Community Commitment for Safe Youth

Due to COVID-19, Tacoma is facing a projected loss of approximately 4,000 summer program slots that provide safe and supportive spaces for many of Tacoma’s Black and Brown youth. That’s why Downtown On the Go’s board and staff have joined Graduate Tacoma and many, many others to show our commitment to the support and safety of Tacoma’s youth.

When you participate in a DOTG event, you are entering a space that is committed to the support and safety of Tacoma’s Black and Brown youth. 

The Community Commitment for Safe Youth aims to inform and hold residents, law enforcement, and government leaders accountable to the safety of Black and Brown youth.

Our purpose is to be an advocate for anyone whose daily life is downtown, and part of that is a commitment to the support and safety of Tacoma’s youth. When you are participating in the 2020 Walk Tacoma Scavenger Hunt and traveling throughout downtown, we invite you to be a part of #CompassionateTacoma and to advocate for the safety of Tacoma’s Black and Brown youth.

Join us in making Tacoma a more welcoming, connected, resilient and vibrant community.

Take the pledge.

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2020 Scavenger Hunt

If you love healthy competition, the chance to win cool prizes, and exploring downtown Tacoma, the Walk Tacoma Scavenger Hunt is for you! Taking place virtually August 5 – 12, the free challenge will send you on a journey through downtown to decode clues, do activities, and visit locations on foot, on bike, or by bus and Link. All participants are asked to wear a face mask and stay socially distanced.

The event, sponsored by Pierce TransitXfinityCommencement BankSpaceworks Tacoma and Downtown Tacoma Partnership will be 100% virtual. Participants should register online by Monday, August 3rd, and will receive details and clue sheets via email at noon on Wednesday, August 5th. On the hunt, participants complete as many activities and questions as possible. Results are due by noon on Wednesday, August 12th by submitting your answers through a form at In-person registration will be available at the Downtown On the Go Shop (on S. 11th between Pacific Ave. and Commerce St.) on Monday, August 3rd from 4pm-6pm. There will also be an option to drop off answers in-person and collect prizes at the DOTG Shop on August 12th from 11am-1pm and 4pm-6pm. Appropriate social distancing and wearing of face masks will be required.

Build a team of colleagues from work, grab a pal or two, work individually, or bring the family to learn more about active transportation, explore great Tacoma locations, and get out into the community. All ages are welcome. Scavenger hunters can work individually or create a team up to five members. Prizes will be awarded to teams and individuals who achieve certain point levels based on responses and activities. Engage with Downtown On the Go social media during the hunt by using unique hashtags, sharing photos and checking in at specific locations. Don’t forget to bring your smartphone!

The Walk Tacoma series, sponsored by MultiCare, is a five-event walking series. The fun, themed walks, now in their eleventh year, encourage people to enjoy downtown on foot by introducing new walking routes and sharing information about the community and its history through the guided tours. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 walks will be virtual and can be accessed on the walk page at

For more information on the full Walk Tacoma Series visit or find us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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No Helmet Requirements in Tacoma beginning July 20

On July 7, 2020 Tacoma City C0uncil voted to get rid of the helmet law and updated other mobility code to be more equitable and reflect current best practices. The code updates allow scooters to use bike lanes and decriminalize biking on the sidewalk in business corridors where it might be unsafe to bike on the road. The new laws outlined in Ordinance 28678 go into effect July 20, 2020.  

A key component of the updates is a repeal of the helmet law, which disproptionanately impacted people of color and has not proven to collectively increase safety for communities. If fact, the more people on bikes, the safer we all are, and helmet laws decrease the number of people on bikes.

  • Research shows that communities fare better when governments do not impose helmet laws. Coupled with work to reduce speed laws and increase the amount of safe infrastructure for multi-modal transportation, the elimination of the helmet law provides opportunities for all people to move safely around the city on all modes without fear of enforcement while removing a barrier to getting new people to try walking, biking, and micromobility options.
  • The more people who use options, the safer all users are. A 2003 study, published in the journal Injury Prevention, found that  “the likelihood that a given person walking or bicycling will be struck by a motorist varies inversely with the amount of walking or bicycling.” More people walking means less people are hit by cars.

We’re so glad it’s not a crime to ride a bike without a helmet AND we still encourage everyone to wear a helmet for safety. We sell inexpensive helmets in our shop and are continuing work to create more community helmet giveaways with our partners at the Puyallup Watershed Initiative.

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Meet the Staff: Emily

Name:  Emily Nakada-Alm
Occupation: Events Coordinator
Employer: Downtown: On the Go!
Gets around by: Walking, Biking, Bus

Where do you live and where do you work?
I live near Stadium High School and work in downtown Tacoma.

How do you get there?
I bike or walk when the weather cooperates, or take bus route 16 when it doesn’t! The bus stop is a short walk from my home.

How does it all add up? How much money or time do you save?
Expenses for driving to, and parking in downtown can definitely add up!  If I were to drive to and park in downtown, it would cost approximately $20/day. Overall, I save around $400 per month by leaving my car at home.

What’s in it for you?
Taking the bus only adds a few more minutes to my commute, and luckily my job provides me with an ORCA card so I save money and don’t have to search for parking. I live a short distance from downtown and other surrounding neighborhoods, so I can always easily walk to where I need to go. Even though it takes a bit longer, walking or biking allows me to become more familiar with my neighborhood, and I always feel great afterwards!

Do you have any tips for people who may be trying these modes for the first time?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with bus schedules and routes, but I would suggest jumping in and finding one that works for you. Once you go through the experience a couple of times, you’ll feel more and more comfortable in navigating public transit options. Walking or biking to work will show you more of your community, and help support a more livable downtown.

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Use of Parks during a Pandemic with Rubén Casas

Rubén Casas of the University of Washington Tacoma discusses how parks are used and by whom during the COIVD-19 Pandemic.

“Music:” or “Royalty Free Music from Bensound”

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Reclaiming Streets with Rubén Casas

Rubén Casas of the University of Washington Tacoma discusses who streets are designed for and some of the contradictions arising during the COIVD-19 Pandemic and protests demanding accountability for the murder of black people by police and other injustices.

“Music:” or “Royalty Free Music from Bensound”

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Transit Use after a Pandemic with Rubén Casas

Rubén Casas of the University of Washington Tacoma discusses what transit use will look like after the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Music:” or “Royalty Free Music from Bensound”

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COVID-19 and Public Space with Rubén Casas

Check out more of our Moving Forward Series here!

Rubén Casas of the University of Washington Tacoma discusses the long-term impacts of Tacoma’s reluctance to rethink public space.

“Music:” or “Royalty Free Music from Bensound”

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Thank you Transit Drivers!

We love the transit operators in Tacoma and Pierce County! We miss seeing them and cannot wait to ride the bus safely again.


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Injustice in Our Streets

This week, there was a continuation of murder and violence against black people in the United States. These events highlighted the ways that racism is baked into our systems. We invite you to join the conversation starting with this article from Transportation Advocate and Author Tamika Butler. We invite you to read, donate, and protest in the ways that you can. We can’t advocate for a livable Tacoma when the streets are uninhabitable and unsafe for so many.

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