Sound Transit board approves plan to negotiate terms for new, city-funded Tacoma Link stop

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City of Tacoma proposes funding new Commerce Street station to provide convenient access point for business district transit users

The Sound Transit Board of Directors last Thursday authorized staff to negotiate a term sheet with the City of Tacoma to build a new, city-funded station on the Tacoma Link route. The 1.6 mile line, which began service in August 2003, currently serves five stops between the Tacoma Dome Station and the Theatre District. The term sheet enables Sound Transit staff to work with the City of Tacoma to finalize a scope, schedule and operating agreement for the proposed station's design and construction.

The new stop, planned for location at 11th and Commerce Street, would give downtown business district transit users greater access to Tacoma Link. The station would consist of two 40-foot platforms - one on the west side of Commerce Street for southbound riders and another on the east side for northbound travelers - as well as shelters, lighting, and ADA ramps.

"This complements the work we are doing to improve transportation options for businesses, residents and visitors to Downtown Tacoma," said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. "This will make using the Link even more convenient."
Smaller in scope than other Tacoma Link stations, the station would be designed to accommodate the environment and aesthetics of the neighborhood. The City, which retained KPFF Consultants to complete 60% of the station's design, would bear all costs for designing, constructing, and maintaining the station. The City would also complete all necessary environmental documentation and permitting at its own cost and retain ownership of station.

"We are pleased the City of Tacoma is looking at ways to build upon existing service, making Tacoma Link as accessible as possible to riders," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. "Mayor Strickland's willingness to invest directly in transit provides a superb model for how public partnerships can be used to best serve our citizens."

Nearly 3,000 riders a day use Tacoma Link during the work week. The transit line connects the downtown business district with commuter rail and bus service at Tacoma Dome Station. Peak service would change from every 10 to 12 minutes between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays to accommodate the additional stop.

If final plans for the project are approved by the Sound Transit board, the City of Tacoma would release a request for bids this fall. Service at the new stop would begin next spring.