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“To prove I can bike all the way to work! Health, fitness, meeting other cyclists, and supporting active transportation in general.” – Tacoma bike commuter

Friday Forums

Friday Forums bring together local leaders, experts, and the community to talk about transportation issues facing Tacoma and our region. 

2022 Friday Forums Series

Downtown On the Go is exploring the question what does it mean to be Home in Tacoma? Housing and transportation are inextricably linked, with the availability of affordable housing determining the safety and accessibility of transportation choices. As Tacoma looks towards historic changes to how we think about housing, these forums seek to breakdown often inaccessible concepts in housing and land use while diving into how these policy choices impact the real lives of real Tacomans.

January 28, 2021 (noon – 1:30 p.m.) – What’s Zoning, Anyway?: A Land Use Primer

  • MUC, UGC, & TOD… oh my! The world of planning is full of terminology that can feel unapproachable for everyday community members. Join us for a panel that will demystify the concepts like zoning that make up big proposals like Home in Tacoma, and how transportation is tied into all of it. Register Here.
  • Panelists
    • Brian Boudet, Planning Division Manager at City of Tacoma
    • Alyssa Torrez, Program Specialist at Tacoma Housing Authority, Commissioner on Tacoma Planning Commission
    • Rubén Casas, Associate Professor at University of Washington Tacoma
    • Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications Director at City of Tacoma (Moderator)

February 25, 2021 (noon – 1:30 p.m.) – It Takes Two: Housing and Transportation

  • Housing and transportation are inextricably linked; dense housing needs connected and frequent transit to succeed while transit needs demand to fuel expansion. Learn more about this intersection while we explore the question: how can we plan future development and transit expansion in concert for the benefit of both?
  • Panelists:
    • To Be Announced
    • Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications Director at City of Tacoma (Moderator)

March 25, 2021 (noon – 1:30 p.m.) – Growing a Green Future: Land Use & Sustainability

  • From tree coverage & housing density to walkability & transit access, city design can make sustainable choices the easier option – or make them downright impossible. Join us as we explore how our land use policies and design choices inform the fight against climate change.
  • Panelists:
    • To Be Announced
    • Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications Director at City of Tacoma (Moderator)
2021 Forum Topics:

Downtown On the Go is engaging in discussion about racism in transportation policy. For our 2021 Friday Forums, we will be picking apart the ways that Tacoma's streets are designed to oppress, and map the ways to undo them. Who is safe in the streets, and when?

A big thank you to Channel 253 for partnering with us to provide podcasts of the 2020 and 2021 forums.

Jan 22, 2021 (noon - 1 p.m.) - Where the Sidewalks End: Racist Urban Design and Crime Prevention

  • What if crime prevention could be built into cities? As cities begin to explore this question, the results have not been favorable for Black and brown residents. Learn about how urban design meant to prevent crime instead reinforces systemic inequalities and racism, and how Tacoma is planning to avoid this.
  • Panelists:
    • Nick Bayard, Assistant Chief Equity Officer for the City of Tacoma's Office of Equity and Human Rights
    • Lauren Flemister, Community Planning Manager for the City of Seattle
    • Krystal Monteros, Vice Chair of the Commission on Disabilities
    • Tanisha Jumper, City of Tacoma (Moderator)
  • Listen to a recording of the forum and hear the after show "What If There Is No Sidewalk -- Amenities, Equity & Gentrification" on Channel 253's Crossing Division podcast.
    • Hosted by Evelyn Lopez
    • Dorian Waller, Archway Consulting Group

Feb 26, 2021 - Can Street Safety be Anti-Racist? (And How?)

  • Who feels safe in Tacoma streets? Street safety initiatives often rely on police enforcement with racially asymmetrical impacts. Join us for an exploration into what contributes to real and perceived safety in public spaces, focusing on how race informs safety, why, and a few ideas of steps to address racism in public space safety.
  • Sponsored by: Parametrix
  • Panelists:
    • Liz Kaster, Senior Planner & Active Transportation Coordinator, City of Tacoma (Public Works Dept.)
    • Isha Hussein, Youth Organizer, The People's Assembly
    • Naomi Smith, Attorney at Law, Lawyers Against Systemic Racism, Advocacy Committee Co-chair
    • Tanisha Jumper, City of Tacoma (moderator)
  • Listen to a recording of the forum on Channel 253 and hear the after show "Harm Prevention: Decisions and Consequences" on the Crossing Division podcast.
    • Hosted by Evelyn Lopez
    • Shannon McMinimee, Cedar Law Group

Mar 26, 2021 - Breaking the Urban Bubble: Race & Transportation Policy in Pierce County and Tacoma

  • How do infrastructure ideas become reality? How do problems like faulty sidewalks and inadequate bus stops get fixed? Policy in Tacoma is a web of stakeholders and decision makers, often spanning into Pierce County. Follow along as we track issues from concept to implementation and learn how to have concerns addressed.
  • Sponsored by GeoEngineers
  • Panelists:
    • Andrew Austin, Government and Community Relations Manager, Sound Transit
    • Keith Blocker, City of Tacoma Deputy Mayor
    • Laura Svancarek, CTR & Advocacy Coordinator, Downtown On the Go
    • Derek Young, Pierce County Councilmember
    • Tanisha Jumper, City of Tacoma (moderator)
  • Listen to a recording of the forum and hear the after show "Let's Talk About Why It's So Hard to Make Change!" on Channel 253's Crossing Division podcast;
    • Hosted by Evelyn Lopez
2020 Forum Topics:

Downtown On the Go is engaging in a discussion around how Tacoma is adapting to honor and meet the needs of our aging population. In late 2019, the City of Tacoma took on the challenge of becoming a livable community by AARP standards - that means ensuring equitable access to housing, transportation, and public space for people of all ages. Join us as we examine the preparedness of Tacoma and Pierce County to accommodate older adults and community members with disabilities.

Jan 24, 2020 - Aging in Place

  • Affordable housing is an ongoing issue. There are unique challenges for older adults in securing housing situations that meet their needs. Hear from leaders and service providers in Tacoma and Pierce County on how we sustainably house our aging neighbors and community members.
    • Sponsored by: GeoEngineers
    • Panelists:
      • Ali Modarres, University of Washington Tacoma
      • Matt Santelli, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center
      • Adriane Wilson, Community Organizer
      • Tanisha Jumper, City of Tacoma (Moderator)
  • Listen to a recording of the forum and hear the after show on Channel 253's Crossing Division podcast;
    • hosted by Evelyn Lopez, with
    • Joy Stanford, Shared Housing Services
    • Ken Miller, DADU Homes

Feb 21, 2020 - Moving into the Future

  • By 2030, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 18 in Pierce County. As our community ages, fewer people will be able to drive and local services for people with disabilities and other needs will need to improve dramatically. Hear from experts on the existing gaps.
    • Panelists:
      • Councilmember Lillian Hunter, City of Tacoma
      • Carol Kachadoorian, Toole Design
      • Gerrit Nyland, Catholic Community Services
      • Tanisha Jumper, City of Tacoma (Moderator)
  • Listen to a recording of the forum and hear the after show on Channel 253’s Crossing Division podcast;

This event has been postponed - Public Space for All Ages - Check out the podcast that was recorded in place of this event

2019 Forum Topics

Jan 25, 2019

  • Race, ethnicity, gender, and income impact how people live and move through cities. Tacoma, like many places, has a racist and exclusionary past that influences transportation and land use policy for all. Learn about the ways history has shaped our city and the radical ways we can change it.

Feb 22, 2019

  • Breakdown the numbers on how we move people throughout Tacoma. We’ll be investigating the returns on various infrastructure investments and checking to see if the numbers add up in an equitable and logical way. Spoiler Alert: They do not.
  • Sponsored by Parametrix

Mar 22, 2019

  • How can beautiful public space better a city? Does art make you feel safer on the sidewalk? What do murals mean for livability? Hear from creative entrepreneurs as they answer these questions and more.
2018 Forums Topics:

(Special Date & Location) Feb 2: What's Next for Tacoma?

  • Located at the Pantages Theater
  • Tacoma is changing quickly, and a new slate of leaders will shape how our City meets the challenges and opportunities of urban development, environment, and equity. Panelists; Mayor Woodards, Council Member Ryan Mello, and Council Member Chris Beale will tell us what they are working on to create a more connected and sustainable Tacoma.

Feb 23: Stormwater Pollution & Transportation

  • The number one source of petroleum and other toxic chemicals that end up in the Puget Sound is non-industrial pollutants; that's cars, parking lots, and other household chemicals. How can we keep water clean by using alternative transportation options?Sponsored by: GeoEngineers 

March 30: Equity & Environment  

  • Join us as we welcome Naomi Doerner, Ubax Gardheere, and Sudha Nandagopal as they share Seattle’s experiences and insights engaging, co-creating, and implementing community-centered economic development, environment, and transportation equity strategies.

April 27: Parking, People, & Development

  • Our City’s rapid development has impacts on parking, accessibility, and our environment. How can smart land use policy promote healthier stormwater and a healthier community?Sponsored by: Parametrix  and Kōz Development
2017 Forums Topics:

Jan 27

2017 Transportation Forecast: What’s Next for Tacoma?: Join us for a conversation with transit, advocacy, political, and economic experts and learn about local, statewide, and regional policies and changes that will shape Tacoma’s transportation future.

Feb 24

Access & Affordability – Creating Transportation Equity in Tacoma:Equity & Transportation: Access to effective and affordable transportation is one of the strongest factors in escaping poverty. How are transportation and equity connected here in Tacoma and how can the community support a more just future for all?

March 31

Book Club: Tactical Urbanism: Learn about how short-term, community-based projects have become a powerful and adaptable new tool of urban activists, planners, and policy-makers seeking to drive lasting improvements in their cities and beyond from author Mike Lydon.

April 28

Creating a Healthy Community Through Walking: Walkability impacts environmental health, economic health, and one’s individual health both mentally and physically. The Surgeon General has announced a call to action to promote walking and walkable communities – learn how we are working locally to step it up

2016 Forum Topics:
2015 Forum Topics:
2014 Forum Topics:
  • Getting Everyone on the Same Street
  • Book Club Discussion with the author: “Bikenomics” by Elly Blue
  • From Park(ing) Day to Parklets
  • Transportation is a Life Determinant with Ron Sims
2011- 2013 Forum Topics:

2013 Forums Topics:

  • What’s Next For Transit? The 2013 Legislative Session
  • Book Club Discussion: “Walkable City” by Jeff Speck
  • Transit Oriented Development: What Works for Tacoma

2012 Forum:

  • Public Health and Transportation

2011 Forum:

  • Tacoma Streetcar discussion

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