Monday, October 19, 2009

Breaking News in Tacoma
Post and Beam Construction will save Millions

Letter sent this afternoon to members of the Tacoma City Council.


To all Honorable persons,

The Dome District and a lot of volunteer citizens have been working to help Sound Transit come up with a method for the best looking, cost efficient, least view blockage and gain the best future economics.

In doing this we have four of the best design engineering firms in Washington and the USA collaborating. Two of the firms primarily work on Railroad systems around the country.

Two main estimating firms are Tacoma's Concrete Technology and McDowell N. W. Piling.

We have used Sound Transits alignment, grade and Geo technical data.

Contrary to some opinions, we have an excellent team.

I am at this time relaying to you a cost figure for the Post and Beam design we have come up with. This estimated figure is a little high but I wanted to get you this before the 20th Council meeting. We will have a lower written estimate later this week.

The estimated figure including construction costs, material costs, dirt removal, profit and contingency is $21,120,000.00 million dollars.

This is about half the cost of the Pacific Avenue bridge only. We feel Post and beam could save Sound Transit $30,000,000.00 million dollars of our tax money to use elsewhere.

We want to thank you for your time reading this and we hope you will all pospone your vote on these agreements for two weeks until we get this sorted out.

Thank you,

Keith Stone
President Dome District Development Group


The City Council should not be voting on any Sound Transit Agreements until they have looked closely the new cost estimate. This project should not be costing so much money and Sound Transit's current design is not appropriate for Tacoma.

Sound Transit says the project will loose funding already in place, however the money saved by lowering the project costs will offset any lost grants or funding. Also, our elected officials will work hard to save any funding that might be lost due to project corrections.

The Post and Beam option being presented to the City Council is already designed and simple to build. Any project delays will be offset because it will be easier and quicker to build using the Post and Beam plan.

Reasons Why Post and Beam Construction is Better

Here are a few reasons why concerned citizens want Post and Beam Elevated Construction for the new Sounder rail line in Tacoma.

1. 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 current Sound Transit drawing, there is a 300 foot long wall that's 10' to 20' high, starting just West of the "B" Street Ravine and continuing to East "A" Street This creates a huge blind spot right in the middle of a promising mixed-use district.

2. Berms separate and divide communities from one another.

3. Loss of parking spaces, 107 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. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Downtown 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 stop this development at the intersection of East 25th Street. Earthen embankments are not part of a business and retail renaissance.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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 that it costs less for Post and Beam construction.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another TNT Front Page Story about Citizens
Requesting Post and Beam Design

TNT article about the Tacoma City Council meeting held Tuesday evening October 6th. The meeting was very well attended with approximately 27 people speaking to the council during the public comments section of the meeting. All but three were in favor of Post and Beam for the design of the new Sound Transit rail line in the Dome District.

Here's the link to the article, leave comments at the end.

The pole featured on The News Tribune shows votes of more than 80% in favor of Post and Beam construction.

Supporters of Post and Beam met this morning to discuss our next steps. We're working on a plan to save millions of dollars and get the train to Lakewood faster than Sound Transits current plans. If you're a known supporter and want to help send an email to for more information, please include your telephone number. Also, you can attend next weeks City Council meeting hear about our plans.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Important City Council Meeting
Attend the Meeting Tonight

Tonight, Tuesday evening, October 6th, there's a very important Tacoma City Council meeting. It's the final reading of Ordinance No. 27833. Authorizing the execution of a Right of Use Agreement with Sound Transit regarding the area located from East D Street to South M Street.

Next week, the council will be voting to accept or reject the ordinance, and there's still time for the city council amendments to the agreement protecting our future.

There are several very questionable points in the agreement, that give Sound Transit rights to do what they want, not what Tacoma wants. You can hear the agreement read at tonight's city council meeting. Sorry that we don't have a copy to post.

Here’s a link to the Full Agenda Packet for tonight’s meeting:
Search for the PDF for Ordinance 27833.

Also, at tonight's meeting citizens can speak regarding the ordinance.

The ordinance relates to a major city wide issue that's supported by a large number of people, but not by the City Council. Citizens need to ask and encourage the City Council to do what is best for Tacoma, citizens and business owners, not what’s best for Sound Transit. Whether you're against the berm and the Sound Transit project or for it, it's critical that you attend tonight's meeting. Come to the meeting tonight and sign up to speak. Let the City Council know where you stand and your opinions, they need to hear from citizens.

The meeting starts at 5:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, location is 747 Market Street in downtown Tacoma.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sound Transit and Tacoma Tracks
In the news again!

The News Tribune, Sunday Edition features a good article concerning the Sound Transit project with information about the berm and Post and Beam.

It's available online and you can leave comments:

There's an important informational forum this Monday, featuring the berm verses post and beam. The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Dome District, will be presenting a computer generated graphics presentation showing both design plans and how they will likely look.

You'll be able to ask questions and look at any spot along the train track alignment in both versions. This is an important show and tell, and a chance to encourage the city to listen to citizens and business owners.

The Forum will be Monday, October 5th, 5:00 p.m. at the Best Western Tacoma Dome Hotel. The address is: 2611 East E Street, Tacoma. Street parking is abundant. Please arrive early for the presentation and bring along friends.

Also, on Tuesday evening, October 6th, there's an important Tacoma City Council meeting. It's the final reading of Ordinance No. 27833. Authorizing the execution of a Right of Use Agreement with Sound Transit regarding the area located from East D Street to South M Street. The meeting starts at 5:00 p.m. location is 747 Market Street.