Tacoma has been kicking around the idea of adding a Link stop at Commerce & 11th, which would cut the stop spacing in that stretch from about 1/2 mile to about 1/4 mile. The Tacoma Daily Index has lots of detail on this project, which would cost about $135,000.

You can watch the Council Study Session on this subject right now (scroll all the way down to “Tacoma City Council Study Session”).

(Via The Transport Politic Twitter Feed).

20 Replies to “Tacoma Council About to Discuss New Link Stop”

  1. Horrible idea. While ideally the original Tacoma Link would have sited the Theater District stop differently (to allow extension up St. Helens rather than the less-pedestrian Stadium Way), adding an additional stop (decreasing headway, etc.) seems ill advised.

    Not sure that the Daily Index article tells the whole story, since my understanding is the impetus behind this thing is a vague promise of a grocery store from a developer who had some shady involvement with forcing the hand of the city in the tearing down of the historic Luzon building. Another fiasco with the same developer involved changing the zoning of some retail space to allow office use. Why are we giving this guy the benefit of the doubt?

    But mistrust of the developer aside, this is just a bad choice from the perspective of good transit design.

  2. I’ve been curious what is going to happen to the Tacoma Link streetcar line when Central Link light rail (with wider track-width and higher voltage) reaches Tacoma Dome.

    1. I may be talking out of my nether regions here, but I was under the impression that the track gauge was equivalent, and just the power source would need to be updated if Tacoma Link ever gets the streetcar to light rail update.

    2. The track gauge is exactly the same.

      However I’m not sure about curve radiuses and overall build-level. But SC and LR can co-exist and complement each other, so I wouldn’t necessarily see any issues with Central Link caliber Light Metro eventually reaching into Tacoma.

      1. Tacoma Link runs on 750VDC and Central Link runs on 1500VDC. The curve from 25th to Pacific would need to be rebuilt to allow CL vehicles. Everything else will work fine.

        It is kind of a shame it wasn’t thought of before hand but Tri-Met has been doing fine running a 600VDC system for ages, which makes the streetcar and light rail compatible (seen this happen once) The biggest issue with the Tri-Met way is that the streetcars are wider than the LRV’s which would prevent the streetcars running on MAX.

      2. I beilieve You have that confused, the MAX LRV’s are wider than the streetcars, meaning you can run the streetcars on MAX, but cannot run MAX on the streetcar. The only exception to this is the vintage cars, which have a similar envelope to the streetcars, and two of which have been fitted with turn and stop lamps for use on the streetcar line. Last time i was there they were running sunday late mornings and early afternoons along the transit mall. Glad to see them running, although i wish they still made the loop to LLoyd Center as well.

    3. The Tacoma Link was constructed with the intention that it will be added to the Central Link system once it’s extended down to Tacoma. The track and curves are built to Central Link standards. The only issue is Central Link’s odd 1200VDC system (the industry standard is in the 600-700VDC range). If you look in the O&M facility, the Kinkos can really navigate some tight turns.

      1. I thought in one of the documents ST had is that they could navigate the curve but doesn’t recommend doing so in regular service?

        I’ll have to search their documentation and find it.

      2. Incidentally, 1500VDC is the standard for Japanese main line and commuter operations (and for Chicago Metra) but that’s not why ST chose it. There were many reasons ST opted for 1500VDC: primarily because it was more economical than 750VDC to meet ST’s operational requirements and the need to minimize the number of substations.

        If you’re interested more read “A Step Forward or Backward? Sound Transit Opts for 1500 Vdc Traction Electrification” by Pham, et al. from the 2000 ASME/IEEE Joint Rail Conference

        According to Kinkisharyo, the minimum radius for Seattle’s LRV is 82 ft (25 m).

      3. They may be able to make the turn but it would be slow, plus you’d probally have to double track parts of the south line as well to add the proper capasity, as well as extend the station stops and rebuild the platforms to accomodate the wider vehicle. the overhead is designed to handle the 1500vdc without modification, which is why its so severly overbuilt.

      4. Wouldn’t you build lighter overhead to carry higher voltage? I mean more voltage = less amps and less amps means higher gauge (smaller diameter) wire. That’s why airplanes and now cars are looking at moving up scale from 6V to 12V to 24V to 48V… systems.

    4. Ben suggested Central Link might just built its own tracks, since it really serves a different purpose than Tacoma Link (which is really Tacoma Streetcar). A lot of it depends on where, if anywhere, Central Link should go after reaching Tacoma Dome. It could go to downtown Tacoma, either via Tacoma Link or an I-705 express. From there it could continue west on 6th Avenue. Or it could continue south from Tacoma Dome on Pacific, since Tacoma Link already serves downtown Tacoma. Or Tacoma Link could serve 6th Avenue and Pacific.

      It really depends on what Pierce County residents want. Do they want a seamless one-seat ride from downtown Tacoma and UW-Tacoma to SeaTac and Seattle (even though the shortest travel time will still be on the 59x and 57x buses)? Tacoma Link has narrow stop spacing and a partly in-street routing that impedes its speed. Is that appropriate because all of Tacoma Link is arguably “downtown” where narrow stop spacing is expected? Or maybe that’s more appropriate for a streetcar that can be expended west and south, and Central Link should run on I-705 from Tacoma Dome directly to 9th & Commerce (or 11th & Commerce).

      1. Don’t forget that Seattle has very short stop spacing in its Downtown, albeit in its own ROW.

        Interesting idea to run Tacoma Link as a sort of spur joined at two places to Central Link.

      2. Yes, that’s what I meant that the Tacoma Link area is (or can be considered as) equivalent to the DSTT: a downtown area where narrow stop spacing is expected.

        It would be less controversial to have narrow stops in downtown Tacoma than, say, Rainier Valley or Roosevelt. Those are in the middle of the line, and it would be like riding a bus through the U-district or downtown, cursing the slow train. But downtown Tacoma is at the end of the line, so only Tacoma-ans would experience those stops. And if Link is extended beyond downtown Tacoma, again it would be mainly Tacoma residents who would experience those stops, so they can say whether they like having one stop or five stops downtown, without inconveniencing anyone else.

  3. It’ll certainly screw up the 10 min headways if they stick in an extra stop in the middle. It’ll make three stops within 7 blks. Seems like too many to me. Unfortunately, the Theater District stop at 9th and Commerce has nothing by it and the little bit of development that we are getting in downtown Tacoma is occuring at 11th, not 9th St.

    Walking two blocks in Seattle isn’t a big deal, but in Tacoma, some of our locals can’t grasp hold of that just yet.

    1. Maybe it’s time to reconsider whether 9th & Commerce is the ideal “transit center” for Tacoma, or whether the buses should terminate at 11th instead. I have always found 9th & Commerce to be a little dead and out-of-the-way for a transit hub. But don’t or work in Tacoma, so I figured maybe it makes more sense to those who do.

      1. “But don’t or work in Tacoma, so I figured maybe it makes more sense to those who do.”

        But I don’t live or work in Tacoma, so I figured maybe it makes more sense to those who do.

      2. I think it has something to do with the Pierce Transit Bus Facility that is there (I think its a maintenance facility, not sure) I sat staring at it half my summer transferring from Tacoma Link to Pierce transit rts. 1 or 13 (13 is entirely too infrequent/ doesn’t meet up with the sounder schedule (the earliest departure after taking the sounder arriving in tacoma at 7:08 is like 7:45 and you get to where I was going, 26th and pearl at 8:25) the fastest way is to take the 1 and bike up pearl for a mile or so and get there at about 8:00) The time I could save by taking a cab could almost justify its cost in Tacoma. ( The busses are probably that infrequent for a good reason, but it is just a pain in the butt trying to get around.)

  4. the 10th and commerce transfer hub in downtown tacoma is basecally one large city block long, 10th is the mid point street, which dosent exist in the hilly parts of tacoma (only as stairways and escladades if they are still there), so moving the point is moot.

    A little history, in 1977 Tacoma Transit moved buses up to Commerce from Pacific Ave. At the time they had a lobby there with pass sales office, although the office and lobby was closed by the mid 1980s, bus service remained. The current commerce facility opened in 1993 with bus shop, passenger amenities (although a bit spotty at times), and layover space. Now, as part of PT Tommorw, the plan is to actually move the buses off Commerce and back down to Pacific Avenue, and disburse the stops throughout downtown much like it is in Seattle and probally was in Tacoma.

  5. This seems really unnecessary. Walking the distance between these stations would usually be faster.

Comments are closed.