**UPDATE** Tacoma Public Works: Crosswalk improvements ahead citywide

The City of Tacoma’s Public Works Department is in the early stages of a $2.5 million project that aims to improve crosswalk infrastructure citywide.

The so-called Pedestrian Crossings Improvement Project will identify, evaluate, upgrade, and in some instances create new pedestrian crosswalks throughout Tacoma, according to Tacoma Public Works Director Kurtis D. Kingsolver, who outlined the plan in a Feb. 20 memo to Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax. The City will direct approximately $300,000 from the General Fund to each of the five Tacoma City Council districts, and an additional $1 million within the downtown area, for needed improvements identified by community members. In addition to installing marked crosswalks, other improvements could include curb ramp and sidewalk construction, curbing and drainage improvements, limited paving, pedestrian-activated beacons, and accessibility upgrades to existing traffic signals, according to Kingsolver.

The Pedestrian Crossings Improvement Project could bring more marked crosswalks like this one outside Tacoma City Hall to neighborhoods citywide. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

The Pedestrian Crossings Improvement Project could bring more marked crosswalks like this one outside Tacoma City Hall to neighborhoods citywide. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

The project kicked off last month when City staff contacted neighborhood councils, business districts, and other key stakeholders with information about the project and a request to evaluate their area’s pedestrian infrastructure improvement needs. This month, City staff will conduct one public meeting in each council district to gather crossing improvement needs from key stakeholders. The City will prioritize proposed improvements based on community feedback; proximity to schools, bus stops, libraries, parks, and other public centers; pedestrian and vehicular volumes; crossing locations and their relations to principal arterials and minor arterials; vehicular and vehicular/pedestrian collisions; existing facilities such as traffic signals and crosswalks; proximity to accessible routes and bike/trail systems; and the time, effort, and cost to implement the improvements.

Beginning next month, City staff will present the draft list of prioritized improvements at a public meeting in each council district. Staff will also make a presentation to Tacoma City Council’s Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee. In June, the City is scheduled to put the design-build project out to bid. A contractor is expected to be selected in August. Construction is expected to begin in late-summer and continue through the middle of next year.

UPDATE — Weds., March 12, 2014 @ 4:12 p.m.

The City of Tacoma has released the following schedule of public meetings to discuss crosswalk improvements.

031214_CROSSWALK_MEETINGS_WEB

Each meeting is open to attendees that work or live in any part of Tacoma. The meetings will be held between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Those unable to attend the discussions in person are welcome to “talk” to City staff online at cityoftacoma.org/talk. Residents may fill out a questionnaire online at cityoftacoma.org/talk. The questionnaire will be available beginning Mon., March 17 and run through April 14. A second round of May meetings will keep the conversation going as staff share community feedback and the resulting draft list of prioritized projects.