Monday, October 19, 2009

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.

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