Thursday, June 25, 2009

On King 5 News!

KING 5 - News Story on June 24th

The Sound Transit spokesperson says "they haven't made a final decision yet."
"There's still plenty of time for people to check out the project." 

Other News:
Tacoma News Tribune / Word On The Street

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Welcome Message

Welcome to the Do It Right Tacoma.

A blog that's been created by concerned citizens wanting the City of Tacoma to demand Sound Transit to reevaluate, review, and present their plans to result in the best solution possible for our city.

Sound Transit is planning to build an earthen berm to support the tracks through the Dome District, and this construction method is NOT GOOD for the future growth of Tacoma. We're very concerned that the plans affect future economic development, damage critical environmental areas, and will greatly affect quality of life and recreation needs of the area.

We need as many citizens as possible to join us in asking our city government to look closely at how Sound Transit is going to affect our city. Please review the articles and material on this site. Also, please tell your friends and colleagues about this site and what's going on with the rail line. We'll be adding new information frequently, so check back soon.

City of Tacoma / Sound Transit Meeting

On June 25 (Thursday) from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m., the City hosted a bridge design workshop for the Pacific Ave section of track. This was the first of two meetings. At the second meeting, the project team plans to present conceptual renderings of the ideas that were presented during the first meeting.

The D-to-M street project will include a 1.4 mile section of rail corridor when new track is constructed connecting the Tacoma Dome Station to the existing rail right-of-way. The new rail line will cross a lowered Pacific Avenue on a railroad bridge, which will give traffic unimpeded access north and south of the rail line. The City Council previously approved a low profile bridge and the workshop was to only discuss options and architectural features to enhance the bridge design.

Please read the comments below 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pacific Avenue Bridge Graphic

Sound Transit's Proposed Pacific Avenue Bridge.
Their future vision, is it ours? Do we want this?

Downtown Tacoma is towards the bottom of the picture.

Please read the comments for this post for more information.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

General Discussion

From: Jori A
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 4:01:03 PM
Subject: building under post and beam

For a moment of lightness Building next to elevated tracks is easy in most older cities... Thought you might like to see what can be built under heavy rail, if there is the chance...
Jori A


From Rollie H
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 7:14 AM

Subject: RE: building under post and beam

While I totally agree part of the argument S-T is using is that the tracks will not be elevated enough for the area under them to be useful. Someone needs to produce a simple, easy to read map of the rail line and the elevation above the existing ground level. What we were hearing is that somewhere over 6’ was necessary for a parking area and I would think that would be the minimum possible usage for this area. If it can be shown that there is plenty of room to actually accomplish something under the tracks there would be a much stronger argument.

We have to address our topography, not what has happened in other areas.

Best regards,
Rollie H


From: Darrel B
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 9:45 AM
Subject: RE: building under post and beam

Not to be simplistic but if the proposed track is made of post and beam construction(with proper footings of course) doesn’t this construction allow for a variety of options for future construction UNDER the tracks (as shown in the pics below) REGARDLESS of actual constructed height or future depth? It seems the only thing (sure a permit, plans and other things) required would be a shovel. Is this correct?

Darrel B


From Rollie H
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 10:14 AM
Subject: RE: building under post and beam

Good question. With the following disclaimer I would like to try and answer.

Disclaimer: I am not an engineer, architect and have no training in the topic I am trying to answer!

Given that it is my gut feeling that if S-T were to use the post and beam method that they would not put in footings that were deep enough to allow for excavation around them. I also feel (again without the help of a formal background) that construction companies would be very hesitant to excavate near footings even if they were thought to be deep/large enough. The risk of messing up a rail line is too high and the cost to repair the rail line would be huge.

What I think I heard David B say at the meeting we had on the 7th floor of 747 Market several months ago was that it would (might) make sense to use the post and beam technique where there was sufficient height to do something with the property underneath the tracks but if there was only a few feet a berm might make more sense.

That was why yesterday we were discussing how to obtain a drawing that gives the distance between the tracks and the current ground level. David has asked S-T for this information which they have not provided. Perhaps this needs to be discussed at the meeting on the 25th.

Best regards,
Rollie H


From David B
Sent: Thu 6/18/2009 10:14 AM
Subject: RE: building under post and beam

Rollie – et al – just to be clear. I am not a fan of berms in a urban setting regardless of the height. Once the height is below 7 foot clear, I can see why having a post and beam may not be reasonable BUT then retaining walls should be parallel with the tracks to minimize the width of right-of-way required (or at worst a tapered wall) – and thus allow development to ‘back-up’ directly to the right-of-way as well. If someone want to develop a building below this retaining wall, then can do so at their own risk – but at least the adjoining property has potential for something other than a fenced in rubbish collector (though twould be nicely landscape I am sure).

David B


From: Jori A
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 11:50 AM
Subject: Densify the DD for the benefit of the whole City

Here is the drawing that Keith refers to.... please look at the 5 foot increments and see the amount of fill or open space/developable, taxable land we could have available. And David B is right where the elevation is so minimal that post and beam doesn't make sense, the tracks should still be self-supporting to enhance the chances for quicker development of these parcels.
Jori A


From: Douglas T
Sent: Thu 6/18/2009 2:20 PM
Subject: RE: Densify the DD for the benefit of the whole City

Rollie, et all-

Another important contributor to the discussion on this issue was Councilmember Lonergan (cc’d here) who noted that to the east of the gulch post and beam is probably not needed due the low height. That doesn’t sound like a deal breaker, but specific development potential on a lot by lot basis might well argue otherwise.

From what I hear the City is now telling people that you won’t be able to use **any** of the open area under the post and beam, which, if true, is patently false. I am assuming that Jori is confirming here that the area between the gulch and Pacific is all useable with a post and beam.

Rollie, there are certainly ways to look at this that make it look not to bad – it is not a total tragedy. In my mind the biggest issue is the complete lack of respect for the Tacoma Comp Plan in the ST proposal and the lack of fiduciary, financial, responsibility in taking this project through the early stages.

The neighborhood has put together a solid professional proposal for this area that is consistent with both the development and open space goals for this complicated area, one that may actual be lower in cost. ST’s response, in my mind, is professionally unacceptable – and, unfortunately, way too common.

Hopefully permit and environmental procedures will make this incompetence clear – however it may well require court action on this – and we’ll see if any one ponies up. FWIW, environmentalist and bicycle groups might well be able to this the most effectively and easily – though that strategy does have other risks which you should prepare for.

Douglas T

Presentation Boards

The following graphics provides visual information for you, community councils, community groups and environment groups. Click an image and it will open in a new window and much larger size. Click your browser back button to return to the blog.

Graphic 1 - Ravine

Graphic 2 - Berm vs post and beam where appropriate

Graphic 3 -property development

Graphic 4 - Pacific Avenue Crossing

Graphic 5 - How the Berm Blocks Views

Graphic 6 - Transit Oriented District

Intoduction to Campaign

Introduction to Presentation of Dome District Campaign

Hi I am Jori Adkins, my husband, Rick Semple and I own property and live in the Dome District as does the President of the Dome District Neighborhood Association, Keith Stone, and his wife, Crystal. We are very excited about the potential there for growth and envision an amazingly vibrant mix of residential, office and entertainment that becomes the “place to live” by people from all over Pierce County and beyond.

Tacoma will grow, and the Dome District is where a lot of that growth can happen. The Dome District is poised for density and the creation of a great neighborhood that has all the prerequisites of a Transit Oriented District.

The Tacoma Dome Station is a real hub with Pierce Transit, the Link, Express buses to SeaTac, UWSeattle and to downtown Seattle, also the Sounder, Greyhound bus and someday Amtrak will move up too. We have great parks on our north and south boundaries, The Foss waterway, Museums, the Dome, and all the downtown amenities reached by the Link. But we do want to make sure we grow in the right way, we want to be a true neighborhood, not just a transit hub with parking garages and bus and train thru-ways. That is why we got involved with the Stewardship Program and, because growing right effects more than just the Dome District, we were included as one of the 3 campaigns.

Whether it’s about how the Sounder crosses Pacific Ave and what it says about our downtown, or how taking on density in the Dome District can help take the pressure off of Tacoma’s older single-family neighborhoods, or bridging rather than berming can save a ravine that is part of our Comprehensive Plan’s Habitat Corridor, we would like to talk to you about helping to get the City and Sound Transit to see that we all want the changes to our neighborhoods to add to the success of the future of our City. Stop by our boards over there and talk to us about how we see helping the Dome District grow in the right way helps all of Tacoma.