memorandum to the Council dated January 12, 2009. This memorandum was also included in the handout on Friday. In principle we believe the design is headed "down the right track" as a compromise solution to the community's concerns.

However, the design as illustrated in the handout still needs modifications to maintain the goals and intent of the PAC's January 12th memorandum. These adjustments are important to the future and welfare of our City's development. We are confident that, with your vision and leadership, you will insist on these changes which are necessary for Sound Transit to be a responsible partner in our City's future.

Of primary concern is any deviation from a colonnade (post and beam) design for the "C to C" portion of the Sounder Train D to M Street extension. (starting at the east side of the B street gulch is supported) A colonnade design provides the best visual design alternative while at the same time yielding the most flexibility for future development options. We insist that no berms or retaining walls be included in the final design as called for in the PAC memorandum of January 12.

This is what is right for the future of Tacoma.

PAC members:

Darrel Bowman
Jim Merritt
Keith Stone
John Lewis
Jerry Lechner
Forrest German
Rollie Herman

by tacoma1 on 1/27/2009 @ 11:01am
Anyone know what the drawing looks like? Maybe a link or scan? I searched the ST site and didn't see anything.

by morgan on 1/27/2009 @ 2:36pm
tacoma1: Link to documents here.

RR: I'm in Seattle today will be unable to make the meeting. I might be wrong, but I don't think public comment is taken at council study sessions.

by tacoma1 on 1/27/2009 @ 3:22pm
Thanks for the link. I think I get it now. Train track berms can definitely be baren eyesores.

The elevated tracks in Spokane are cool, and having been there several times, don't detract, but seem to add to the city's character.