Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

January 28, 2013 at 9:30am

Learn about the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project over drinks

GREEN DRINKS TACOMA: Discover the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project plans over beers.

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A REASON TO DRINK >>>

Why drink alone when you can get your drink on with cool cats who care about environmental issues? On the first Thursday of each month, Green Drinks invites Tacoma and Pierce County residents to do just that - hang out and chat with other green-minded individuals over drinks and snacks. The next session of Green Drinks - which will be held Thursday, Feb. 7 at The Office Bar and Grill - will focus on downtown Tacoma's Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project ... and drinks, of course.

Doreen Gavin, project manager for AHBL - the consulting firm hired by the city of Tacoma in 2011 to design the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project - will be main entertainment at the Feb. 7 Green Drinks session. And by entertainment I mean giving an overview of Pacific Avenue's makeover and answering questions. 

In a nutshell, the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project will deck out downtown's main drag with new sidewalks, lighting and bike lanes, as well as innovative green touches from stormwater infrastructure and rain gardens to more than 3,000 new plants. When all is said and done, downtown Tacoma intends to be a leader in urban greenness - as well as a lot prettier.

I tossed a few questions at Gavin before she got her Green Drinks on at The Office.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: Why is the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project important to Tacoma?

DOREEN GAVIN: The Pacific Avenue Streetscape project has three main goals. First, economics. The project is designed to create an active, attractive and economically viable "main street" that encourages people and businesses to be downtown. Second, multimodal accessibility. The new sidewalks, intersection bulb-outs, crosswalks, bike sharrows, landscaping, street furnishings, artwork, catenary lighting and transit stops will improve walkability, accessibility, bicyclist and pedestrian safety. And third, but not least, stormwater improvements. The project incorporates stormwater treatment for this busy downtown corridor, which drains into the Thea Foss waterway. The waterway was designated a superfund site in 1983 and the cleanup was completed in 2006 at a cost of over $100 million to the city and its partners. The stormwater treatment facilities to be constructed as part of this project will improve the quality of stormwater generated within this corridor before it's discharged to the Thea Foss Waterway. This work adds to our efforts to protect the newly remediated waterway through source control, sweeping, maintenance and treatment projects. In addition, the Pac Ave corridor is a wonderful opportunity to showcase this treatment to the public in an innovative and interesting way. The goal is that these stormwater improvements will not only be functional but beautiful as well.

VOLCANO: It's a huge project. How are you going to structure your talk at Green Drinks?

GAVIN: My talk will focus primarily on green stormwater infrastructure and how the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project incorporates the goals of stormwater quality treatment in Tacoma's "Main Street" through the use of rain gardens and silva cells. I will show some sketches and images illustrating what the proposed project will look like when completed. I will also talk about the goals of the project and the construction schedule.

VOLCANO: What pairs with a Pacific Avenue Streetscape Projects lecture?

GAVIN: Green beer, if available.

THE OFFICE BAR AND GRILL, GREEN DRINKS, THRUSDAY, FEB. 7, 6 P.M., FREE ADMISSION, 813 PACIFIC AVE., TACOMA, 253.572.3222

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