The City of Tacoma continues its work to develop the innovative solutions and strategic partnerships needed to improve infrastructure in our city.
In support of Tacoma's economic growth, and to set the stage for the completion of a public amenity that further enhances downtown Tacoma's revitalization, the City of Tacoma worked closely with BNSF Railway over the last seven years to reach agreements on donations of BNSF properties to the City and property access to BNSF’s site in South Tacoma. The first set of agreements pertains to the Prairie Line railroad right-of-way, which traverses downtown Tacoma between approximately South 15th and South 26th streets. What is envisioned is a Prairie Line Trail that serves as a non-motorized path connecting Dock Street and the Thea Foss Waterway with the University of Washington Tacoma and downtown amenities. There will also be a future opportunity to connect to the Water Ditch Trail along South Tacoma Way.
The Tacoma Fire Department remodeled former Fire Station #5, creating a joint use facility for public safety agencies. The Marine Security Operations Center will enhance police and fire maritime response capabilities for the Commencement Bay and South Puget Sound area. It also deployed three new engines and two medic units.
The City of Tacoma received grants totaling $1.5 million and worked with the community to complete 13 miles of bikeways and pedestrian improvements across Tacoma. The final project of the top four most prioritized projects listed in the Mobility Master Plan’s short term to-do list, this project received a ForeverGreen Council Award in 2014. It benefited many neighborhoods and business districts including Fernhill, Lincoln, Downtown Tacoma, Stadium and Proctor. In addition to providing 13.1 miles of bikeways in Tacoma, the project included:
- Tacoma’s first wayfinding signage for cyclists and pedestrians
Grind and overlay of 12 blocks which grinds down the top two inches of the asphalt driving surface and then replaces it with new asphalt.
- 12 intersection improvements
- 3 flashing beacons that alert drivers to the presence of a crosswalk.
- 28 ADA curb ramps making sidewalks, street crossings, and the other pedestrian routes that make up the public right-of-way accessible to people with disabilities.
- Traffic calming on Park Avenue in the form of traffic islands, speed humps, streetlighting or trees
- Tacoma’s first in-street bike counters detect and record bicycle and pedestrian volumes 24 hours a day, providing valuable information about the patterns of cycling in Tacoma.
Safety improvements were facilitated by the City of Tacoma at 120 intersections spanning all five Council Districts through a $1.3 million federal grant, which included the installation of more durable and visible pavement markings and upgraded signage for increased reflectivity.
Construction began on pedestrian crossing improvements at more than 60 locations across Tacoma. $2.5 million was allocated from the 2013-2014 General Fund budget to identify, prioritize and construct these improvements. Recognizing and selecting each project site was achieved through six community meetings and through an online survey in which the City of Tacoma received more than 650 responses. This project will be completed this year.
In 2013 and 2014, the City of Tacoma installed 186 ADA compliant curb ramps throughout Tacoma, and an additional 220 ADA curb ramps were installed by both Environmental Services, Tacoma Public Utilities and through private development.
Each year, the City of Tacoma sets out to make sure that schools across Tacoma are safe for our youngest community members as they make their way to classes each day. Crews improved or maintained 175 school legends painted on pavement indicating that one is entering a school zone (this is the paint on the pavement that says “School”) , 61 school zone crosswalks, 40 school zone signs and expanded nine school zones.
Enhancing the downtown experience by keeping the area inviting, visitors to downtown businesses and attractions now have the opportunity to take advantage of reduced parking rates in some City of Tacoma garages. Rates were lowered from $2.50 per hour to a flat $2 for up to three hours, to provide a more attractive parking option for short term users. At the same time, there was a slight increase of 25 cents to the on-street meter rates. Through the last quarter of 2014 over 1,200 short term transactions were processed.
City of Tacoma crews worked to permanently repair 10,000 Potholes (approximately 4,000 individual potholes and 6,000 through lane replacements). Surface treatments were also applied to prolong the lives of arterial and residential streets, covering 12.9 lane miles of arterial roads which included S. 56th from S. Alaska to S. Orchard streets and 101 blocks of residential streets. Crews completed 68 blocks of residential asphalt overlay, a type of repair that is extremely cost effective with new pavement that can last many years.
Energy efficiency measures were installed to the historic Tacoma Municipal Building, which was built in 1930. The project enhances the City of Tacoma’s sustainability efforts by reducing energy consumption in the facility by approximately 30 percent. Upgrades included the replacement of a 40-year-old rooftop heating and ventilation system, upgrade of inefficient lighting in the garage, and installation of digital controls on approximately 150 heat pumps. More than 50 percent of the $1.1 million project was funded through a Washington State Department of Commerce grant and Tacoma Power conservation incentives.
The City of Tacoma’s Fleet Services was named one of the top leading fleets in North America in 2014 by Government Fleet Magazine. The 50 public sector fleet organizations recognized made the list because of their leadership, efficiency and vision for the future.
A construction contract was awarded to the City for Tacoma Avenue South Bridge improvements in the amount of $11.5 million. The project will remove and replace the bridge deck, replace damaged girders, repair abutments, and paint the bridge. $11.3 million of the $11.5 million project is being paid through grant funds with completion of the project expected to occur in December 2015.
The City of Tacoma and the Washington State Department of Ecology partnered to upgrade the City’s Asphalt Batch Plant in 2014. The City uses asphalt from the plant to repair potholes and maintain residential streets. The upgrades will allow the plant to use asphalt grindings from road repairs and asphalt shingles to make new asphalt for use in road maintenance projects. It is estimated that this will save the City between $4 and $7 per ton, depending on the amount of recycled materials used in making the new asphalt. Based on Environmental Protection Agency studies, each ton of asphalt recycled prevents about 0.23 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. With these plant upgrades, the City may be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 100 tons per year.