Light rail to Tacoma Mall, TCC may be in store

Potential Modifications to ST LRP
Potential Modifications to ST LRP

On Thursday, the Sound Transit Executive Committee is scheduled to vote on 17 possible modifications to the regional long range plan for transit.  The amendments that make it through this stage will be voted on by the full Board later this month.

At first glance it appears that five of the modifications are changes to the plan in Pierce County, and are mostly being sponsored by Pierce County Executive, Pat McCarthy.  The first two in this list were supported changes recommended back in July.

Here are the proposed amendments in Pierce County:

  1. M4 – Amend the Long Range Plan map to add part of Corridor No. 6
    from Downtown Tacoma to Tacoma Mall as a Light Rail corridor and the terminus of the light rail spine. (Sponsored by Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy)
  2. M10 – Amend the Long Range Plan map to add Corridor No. 15 from Downtown Tacoma to Tacoma Community College as a Light Rail corridor. (Sponsored by Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy)
  3. M13 – Amend the Long Range Plan map to add Corridor No. 19 and 45
    from Puyallup/Sumner to Orting as a High Capacity Transit (HCT) corridor. (Sponsored by Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy and Dave Enslow from Sumner)
  4. M15 – Amend the Long Range Plan map to add Corridor No. 22 from
    Downtown Tacoma to Parkland as a High Capacity Transit (HCT) corridor. (Sponsored by Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy)
  5. M17 – Amend the Long Range Plan map to add Corridor No. 27 to the
    Puyallup vicinity, notably along Meridian Avenue as a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor. (Sponsored by Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy)
Potential increases in transit ridership with light rail to SeaTac Airport, Tacoma Mall and Tacoma Community College
Potential increases in transit ridership with light rail to SeaTac Airport, Tacoma Mall and Tacoma Community College

These amendments came out of additional deliberations by the Executive Committee upon review of the findings of the LRP Update FEIS, which was released late last month.

I will note that in that document, staff also implemented my recommendation to add another North-South ridership screenline between the Downtown Tacoma and Tacoma Mall regional growth centers (Screenline 23).

The screenline indicated substantial increases in transit ridership (+20,000 riders vs the ST2 plan), perhaps sufficient to help justify extending regional light rail deep into the geographic heart of Tacoma, rather than just to Tacoma Dome Station.

The additional screenline also helped to determine potential ridership gains from extension of Tacoma Link from Downtown Tacoma to Tacoma Community College.

Please take a moment to contact your Sound Transit Boardmember, to encourage them to support amendments M4 and M10 to add TCC and Tacoma Mall to the regional light rail network.