Thursday, August 27, 2009


1) Talk to your neighbors and friends about the Sound Transit
plans and the issues related to the berm vs. Post & Beam.

2) If you’re a member of a group talk to them about this issue at
your next meeting, and try to get the group to support our cause.
We’ve actively collecting letters of support from groups.

3) Sign the Online Petition supporting the Anti-Berm and have
friends sign:
Besides the online version we’ve collected over 400 signatures.

4) Send letters or email to the TNT Editors, Tacoma City Council, and Chamber of Commerce, let them know how you feel about the project and other issures affecting you.

5) Take a self guided tour to East 25th and Portland Avenue, and see first hand what current rail line berms look like in Tacoma. Another area is under the I-705 where main berm is planned.

6) Attend the City Council meeting on the first Tuesday of each month. You can sign up and talk about issues relating to and affecting you. The next meeting is September 1st

8) Join us on Facebook and invite your Facebook Friends:

7) Keep current by reading our Do It Right Tacoma.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sound Transit Plans - The Wall Under 705

Here's what Sound Transit is currently planning to do under the 705 bridge in the Dome District of Tacoma. Click each picture to see in a larger size, click back button to return to article. The last drawing is what it might look like if Post and Beam elevated construction and design is used.

Picture showing the area under 705.

Drawing of the 375' retaining wall Sound Transit is planning to build.
Wall is to keep the berm dirt off of the 705 Freeway bridge structure. Notice how the berm/wall blocks the view from 25th, to the right, to the track-to-the-mountain and up the ravine. The wall exacerbates the berm problems, by creating a hiding place and wall for grafitti.

Sound Transit drawing on their plans.

Drawing showing Post and Beam construction design. Notice how the view from 25th, to the right under the tracks, is maintained. as well as the access to the two stairways leading to 26th and the Community Health Bldg. This area will never be built on, so we as a community need to be able keep an eye on it.


Learn more about this important project on Wednesday, August 26th. We're having an informational meeting located 402 East 26th Street, at 5:00 p.m. This an important meeting to attend because we want a large gathering to show public support and that concerned citizens care about what's being build in Tacoma. I hope that you will attend this meeting. The meeting will be short and you'll still have time to either other events on the same evening.

Did you see this weeks Tacoma Weekly? Look at the back page of the first section, for our adv. Also The News Tribune had several articles that last week, and they are worth reading.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pictures of Tacoma Rail Line Berms

Here's a look at some rail line berms, currently in Tacoma. These pictures were taken last week and feature tracks that Sound Transit uses for the Sounder. The berms are located near Portland Avenue at East 25th Street.

What do you think? Do you want more berms like these in Tacoma? Is this what our city should look like? Berms are not good in an Urban environment, and they almost always look bad no matter what city they're in.

These berms featured in the pictures are property that is maintained by Tacoma Rail. Neither Sound Transit nor City of Tacoma General Gov't have maintenance responsibility for them.

Click on the picture to see a larger image, then click your browser back button to return to article.

In addition to looking bad, berms divide communities. You cannot see through them and this can create safety issues for the Police and Fire Departments. There are lots of reasons why they are bad for Tacoma, especially in a business district like the Dome District.

Join us at 5:00 on Wednesday, August 26th, at 402 East 26th Street, Tacoma, 98421 for an important information meeting and tour of the area. Let's show the news media, our City Council and Sound Transit that we want our new rail line done correctly and in a way that is best for Tacoma.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Twenty Reasons Post and Beam
Is a Better Solution for Tacoma Tracks

Reasons Why Post and Beam is a Better Solution for the Sounder rail tracks in Tacoma and through the Dome District.


1. Berm width makes any available lots too small to build on and since the tracks are not self-supporting no developer will build near the tracks with the chance of subsidence.

2. The berms take too much land off the tax rolls, and it's land that someday could produce tax revenue for the city if it were developed.

3. 87 parking spaces will be lost if the track is bermed. Will have to build additional parking to replace the spaces lost, and the lots could easily end up on land better used for housing or business sites.

4. The cost of the Post and Beam is very similar to the berm and there are more unforeseen costs (unknown utilities, unknown soil conditions...) in berming. Current estimate is ½ to 1 million more for Post and Beam construction.


5. The Dome District should be the Transit Oriented District for Tacoma. It is poised for density, helping to relieve the pressure on Tacoma's older single-family Neighborhoods. Post and Beam would allow development to occur along the tracks, in a sense encapsulating them with buildings of offices, entertainment, parking and housing.

6. Berms separate and divide communities from one another.

7. Berms are for rural areas, not urban areas. For successful pedestrian use of street level businesses, retail and entertainment, it must be continuous. Even a half block break can stop the success of street level retail, as they have found on Pacific Ave. at the huge parking garages.

8. A large berm in the middle of the Dome District will create a potential danger zone by reducing visibility through the area. The berm will create a large blind spot and make it difficult to see up the 705 corridor and green belt. As of the Sound Transit’s currently available drawings, there is now a 300 foot long wall, starting in the ravine, at 20' high to 10' high west at East "A" Street creating the worst CPTED conditions right in the middle of a promising mixed-use district.

9. The downtown renaissance is happening and it will continue south on Pacific Ave. and now that the Dome District is part of the Downtown, that development should turn and continue to the transit hub in the District. Berming would stall this out at the intersection of East 25th St and Pacific. Earthen embankments are not conducive to business and retail renaissance.

10. The "B" Street ravine could someday be a trail way connecting the area to city parks, open spaces, and the Foss Waterway.


11. The "B" Street Ravine, is identified in Tacoma's Open Space Habitat and Recreation Plan as a Habitat Corridor. This Habitat Corridor will be lost in the Dome District, if filled (bermed).

12. Dirt Berms weigh a lot and could greatly affect the flow of ground water in the aquafilter causing unexpected flooding.

13. The "B" Street Ravine is part of a large urban watershed and water flows underground and downhill through it and eventually into Puget Sound.

14. The "B" Street Ravine has been identified as a Seismic (Earthquake) Hazard Area. It’s considered a Liquefaction area when seismic waves generated by a large earthquake pass through unconsolidated sediments near the ground surface. When a structure is built, the weight of the structure and its contents are transferred through the foundation into underlying soils.

15. Sound Transit has stated, the berm will be planted with grass. Look at any of Tacoma's existing berms and you'll see they are not maintained, they are overgrown and full of invasive plants. No one is identified to maintain these berms.

16. The "B" Street Ravine is important because it connects to the much larger open space to the South of the Dome District the Foss Waterway.

17. The Dome District Development Plan identifies the "B" Street Ravine as a green space. If the ravine is not bermed there will be a better chance of bridging East 25th Street in the future to complete the pathway to the Foss.

18. As cities grow and expand Green Belts and Open Space are disappearing. We need to protect the ones we still in order to keep our cities livable and have available for future needs.


19) Recent estimates show that the cost is less than 1 million, which is nothing considering the size of the project.

20) Time should not be a factor, because designing a Post and Beam elevated structure is will not take much time and it's a fairly simple structure.

Do It Right Tacoma, does not want to slow the project down and we don't want it to cost millions more, we just want it done correctly.


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 and the Dome District does not make sense for Tacoma. Post and Beam is a much better option.

Citizens of Tacoma are don't want to see a berm through the area, so let's get it done correctly and for the good of Tacoma and our future.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sound Transit and Tacoma Tracks

Interesting story about Tacoma, Sound Transit and earth berms.
It's from 2004, but relates somewhat to today's issues.

Sound Transit still stuck in a Tacoma sinkhole (2004)
By Jane Hadley
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter

A few paragraphs from the story:

The introduction of Sounder train service between Everett and Lakewood in Pierce County is many years behind schedule. At one point, Sound Transit had promised to have 15 round trips by the end of 2001. Currently, there are three round-trip trains running between Tacoma and Seattle and one round-trip train running between Everett and Seattle.

The delays result from loss of revenue associated with Initiative 695, endangered-species protections, property-acquisition difficulties and negotiations with Burlington Northern Santa Fe over use of its rails.

The troubled Tacoma track segment has been an ongoing headache and embarrassment for Sound Transit.

Link to the full story:

We want Sound Transit to do what is best for Tacoma. Good planning and design do not delay projects. Sound Transit needs to rethink and correct their plans through the Dome District and not build another earth berm like they are currently planning.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Claudia Riedener's letter to the Editor: Trib

TACOMA: Sound Transit’s plan is the wrong one
Published: 08/05/09 12:05 am
Sound Transit wants to run an earthen berm through the middle of the Dome District. It is 10 years behind schedule and now needs to move along with what it designed.
It seems to me that hurry is a bad reason to build something that is supposed to be in place for 50 to 100 years or more. The Dome District is our most viable neighborhood for future density. All major transportation hubs are right here, and it is within walking distance of many downtown attractions.
Cutting the district in half with a berm that will be a weedy mess surrounded by chain- link fence is unconscionable. No other neighborhood would allow that. We are losing commercially viable space and parking necessary for Dome events.
We are losing future development in the area because if will not be financially viable to build next to the berm and have to shore up massive amounts of soil. Earthquakes are another issue; we know what happens when we build on fill.
The movement of thousand of people during Dome and LeMay Museum events will cause safety issues with folks trying to cross the tracks. Tacoma’s own comprehensive plan calls for wildlife corridors in this area; Sound Transit’s current plan is in direct opposition to that.
Tacoma deserves a smart transportation solution that is fit for an urban area. Let’s demand smart, forward-looking planning with livability of our communities at heart. Let’s build post and beam.

Link to Claudia's letter in the TNT

Other Letters to the Editors:
Bliss Moore TNT 8/1/09

Lynn Di Nino TNT 7/29/09

Peter Callaghan's story in Trib

When it comes to Dome District, Sound Transit planners aren’t listening
Published: 08/04/09 12:05 am
Comments (46)
Recommend (15)

At one time, Sound Transit operated under a strict policy: Any neighborhood that hosted the transit agency’s rails and stations would be better off after construction than it was before.
That policy now seems to have been amended to read “except in Tacoma.” Down here, we are being directed by the bureaucrats and the politicians who allegedly supervise them to take what they offer us and like it.
Or else.
Or else what?
Or else they’ll take their rails and trains and go home to Seattle.
The latest issue is the method to get Sounder trains from the current end of the line at Freighthouse Square to South Tacoma and Lakewood. In order to climb a small grade between D and M streets, the engineers must gradually elevate the tracks. The grade is needed so the tracks can cross Pacific on a bridge rather than at street level – a change made for safety reasons.
Sound Transit staff wants to build a tall earthen berm and put the tracks on top. When that decision was made, such a method was considerably cheaper. But the businesses and neighbors in the Dome District – plus lots of others who see that area as a great mixed-use area some day – see the berm as the Not-So-Great Wall of Tacoma.
The berm will create a visual and psychological barrier between the upper part of the district by the Dome and the lower part that approaches the Foss Waterway.
Dome District advocates have suggested using post-and-beam construction instead. That would allow pedestrians to pass beneath and allow some space for parking. While earlier estimates said post-and-beam would be much more expensive, more-recent analysis suggests the costs are comparable.
Neither one is a fabulous solution. But the post-and-beam method would be less bad, and advocates for the neighborhood are telling anyone and everyone who will listen. They are also trying to tell a lot of folks who aren’t listening – the Sound Transit staff and the local elected officials who serve on the Sound Transit board.
Last week, at the urging of Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, who recently joined the Sound Transit board, a meeting was held with agency staff, politicians and neighborhood advocates. Plans were presented, opinions were shared, the path of the tracks was toured.
When it was over, Sound Transit said thanks for coming, but it isn’t changing its plans. The design was changed once, staff said, when the decision was made to go over the top of Pacific. The project is already over time and over budget.
None of that is the fault of the neighborhoods or the city of Tacoma.
Neighbors probably don’t expect the bureaucrats in Seattle to pay them much attention. They do, however, expect the local elected officials who represent them on the Sound Transit board to take on their case. That hasn’t happened either.
After last week’s meeting, Tacoma Councilwoman Julie Anderson told News Tribune editorial page editor Pat O’Callahan that residents shouldn’t get their hopes up.
“It’s unfortunate that people think we’re at a decision point, because a decision was made quite some time ago,” Anderson said.
Once again, Sound Transit has demonstrated the difference between being willing to listen and being willing to be persuaded. The agency is required to spend millions of dollars to distribute information and seek public opinion. But there is little evidence that opinions contrary to those held by staff and board members are considered.
Anyone who has ridden the Seattle LINK segments can see how much was spent to make those neighborhoods better. Seattle politicians also assured that millions more were spent on nontransit economic and social programs to buy off opposition in the Rainier Valley.
But when Tacoma residents ask for a design that won’t damage the Dome District, they’re told to take a hike.
Peter Callaghan: 253-597-8657

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tacoma Anti-Berm / What's New

Representatives from Sound Transit met with a large group of concerned citizens and presented their berm plans. In attendance were several Sound Transit Board Members, including Pat McCarthy, David Enslow, Julie Anderson, and Claudia Thomas, the City of Tacoma was represented by Mayor Bill Baarsma, City Manager Eric Anderson, Council Members Connie Ladenburg, and Mike Lonergan, there were also approximately 100 concerned citizens, several Neighborhood Council Chairs including Jesse Hart and Mike Lord, conservation groups, including Sierra Club and Cascade Land Conservancy, also Matt Perry of Representative Adam Smith office plus 10-20 Sound Transit staff. It was a very warm morning and they were not prepared for such a turnout of concerned citizens. To sum up the meeting, Sound Transit said they are not changing their plans, and after the walk-thru, a show of hands indicated citizens and groups were more convinced the ever that it should be open with a Post and Beam method of construction.

Sound Transit meeting July 27th

Walking the Dome District area with Sound Transit on July 27th

Our core group met twice last week to talk about strategy and next steps. We had one successful training session so decided to have another on August 6th. We are planning to meet at the Tacoma Green Drinks monthly meeting, because Cascade Land Conservancy is this month's sponsor, meeting at Meconi’s Pub and Eatery, 709 Pacific Avenue in Downtown Tacoma. If needed we'll move to an adjacent office for the meeting. About CLC

Sound Transit officials have long argued that post and beam is prohibitively expensive, and have cited a cost increase of anywhere from four to ten million dollars. But their engineering firm’s “Technical Memorandum,” released Monday, estimates that a concrete and steel hybrid post and beam is only $5 million, compared to the berm at $4.6M (or $6.5M vs. $5.5M after cost contingencies). We are having an independent highway/rail Engineer look at the "Tech Memo" to confirm the numbers and to evaluate their hybrid design, which we think is over built.

New page with 187 fans joined in the past week.

80 people have now signed and commented, if you have not signed it, please do so today.
You can post comments when you sign the petition.

The News Tribune and the Tacoma Weekly each featured a front page story about the Sound Transit berm in last weeks newspapers. Bliss Moore and Lynn DiNino sent letters to the Editors and got published (they both support the no berm side).

Augsust 4th TNT article:
We encourage you to email letters to Newspaper Editors and the City Council.

We're collecting support letters from all of the Community Councils of Tacoma, neighborhood groups, environmental organizations, and business groups. Please check with the groups you're affiliated with, and if they support us request that a letter be sent to us as well as the Tacoma City Council showing support.

There's more but this is getting too long so I'll stop here.
Please tell your friends about Do It Right Tacoma, stopping the berm is a cause worth fighting for.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Help Save the "B" Street Ravine

Here's a nice letter published by The News Tribune
by BLISS MOORE; Tacoma
Published: 08/01/09 12:05 am

TACOMA: Rail crossing must accommodate wildlife

Re: “Rail to Lakewood: Get on with it” (editorial, 7-29).

The 100-plus community members attending the Sound Transit community meeting in Tacoma Tuesday were unanimous that, at the very least, the B Street Ravine crossing should be on posts and beams and not on a berm.

That ravine is part of a wildlife corridor from the southern uplands north to the Foss Waterway. Though there are still two other barriers (Tacoma Rail tracks and 25th Street) in the ravine, berming for the new Sound Transit Sounder tracks would essentially seal off this ravine forever.

Berming would be contrary to re-establishing this wildlife corridor per the comprehensive plan for this area. The post-and-beam construction, with its small additional cost, would provide a better opportunity in the future to modify these other barriers, making an open corridor for wildlife and a trail for people from the McKinley Park area to the Foss Waterway.

The Dome District deserves a decent chance to become a vibrant business district around “The Transportation Hub” of Tacoma and the region, much like Spokane has now.

The Dome District group’s own independent engineering report indicates that constructing with posts and beams could be done more simply and inexpensively than Sound Transit estimates.

Tacoma should embrace preservation of vital urban open space to attract the new businesses and residents the city needs to become a model for sustainable urban growth and development.


Here's the online link, where you can leave comments:


We urge you and others to write to The News Tribune, here's the email address to write to:

The Tacoma Weekly has a Front Page page story written by John Larson in this weeks paper. Here's a link to the online article:

Please sign our Online Petition: