Imagine HyBOErid: Link Alternative Route

Masterplan Trackless Rail Bus Mashup Backbone Thing
posted Apr 2, 2013
Tacoma, Tacomic, David Boe, Hybrid, Hyboerid, Link Light Rail, Sound Transit, Backbone
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Travel to parcels of undeveloped land, mirroring-but-not-attaching-to Link Light rail with trackless electric gravity buses because it is completely inconceivable to engineer a light rail system on an incline, no for real! The great unwashed peppering of populations in all parts of Tacoma except for the most dense areas deserve a leapfrogged gravity bus too--why do you hate poor people COMRADE HITLERRelax. Also there are no places on 6th avenue to build new buildings... Councilmember Boe is an architect so I think he knows a thing or too about building buildings.

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by NineInchNachos on 4/2/2013 @ 12:48am
annoying paywall TNT links


by tacoma_1 on 4/2/2013 @ 6:58am
It's laughable when people claim that the rows and rows of single story crap box buildings on 6th ave are all built out. 

Btw. Really like the acme cocktail napkin map with the upside down arrow.

by NineInchNachos on 4/2/2013 @ 7:21am
down with locksmiths and their micro stripmalls !

by cisserosmiley on 4/2/2013 @ 7:22am
Agreed, I just talked about this last night driving down 6th ave...little crappy buildings that should be re-made.

by Jesse on 4/2/2013 @ 7:36am
Remaking what is already made instead of making something on a vacant lot is insane.

by cisserosmiley on 4/2/2013 @ 7:40am
...unless the buildings are undersized for desirable density -and- vacant land has prohibitive conditions concerning development. Then I'd say remake the ave!!! 

by Jesse on 4/2/2013 @ 8:00am
But that's not true.  Downtown Tacoma probably has more vacant lots than any west coast city.  

IMO, lots of 4-6 story buildings don't "fit" on 6th Ave anyways.

The average north end price per square foot is $125 and the rest of the downtown area is $75. Even so, there's little room for much more of a disparity in cost within the boundaries of one city the size of Tacoma. If you were the mayor, would your goal be to bring the $75 price up or the $125 price up by adding streetcar nearby? (Hint: the $125 price probably can't go up much more considering it's market)

by NineInchNachos on 4/2/2013 @ 8:11am
yes and why would you want a train that rolls through empty lots where even homless people don't even camp?  wish upon a star!

by Jesse on 4/2/2013 @ 8:28am
There's been plenty of building in downtown over the last decade.  Streetcar would just add more projects faster.

Besides, I've seen lots of transit oriented development in worse areas than downtown Tacoma before be totally successful.  That's why cities around America are bringing streetcars back.  It works.  In fact, don't take my word for it.  Study it online.

by NineInchNachos on 4/2/2013 @ 8:31am
isn't the 6th ave argument, get lots of people using the existing line THEN expand to the areas that are hurting for development?   seems like people should be 1st priority when building out mass transit.   then comes the building developers?  

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/2/2013 @ 8:36am
Actually they do fit.  Like Proctor and MLK, 6th Ave is a Mixed Use Center with a 65 ft height limit and no parking requirements.  

This is where we have told the Puget Sound Regional Council growth is going to occur so we comply with the growth management act.  There's been a lot of public process to get this far - "it won't fit in" is a NIMBY argument and just isn't good enough anymore.

by cisserosmiley on 4/2/2013 @ 8:43am
I would like to see the energy & vigor WE have spent on DT redirected to development of the 6th ave corridor.  It's time to remake Tacoma!!!

by Jesse on 4/2/2013 @ 8:53am
"Actually they do fit.  Like Proctor and MLK, 6th Ave is a Mixed Use Center with a 65 ft height limit and no parking requirements" -- Chris

You're right.  I'd rather see them downtown though.

by NineInchNachos on 4/2/2013 @ 9:02am

by cisserosmiley on 4/2/2013 @ 9:58am
Now we're making progress!  The essential question is do you prefer DT with biz & industry and folks living up here -or- is it better to remake Uptown with mix used development & understand the old DT is a great slope for houses, condos, & parks with mountain and water views, marine access, freeway access, & walkability. 

by truetotacoma on 4/2/2013 @ 10:15am
Chris Karnes should run against Marty Cambell. He seems smarter and has more vision then the "Bearded Wonder". 

by Jesse on 4/2/2013 @ 10:33am
I'd rather see high density downtown.  It spins off restaurants, shopping, and commerce.  Downtown needs that.  Downtown defines Tacoma.  It's definition is one that doesn't currently attract and retain enough of these things.  Density will help that.  Streetcar almost always causes density.

by NineInchNachos on 4/2/2013 @ 10:38am
can't the current link be a backbone?

by cisserosmiley on 4/2/2013 @ 11:12am
DT used to define Tacoma, but I wonder if a new way might be good to explore here?  If someone wants urban life Seattle & Portland are extremely hard to beat. Tacoma will probably lose to them in that realm. If Tacoma had a new way to live, including a new transportation philosophy, people might come here for that!

by NineInchNachos on 4/2/2013 @ 11:13am
sell DT to UW  problem solved!

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/3/2013 @ 9:53am
I second cissero.  People move to places that offer something different.  East Pierce and South King are practically uninhabitable without a car and any further north becomes obnoxiously expensive, but service rich.  In Tacoma we could offer a really good example of sustainable and affordable urban living that just isn't accessible in much of the rest of Puget Sound.  By focusing on quality of life and quality of connections of people with employment we will draw more businesses and people here.

by cisserosmiley on 4/4/2013 @ 9:48am
WE should have an aerial tram from TDome to PT Defiance. Portland has one.

by Jesse on 4/4/2013 @ 12:51pm
Lol.  Ironic you show this picture.  See those buildings down there?  The big ones?  That land was a Willamette Industries field for lumber holding before Portland decided to change it by putting streetcar down there.  Yes, Portland had the moxie to do that. In fact, at that time, I sold all the concrete materials to that project -- I'm not in that business anymore though. And, the streetcar to that spot as well as the sky tram were totally ridiculed in Portland because of the perceived lack of ridership and frivolous spending by trimet. Both are now considered smashing successes and iconic Portland. Now, years later, streetcar is perceived as a catalyst for development and celebrated - even if its built down MLK and Grand on the east side industrial district where there's basically nobody living. people and commerce will come. It always does.

by cisserosmiley on 4/4/2013 @ 1:08pm
New York has one too!  Come on Tacoma, these are half the price of LINK & work better up hills.

by NineInchNachos on 4/4/2013 @ 1:13pm
you can put a junk-yard magnet on the bottom for bikes?

by cisserosmiley on 4/4/2013 @ 1:53pm
Some tram cars spin in a circle for better view.

by cisserosmiley on 4/5/2013 @ 10:37am
UWT to TCC aerial tram could fly over south 19th and look into Allenmore condos.

by NineInchNachos on 4/5/2013 @ 4:49pm
Boe hates your 6th ave idea

by Jesse on 4/5/2013 @ 4:59pm
At the meeting, he outlined exactly why 6th avenue can't be redeveloped at this time.  He also went into what made for a good redevelopment TOD site.  It was a great presentation.

by NineInchNachos on 4/10/2013 @ 8:17am

by cisserosmiley on 4/10/2013 @ 8:27am
This is a gross JOKE!!! To think transpo reform wad will be blasted on line to Indian casino emmediately adjacent to our city is foolish. Turn Stadium HS in to a casino so we don't have to buy LINK pass.

by cisserosmiley on 4/10/2013 @ 8:41am
EQC Sky-Tram...dream big little casino!!!

by JesseHillFan on 4/10/2013 @ 9:42am
Aerial Tramways are cool but dangerous in areas where there is a lot of air

by cisserosmiley on 4/10/2013 @ 9:49am
A commuter tram like the one pictured is not high enough for that, but I have heard of ski area trams being high enough for that. It's mostly cheaper to build in an already developed area than ground rail & it's electric.

by Jesse on 4/10/2013 @ 1:18pm
Anyone know what the second hybrid line looks like?

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/12/2013 @ 6:53am
Yes Jesse. It's been dubbed "H1." It has grade issues - see Page 2.

by Jesse on 4/12/2013 @ 6:58am
I had planned on being at the Link meeting all week. I couldn't make it last night as my wife and I had a family emergency which included some hospital time.

How would they get up 25th?  Hmm...

Thanks for the link Chris.

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/12/2013 @ 7:57am
Sorry to hear about your emergency.
It would have to be engineered out - either with structures or a regrade.  In any case, it doesn't seem like we'd be able to have stops along the hill until we got to wherever we were going on MLK.  If the grades were 8-10% for shorter distances, we might be able to manage it, but 16% is a bit much.

by Jesse on 4/12/2013 @ 9:10am
I am disappointed that Boe's hybrid isn't on Tacoma Avenue.  It wastes dollars on 25th street with building a trench AND goes down MLK on 25th to 19th where it's a neighborhood.  Bad option because of these things.

If the tribe wants a 29th and Portland Avenue extension, they need to pay the entire cost.  The land between the current Freighthouse Square termination and 29th and Portland is developable but I can't see where anyone would ever want to live there--- ever.  Even the greatest possible vision for this area sucks - density- wise.  

If they want to serve MLK and sixth ave, why not a singe track cable car loop on the original cable car route but make a double track extension up 6th to sprague?  Then extend the current streetcar line up stadium to that district with future plans to shoot down Tacoma Avenue?  Or do the streetcar now through sound transit (this process) and have the city operate, maintain, and build the cable car route?

by boearc on 4/12/2013 @ 9:19am

Jesse - 'Boe's' hybrid was to use S. 25th to Jefferson to Tacoma Avenue to 6th as a back-bone of system that could be expanded to the North, West, and South - but that is not the alighment that was studied by ST with this last review.  Running up S. 25th to MLK appears to be a 'straw' corridor alignment as the grade make is unfeasible for light-rail (engineering and costs).

by Jesse on 4/12/2013 @ 9:37am
So is the original and correct Boe hybrid out of the running or is Sound Transit only looking at this stated "H1" route?

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/12/2013 @ 9:44am
I might agree it's a 'straw' corridor, if ST didn't provide data on all of the roads up the hill.  They're pretty specific about the grade on each road segment.  There's a reason why we never attempted east-west travel historically via streetcar.  Jefferson was only ever used to connect Downtown with Center St., not with MLK.  If you try to create a zig-zag route with a southern approach up the hill, you create so many 90 degree turns that it slows down travel and makes operations very expensive.

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/12/2013 @ 10:31am
Pierce Transit has considered running buses on 25th St., but even they can't do it because the buses bottom out.  We considered it back in 2010 when the system was being somewhat redesigned.  Many thought that a redesigned Route 26 could link Tacoma Dome Station, Hilltop and Stadium via a southern alignment very similar to H1, but we couldn't make it work from a technical standpoint.

by JesseHillFan on 4/12/2013 @ 11:28am
Chris thanks for the small grade map.By the way is there a grade map (with a link online maybe) of the entire city of Tacoma too?The Organic Transit motorized Velomobile that I am planning on getting can maintain 20 mph up a 20% grade just under its electric motor without pedaling so it's nice to know that this DT hilly area would be no problem for it

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/12/2013 @ 12:09pm
Let me work on that to see if I can yield one.  I know that the Streetcar Stakeholder committee was given a map of greater downtown, but not of the entire city.  I'll try running some contours over the existing street grid to see what I can do.

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/12/2013 @ 1:26pm
I don't think that I have the license to use those features in ArcGIS.  It keeps complaining at me when I try to use those functions.  Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

by JesseHillFan on 4/12/2013 @ 3:20pm
Thank you very much for trying anyways Chris.At least this is a eye opener.The North 30th street hill and McCarver hill in old town might be a problem though as those grades seem very steep (I don't know what they are).

by JesseHillFan on 4/12/2013 @ 8:25pm
Proposed Tacoma Link expansion deemed impractical, too they too say anything above a 9% grade  is the maximum practical grade for light rail trains

by NineInchNachos on 4/12/2013 @ 10:19pm

by Erik on 4/12/2013 @ 10:19pm

Proposed Tacoma Link expansion deemed impractical, too costly

The City of Tacoma’s 11th-hour suggestion for
expanding the Tacoma Link system did not fare well in an engineering
analysis conducted for Sound Transit.

ROB CARSON; Staff writer

Published: April 12, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. PDT

Updated: April 12, 2013 at 6:01 p.m. PDT

The City of Tacoma’s 11th-hour suggestion for expanding the Tacoma
Link system did not fare well in an engineering analysis conducted for
Sound Transit.Engineers concluded the proposed route would be
impractical to build and cost twice as much to operate as other
expansion routes under consideration.

“If you had endless pots of
money, you could make it work,” said Val Batey, the transportation
planner in charge of the expansion project, “but it’s an engineering
challenge, and it would exceed our project budget.”In a March 21
letter to Sound Transit, City Manager T.C. Broadnax asked the agency to
weigh the pros and cons of a “hybrid” extension with two added track
sections.In the hybrid plan, one 0.9-of-a-mile section would
extend the existing rail system east from the Tacoma Dome Station and
then south along Portland Avenue to East 29th Street.

A second section
would branch off the existing line at Pacific Avenue, climb to the
Hilltop and then head north on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.The
main problem is getting the trains up the steep grades to the Hilltop,
said Dan Abernathy, one of a team of engineers from HDR Inc. who
analyzed the plan.

The maximum practical grade for light rail
trains is 9 percent, Abernathy said. On steeper slopes, the
steel-on-steel connection between wheels and track starts giving way,
which affects acceleration and braking.South 25th Street, the most direct connection between the existing line and MLK, has grades as high as 16 percent.Every
other east-west street connecting the southern downtown area with the
Hilltop has grades of at least 15 percent, with some as high as 17

With the hybrid routes being impractical, and
the due diligence performed, time to move on to extend light rail Link
to either

1) Stadium to 6th or

2) Stadium to MLK.

by Jesse on 4/13/2013 @ 10:20am
Reread the first paragraph of my comment at 4-12-12 at 9:10am.

Then read the next comment down by boearc (David Boe) at 4-12-13 at 9:19am

Sound Transit didn't even study the right route!!!

by Jesse on 4/13/2013 @ 10:29am
I am still of the opinion that my route is the best:A city owned cable car loop on the original route of up the hill on 11th to MLK and down the hill on 13th to Pacific.Then a streetcar route to the Stadium District and south down Tacoma Avenue to about 25th.These offer the best connectivity for downtown. It offers much needed development potential mid-hill.  It offers a single continuous route.  It's grade is correct for each technology.It makes future expansion to 6th Avenue, Portland MUC, and Lincoln all about a mile a piece.

by tacoma_1 on 4/13/2013 @ 11:57am
If Boe wanted a more exact route studied, perhaps he could have used a bigger bar napkin so he could have provided more detail on his map. 

These alternative hybrid routes are nothing but a waste of time and a distraction that will make it more difficult to galvanize the community around a funding mechanism for the actual route that is eventually chosen. IMHO. 

by JesseHillFan on 4/13/2013 @ 9:41pm
How about up Jefferson Avenue on the grade map that Chris has provided?It's a longer route though with lower grades trading more in distance to gain altitude up those darn downtown Tacoma hills.Also up Center Street could be attractive as that could say veer off north up Cedar Street by the soon to open Walmart.Then veer east say on 11st street or perhaps division avenue then head back downtown.

by tacoma_1 on 4/13/2013 @ 10:25pm
I refuse to consider any and all hybrid routes not formally  presented on a cocktail napkin. That precedent has been established  by our city council, and I think it bears adhering too. 

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/14/2013 @ 1:41pm
It doesn't work with any corridor Jesse.  East-West travel is too steep anyway.  If you stop at Tacoma Avenue, you're still dealing with grades in excess of 10%.  We used cable cars for grades that steep.  There are two good technologies for scaling those hills: electric trolleybuses and cable cars.  I would love to take a look at developing that in downtown Tacoma, but it's not in the scope of Tacoma Link expansion right now.

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/14/2013 @ 1:48pm
The input of the ULI summit and the reality of our grade situation just underscores the need for comprehensive transportation planning as soon as we are done selecting a preferred alternative for Tacoma Link.

by NineInchNachos on 4/14/2013 @ 2:30pm
Peter C gives David Boe a spanking

by Jesse on 4/14/2013 @ 4:54pm
Chris:  Tacoma Avenue could work as a backbone if approached up Stadium Way via the Stadium District and then heading south on Tacoma Avenue.  It is indeed mid-hill but you could expand to the south to Lincoln or west to Fircrest/the mall via the Tacoma Ave/Center/Jefferson intersection.  You could expand to the north in the Stadium area or off of 6th Avenue/Tacoma Avenue on that end of downtown. These are great gateway areas to downtown anyways. 

I'd rather see MLK served by a cable-car in conjunction to a Tacoma Avenue route because of the lack of walkability east-west in downtown because of the hill and the sheer distance north-south downtown.  The cable-car could then deliver passengers to each "level" of the downtown grid.  However, the price tag piece from Sound Transit outlining costs per section of track indicate a track cost of $213 million for a ten block uphill route on South 19th from Pacific to MLK - so the cost would probably be the same for the ten block hill climb on 11th from Pacific to MLK and perhaps even more considering the introduction of the new technology of a cable-car and added infrastructure needed for it.  I can see, monetarily, why they want to go all the way around downtown to get to MLK instead of a cable-car straight shot up 11th street.

by Jesse on 4/14/2013 @ 5:05pm
Too bad they couldn't build the system to the Stadium district via Stadium way, turn down Tacoma Avenue, and turn onto 6th Avenue to Sprague and end the line there.  Then they could build the cable car loop too.  

I know that's a fantasy, but it'd set up a Tacoma Avenue run (holy huge development potential BTW!) as a valid run to get to mid-hill, south downtown brewery district, Lincoln, the Mall in the future while serving north downtown more effectively, Tacoma General, 6th Avenue, Wright Park, Stadium District, and MLK right now all while avoiding Division Street - which I think is important as Division is a waste of track development-wise.  The cable-car run would re-emphasise downtown as the center of all this transit as well as serve the levels of downtown.

by Erik on 4/14/2013 @ 5:19pm

by Jesse on 4/14/2013 @ 6:09pm
I think Erik advocating for a B1 line to the suburbs makes him the "Tacoma Suburbanist".

by cisserosmiley on 4/14/2013 @ 7:07pm

by NineInchNachos on 4/14/2013 @ 7:49pm
6th ave is on the grid,  does that count as suburbs?  

by Jesse on 4/14/2013 @ 8:21pm
The suburbs are where the majority of people use a car to negotiate most travel and most of the majority of land is dedicated to single family housing.  No?  I personally think that qualifies 6th avenue as a suburb.

by Jesse on 4/14/2013 @ 8:28pm
@cissero:  have you ever been to Dallas or OKC?  I have.  It's very conservative and they boast how big the cities are.  There's cow fields right outside of Dallas between them and Ft Worth where the "center" of the mega plex  is. There are no land use laws there so building a new low rise development right outside of Dallas is possible where cities that have infill and urban growth boundaries have had these types of areas filled on for 50 years.  That article ignores culture and ignores the fact that the cities in the article practice Reaganomics and have zero land use rules.

by tacoma_1 on 4/14/2013 @ 8:35pm
Websters says that a suburb is a: an outlying part of a city or town, or b) the residential area on the outskirts of a city. 

6th Ave is not on the outskirts nor is it outlying. It is smack in the middle of Tacoma. Therefore it is not a suburb by any definition no matter how many times Jesse tries to redefine the meaning of the word. 

UP is a suburb. So is Ruston. The west end neighborhood of Tacoma is also a suburb. You can't, by definition, have a suburb in the middle of town.

by Jesse on 4/14/2013 @ 8:48pm
So tell me this Tacoma 1:  name a city in America who's recently built streetcar to an area dominated by single family housing.

So, according to your analysis, is TCC in the suburbs of Tacoma?  Isn't TCC the end goal of streetcar on 6th?  TCC is literally across the street from a different municipality all together.  If that isn't a suburb, than Tacoma has none.

Inside Tacoma on 6th, between Sprague and Proctor, is a historical "streetcar suburb." Note the word "suburb."

by tacoma_1 on 4/14/2013 @ 9:02pm
Note the word "historical". It is now surrounded and therefore no longer a suburb. 

by Jesse on 4/14/2013 @ 9:06pm
I'll humor you.  Lets say it's in the city just for this argument sake.  Which city in America is building streetcar into an area of single family housing like 6th avenue?

If you want B1 because it'd be by your house, just say so. That's ok and a real reason to advocate for it. Pretending otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

by tacoma_1 on 4/14/2013 @ 9:13pm
I don't care about other cities. You like to categorize 6th Ave as a suburb which it is not. It's two miles from city hall.  By foot or horse when it was on the edge of civilization it was a suburb, but not now  by car, bicycle, or modern streetcar in the middle of the city. 

by Jesse on 4/14/2013 @ 9:25pm
If it's in the city, how far away is the closest five story (or taller) building?  Shouldn't a city have at least a couple of buildings that are somewhat tall?   If it doesn't, doesn't that make it a town or suburb and streetcar isn't an amenity for those types of places? is it miles away?  What percentage of land 1/2 mile off of 6th avenue is single family housing or one story buildings? Is there a doable and plausible vision for these things if they currently don't exist there?

by cisserosmiley on 4/14/2013 @ 9:38pm
6th ave is a retail/entertainment district in a bedroom community. All LINK routes should be serviced by busses.

by tacoma_1 on 4/14/2013 @ 10:05pm
Pretty sure that the 6th Ave district is about a mile from TG and St Joe's and those are both well over 5 stories.

Is Seattle's Green Lake District a suburb? It was 100 years ago, but not anymore. It has no tall buildings, but is surrounded by single family homes,a huge park and a lake. . It's getting light rail in a couple of years. 

by NineInchNachos on 4/14/2013 @ 10:37pm
there are no people downtown.  6th ave IS the city!

by cisserosmiley on 4/15/2013 @ 1:08am
It would be nice to have a LINK to gig harbor so I could get to a movie theater.

by Mofo from the Hood on 4/15/2013 @ 1:29am

"Some days I wish Tacoma was more cosmopolitan; like Bombay."

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/15/2013 @ 4:29am
6th Ave is urban.  6th Ave is both built-out and underbuilt, according to current zoning.  For a lot of reasons, ridership demand is there for a strong connection with Downtown.  The Stadium District has the highest residential density in the State outside of Seattle.  10,000 students would be served by B1, creating a very healthy base of ridership.  Late night businesses on 6th Ave and in Downtown would have access to large swathes of residential areas containing roughly 20% of the city's population.  Travel times to Tacoma Dome Station and Downtown would make it competitive with car travel.  All of these factors make it possible to justify frequent, all-day service.

What is urban?  I am going to defer to the late and well-regarded Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, on this question.  She says that these are the characteristics of cities:
  • Mixed uses, activating streets at different times of the day
  • Short blocks, allowing high pedestrian permeability
  • Buildings of various ages and states of repair
  • Density

6th Avenue excels at each and every one of these criteria.  Other corridors have problems with superblocks, single uses, and a lack of activity outside of standard 9-5 business hours.

6th Ave at Pine St. gets a walk score of 88 with 241 pedestrian-friendly intersections per square mile and an average block length of only 341 feet.  The only non-maxed out walk-score critera are due to the lack of a major park, book store and performance halls, all which would be available in the neighboring Stadium and Theater Districts.

The debate is over.  6th Avenue is urban and can be made even more urban and accessible by connecting it with other nearby districts and Downtown with great transit options.

by JesseHillFan on 4/15/2013 @ 7:23am
What are the grades and a grade map up the B1 route?
Is it feasible?
6th Ave has a lot of motor vehicle traffic right now (of course in a few decades from now motor vehicle traffic will greatly lessen due to the worldwide post peak oil situation and petroleum fraking will not greatly help as demand for oil will counter the remaining supply ).

by cisserosmiley on 4/15/2013 @ 8:27am
The new standard of a city is: Tech/Comm infrastructure;  international appeal;  fiscal health; variable demographic;  strong/positive PR identity.  As you can see, people who are dead might like Tacoma...but younger people ask why are we investing in rebuilding tacoma's urban center instead of investing in building technology, a balanced budget, & a PR campaign aimed at showing the 'real' Tacoma, not the 48 hours, crack-town USA version.

by Mofo from the Hood on 4/15/2013 @ 9:20am

Tacoma City Council bureaucratic bullies riding in secret prototype of sustainable hybrid transit. An anonymous source close to the office of the mayor says that repetitive persuasive marketing tactics ultimately will convince Tacoman's of the urgency to connect the city's homeland security community food gardens.

by JesseHillFan on 4/15/2013 @ 9:20am
Broadway to Division (that short span) seems like a very steep grade.I suppose that the entire street of Broadway would have to be raised in grade or perhaps several blocks of it.

by cisserosmiley on 4/15/2013 @ 9:45am
@mofo's post would be funnier if this didn't actually happen in this city.

by NineInchNachos on 4/15/2013 @ 10:22am
mofo, cissero  hay rides? 

by cisserosmiley on 4/15/2013 @ 1:11pm

by JesseHillFan on 4/15/2013 @ 7:21pm
This is even much less expensive then aerial trams.You could string em up on the tops of tall buildings too.

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/16/2013 @ 11:07am
Let me clarify, B1 and E1 do not go straight up Division from Stadium Way, they curve around to Stadium High School via North E St. to N 1st and Tacoma and then on to Division Ave, Tacoma General, etc.
The grade on B1 and E1 is confirmed to be within tolerance for modern streetcar and light rail.  Stadium Way between N 1st and Tacoma had a little bit of a grade issue that was remedied in the reconstruction project.  I spoke with the engineers on the project and they have assured me that Stadium Way is being reconstructed to be "streetcar compatible."

by NineInchNachos on 4/16/2013 @ 11:38am

by Jesse on 4/16/2013 @ 12:43pm
There's a difference between a leader and a manager.  A manager looks at things like spreadsheets and current situations to make "logical" decisions.  A leader also looks at these things and knows problems are more complicated.  They take into consideration sociology and have vision for what might be and are able to make plans for it.  Thank you David Boe for being a leader and not doing the typical Tacoma style of half ass planning for failure level results.

by NineInchNachos on 4/16/2013 @ 12:59pm
Poor Broadnax having to explain Boe's pretty sketches to the suits

by NineInchNachos on 4/16/2013 @ 7:09pm

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/16/2013 @ 8:14pm
At the study session this afternoon, Lonergan asked a question about the grade on Stadium Way that I answered on my blog ... a year and a half ago. Max grade was 7.5% in the stretch between North E St. and N 1st and Tacoma.

He was obviously searching for a "gotcha," but found none.

by JesseHillFan on 4/16/2013 @ 8:51pm
Thanks again Chris

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/16/2013 @ 9:03pm
If I were interviewing someone for the position of a rail transit planner, I would ask her questions about what the maximum grade tolerance of a streetcar was and how long of a distance grades approaching that critical grade they could handle.  I would ask questions about the maximum frequency of a system of track with sections of single and double track.  I would also ask questions about whether or not double-prong alignments work off of single track - and about the distances that people are willing to walk between stations on a grade - or about the need for passenger travel in two directions during all periods of the day.

If you can answer those questions, you might just be eligible for being the Transit-Planner-In-Chief for the City of Tacoma.  But if you can't answer those questions, your drawings on a napkin are just that.

by NineInchNachos on 4/16/2013 @ 9:19pm
Broadnax fucked up his napkin sketch, if only you could all do a jedi mind-meld with Boe and see his cool idea

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/16/2013 @ 9:40pm
His "cool" idea was to jump the gun and try to expand up Tacoma Ave in this phase.  *BUZZER* WRONG.  Tacoma Ave in Downtown was only ever connected to Old Town (via Tacoma Ave N.) and the Lincoln District (via Tacoma Ave bridge) - never to Pacific Avenue.  Anyone who has studied the actual historic transit maps of Tacoma would know that.  Sadly that's not anyone on Council right now - and none of them seem the least bit concerned.

by tacoma_1 on 4/16/2013 @ 10:12pm
David Boe is proving himself to be an embarrassing fool. Marty and Joe jr already proved that long ago. 

by JesseHillFan on 4/17/2013 @ 4:11am
By the way couldn't there be issues due to the weather like snow and ice when going up hill?I think I remember the LINK having problems two years ago and that was on just level terrain with a lot of snow.Maybe just shut down during those periods.

by tacoma_1 on 4/17/2013 @ 6:02am
If I remember correctly, TLink shut down during that freezing rain/ice storm.

The more frequent a train runs, the less snow and ice are an issue cuz there isn't time for buildup if the train goes over the tracks every few minutes. 

by NineInchNachos on 4/17/2013 @ 7:31am
remember when the mudslide of construction materials down 9th disabled the TLink?  How will the TLink function during the LaHar?   all the more reason we switch to swampboats.

by cisserosmiley on 4/17/2013 @ 8:22am

Watch Mr. Boe be interviewed by tacoma's lobbyist. Can't we all just get along ???

by Jesse on 4/17/2013 @ 8:28am
"Broadnax fucked up his napkin sketch, if only you could all do a jedi mind-meld with Boe and see his cool idea." -- RR

Although this is meant to be a punchy statement, it is relevant.  In ten years, what would each line, if built, look like.  I don't mean physically.  I mean in terms of impact on Tacoma, density infill, ridership, future off-shoot routes, commerce, elimination of surface-level parking lots downtown, business attraction to Tacoma, LID improvements, development, and on and on.

Boe has the best plan for a streetcar when all things are considered.  Granted, it has to be backed up with planning so developers can be shovel ready along the line being built.  Infrastructure needs to be upgraded and made a priority.  Imagine an in-filled mid-hill area of Tacoma for just a second. What does it look like?  What other things could change because of it?  Would it develop south downtown?  Would ridership grow with brand new riders (streetcar history says yes) if development were strong along the route adding hundreds of new housing units?  How many new people would it bring?  Did you know the city owned lot at 21st and Tacoma Ave could have up to 700 housing units alone?  That's only using 5 story structures!

The Tacoma Avenue route is the one with the most potential in new riders, new housing units, new business storefront potential, and placing people downtown.  Because it's so insanely close to downtown, the parking requirement for commercial buildings could be eliminated.  Would that make the Haub Building pencil-out?  Would it get developers off the fence to develop some of their lots?  Would it get UWT to concentrate on developing the west side (Tacoma Ave) of their campus more rapidly?  Would it get St Joe's to concentrate on building down the hill toward UWT (future medical school if linked up?) instead of across it?

Tacoma Avenue, as a route, has the most potential for ALL things that should be considered.  Sure, if you're only looking at one aspect, you'll come to different conclusions.  Immediate ridership = B1. Serving the poor = C1.  Let's not have that sort of tunnel vision.  This is a problem to be solved.  Problems are complicated or else, if it were easy, it would have been solved long ago and cease to be a problem.  There are many many aspects to deciding which line is best.  Let's recognize them.

by Mofo from the Hood on 4/17/2013 @ 9:11am
Boe has revealed his political savvy and I agree with his tactics.

by cisserosmiley on 4/17/2013 @ 9:13am
If WE 'plan' for future people instead of 'service' existing residents, I'm OK with that...but it's worth pointing out that Tacoma already has a negative population growth when controlled for mean growth in our county, region, state, or country.  It's possible this is about the size of Tacoma & WE need to plan for reality because demographic data supports this. Does Tacoma need more transportation or less transportation if the population is static ??? 

by Mofo from the Hood on 4/17/2013 @ 9:16am
Right, cisserosmiley. Realism has its merits.

by NineInchNachos on 4/17/2013 @ 10:29am
what have the people in the future ever done for us?  screw them!

by Jesse on 4/17/2013 @ 10:30am
Certainly if you think population or development growth cannot be affected in Tacoma by streetcar, than ridership is king in this debate.  If you think that streetcar can spur growth when coupled with infrastructure improvements, than ridership isn't king in this debate.  It becomes far more multi-faceted.

Basically, if you think streetcar can be as successful in all these areas as the average city has seen it be, than one needs to weigh about a dozen aspects of its potential route. So, if you think it will fail in all aspects besides serving current ridership, than B1 is your route to lobby for.  

I am merely suggesting that if you have tunnel vision for just ridership, you're doing everyone in this process a disservice by dumbing it down.

by NineInchNachos on 4/17/2013 @ 10:34am
it's blowing money so we can build the same streetcar a few streets over...  why can't the existing link be the backbone?  I'm not buying that the current link was ONLY for the dome parking garage

by NineInchNachos on 4/17/2013 @ 10:36am
am i taking crazy pills!!!?

by cisserosmiley on 4/17/2013 @ 11:06am
Development can certainly be moved by transit investment. It can also be moved by other factors. Usually, WE use transit precursor development in areas with population growth factors. When a place is contracting, WE use livability factors to drive population growth. I am no longer for-or-against any route. I just want reassurance that building more LINK, anywhere in Tacoma, is making Tacoma more livable not just giving it a higher transit profile.  

by NineInchNachos on 4/17/2013 @ 11:10am

by cisserosmiley on 4/17/2013 @ 11:19am
Tacoma certainly DOES NOT NEED a train to route through the hilltop to direct deposit gamblers @ EQC.  If tax revenue is the goal, train folks to EQC from gig harbor or partner with Federal Way on a 'gamers express' train through king county, Edgewood & fife. For humanitarian purpose, how about an express bus service from Portland ave playfield at 34th'ish & Portland ave direct to st. Joes. Help your brothers & sisters Tacoma.

by Jesse on 4/17/2013 @ 11:46am
Rr:  did you know that walking uphill five blocks expends about the same effort as walking a flat mile?  That's just one more reason Tacoma hasn't grown east-west and could use a way to get up to mid-hill.  After all, how many people, average people, would expel the energy to walk a miles worth of effort to go four blocks?  Kids?  The elderly?  The overweight?  The disabled? No wonder Tacoma Avenue isn't built out.

by NineInchNachos on 4/17/2013 @ 11:55am
bring back the escalators !  they could be gravity powered.

by cisserosmiley on 4/17/2013 @ 11:57am
Maybe separating Uptown & Downtown makes sense...unless there was a cheap, reliable, proven technology that lifts folks through the air...does Portland have something like that moving folks up a hill ???

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/17/2013 @ 12:06pm
Where was Boe 15 years ago when light rail was being designed initially?

by Jesse on 4/17/2013 @ 12:08pm
If you run a streetcar down Portland Avenue, you have a similar hill problem for people getting off the streetcar and walking home.  

Portland, the city, has a sky tram.  It was totally ridiculed when opened as a toy for OHSU to nowhere.  My sister went to OMSI this last weekend and posted a picture of that south waterfront from across the Willamette river.  Skyscrapers and cranes abound in that area of the city where it was once a lumber holding yard.  Streetcar plus sky tram plus good planning plus vacant land has made that area a mini boomtown. There weren't even streets there ten years ago! Pretty amazing!

by NineInchNachos on 4/17/2013 @ 12:19pm
obese, elderly and disabled people use electric scooters in big box shopping centers, perhaps they could adapt this technology for non-big box retail applications?

by Jesse on 4/17/2013 @ 12:20pm
At Cissero:  what if a skyway was built on 11th from MLK to the Foss?  I bet it'd be a ton cheaper than a cable car.  With the hy-Boe-rid streetcar on Tacoma avenue, that would totally complete a downtown transit system.  Crazy or genius?

Stops at Foss, A Street, Broadway/Commerce, Tacoma Avenue, and MLK. Would Tacoma be the only city with a skyway?

by Jesse on 4/17/2013 @ 12:21pm
RR:  Golf carts?

by cisserosmiley on 4/17/2013 @ 12:36pm
Genius & fun. 

by Jesse on 4/17/2013 @ 4:22pm
From what I can see, the Crystal Mountain Gondola cost $5.5 million, opened with 18 gondolas, ferries people up 2500 feet in elevation, and moves 600 people per hour.  Apparently they can add capacity to 45 gondolas (at $40k each) on the same run.  Pretty darn cheap!! And fun!!

Dang. Build the hy-Boe-rid and the city could build a gondola to serve 11th from the Foss to MLK.

by Jesse on 4/17/2013 @ 5:06pm
Ok, my facts about the gondola are off a bit. It's hard to Google stuff on an iPhone within a time crunch sometimes. Here's info from the Crystal Mountain website:

Crystal Mountain GONDOLA FACTS-

Base 4,400 feet-
Top 6,856 feet-
Vertical rise 2,456 feet-
Trip Time 9min 39 sec (approx)-
13 Towers-
22 cabins, with option to add another 13-
Uphill capacity; 600 people per hour, 900 after additional cabins are added-
Cabin interval: 53 seconds, 32 seconds after additional cabins are added -
Speed: 800ft/min.-
Cost: $8 million (approx)

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/17/2013 @ 5:42pm
You'd need more than one station for this to work, but the capital costs don't look too bad.  Also operating costs would be more limited, since you don't have any operators.
Also, the Foss connection would be less critical, because there is an elevator on the Murray Morgan Bridge at 11th St.  So all we would need to do is link Pacific with MLK.  I like that idea more than anything.  It would help to replicate service we had with the cable car... although, maybe it might make more sense for trolleybuses along that corridor.  I would be okay with AA to determine a good solution for that.

by Jesse on 4/17/2013 @ 6:26pm
Even if there was a station on Pacific, one on Tacoma Avenue, and one on MLK, that would solve the direct connection issue up the hill.  If it did dip off the cliff and down to the Foss, it would also be a tourist attraction because of the views you'd achieve.  Hmm... Certainly an interesting idea.

by NineInchNachos on 4/17/2013 @ 7:29pm
Imagine Tacoma!

by JesseHillFan on 4/17/2013 @ 9:00pm
I also like Jesse's idea because it seems more energy efficient as a heavier vehicle in ratio as compared to the desired cargo (passengers) is energy inefficient whereas a lighter transport vehicle is more efficient (one of the main reasons why automobiles are also energy inefficient other than wasteful speedy travel with lots of stops and go's).Energy (kinetic)=1/2 times mass times velocity squared.800 feet per second is around 9 miles per hour certainly much faster than walking and adequate for fairly short travel distances.

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/18/2013 @ 9:48am
What I'm cautiously optimistic about a gondola arrangement is that fewer operators would be needed and there could be potentially large time travel savings vs. existing transit - so we get a boost in mobility, relief from poorly timed traffic signals, and an ability to pretty much redeploy some buses going east west at new points of connection.
Jesse mentioned the capital costs for the gondola at Crystal Mountain, but the Portland "aerial tram" came in at much higher costs.  Do we know why this is?

by JesseHillFan on 4/18/2013 @ 10:03am
Erg I said 800 feet per second in my post.Sorry I meant 800 feet per minute.It's 9 mph.800 feet per second would be 60 times faster.Must have been tired.

by Jesse on 4/18/2013 @ 12:06pm
Chris:  I'm not sure about the cost difference between Portlands tram and the one at Crystal. But, I do know Portlands tram car is huge compared to the 4-6 person tram cars at Crystal - which probably also equates to a bigger cable stretched harder between bulkier towers. Also, Portlands system is really high in the air and the landings at each end are much more intricate. Also, I seem to recall angry neighbor when the Portland line was built because it flies over housing. Maybe that's why they used one big car instead of many little ones? Is the big car ADA compliant and the little ones aren't? I don't know.

I don't know much about air trams but I'd think if Tacoma had one on 11th up the middle of the street, they could go with small cars and only hang them like thirty feet in the air.

by Chris.Tacoma on 4/18/2013 @ 12:57pm
We'd have to replace traffic signals suspended from power poles.  I think it would be fun to look at, if the capital costs could come in at a reasonable level.  I know that Seattle was looking at this.  It hasn't received much support there because they're dealing with very large passenger loads.  In that light, it might make more sense for Tacoma than Seattle.

by vincek on 4/18/2013 @ 3:35pm
I can't help but notice the silence about race and class considerations from the most fervent B1 supporters.  It's in the scoping criteria, but it doesn't come out of the mouths of 6th Avenue supporters.  Is there a reason for that?

I'd personally be best served by B1, but an option like E1 serves both middle class AND working class neighborhoods AND serves the biggest employment centers in the county - both hospitals and the CHC clinic under construction.  No other route gets closer to so many local jobs.

I'll be thrilled with any extension, even if it's B1 or C1.  But I hope for a balance between socioeconomic concerns and perceived notions of potential "success."  The LINK isn't a private business selling a business plan based on a commercial marketing map.  It's a publicly-funded public service.  E1 seems the most balanced - yuppies in the Stadium District get a train and Hilltoppers get a train, too.  Seem fair.

So, 6th Ave advocates - prove me wrong that you're afraid to discuss race and class - or are somehow "offended" that it's a consideration.

by KevinFreitas on 4/18/2013 @ 4:14pm
I agree @vincek that E1 would serve more diverse communities better and get folks to/from the hospitals. I disagree, however, the 6th Ave. is that much higher an income bracket than Hilltop. Would be interested to see numbers but don't see a ton of stately properties especially if you go a block or two on either side of 6th. In that light I think, culturally-speaking, 6th Ave. is a worthy route.

I'd be happy with either and, though tourism matters when it comes to who's riding, I'd like to see the focus be on making life for those living here better.

by NineInchNachos on 4/18/2013 @ 4:33pm
first do stadium then do hilltop.   everybody from the hospital lives in fircrest 

by tacoma_1 on 4/18/2013 @ 5:13pm
Anytime you put in fixed rail into a community, due to the high quality and frequent transit, the real estate values tend to rise substantially. Because of the higher prop values, property taxes, and rents rise too.  Add to that an LID to help pay for the initial rail installation, and the poorest families get forced out, and replaced with wealthier folks. Gentrification will certainly occur wherever Link goes, so for everyone wishing for TLink to go to Salishan first, be careful what you wish for. If it goes there first, the current residents won't be the recipients of the improved service. The folks that out bid them for the higher house prices and rents will be the beneficiaries. 

by NineInchNachos on 4/18/2013 @ 5:33pm
Salishan now there is an honest to god suburb maybe even exburb 

by tacoma_1 on 4/18/2013 @ 6:38pm
If TLink went to Salishan, any and all landlords would profit nicely.

Most current renters would be forced further out to the exurbs. The ununtended consequences of trying to help those less fortunate would be that the most unfortunate would be displaced and forced to commute even farther on a infrequently running bus.  Meanwhile the wealthier residents of their old abode would enjoy a great transit system.

Better to put the streetcar (at least initially) into a neighborhood that can afford the higher prop taxes and LID and stay in place to use the system. IMHO.

by Jesse on 4/18/2013 @ 7:35pm
Whoa there Tacoma_1.  So let me get this right; You're saying that if streetcar goes to 6th Avenue, people can get rid of their cars and save hundreds a month by living car free.  If it goes to a low income area, it will make property taxes and rents  too high?   What about those hundreds of dollars saved by not having a car?  That won't pay the increase in property taxes on Portland Avenue but it will on 6th Avenue?

by tacoma_1 on 4/18/2013 @ 7:47pm
Never said anyone was gonna save money. Just that with great transit u can spend less on cars.

U can also walk more, bike more, live healthy, longer, and happier lives. Have more money for housing and entertainment expenses.

by NineInchNachos on 4/18/2013 @ 8:03pm
I think the sky tram should play theme from ET

by JesseHillFan on 4/18/2013 @ 8:28pm
I have been living car free now for two years and can attest that I have more money to spend on other things.However I feel crippled by not being able to carry lots of heavy cargo so that's why I am getting that Organic Transit ELF Velomobile which is a lot less expensive than a inexpensive new car plus the maintenance costs should be extremely low in addition to the low electrical costs and no need for expensive  motor vehicle insurance as bicycle insurance is much cheaper.Also no tabs/registration costs too.Too bad that Pierce Transit is having to cut back its service though I heard that it might hopefully later be restored in certain areas like in this story.

A bicycle is inadequate for my needs and very much lacking in some areas. Awkward when adding good rain protection (Veltop) and using a bike trailer.You just can't keep up with traffic so that's troublesome to have to use sidewalks in some areas.I remember earlier this year having a spill on my electric bike when the road was icy and unfortunately I didn't notice this .Not very fun so a recumbent 3 wheeler avoids this spill issue.The ELF Bike/car should be the ideal cycling answer though occasionally and rarely when I need a truck I could  rent one instead or have Lowe's deliver lumber/other big hardware to my house.More mass transit is very helpful to those without other alternatives.

by NineInchNachos on 4/18/2013 @ 8:58pm
you just need a bro with a truck or van!

by JesseHillFan on 4/18/2013 @ 9:49pm
Yeah I wish I had a friend that could help in that area but a few of my friends with trucks or extended family are always busy.I am also trying to mitigate my carbon footprint too in other ways other than to save money like growing my own food (way better than store bought old food).
It's not so much a matter of money (I could easily take out a car loan on a new car or truck) it's the principle of it (helping to save life on the Earth-sustainability)

by tacoma_1 on 4/19/2013 @ 8:24am
None of the hipsters that currently live in Portland's Pearl District lived there prior to street cars and light rail.

Tacoma might as well skip the whole gentrification and displacement of the poor step and put rail where Tacoma's hipsters currently are.  

by Jesse on 4/19/2013 @ 8:32am
If you can dump your car and it's costs of $700 (the average cost of owning a car) a month and exchange that for a new place along streetcar, but it costs $150 more a month, would the average 20-something kid do that? Probably so. Net gain in spendable income: $550. That goes back into the economy along the streetcar line as the kid most likely will stay within a quarter mile of the tracks considering they have no car.

by tacoma_1 on 4/19/2013 @ 8:54am
JesseOnly B1 has the combiination of walkable amenities, access to employment centers, entertainment venues, hospitals, grocers, and drug stores to make your scenario work. Of course your $150 figure might cover the prop taxes, or the rent, or the LID, but certainly not all three.

Everywhere else, a car would still be a necessity.  People would be paying for a mass transit system and a car, thus no net savings to the residents for C1 & E1. 

by NineInchNachos on 4/19/2013 @ 9:11am
poor people love the casino! 

by Jesse on 4/19/2013 @ 9:17am
Didn't someone in the TNT article about EQC say it's where the american dream is still alive? LOL.  That's funny stuff.  

by cisserosmiley on 4/19/2013 @ 10:27am
It's the future !!!