Design plans under way for Schuster Parkway trail corridor

The City of Tacoma is moving forward on a plan to create a trail corridor along Schuster Parkway that aims...

The City of Tacoma is moving forward on a plan to create a trail corridor along Schuster Parkway that aims to improve connectivity from Thea Foss Waterway and downtown Tacoma to Old Town and the Ruston Way shoreline promenade, according to city staff. To that end, the city has contracted with a design firm to create conceptual plans for this corridor. It is the first step toward enhancing a key segment of the Dome to Defiance public access system for Tacoma residents.

Details of the plan were shared in a Sept. 10 memo from community and economic development director Ricardo Noguera to city manager T. C. Broadnax. According to Noguera, Tacoma City Council allocated $60,000 in gas tax revenue for a feasibility and design study four years ago. The project was subsequently added to the city’s Capital Facilities Program (CFP) and Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

A preliminary analysis of potential trail alignments was performed as part of the city’s Shoreline Master Program update and Mobility Master Plan. Upon adoption of the Shoreline Master Program, Tacoma City Council requested that staff initiate a process to utilize the allocated gas tax revenue to evaluate the desirability and feasibility of mobility improvement alternatives for the Schuster Parkway corridor.

Multiple trail alignments have been identified through the update to the Shoreline Master Program for further evaluation, including an overwater or waterside trail, a reconfiguration of Schuster Parkway and the existing sidewalk, and the Bayside Trail, according to Noguera’s memo. Other project considerations include linkages to the Stadium Way improvements and Pacific Avenue streetscape design, Ruston Way streetscape planning, as well as slope stability measures along Bayside Slope.

The city has since contracted with SvR Design Company to develop a conceptual design for the Schuster Parkway trail corridor. As part of the design process, staff is considering the following objectives: improved integration of adjacent hillside neighborhoods with the shoreline; improved connectivity of Schuster Parkway shoreline with Ruston Way and downtown Tacoma; enhanced visual access of the water; accommodation for multiple modes of transportation including bicycle and pedestrian facilities; incorporation of stormwater as a design feature; improved slope stability; and design treatments that promote public safety and legible public spaces.

“Upon completion of the preliminary feasibility study, staff will provide the city council’s environment and public works committee with a preliminary recommendation for a preferred trail alignment,” according to Noguera. “Development of a final conceptual design will entail additional alternatives analysis and feasibility review.”

The project is expected to be completed within the next nine months. Stakeholder meetings will be held through October.

Schuster Parkway Trail Corridor. (IMAGE COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA)
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