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Walking & Biking Path Through Downtown

The City of Tacoma is continuing the public planning and design process for the Prairie Line corridor.  This rails-to-trails project is converting the former Prairie Line rail corridor into a pedestrian/bicycle corridor and linear park through the heart of Downtown Tacoma.  The Prairie Line will link several districts of downtown to the waterfront and our citywide active transportation network.  The City and University view the Prairie Line as an opportunity to create a truly unique public asset that will accommodate active transportation, celebrate Tacoma’s history and culture, help restore the legacy of our industrial past, and become an important economic and community catalyst for downtown Tacoma. 

Recently, at the South Downtown Station Area Working Group meeing, UWT provided an update on their design for the Prairie Line Trail through UWT campus.  UWT has a conceptual design selected and plans to go to construction on phase 1 in summer 2013. 

The Prairie Line Trail – UWT Station seeks to redevelop the portion of the old Prairie Rail Line railroad spur that runs through the University of Washington Tacoma campus into an active, open space for the community, while responding to the historical significance of the railroad terminus and the industrial past surrounding the tracks.  The project provides a unique opportunity for UW Tacoma to connect with the City of Tacoma while enhancing open space on campus.  Design element goals include:

  • Developing the Hood Corridor as an essential open space for UWT campus
  • Respecting and enhancing the gentle curve of tracks into the aesthetic of the open space development
  • Celebrate and leverage oportunities provided by community connections
  • Respond to the industrial past of surrounding area
  • Honor the historic significance of the railroad terminus
  • Incorporate sustainable strategies for storm water management
  • Provide accessible campus connections
  • Provide a safe and secure campus pathway and civic heart of campus

The City of Tacoma also presented at the meeting, to announce that planning for the City’s two trail segments will begin soon, and to provide an overview of three options for bike/pedestrian crossings of S. 21st Street which is challenging due to the amount of traffic and the grades.  The City engaged Fehr and Peers to analyze potential crossings.  The three at-grade crossing alternatives they developed are all viable and safe, but present differing trade-offs in terms of convenience for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.  The City is now taking these alternatives to the public for their input, and will ultimately make a recommendation to the City Council’s Environment and Public Works Committee, likely in September.  The alternatives are available online at the City’s webpage below.

For everyone who is interested in participating in the design, there are currently three designs being discussed for the 21st Street crossing.  To enhance or communicate your perspective go to:  www.cityoftacoma.org/Planning or www.tacoma.uw.edu/administrative-services/prairie-line-trail-uwt-station.


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