Morgan's Brain

Jun. 25, 2009 at 1:00am

Local Sound Transit Watchdog Group Makes Evening News

The fine folks over at Do It Right Tacoma (DIRT) made the news last night! They've been in a fight of sorts with Sound Transit for better design consideration in the commuter train extension to Lakewood. Here's the link:

As a streetcar advocate, I've been following the development of Sound Transit's commuter train through the Dome District. Some time ago, I wondered if it was too late to re-think the project using a LINK extension instead of a train. A streetcar that could run all day instead of a limited trip train was a no-brainer, I figured (I was naive). I sent a letter to the city councils of Tacoma, Lakewood, and even UP and never heard anything back.

I can't help but think: Is it too late to re-think this?

comments [37]  |  posted under tacoma


by tacoma1 on 6/25/2009 @ 6:56am
I have just a few things to say.

Yes it is too late.

This is diversionary, non-productive bullcrap that will get in the way of promoting public transit. Every transit opponent will jump on the band wagon and beat the down with transit drumbeat with abandon. Future transit measures will be defeated (including streetcars).

If DIRT somehow acheived their goal of stopping a mass transit project in Pierce County, Pierce County would lose the local and federal funds that have been allocated for that project. Key words to remember is that Pierce County would lose.

For all I know, DIRT is against mass transit, simply claims to be against Sounder, and will attack any transit project that comes up.

To get streetcars in Tacoma, which I definitely want, we need to work on getting streetcars in Tacoma, period. If we ever want to get federal funds for streetcars (like Portland did recently) we need to get a viable streetcar plan in place and be united as a community (citizens and local govt) for transit as a whole, not just our own pet version of transit.

The current federal administration is in favor of transit and streetcars. When we go to them with a viable transit plan, and a track record of transit support, we should have a good chance of getting funds. If we go to the feds with a track record as obstructionists, and NIMBY's, we will likely get nothing at all. Certainly our Governer won't step up for Tacoma if she thinks it would be risky. Seattle always supports all transit, and they always get more transit. Think about it.

by ixia on 6/25/2009 @ 7:44am
RE:"For all I know, DIRT is against mass transit, simply claims to be against Sounder, and will attack any transit project that comes up"
You have not read what do it right is about. They absolutly suport public transit, for they use it every day. Get your facts straight and talk to the people before you spread ignorant nonsense.

by NineInchNachos on 6/25/2009 @ 8:08am
Keith Stone is my hero!


Get on the Clue Train! :)

by tacoma1 on 6/25/2009 @ 9:11am
So everyone that voted for ST 1 and ST 2, which includes sounder service to South Tacoma and Lakewood should get their votes taken away?

That would be ignorant nonsense. That would also bring on one or two lawsuits. BTW, speaking of ignorant, try using spell check. Yes I have read what DIRT claims to be about. I believe that they (you) are either well intentioned but mistaken, or dis-ingenuous in intention. No way for you to prove it either way. The fact at hand is that you are campaigning against a transit project. In my opinion, your doing the car lobbyist's work for them.

Organizations and coalitions that support cars and roads are united in a common purpose, which is to promote roads, more roads and more roads. They never meet a road that is a bad idea.

Transit supporters, can sometimes end up pissing in 10 different directions and debating which transit system is best, while they end up with nothing. You can't support transit if you only support the transit that you intend to use. You have to support all transit.

by ixia on 6/25/2009 @ 9:27am
Your statement is so full of conspiratorial assumptions that indeed leave no way to prove anything, on my part or on yours. Other than you being a master of spell check. Congratulations!

by boearc on 6/25/2009 @ 9:28am
Ah - but the orignial ST vote specifically said that the Sounder Extension was going to use 'existing' rail lines through the Dome District. I know that is what I voted for. But that is not what the ST is doing. It is creating a new line - and in the process is going to require the City of Tacoma to depress Pacific Avenue two storys below the existing grade as well as creating an earthen wall which at places will be over 40 feet high (and thus dividing the Dome District visually and physically in half). There is no single urban rail line that I have ever seen, heard of, or stumbled upon in my research that has anything remotely close to the design currently proposed by ST. If there is one - it would be great to see the implications in reality. All of the cities claimed by ST politicos as being nice rail related examples - San Antonio, Seattle, Melbourne - have solutions that are either on-grade, a story above, or a story below as they come through the urban environment.

by tacoma1 on 6/25/2009 @ 9:49am
While we argue and fight about the best transit system for us. And we piss and moan about why every one is picking on Tacoma, and why we just can't have exactly what we want, when we want it, where we want it..............Seattle and Portland will be at the federal transit trough whispering in Ray Lahood's ear, and getting all transit support they can get. Meanwhile, Tacoma will be mired with infighting and pettiness, and get nothing.

by NineInchNachos on 6/25/2009 @ 9:56am
yikes. wonder if Roxanne Murphy would ever accuse people of being agents of the car lobby and chide people for sloppy spelling.

come on Marty! you're spazzin' over a connection to friggin LAKEWOOD!

by tacoma1 on 6/25/2009 @ 10:04am
I don't know who Roxanne Murphy is or who Marty is. I never said that you are agents of the car lobby, just said that you are doing their dirty work for them, unwittingly. Your efforts are counter productive, and won't help get more transit in Tacoma.

If you want more transit in Pierce County, we need to build a coalition of transit supporters in the South Sound, not be obstructionist NIMBY's.

by Dmitri on 6/25/2009 @ 11:06am
Well, I'm eager to figure out what I think about this issue, but I do know this:

A spell checker can't save you from using the wrong word ("your ... you're"). You probably should get your grammar right before you start jumping on people's spelling. It's just embarrassing, don't you no?

by tacoma1 on 6/25/2009 @ 11:14am
My humblest apologies for pointing out Ixia's inabilty to spell after being accused of ignorance on the issues.

Does anyone want to discuss the subject of transit here?

by ixia on 6/25/2009 @ 11:16am
Nice photo of Lakewold, Tacoma Number One. I do wish the streetcars would still go there…

by tacoma1 on 6/25/2009 @ 11:30am
Nice eye on the photo. Lakewold is nice this time of year.

Street cars can still go there. It's not an either or issue. Most people that voted for rail will vote for street cars. I just don't beleive that you can't take away the voters will who already voted for Sounder to get to Lakewood. I don't believe that if you take away heavy rail, that you will get streetcars.

It's not just getting Sounder to Lakewood, it also allows for more round trips. Once Sounder goes to Lakewood, then maybe eventually Dupont, which would be near where the business parks are planned. Then maybe we get more tax dollars into Pierce County, and commuters coming from Seattle to Pierce County to work and spend King County dollars in Pierce County.

by morgan on 6/25/2009 @ 11:33am
Wow- a feisty group today! My point is that while other cities are removing rail lines through their downtown core, Tacoma is building one. It is short sighted at best to throw the future of our downtown away just in order to get a seat at some "trough." I voted for ST2, but I did not vote for ruining the urban fabric of Tacoma - which is what this rail line is doing. If given the option today between a new rail line or a LINK extension to Lakewood, I would choose the latter. And I hope the citizens of Lakewood would too!

In sum: the goal is to build a better city, not simply to build more transit.

How about a new vote?

by NSHDscott on 6/25/2009 @ 11:47am
I'm not crazy about this train running through the south end of our city, but I'd be okay with it if they did it right (no pun intended).

I think it could actually be pretty cool if it was 1) elevated, and 2) on some sort of visually interesting, historically suggestive trellis-looking construct. Criss-crossing metal girders and all that. That would kind of celebrate Tacoma's railroad history.

Lowering Pacific Ave and putting the tracks on a dirt hump is really just kind of lame and does damage both the neighborhood's visual appeal and its development potential. I'm sure that's the cheapest possible way, but I'm tired of Tacoma getting all cheaped-on while Seattle and friends gets streetcars and bored tunnels.

by tacoma1 on 6/25/2009 @ 12:06pm
How about a new vote?
Really? In this economy? Most likely it won't pass.

btw, slightly off topic here regarding our crappy streets and bountiful potholes. Look at them like they are just mother natures speedbumps. If we all just slow down, the potholes won't hurt so bad, and every dollar not spent on fixing a pothole can go towards streetcars.

by NineInchNachos on 6/25/2009 @ 12:53pm
Marty Campbell for Tacoma City Council: "He'll stand up for Lakewood!"

wait what?

by lynndin on 6/25/2009 @ 3:10pm
Tacoma community members who are simply against berming the rail are NOT against the rail going through the neighborhood. Period. Simply put, who needs these miles and miles of dirt berms further dissecting our town and eliminating the limited green areas we have? I want to see a post and beam approach so we can see through it, maintain the existing natural habitats and leave some open land that can be developed to further enhance the Dome District, a neighborhood in our town.

by NSHDscott on 6/25/2009 @ 3:33pm
Exactly, lynndin. I think "post and beam" is probably the correct term for what I was referring to with my "criss-crossing metal girders" blather. I think the plan is okay, not great but okay, except for those stupid berms.

by NineInchNachos on 6/25/2009 @ 3:58pm
Post and Beam me up!

by Marty on 6/25/2009 @ 8:52pm

There is some confusion. I am not "Tacoma1".

I have been called out in public meetings about their comments before and have to explain it is not me.

I support Do It Right Tacoma and their work for a better Dome dist, better downtown and a better Tacoma.This project has very little good for Tacoma, and a lot of BAD.

We need mass transit options in Tacoma, but this doesn't even help Tacoma. It messes up thing all the way along the So Tac Way Corridor.

Just another example of Greg Nickels screwing with Tacoma!!

by NineInchNachos on 6/25/2009 @ 9:08pm
gadzooks! sorry for the mix up.

by lynndin on 6/25/2009 @ 10:09pm
Marty, thanks for taking a stand. That shows backbone: I support you because you support a better future for Tacoma.

by morgan on 6/26/2009 @ 6:19am
Awesome Marty! I think you might be the first candidate in the Official 2009 Tacoma City Council Election to comment on FeedTacoma. Very cool - thanks for voicing up.

Now, will the REAL tacoma1 please stand up?! Or are you really in LAKEWOOD and NOT Tacoma?

by jenyum on 6/26/2009 @ 8:16am
The whole Tacoma1 thing is confusing. Had the same issue during the school bond debate.

Tacoma1: Chopping up a city with transit barriers the way the Sound Transit crossing would is very bad for a city. Doesn't mean we don't support transit. Splitting up downtown for the sake of rail is just as bad as splitting it up for the sake of a freeway overpass. Also, stop accusing people of being transit hating shills, it makes you look kinda silly.

by fredo on 6/26/2009 @ 8:37am
I'm rarely in tacoma1's corner, but here I'll make an exception. I like to read peoples opinions in an entirely unvarnished form. If you have an it!

by Nick on 6/26/2009 @ 9:03am
I think tacoma1 has some good points, once you weed through all the ... "feisty-ness" ...

We do need to make sure that any dissent is properly expressed. If we're going to fight ST on this, we need to make it clear that we're not fighting transit. We need to emphasize we don't just want transit, we want well-executed transit.

Since moving here, it has become clear that many of Tacoma's problems have been related to a "beggars can't be choosers" mentality. This is an opportunity to break that trend.

I understand population plays a big role in how transit laid out, but that doesn't mean every mile of track must be laid in a way that caters to Seattle. Tacoma's an employment center too, not just a suburb, and it deserves more consideration and planning than a freakin' gouge through our downtown.

by tacoma1 on 6/26/2009 @ 10:26am
First off, I have to admit after reading what I wrote, I can be a major ass. I apologize to DIRT, they obviously want a better Tacoma, as do I. I commend their efforts.

I live in Tacoma, I walk to link, then take the Sounder up north to that evil city yonder. I like taking the train, I like walking to link. I want more Sounder service (which won't happen until the D-M extension is completed), I would vote for any expansion of T-link or a new Tacoma streetcar system.

by ixia on 6/26/2009 @ 10:39am
Well said Nick! I too believe Tacoma has the right to move into the 21st century. Cutting one of our most potentially viable neighborhoods in half is another stupid shot on our own foot. Telling us to just shut up and take it is an outdated patriarchal method I do not accept.

by NSHDscott on 6/26/2009 @ 3:29pm
I'm liking this conversation. The problem is that a chatroom conversation and a new blog aren't going to do a thing. As if the Seattle-led Sound Transit could give a damn about all that. So the question becomes, what WILL influence them? I don't have that answer. I'd like to say our elected leaders, but they seem pretty weak in the regional politisphere.

by ixia on 6/26/2009 @ 4:04pm
I am mostly happy with the city council, too. Trouble is, there are only 4 voting residents in the Dome District. Not much incentive for elected officials. Do It Right Tacoma will be at the 6th Ave Farmers Market next Tuesday. You can sign the petition there.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/27/2009 @ 10:29am
"I'm tired of Tacoma getting all cheaped-on while Seattle and friends gets streetcars and bored tunnels."

Don't forget Tacoma/Pierce County provides 17% of ST revenue. We also receive only 9% of ST spending.
Supposedly, they spend what they collect in the area on that area only. So where's our missing 8% of the spending?

Also, I am in favor of the train. I am NOT in favor of a design atrocity like a 40' tall berm slicing the dome area in half... What inbred designer came up with that? Just keep the damn thing at street level and either depress/raise Pac Ave or depress/raise the train line.

by fredo on 6/27/2009 @ 11:09am
Thorax@ good posting. Would anyone be surprised if, after all the ST buildouts are finished in the Seattle area, the funding dries up for Pierce County?

Regarding the berm/regrade/post and beam discussion: the public is going to need to be more involved in this discussion. There seems to be a fair amount of knowledge about the issue among feedtacoma posters but I don't think the average Tacoman has much awareness.

by NSHDscott on 6/27/2009 @ 9:17pm
I was not aware that the Pierce County sub-equity area, or whatever it's called in Sound Transit-speak, provides 17% of dollars and gets 9% back. Could you provide any citations?

If that's true, it seems downright illegal, and although I hate today's sue-happy world, this would be worthy of a lawsuit.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/29/2009 @ 10:41am
@ NSHDscott...

I found that info on ST's website during the last election. That page has since been removed and now gives you a 404.

by Earthdaughter on 7/9/2009 @ 9:26pm
Check update at

Were you at the City Council committee meeting on Wednesday? There were 8 or 9 of us there to speak against the berm. The council members listened politely and the meeting was over. What if we'd had 20 or 30 people show up?

by L.S.Erhardt on 7/9/2009 @ 11:55pm
Some of us had to work yesterday.

You try to put in 12 hrs and then rush immediately to a meeting in City Hall.