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March 12, 2013 at 3:50pm

City of Tacoma's Prairie Line Trail project open house

PRAIRIE LINE TRAIL: How green will the new linear park through the city be? Ask that question Thursday night at the Tacoma Art Museum. Photo courtesy of cityoftacoma.org.

Up until 2003, trains pounded the historic Prairie Line rail corridor from the Thea Foss Waterway to the Brewery District, passing rickety warehouses and dens of iniquity - before UW-Tacoma rang its school bell for its first on-site freshman class.

In the fall of 2011, some $5.83 million was earmarked to turn the half-mile Prairie Trail corridor into a living and breathing interpretive trail connecting the waterfront with downtown Tacoma, which will also include a storm water purification system for the polluted runoff from Hilltop. There was excitement. There were plans for fancy seating. In celebration, the Tacoma Art Commission turned the corridor into a temporary art installation complete with exhibits titled TacomaBall, Rogue Rhizomes and Ghost Prairie.

Then reality hit. The University of Washington brain trust recoiled over the fancy design and costs of its portion of the corridor, as well as the loss of a bike-friendly path through campus.

Today, a new set of plans rest on Chancellor Debra Friedman's desk. The storm water filtration ponds are now subtle. The pedestrian and bike paths are more functional. Historic elements have been saved and incorporated into the public gathering places and public art installations. And best of all, the price tag rings in at $4 million with construction to be complete by this fall.

Now it's the city of Tacoma's turn to fall in line. It's segments of the Prairie Line - south of campus into the Brewery District and north as it crosses Pacific Avenue and heads toward the Thea Foss Waterway, the end of the line for the transcontinental railroad of yesteryear - needs to meld with UWT's design. The city has plans for a pedestrian/bike trail and linear park through the city - plans and engineering it intendeds to carry out now that it has received a $465,000 grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council.

What will the city do about the railing running through BNSF's private property?

Discover the answer and see the city's proposed designs for its portion of the Prairie Line Tail at an open forum from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at the Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Avenue. Yes, open forum. You may chime in with your own design thoughts. Would you like to see a taco truck every 20 feet? Chime in. Do you think it would be cool to have outdoor tap hits through the Brewery District? Who wouldn't?

For more on the Prairie Line Trail visit www.cityoftacoma.org/planning or download the pdf of the Prairie Line Trail presentation from February 4, 2013.

March 7, 2013 at 7:38am

Comment of the Day: People are going to be living off state government assistance


Yesterday's comment of the day was from Bethann Garteiz in response to our coverage of Pierce Transits restructuring, including a focus on those with disabilities, tax issues and the public forums.

Garteiz writes,

Nobody likes tax increases; I get that. But thousands of people becoming unemployed all at the same time because they lost their transportation is crushing to the economy of any city. A larger unemployment rate is not a desirable option under any circumstances. The failure of Proposition 1 last November and the subsequent bus cuts means that countless thousands more people in Pierce County are going to be living off state government assistance, and that is going to be much more expensive than simply giving Pierce Transit the reasonable amount that they were asking for. Thinking in terms of short-term savings is easy to do when the economy is rough, like it is now; ignoring the long-term view for the short-term savings is the worst way anybody can base his economic plans on, no matter what the situation is.

March 6, 2013 at 8:29am

Today: Pierce Transit to host its first Route Shout meeting

PIERCE TRANSIT: It will haul out the big boards for the public service reduction information meetings. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson


Late last year, we got our company Corolla impounded (don't ask), and had no choice but to explore the Pierce Transit bus system. we found ourselves pleasantly convenienced: There were plenty of bars and city services within busing distance, and the hands-free commute allowed for reading and ear-budding and window-gazing like we were in high school again. We'd study the Pierce Transit map every day, looking for new destinations. It was like a game.

But for daily commuters traversing Pierce County's 292 square miles trying to get to work, school, medical clinics and such, Pierce Transit's public transportation system is about to be a darkening nightmare, especially for those with disabilities. That's because cuts in service are on the way due to the loss of Proposition 1 in November 2012. Pierce Transit currently operates 417,000 annual service hours. Once the service reduction plan is implemented, Pierce Transit will operate 300,000 annual hours, a 28 percent cut.

What the hell? Pierce Transit will tell you at nine public meetings beginning today at noon inside the Pierce Transit Training Center. The reductions will happen in late September 2013. Don't get caught holding the map in the middle of nowhere. Get your butt to a meeting.

LAKEWOOD: Wednesday, March 6, noon to 2 p.m., Pierce Transit Training Center (Rainier Room), 3720 96th St. SW, Lakewood

>>> Served by Routes 48, 300

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON - TACOMA: Thursday, March 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m., William W. Phillip Hall (Jane Russell Commons), 1918 Pacific Ave., Tacoma 

>>> Served by Routes 1, 48, 53, ST 590 (Northbound),ST 594, ST Link light rail

NORTHEAST TACOMA: Wednesday, March 13, 4-6 p.m., Northeast Tacoma Police Substation, 4731 Norpoint Way NE, Tacoma

>>> Served by Route 62

PARKLAND / SPANAWAY: Monday, March 18 5-7 p.m., Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library, 13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma

>>> Served by Route 1

PUYALLUP: Thursday, March 19 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Puyallup Library (North Room), 324 S. Meridian, Puyallup

>>>Served by Routes 400, 402, 409

GIG HARBOR: Wednesday, March 20, 5-7 p.m., Gig Harbor Civic Center (Council Chambers), 3510 Grandview St., Gig Harbor

>>> Served by Route 100

PUYALLUP: Tuesday, March 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Puyallup Library (North Room), 324 S. Meridian, Puyallup

>>> Served by Routes 400, 402, 409

UNIVERSITY PLACE: Tuesday, April 9, 6-7:30 p.m., University Place Library, 3609 Market Pl. W., Ste. 100, University Place

>>> Served by Route 2

Detailed service reduction plan information is available online at www.piercetransit.org, or by calling customer service at 253.58.8000. A public hearing on implementation of the service reduction plan is scheduled for the May 13, 2013 Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners meeting.

February 1, 2013 at 12:48pm

Murray Morgan Bridge opens in Tacoma

MURRAY MORGAN BRIDGE REOPENING: The first vehicle is a motorcycle! Photo credit: Kate Swarner


After six long years of closure due to safety issues, the Murray Morgan Bridge saw the dawn of a new era today at noon. The bridge reopened not only to car traffic, but new pedestrian walkways now allow walkabouts over the Thea Foss Waterway too.

Below are a few shots we snapped during the reopening.

LINK: Murray Morgan Bridge history

Filed under: Tacoma, Community, Transportation,

January 21, 2013 at 6:47am

COMMENT OF THE DAY: Ride your bike to school


Yesterday's comment of the day comes from Jon in response to the Weekly Volcano's intern Mckenna's story on how the failure of the Pierce Transit Prop 1 measure will make it harder for students to get to school.

Jon writes,

Those in decent physical condition can always ride a bicycle as an alternative and get rain gear (there are inexpensive bike rain capes at Amazon). However this won't work in ice or snow days on the road of which fortunately are few in numbers. Myself, I obtained a Veltop (Classic + model) windshield, top cover with vinyl transparent side curtains to ride most of the year on a bicycle without getting wet (although with this particular bicycle accessory I also can't ride during times of high winds either). Riding with my Veltop is far more pleasant than riding with a rain cape but it is also much more expensive and bulky.

Another alternative is to get a under 30 mph gas powered scooter (used perhaps $750 or so) as this doesn't require a motorcycle endorsement. (I think that no insurance is required too though I am not sure of this.)

The physically disabled Pierce Transit users will be hurt the most by cutbacks, though.

January 20, 2013 at 10:12am

Pierce Transit cuts will affect students


Friday, I caught the 400 Bus from Puyallup to Downtown Tacoma to meet with fellow Tacoma School of the Arts students. Besides the school, we share dependence on Pierce Transit. The topic of our roundtable was the defeat of the Prop 1 measure and the resulting outcomes.

"It is going to be a hassle for people trying to get to and from work," says Leah. "I work on the weekends."

The people around her nodded in agreement. A shared concern was the 34 percent reduction in service beginning in Septemeber, including the reduction of weekend Pierce Transit bus service.

"It is also hard for the disabled people who can't drive," Leah continued.

"What about the elderly?" asked another student. "Most just like to take the bus to the supermarket to shop on weekends."

Passengers aren't the only people affected by the defeat of Prop 1. Many Pierce Transit employees will be losing their jobs in September when the budget cuts go into effect. One student said, "If you know you won't have a job why work? I would just quit."

Sadly, that's the plan for many bus drivers.

My friend Emma McCrummen expressed her frustration about her bus being cut. "My route will be cut because of Prop. 1. My only way to downtown is gone. And that is a big issue - especially for SOTA and UWT students who live out of district, like myself. With the times changed and routes cut most students have no way to get to school on time."

As of now frustrated bus riders are complaining and trying to get the word out to find ways to lessen the oncoming blow.

A What's next for Transit? panel discussion will be held at noon Thursday, Jan. 24 inside the UWT Carwein Auditorium about the future of public transportation in Tacoma.

LINK: Hi, I'm Mckenna. I'm a student at the Tacoma School of the Arts. Thanks for following my Daily Trip

January 15, 2013 at 3:46pm

Hello, welcome to Kenna's Daily Trip!

MCKENNA SNYDER: Ride with me around cool cat Puyallup. Photo credit: Ravelle Snyder


Bonjour! My name is Mckenna. I'm interning at the Weekly Volcano for the next three weeks - specifically Jan. 14-31. In that time I will be covering things such as events, restaurants, pass times and the must sees in Puyallup. But before I go on blogging I wanted to formally introduce myself to you.

I am 16 years young, I attend the Tacoma School of the Arts, where all the aspiring artists go, and I am a vocal major - although my true passion is writing. I like things such as hanging out at sushi bars while watching reruns of Doctor Who on my phone and bicycling at night in Paris. I am also a book harlot. I go to bed every night with a different book. Of course, my favorite book series of all time would be Harry Potter, but the Night World series is a close second. Haven't read Night World? I would highly recommend it if you're a fan of supernatural romance or cheesy sob stories.

I live in Puyallup, the South Hill area. I'm also am an avid bus rider. I have an hour-long bus ride everyday to and from school. During my bus rides I meet many types of people and let me tell you, bus people are fun. Many people shy away from buses because they don't like the idea of sitting in a vehicle full of random strangers, but I have found that you meet really amazing people while on the bus. I can recall one time while sitting in the back - the place with the best view - and watching a guy board the bus. This guy looked like your average Joe - blue beanie hat, a sweater, khaki pants and he took the front handicapped seat. Since the bus was so crowded I practically had people sitting on my lap. He was carrying a large bag and from what I saw he looked like he had a seriously rough day and was looking forward to getting home. That said, when the bus pulled up to a stop and a bunch of little old ladies hopped on, he shot up out of his seat to let them sit. It made me smile since I have seen plenty of people do the opposite. Not only that, but this stranger made a bunch of other younger people stand up for them! In all, bus people are cool.

On that note, in my blog I also hope to share cool bus stories and people's opinions on the bus cuts. Because as I described, most buses are crowded enough, and with Prop 1 rejected, it's going to get a whole lot worse for us bus lovers.

I hope that you enjoy my blog while I am here and that I can share my love for Puyallup to you all by talking about some of my most favorite places to visit and see. It is a great town with lots to offer.

January 4, 2013 at 8:56am

Why there's an interactive mural in downtown Tacoma

LIVE DOWNTOWN MURAL: Market Street mural encourages living downtown by writing on the art.


A vacant building on the corner of 11th and Market in downtown Tacoma has some newfound pizazz. Namely a mural painted by Downtown on the Go, a transportation advocate for residents and businesses downtown.

DotG's mural is interactive. Passersby can pick up a piece of chalk and add in their own commentary on what they love or don't love about downtown. In short, DotG has developed the coolest survey ever.

And they intend to listen to the wall.

"We're hoping for real feedback about living downtown," says Kristina Walker, Downtown on the Go manager. "We know that there are some outdated misperceptions of downtown Tacoma, but we also know there are some real reasons that people aren't making that choice (to live downtown) even with the many benefits of living close to work. We want to hear about those and, with the greater downtown community, begin to address them."

Eventually the chalk-written comments will fade away, but DotG is taking daily photos to record what's written and will collect the input throughout the project.

"Our Live Downtown program is in a pilot phase," says Walker. "As we develop the next phase of the project, this input is imperative to the discussion about how we market downtown living and the program."

She is also happy to see comments that simply show why downtown is already cool or why people go downtown. Walker says the comments will help DotG continue to expand transportation options and resources for downtown employees and residents.

LINK: Photo updates of the Live Downtown mural

Filed under: Community, Arts, Tacoma, Transportation,

December 20, 2012 at 7:43am

Tacoma wins another Greenroads award

ALASKA STREET: It is now a Greenroads Silver Certified road. Photo credit: greenroads.org


Remember this past spring when the Cheney Stadium Sustainable Stormwater Project was awarded a Greenroads Silver Certification, making Tacoma's Clay Huntington Way the first Greenroad in Tacoma and the fourth in the world? It was a glorious green day in Tacoma. Actually, it was a glorious silver day.

Good news. Tacoma throughways Wapato Lake Drive, Asotin Court and Alaska Street are now certified Greenroads, too. In fact, Alaska Street is Silver Certified.

Wapato and Asotin are currently in the review process.  

With four streets, Tacoma is the first U.S. city to have multiple Greenroads.

An international standard, the Greenroads Rating System is a collection of sustainable roadway design and construction best practices that address water, environment, access, community impact, construction practices and materials. There are 11 project requirements that must be completed for a roadway to be considered a Greenroad. After a rigorous review process, the Greenroads Foundation assigns a project score based on the number of points earned by meeting the requirements and achieving credits. This score translates to one of four certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Evergreen.

Want to know the best part? These Greenroad projects actually cost substantially less than a more conventional roadway project would.

"Cheney, Wapato and Asotin where about half the cost of traditional improvements. Alaska Street was less too, but a much smaller fraction," says Jessica Knickerbocker of the city of Tacoma's Environmental Services, Science & Engineering Division. "But the stormwater requirements were less for Alaska Street and we had only a small portion of the project with green infrastructure."  

LINK: Cheney Stadium Sustainable Stormwater Project is actually cool

December 17, 2012 at 10:30am

Bandito Betty Lou Who enjoys car insurance news!



Bandito Betty Lou Who isn't a huge fan of jingtinglers, floofloovers, trumtookas, blumbloopas and the other wack musical instruments her fellow Whos bang during the holiday season. Every two years she gets the hell out of Whoville and spends the holiday season in the South Sound.

She's back. The Weekly Volcano secretly attached a GPS device to her whocarnio. We're tracking her. Apparently, she attended her first same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday in Tacoma.

This morning, we caught Bandito Betty Lou Who jumping with joy at LeMay - America's Car Museum over the news it finalized an agreement retaining State Farm, the museum’s largest and longest-running corporate supporter, as presenting sponsor through 2014. Joyous news, indeed. She was also a bit tickled that Lemay will award ACM collector's ceramic mugs to those who join the museum's membership before the end of the year. However, she zoomed off before we could discover her favorite classic car. Don't fret. The Weekly Volcano is hot on her trail. Expect more Lou Who action tomorrow.

LEMAY - AMERICA'S CAR MUSEUM, 10 A.M. TO 5 P.M. DAILY, 2702 E. D ST., TACOMA, 253.779.8490

LINK: Bandito Betty Lou Who jumps archive

LINK: Weekly Volcano loves the holidays, cats and crafts, so we joined Pinterest.

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