City Council approves plan for Link light rail station

Tacoma City Council approved a resolution Sept. 14 that furthers a plan to build a LINK light rail station near South 11th and Commerce Streets.

The resolution directs City Manager Eric Anderson to collaborate with Sound Transit to finalize a proposal and seek approval from the Sound Transit Board, and to move forward to secure funds for the project once the design is completed and approved.

According to Public Works traffic engineer Kurtis Kingsolver, design plans for the $350,000 project — which includes 40-foot-long, seven-feet wide platforms, security cameras, and shelter for waiting passengers — are 60 per cent complete. Costs related to construction and maintenance are funded through Limited Tax General Obligation bonds. If the City and Sound Transit agree on the plan, the design for the project will be completed in early-October, bid documents will be completed in late-October, and advertisements for bids will be posted in November. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2011 and be completed by April 2011.

Currently, there are no stops between South Ninth Street and South 15th Street. Adding a new stop, however, will increase the amount of time it takes for Link to travel between Tacoma Dome Station and Theater District Station from 10 minutes to 12 minutes. The station would also relocate two loading zone stalls on Commerce Street about a half-block away.

Several downtown stakeholders have pushed for a long time for the City and Sound Transit to add another station along the 1.6-mile line.

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President David W. Graybill wrote a letter to councilmembers supporting the resolution. “This stop is extremely important to nearby office building tenants and to the overall objective of achieving and maintaining density in the core of the downtown,” wrote Graybill. “It is a project . . . that has merit in our strategies for development and the convenience and availability of transportation options.”

During the council meeting, Tacoma resident Rock Sherman spoke in support of the stop during the public comment period. “There’s a great need for a stop at South 11th Street,” he said. “Even though this brings the 12 minutes between streetcar trips rather than, it’s a useful addition to the streetcar line.”

“This is a really important asset for those of us who work downtown and spend a lot of our waking hours in downtown for work and professional life,” said Councilmember Ryan Mello.

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For earlier Index coverage, click on the following links:

Plan adds new downtown Link light rail stop by next spring (08/31/10) —

City Hall presentation Tuesday on new downtown Tacoma Link light rail stop (08/30/10) —

City envisions Link light rail station near 11th Street (01/08/10) —