New downtown Tacoma Commerce Street Link station open

Sound Transit and the City of Tacoma Thursday welcomed light rail passenger service to the new Commerce Street stop in downtown Tacoma. The new Tacoma Link station at 11th and Commerce Street marks the sixth stop on the 1.6-mile line that serves as a major connector in downtown Tacoma. “Downtown On the Go” will host a dedication ceremony at the new stop at 2 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 29 to celebrate the opening.

The project was paid for and led by the city of Tacoma in coordination with Sound Transit. It includes two 40-foot platforms — one on the west side of Commerce Street for southbound riders and another on the east side for northbound travelers — platform lighting, accessibility ramps, security cameras, and passenger shelters that incorporate etched glass artwork by Tacoma artist Chandler O’Leary. The new station opens at a time when ridership on Tacoma Link is growing, increasing 16 percent in the last year to 3,330 riders a day, according to Sound Transit officials.

“Our new light rail station will not only give business district transit users greater access to Tacoma Link, but also bring residents, commuters, and visitors to more destinations, making it even easier for people to get around downtown,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland.

“The additional stop will connect people to businesses and keep feet on the street. Making Tacoma business-friendly is important for the vitality of our city,” said Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO.

Last year, the City of Tacoma proposed adding a Tacoma Link station north of Convention Center Station to expand commuter access to the business district and improve mobility in downtown Tacoma. The two agencies reached an agreement in September to build the new stop.

“Sound Transit is pleased to have collaborated with the City on building another station that will increase access to our popular light rail line,” said Sound Transit Board and Tacoma City Councilmember Jake Fey. “The Tacoma City Council’s willingness to invest in transit provides an outstanding model for how public partnerships can benefit our citizens.”

Sound Transit completed the Tacoma Link light rail line in 2003. The line connects the downtown business district with commuter rail and bus service at Tacoma Dome Station, with stops at South 25th Street, Union Station, Convention Center Station, and the Theater District. Peak service operates every 12 minutes (instead of 10 minutes) between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays to accommodate the additional stop. Tacoma Link service is available from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and holidays. Riding Tacoma Link is free. Additional details about riding Tacoma Link are available online at http://www.soundtransit.org/Schedules/Tacoma-Light-Link-Rail.xml .

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For earlier Tacoma Daily Index coverage of the new Link light rail station, click on the following links:

New Link light rail stations open Thursday (09/12/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2035054&more=0

New Link station artwork honors Tacoma’s rail history (09/01/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2030562&more=0

Downtown Tacoma’s new link light rail stations could open in July (06/16/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1993049&more=0

Artists sought for new downtown Tacoma Link light rail station (02/22/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1929332&more=0

Sound Transit board approves new downtown Link station proposal (09/27/10) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1845600&more=0

City Council approves plan for Link light rail station (09/20/10) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1841627&more=0

Plan adds new downtown Link light rail stop by next spring (08/31/10) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1830911&more=0

City Hall presentation Tuesday on new downtown Tacoma Link light rail stop (08/30/10) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1829842&more=0

City envisions Link light rail station near 11th Street (01/08/10) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1694358&more=0