Tacoma Link Expansion Survey: SHUT UP AND BUILD ALREADY!

Alternatives Open House Aug. 22nd
posted Aug 21, 2012
tacoma, tacomic, economic development, blink, soundtransit, lightrail, streetcars
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Folks are excited to have movement on the bLINK light rail expansion after a decade of sitting on our hands. Look at that link to exit133 above.  Over 40 comments!  That hasn't happened in years.  Truly passions are inflamed



Wednesday, August 22
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
People’s Community Center, 1602 S MLK Jr Way, Tacoma
and 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Tacoma Dome Station Plaza (off 25th Street)

image courtesy exit133

Just build the damn thing where the most people will use it, say I


by NineInchNachos on 8/21/2012 @ 12:52am
sound transit horse mouth

by marumaruyopparai on 8/21/2012 @ 12:55am

by Erik on 8/21/2012 @ 2:05am
According to Gig Harbor City Councilmember Derek Young, Tacoma may not get any rail LINK extension at all but only a bus to pick people at here LINK now ends.Sounds crazy.  

But that is what councilmember Young states may be one of the options Sound Transit takes,  Here is his full comment on Exit 133 (comment #3) on the matter:

Sound Transit had a presentation on this process at our Pierce
Transit board meeting on Monday. An interesting points came up that I
thought people might want to be aware of.

Link extension doesn’t necessarily mean light rail extension.
Although that’s the most obvious option, when asked, ST staff said that
alternative modes would be considered such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).…
It’s very similar in operation to light rail, but the cost is usually
significantly less. Light rail still has a number of advantages that I
think justify the cost, but it’s important to weigh all the pros/cons
and that’s what an alternatives analysis is designed for.

I’m not as directly affected as you all since I live outside the ST
boundaries on the other side of the bridge, but this is pretty exciting
for Tacoma and therefore the rest of the county. Looking forward to
seeing the final product.

Sorry, but I don't think getting off Tacoma's LINK on Commerce and piling into a bus is what Tacoma voters thought they were voting for in 2008 after which time Sound Transit started taxing the citizens of Tacoma.

This would be the nightmare version of a political bait and switch.  Let's hope that councilmember Young only heard a brainstorming comment from a Sound Transit junior intern.

by Erik on 8/21/2012 @ 2:44am
Say it isn't so Sound Transit:
Sound Transit May Give Tacoma a Bus Extension Rather than a Light Rail Expansion

by KevinFreitas on 8/21/2012 @ 7:02am
Thanks RR and Erik! Just took the survey!

by cisserosmiley on 8/21/2012 @ 8:11am
Joni Earl told me it makes more sense to use road trans from a cost and utilization standpoint. Busses lose to rail only in the hipster factor, and there are cool new busses that look like rail cars but run on tires. Perfect for 6th avenue where I own property.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/21/2012 @ 8:31am
Survey taken.
Not quite sure how you're going to get rail up 6th avenue- there isn't a whole lot of room up there...

by NineInchNachos on 8/21/2012 @ 8:32am
if they can shoehorn rail down the alley known as commerce street, they can make 6th ave happen.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/21/2012 @ 9:27am
Yes, but there's not a whole lot of non-transit traffic on Commerce Street...

by NineInchNachos on 8/21/2012 @ 9:28am
couple things now that I think of it..  he should have short sleeves, and those fingerless weightlifting gloves. 

by NineInchNachos on 8/21/2012 @ 9:37am
really interesting comments happening here!

by NineInchNachos on 8/21/2012 @ 10:43am
no more delays!

by tacoma_1 on 8/21/2012 @ 10:56am
Just took the survey also.

That is a great way to let ST know what we are thinking.

by NineInchNachos on 8/21/2012 @ 11:23am
what are THEY thinking?

by Erik on 8/21/2012 @ 12:25pm
In the Sound Transit survey, tell them that Tacomans want a LINK light rail extension, not a LINK bus extension:

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/21/2012 @ 12:29pm
Free ST slogan:

Sound Transit: Abandon hope ye who are not Seattle

by cisserosmiley on 8/21/2012 @ 12:54pm

these busses would be awesome from the theatre district up 6th ave to Cedar st.

by Erik on 8/21/2012 @ 1:02pm
Nice pics cissero.

However, there are many advantages Streetcars have over buses:

Why streetcars are better than buses

DC Circulator and Streetcar, to scale. Not the same.

Streetcars are big in planning circles right now. DC and Arlington have grand plans for them, as do many cities around the US. Every time the subject comes up, however, someone poses the question what makes streetcars better than buses?
It’s a valid question, and it has a series of valid answers. Here are the most important:
  • Streetcars are more affordable than buses.
    While it’s true that streetcars require a much larger initial capital
    investment than buses, that capital cost is offset by significant
    operational savings year-to year. In the long term, streetcars are more
    affordable as long as they are used on high ridership routes.
  • Streetcars have higher passenger capacity than buses (even bendy ones),
    which means that if there are lots of riders on your route, you can
    move them with fewer vehicles. Fewer vehicles means more efficient use
    of fuel and fewer (unionized, pensioned) drivers to pay.
  • Streetcar vehicles themselves are
    much more sturdy than buses, and last many decades longer. While buses
    must generally be retired and replacements purchased about every 10
    years, streetcars typically last 40 years or more. For example,
    Philadelphia’s SEPTA transit system is still using streetcar vehicles
    built in 1947 (although they have been overhauled once since then).

  • Streetcars are much more comfortable to ride than buses.
    One of the big reasons why many Americans don’t like buses is that they
    are so rumbly. They jerk you up, down, side to side. They’re simply not
    comfortable. Streetcars glide along a rail much more smoothly, offering
    a vastly more comfortable ride. Less motion sickness, easier to hang
    on. This issue isn’t often discussed in transit circles, but it is a
    really big deal. Passengers gravitate towards the most comfortable ride.
  • Streetcar routes are easier to understand.
    In any big city, buses are confusing. There are so many criss-crossing
    and competing routes that it can be intimidating and difficult to
    understand. New users are turned off because they don’t want to
    accidentally get on the wrong bus and end up miles from their real
    destination. Streetcars, on the other hand, are easier to understand
    because the cost of constructing tracks inherently limits the size of
    the system. Instead of an incomprehensible jumble, you get a clean and easy to understand system map.
    Even if streetcar line names may be a little more complicated than “Red
    Line”, they’ll be a whole heckuva lot easier to figure out than “P18″.
  • Streetcars attract more riders than buses.
    Partially because of the above points, streetcars are always used by
    more people than buses when all other things are equal. They attract
    more passengers, which after all is the whole point of public transit.
  • Streetcars are economic development magnets.
    The presence of rail transit nearby is one of the best incentives for
    economic development in the world. Metro stations radically remade large
    swaths of the DC area, and streetcars can do the same (have done the
    same, in places like Portland and Toronto). Nobody ever built a condo
    building or shopping mall because a bus route stops nearby, but
    developers routinely follow rail investments with real estate ones.
    Indeed, the additional taxes generated by rail-oriented development can
    repay the initial capital investment.
  • Streetcars use electricity rather than gas.
    Although it depends how the electricity is generated, this potentially
    makes streetcars much more environmentally friendly than buses. And
    while it’s true that electric buses exist, they are almost never used in the US, and require the same overhead wires as streetcars.
  • Streetcars are much quieter than buses.
    Becuase they run on electricity, streetcars are very quiet vehicles.
    They are much less disruptive to neighborhood life than buses.
  • Streetcars are iconic. Trains
    are graphic symbols for the city in a way that buses simply are not.
    Every tourist knows about the DC Metro, the New York subway, and the San
    Francisco cable cars. Their trains are an indispensable part of those
    city’s brands, and streetcars will be too as soon as they’re running.
    Nobody ever sent a postcard featuring a picture of a bus.


    by NineInchNachos on 8/21/2012 @ 1:18pm
    i'll take that GM bus

    by NineInchNachos on 8/21/2012 @ 1:19pm
    Juneau, Alaska has those fake streetcar buses.  Popular with the cruise ship tourists.  Not so good in the rain.

    by cisserosmiley on 8/21/2012 @ 1:58pm
    personally, i want rail up 6th ave even if it does suck while building...but Joni Earl is a huge fan of these koolzy busses so keep lobbying for rail everyone.

    by jenyum on 8/21/2012 @ 8:53pm
    I took the survey, and expressed in the strongest possible terms that voters will be absolutely furious if they end up with a bus instead of a streetcar.

    by KevinFreitas on 8/28/2012 @ 8:10am
    No Tacomic this week? :(

    by NineInchNachos on 8/28/2012 @ 8:13am
    tacomic delayed due to fever.  stay tuned!

    by KevinFreitas on 8/28/2012 @ 8:47am
    Feel better soon sir!

    by fredo on 8/29/2012 @ 7:06am
    Pierce County is part of a three county transit effort to put in a regional transit system. Many folks have warned that the money would be used to install a system to be built out from Seattle and that the outlying areas would have to wait.

    It's now beginning to look like these warnings are coming true. Now that Seattle has it's state of the art system and buildouts there's little regional interest in finishing the system. Tacomans are such suckers for visionary thinking.

    What we will probably eventually get from Sound Transit is a couple of donkey carts shuttling folks from Salishan to the EQC.

    by JesseHillFan on 8/31/2012 @ 5:03pm
    Thanks for your thorough and excellent posting Erik.I too hope Nin gets well soon.By the way I believe that the Tacoma Mall is not the cause of the decrepitation of DT Tacoma rather it was a symptom.The real causes I feel are the rise of the automobile with its disastrous side effects,the removal of the streetcar system replaced by the ICE buses and the rise of television which made the theater district less desired.  

    by NineInchNachos on 9/12/2012 @ 10:58pm
    Dear Neighbors, 
    Those of you interested in
    speaking up about where the expansion of the LINK Light Rail should go
    you have until September 17th to do so.
    Please go to the website to learn more and to find the link to comment.

    by Jesse on 9/13/2012 @ 7:58am
    Why is it that the new Sonics arena can be hatched in a matter of a year with it's roads plan, $490 million dollar arena, new infrastructure, and area development plan while the streetcar in Tacoma has taken ten years and still there's no resolution or at least solid plan?

    by cisserosmiley on 9/13/2012 @ 8:17am
    A billionaire hedge fund manager helps...

    by Jesse on 9/13/2012 @ 8:19am
    I understand that but there's a city part to the new arena too.  Why did that plan take about a year and a Tacoma Link expansion plan is taking over 10 years?

    by NineInchNachos on 9/13/2012 @ 8:31am
    I call for day of rage. 

    by NineInchNachos on 11/29/2012 @ 8:02am

    "Sound Transit will be hosting an open house on the future of Tacoma’s
    Link Light Rail. On Wednesday, December 5 the public will have the
    opportunity to learn more about the possibilities for future expansion
    of the 1.6 mile line. Sound Transit staff will share information on
    potential corridors, evaluation criteria used to assess possible routes,
    and ways to stay informed about the project. The public will also have
    the opportunity to share feedback and comments on the project. "

    by Chris.Tacoma on 11/29/2012 @ 1:25pm
    ...the irony that half the people commenting on this post voted against Prop 1.
    Yes, I agree it's a hell of a long time for us to get an extension.  But, let's keep things in context here.  What has the City done in the last couple years?
    Tacoma spent city funds on a new station on 11th st, which has led to a significant increase in ridership.Tacoma spent a good chunk of funds on the Stadium Way reconstruction, which restores the ability of that right of way to handle streetcar operations should it be chosen for an alignment.Finally, Tacoma is funding a portion of the alternatives analysis.
    Additionally - and I'm really trying to look at the bright side of all of these studies - since the alignment analysis has been so thorough and yet so broad in geographical scope, it will be much easier to move on to a phase 2 discussion of expansion  AND have such an expansion shovel ready for inclusion in an ST3 package just like Seattle's First Hill streetcar was for ST2.

    by NineInchNachos on 12/10/2012 @ 11:25am
    here is a story...

    by NineInchNachos on 1/7/2013 @ 7:51am

    by Jesse on 1/7/2013 @ 8:07am
    A feedback session ON Portland Avenue?  Isn't that a remaining route choice?  Gee-williker-wiz, what do you suppose the feedback will be?  Do you suppose it will be biased any?  Are they fishing for some statements of Portland Ave area residents so they feel good about making the wrong choice of going down Portland Avenue?  

    This process is agonizing in the sense that all they're doing is gathering biased opinion from citizens that know nothing about how/where a streetcar would be most effective. All they really know is that they "want it by their house."

    They need to get rid of all the non-profit execs on the panel and go with professional outside city planners to determine the route.

    by cisserosmiley on 1/7/2013 @ 8:58am
    If the Link was built out Portland Ave., I would be laughing so hard I would barely be able to pack my things and move from Tacoma in simple protest of mentally I'll people running transit services. 

    by fredo on 1/7/2013 @ 9:12am
    This process is agonizing in the sense that all they're doing is gathering biased opinion from citizens that know nothing about how/where a streetcar would be most effective. All they really know is that they "want it by their house."  jesse

    You're catching on, Jesse. Good for you.

    The real decisions are made behind the scenes, perhaps at executive sessions which are off the public record, or made at the golf course between power brokers. These public hearings and opportunities for public feedback are really just theater for the amusement of the uninformed.

    by Jesse on 1/7/2013 @ 10:02am
    @fredo:  thank god for that!

    by tacoma_1 on 1/7/2013 @ 6:51pm
    Actually. I'm perfectly happy that people want to have the street car in their neighborhood. That makes them IMBY's instead of NIMBY's. it's a lot better problem to have. 

    by NineInchNachos on 1/7/2013 @ 8:20pm
    I am all for biased opinions about street car.  High five! 

    I believe the streetcar should go past my house.

    by tacoma_1 on 1/7/2013 @ 8:31pm
    I'm ok with it going past your house as long as it goes past Crown Bar first. 

    It's never gonna go to Old Town, so ill hafta settle for one of my watering holes

    by NineInchNachos on 2/11/2013 @ 7:18pm


    by Jesse on 2/12/2013 @ 8:06am
    From a Chris Karnes Facebook post, he says he found out the date to open the new LINK extension is (drum roll please!) 2020!!! LOL... by then the "vision" will have changed again as all current council members will be termed out. Ready for yet another "study" in about 2018?

    by Cheechmo on 2/12/2013 @ 4:46pm
    Really? Seven more years? Ugh.

    by cisserosmiley on 2/12/2013 @ 8:02pm
    By 2020 I'll be too old to want LINK, maybe levitating magnet cycles, but train no.

    by Jesse on 2/13/2013 @ 7:35am
    I went to the LINK session last night to see if 2020 was about right.  They said that is what they're shooting for but no promises.  Maybe early if they can get a funding partner in line - which actually scares me because a funder may come up for the wrong line and that one gets built - I hope that isn't a possibility.

    by cisserosmiley on 2/13/2013 @ 8:34am the feds will insist on an east side LINK for economic development...instead of building up 6th ave for utility. 

    by NineInchNachos on 2/13/2013 @ 10:51am
    say wa?

    by NineInchNachos on 2/26/2013 @ 3:52pm
    tacoma weekly

    by NineInchNachos on 3/19/2013 @ 9:41am

    by NineInchNachos on 3/20/2013 @ 9:00pm

    by Jesse on 3/20/2013 @ 9:22pm
    Thanks for the updates.

    by NineInchNachos on 3/21/2013 @ 7:56am
    sounds like things are going well

    by cisserosmiley on 3/21/2013 @ 8:39am
    This was the pre-made decision rollout process where overwhelming citizen support went to sanity & insanity won out anyway.

    by NineInchNachos on 3/21/2013 @ 8:47am
    what is going on!

    by NineInchNachos on 3/21/2013 @ 9:55am

    by NineInchNachos on 3/21/2013 @ 12:32pm

    by Jesse on 3/21/2013 @ 1:31pm
    I don't know why they can't do a cable car from the mm bridge up 11th, north on MLK to 6th, turn west on 6th and travel up 6th to the MSM area.  To me, that'd be ideal.  In fact, the team that just reported on the MLK sub area plan (rose center peeps) encouraged east to west connections on 11th.  Make the line a couplet on 11th and 13th downtown.  I think thAt may be the ultimate route if only sound transit would do cable cars.

    Later on, I would run the current link to stadium up stadium way to Tacoma Avenue and down Tacoma Ave.

    I personally think connecting the hospitals isn't important. If you understand hospital staff, you know they rarely leave - in fact this was said at the Rose center meeting about the medical mile idea.

    by NineInchNachos on 3/21/2013 @ 3:42pm
    nice write up in the Tacoma Weekly

    by tacoma_1 on 3/21/2013 @ 9:42pm
    Yeah I read the article. Gotta say that Boe comes off as if he is trying to obstruct this project if he doesnt get his way, more than be a part of a viable solution. He won't be getting my vote ever again. 

    by Jesse on 3/22/2013 @ 7:42am
    I don't think Boe is out to obstruct the project.  I think his goals are density and downtown development.  That's noble.  Where the problem lies is that this has been an ongoing process for years and as it sits, Tacoma will wait until at least 2017 for the expansion.  That's 14 years between lines - a massive failure unto itself.  If anything does change, as far as Link plans, it needs to happen pretty damned fast - and I mean fast in a fast way, not fast in a gov't way.

    As they think about the line alignment options, they should also be packaging land in bundles for development I think. Get the land and infrastructure ready along the preferred alignment for developers to be shovel ready for density - so the city can capitalize on the excitement of the new line. If that means it's a hybrid line for downtown, so be it - but again, make it fast fast fast... and don't run the Link outside of the downtown area.

    Here's an idea to ponder: why not bring in United Streetcar and urban planners from outside the area (so they have no personal agenda) and ask THEM where they think the streetcar should go. Asking the pro's? What a concept!!!

    by NineInchNachos on 3/22/2013 @ 8:37am
    David Boe That's
    right - Planning? Planning? We don't need no stinking master planning.
    Cost, neighborhood equity. economic development and future expansion
    oppotunities be damned - full speed ahead!

    Chris Karnes Seven
    years of planning, nine if you count the other studies from ST after we
    opened nearly ten years ago. We have done enough studies. They all
    return the same results. In 2007 it was 6th, MLK and Portland Ave. In
    2011 it was 6th, MLK and Portland Ave.
    Now we have the same choices in B1, E1 and C1. It is time to move
    forward. Portland has continuously built track, so has Seattle. The next
    part of the analysis contract is queued up and you want to rescope and
    delay another six months?

    city's 2007 feasibility study is a part of what was presented as a
    comprehensive transportation system to council back in 2011. Was it
    developed after that? I wish it had been, but Council dropped the ball
    despite our best efforts telling you otherwise. I told Jake on several
    occasions, got him on the phone to talk about doing some transit
    planning before things got too fast, and he told me no-Sound Transit
    does that.

    by NineInchNachos on 3/22/2013 @ 8:41am
    ***NEW SURVEY***

    by cisserosmiley on 3/22/2013 @ 8:41am
    Bringing in pros would be a great step for Tacoma trans planning. Unfortunately, demographers & economists have clearly measured viability for population growth & income stability in Tacoma to be pegged to the greater Seattle-Metro area. WE should support Seattle's growth if WE want growth here. 'Bullet Train 2 Seattle'

    by Jesse on 3/22/2013 @ 9:10am
    Lol.  Funny. You want all good jobs in Seattle? Why? Do you just adore the traffic? Is it the snotty people and agressive drivers you'd like to deal with daily? A commute of hours onto your workday? Do tell!

    by NineInchNachos on 3/22/2013 @ 10:24am

    by cisserosmiley on 3/22/2013 @ 10:30am
    I don't PERSONALLY want such things :)  After taking a leave from my doctoral studies I worked for the Russell parent co. & commuted to Seattle in my non descript 4 door sedan -or- used the 59- busses when I felt green. Tough life unless you are intrigued by cars & roads. But you posed the question: what would 'OUTSIDE PROS' say about Tacoma...I believe demographers view Tacoma as an unnecessary urban element, too close to Seattle, without a seperate economic function. Tacoma is simply a 'poor Seattle'  We will be less poor if Seattle does better & there is little that can make Tacoma economically stronger that doesn't have an effect on Seattle too. WE r Link'ed so to speak. 3 things that would help, but will never happen because of collective sour emotions about Seattle's cultural & economic dominance: 1) Port of Seattle takes over port operations in Tacoma as a regional port authority. 2) build more Tacoma -to- Seattle rapid non-stop transit. 3) Unincorporate and let Ruston, UP, Lakewood, Fircrest, Puyallup, Parkland, Fife, & Federal Way annex the unincorporated area.  Please do not be mad @ me, I don't want these things, but they would help increase the universally 'measurable' living standards of income, home value, & employment rate.

    by NineInchNachos on 3/23/2013 @ 11:01am

    by tacoma_1 on 3/23/2013 @ 11:34am
    This city couldn't get out of its own way to save itself. 

    Boe isn't a transportation planner. He's an architect for buildings (not rail) and a part time city councilman that's hired to represent his constituents. He needs to put away his cocktail napkin drawings and get back to doing his job.  No one but this council wants more delay. In ten friggin years, is just a little forward progress too much to ask for?

    by NineInchNachos on 3/23/2013 @ 12:11pm
    you know what we need?  A BACKBONE MONORAIL !

    by Jesse on 3/23/2013 @ 2:07pm
    Has anyone stopped to think that maybe the Puyallup Tribe is ready to pony up the money for the Portland Avenue end of the new "hybrid" line to the tune of $50m so that the Sound Transit matching $50m and the Small Starts matching $50m can be achieved immediately? (How long might it take the city otherwise?) That might push construction up to just a couple of years from now while obtaining service to MLK and the South Downtown area quickly. It would also provide the "spine" for other neighborhoods so expanding isn't measured in multiple miles but in blocks to other neighborhoods. The fact is, nobody really knows what's going on unless you work at city hall in this department... and... there is no way that the city could announce something like that until it was a done deal.

    by NineInchNachos on 3/23/2013 @ 3:31pm

    by cisserosmiley on 3/23/2013 @ 7:11pm
    ***repost from above*** Joni Earl told me it makes more sense to use road trans from a cost and utilization standpoint. Busses lose to rail only in the hipster factor, and there are cool new busses that look like rail cars but run on tires. Perfect for 6th avenue where I own property.. Get on board Tacoma !!!

    by Erik on 3/24/2013 @ 2:58pm
    Just in from transit advocate Chris Karnes:

    Join us for an evening to rally for the expansion Tacoma Link light rail.

    We will have information about next steps, information about each of
    the alternative corridors, and an opportunity to sign a letter of

    After more than 7 years of study, it is time to move forward
    with an extension of Tacoma Link. The Amocat Cafe will be serving beer this evening.

    Program/speakers to follow at 6:00pm

    When: April 5, 2013 5:00 p.m.

    Where: Amocat Cafe located at 625 St. Helensin downtown Tacoma

    Link to event on Facebook:

    by JesseHillFan on 3/25/2013 @ 7:16am
    Somebody at the newstribune brought up a good point.How is the LINK supposed to get up hills.This was mentioned as a possibility as grades above 7% is the maximum for adhesion-based

    A cable hauled cable car or a funicular also a viable hill climber (Funicular the best for the steepest hills).
    Also I remember a while back when the LINK had a problem in a snow storm.Likely a no go up hills..

    by tacoma_1 on 3/25/2013 @ 7:42am
    Stadium way is being regraded right now to allow the streetcar to make the trip. And Wikipedia is wrong (again) about the 7%.

    Let the planners plan, and the engineers engineer. 

    by JesseHillFan on 3/25/2013 @ 7:51am
    Your link doesn't work tacoma_1.However I did see it after adding the m to the hyperlink.It still is not likely to work during snow/ice conditions up hills.

    by NineInchNachos on 3/25/2013 @ 8:07am
    some of the buses can barely make it up 19th

    by cisserosmiley on 3/25/2013 @ 8:40am
    A smarter Tacoma would re-organize around the central-Tacoma plateau. 

    by tacoma_1 on 3/25/2013 @ 9:30am
    It's the PNW. If there is a 10% chance of snow or ice, everyone stays home. 

    by NineInchNachos on 3/25/2013 @ 11:14am

    EventsInvite FriendsMaybeRally to Move Forward on Tacoma Link
    Join us for an evening to rally for the expansion Tacoma Link light rail.

    We will have information about next steps, information about each of
    the alternative corridors, and an opportunity to sign a letter of
    support. After more than 7 years of study, it is time to move forward
    with an extension of Tacoma Link.

    The Amocat Cafe will be serving beer this evening.

    Program/speakers to follow at 6:00pm.

    by NineInchNachos on 4/1/2013 @ 8:31am

    by NineInchNachos on 9/20/2013 @ 5:39pm