Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Important "B" Street Ravine

By 2040, an expected 100,000 new people are expected to end up in Tacoma. This growth will present an enormous challenge for our city. How should we grow? Where should we grow? How will people get around? How will this growth affect the environment? How can we shape this growth in a manner which both improves our environment, our economy and our quality of life? Through transit oriented development.

We have an opportunity to achieve this type of growth in the Dome District of Tacoma, a relatively undeveloped neighborhood that already serves as a regional transit hub serviced by Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, Greyhound, Amtrak and the Link Light Rail service to downtown Tacoma. With incredible transit access, parks all around, the Thea Foss, easy access to Downtown and the Dome; the Dome District is poised to become “the place to live” in Tacoma and transform itself into a real transit-oriented community.

But we need your help for our city to realize its potential. Sound Transit is extending commuter rail service from the Dome Station to South Tacoma and Lakewood and is planning on building an enormous earthen berm right through the heart of our neighborhood. They are even planning on filling in and berming the B St. Ravine, identified in our City’s Open Space Habitat and Recreation Plan as a Habitat Corridor! In addition, the Dome District Development Strategy (which, like the Comprehensive Plan, has been adopted by the City Council) identifies the B St. Ravine as a green space and potential location for important trail connections through our neighborhood.

Click the picture to enlarge, then Back to return

In January, our City Council passed Resolution No. 37726, that, among other things, stated, “The post and beam construction may not be uniformly appropriate, but should be used where it makes sense with City of Tacoma and Sound Transit staff working together.” Building a berm through a Habitat Corridor does not make sense, neither for our neighborhood, or the future of our region. Destroying this important green space will make it nearly impossible for the Dome District to realize its potential; hurting both our city and our region. We need your help; please ask the City Council to demand Sound Transit use post and beam construction across the B Street Ravine, it makes sense to save this ravine for the future of Tacoma.

The red circle indicates the location of the B Street Ravine. Please note the close proximity to the Thea Foss Waterway, which will have parks on the South end in the near future. Just across the tracks is a large Public Works parking lot, which someday it could be restored and become valuable park land with connections running through the B Street Ravine. It’s important to protect and save this area and the small habitat corridor. Someday it will be needed to connect, the Tacoma Dome, the LeMay Museum and the community to the Thea Foss Waterway and downtown Tacoma.

For more information please contact us at and also visit to join our online group, “Transforming the Dome District”

1 comment:

  1. Lobbying the Tacoma Council is certainly a good strategy on this well stated argument - and perhaps top of the list.

    There are others as well - contacting the agency directly is certainly one - there is nothing set in stone about going over the head of your local government. Tacoma should be your strongest advocate - at least in insuring that the alternative the Dome District put together with Jim Merritt is evaluated.

    ST Board Member Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Head, should be tops on your list. The three County Execs are first among equals on that Board having the only guaranteed seats, the others, appointees could, theoretically, be removed at any time.

    Most disturbing are the professional practices at work here - completely ignoring the City's own environmental comp plan is a glaring one, as is financial stewardship.

    It is true that this has gotten divisive, but who is responsible for that - the citizenry or the professionals paid to do this work in our Community? Absent specific evidence to the contrary the presumption of responsibility goes to those being paid.

    Legal accountability is the last resort, but if Tacoma and ST continue to act with flagrant disregard for their own rules, prudent financial management, and their documented responsible citizens then it is time to start firing folks, for cause.

    Getting all up in a huff and having the big protest thing can work, but it can also just provide an excuse to rationalize the correction of unproffessional behavior.

    On a more general sense, that's what happens in economic downturns - theoretically. The irresponsible are found accountable and up going out of business - the way things are these days, at Tacoma and ST - it is the reverse which is true.