Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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December 17, 2012 at 7:44am

Tacoma Link light rail expansion survey

TACOMA LINK: Six corridor alternatives have been proposed. Photo credit: surveygizmo.com

SEE YOUR FUTURE, BE YOUR FUTURE >>>

You're standing in the blustery winds and rain in Tacoma's Stadium District, wishing the Link light rail would pick your ass up and take to your job by the Tacoma Dome.

Speak your mind!

Sound Transit, in coordination with the City of Tacoma and Pierce Transit, is analyzing alternatives for expanding the existing 1.6-mile Link light rail line in Tacoma. For those not in the know, light rail shares right-of-way with cars, bikes, people, etc. This model saves a considerable amount in initial construction costs, though it means a light-rail system is slower and still subject to the vagaries of traffic.

After many public meetings and think tanks over the summer and fall, Sound Transit identified six new corridor alternatives for its Link light rail in Tacoma. The next step is to narrow the options down to two.

Sound Transit would like to hear your thoughts on each of the six expnasion routes - in sentence form. Click here to give your feedback.

LINK: Tacoma Link's current route

Filed under: Transportation, Tacoma,

December 9, 2012 at 10:52am

Bandito Betty Lou Who leaps in front of the Link

BANDITO BETTY LOU WHO: She leaps at the dramatically different entrance to Tacoma's downtown.

BANDITO BETTY LOU WHO'S LEAP OF THE DAY >>>

Bandito Betty Lou Who isn't a huge fan of jingtinglers, floofloovers, trumtookas, blumbloopas and the other wack musical instruments her fellow Whos bang during the holiday season. Every two years she gets the hell out of Whoville and spends the holiday season in the South Sound.

She's back. The Weekly Volcano secretly attached a GPS device to her whocarnio. We're tracking her. Apparently, Bandito Betty Lou Who chased a bunch of Santas last night.

Bandito Betty Lou Who continues to tour new businesses and projects that opened in the last year. We spotted her in the middle of Pacific Avenue checking out the rail bridge that opened in March. The Tacoma Link eventually scared her away. Don't fret. The Weekly Volcano is hot on her trail. Expect more Lou Who action tomorrow.

LINK: Bandito Betty Lou Who jumps archive

LINK: Weekly Volcano loves the holidays, cats and crafts, so we joined Pinterest.

November 30, 2012 at 9:21am

Stadium Way: Ding, dong the tree is dead

STADIUM WAY ARTERIAL PROJECT: No seriously, on a clear day the Sky Terrace residents will now be able to see the Mountain. Photo courtesy of Blake Smith

STADIUM WAY ARTERIAL PROJECT >>>

Champagne corks popped, feet danced and copper nails were stored away at the Sky Terrace Condominiums Wednesday when the giant tree blocking the view of Mount Rainier fell onto Stadium Way. Yes, it's been noisy. Yes, it's been dirty. Yes, it's been a huge pain in the ass to drive through downtown Tacoma to access the Tacoma Spur. That said, the Stadium Way Arterial Project produced many smiles that rainy day.

What else is up with the project?

Stadium Way Arterial Project open house will be held Monday, Dec. 3 from 7-7 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the first floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St.  City staff and the contractor, Ceccanti, Inc., will discuss detours and plans for the upcoming inclement weather, as well as next steps for the ongoing ground improvement construction, including retaining wall work that is slated to begin in December. City staff and the contractor will also be available to answer questions regarding the project.

The tree that blocked the view of Mount Rainier.

According to the city of Tacoma, "The Stadium Way Arterial Project involves the reconstruction of the roadway, including upgrades to street lighting, sanitary, storm and water utilities, a new traffic signal at South Fourth Street, subsurface stabilization, and the construction of large retaining walls and other Complete Street elements such as wide sidewalks, landscaping, bike lanes and other improvements related to Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility. For more information, visit www.cityoftacoma.org/stadiumway."

November 8, 2012 at 12:07pm

Update: Proposition 1 ballot results

Last night as the Weekly Volcano went to press, Proposition 1 - the measure that would raises sales tax within Pierce Transit's boundaries by three-tenths of 1 percent - was still too close to call. If passed, the Pierce Transit board says it will increase service hours from 419,000 to 515,000 by 2017 and restore special event service, such as Puyallup Fair routes, which were cut last year when voters said no to increased funding.

Pierce Transit riders are clutching the bus handrails. A no vote most likely means no night and no weekend service, and a slashing to some daily routes. To those with disabilities, reduced bus service means a loss of jobs.

"As an organization we do not have the resources or infrastructure to provide transportation. There is no viable alternative for people," says Ken Gibson, executive director of TACID, the agency that promotes the independence of individuals with disabilities. "The Pierce County Coordinated Transportation Coalition is working on these issues, but it is extremely complex and expensive - this is a core reason why it isn't provided for privately. It is expensive and seen as a public good rather than a profitable enterprise."

This morning, Seattle Weekly staff writer Matt Driscoll, a public transit rider, posted an update on SW's Daily Weekly blog.

With the fate of Pierce County's bus service literally hanging in the balance, Gig Harbor City Council and Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners member Derek Young said somberly Tuesday night that he remained hopeful later voting returns would save Pierce Transit's Prop 1 from the demise it seemed headed for. Initial returns showed the three-tenths of one percent sales tax hike in Pierce Transit's boundary area failing, albeit it by a slim margin.

"There's still a path to victory," Young said Wednesday morning. "The gap narrowed a bit last night, but we need some big movement from tonight's results."

Wednesday evening brought a movement. And then a slight retreat.

Results released at 4:40 p.m. provided the glimmer of hope transit proponents had been waiting for. Though Prop 1 still trailed, the deficit was down to 735 votes. Young told me Pierce Transit officials estimated 110,000 Pierce Transit district ballots were yet to be counted at that point.

If things continued to trend in Prop 1's direction, this meant enough ballots remained for the proposition to make up the difference and take the lead.

To read Driscoll's full post on Prop 1, click here.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO GRAB A SEAT: "I believe that concerned citizens need to attend the Pierce Transit Board meetings and have their voice heard by the officials making the decisions," says Gibson.  "The next PT Board meeting is Nov 19 at 4 p.m. at the Pierce Transit Headquarters in Lakewood."  

November 5, 2012 at 11:30am

Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project has launched

GREEN FLASH: In honor of the "Green Flash" art installation that will grace the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project, dignitaries snapped green glow sticks.

MONDAY MORNING GROUP HUG >>>

This morning, Tacoma officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project, a beautification and innovative storm water improvement plan that includes new street paving, sidewalks, bicycle lanes and crosswalks along the Pacific Avenue stretch from Old City Hall at Seventh Street to the Tacoma Art Museum at 17th Street.

This is not your Grandfather Sprague's streetscape project.

At the gathering around Fireman's Park just off the north end of the proposed project, Congressman Norm Dicks, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma Councilmember Jake Fey and others explained how improvements will enhance the business opportunities and livability of downtown's core street — the "front porch" of downtown Tacoma – adding new curb, gutter and sidewalks, including a bicycle sharrow, on-street parking, landscaped curb bulb outs, street trees, new transit stops, new street furnishings, lighting, public art and signs to direct visitors to various attractions.

"A brighter downtown will be an incentive for smaller and larger businesses alike to bring more jobs and additional economic activity to this community," Rep. Norm Dicks.

In addition to the beautification, the project will integrate innovative stormwater improvements, including storm water planters, pervious pavement and plantings. The green storm water infrastructure includes 14 new rain gardens, which pass the storm water through organically enriched soil that filters out pollutants and either slows the release of the water into the storm system or percolates it into the ground — before draining into the Thea Foss Waterway.

"We have a great partnership with the Tacoma Art Museum," said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. "We were able to successfully complete a National Endowment for the Arts grant for the 17th Street portion of this project."

As part of the beautification of Pacific Avenue project artist Elizabeth Conner will install green textural tiles in strategic locations along the 10-block stretch of street and 20 to 28 large-scale botanically-themed concrete sculptures that can convey storm water. The “green flash” concept will be integrated into four bus shelters. Green flashes are optical phenomena that occur shortly after sunset on the ocean's horizon.

Also, strings of lights will be strung above Pacific Avenue near Eighth Street to create a bright canopy of lights.

After many years of planning, design work, construction and implementation, the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project received a major boost this summer after $3 million from the state's public works board and $978,300 from the Federal Highways Administration arrived. Combined with $4.4 million in grants and local matches previously secured, the city chose Tucci & Sons, Inc. as the project's contractor.

The project is expected to be completed in December 2013.

Dick McKinley, City of Tacoma Public Works director

Rep. Norm Dicks

Sen. Derek Kilmer

Tom Pierson, president and chief executive officer of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce

April 28, 2012 at 7:15am

JBLM has a hydro bus

As part of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Initiative, Joint Base Lewis-McChord received a hydrogen bus last year to develop a route to take Airmen and Soldiers, civilian employees and family members around the installation.

The JBLM Duty Shuttle begins service on Monday. The two-route shuttle system will cover main roads from McChord Field to Lewis Main and Lewis North.

When establishing the route, officials at Directorate of Logistics thought about where the most Soldiers and Airmen were throughout the day, and where they most often need to go.

"The purpose of the bus is to get people back and forth between appointments during the duty day," Lt. Col. A.J. Mims, 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander and DOL deputy director, said.

The Blue Route will start at 62nd Airlift Wing Headquarters and make stops at McChord Health and Wellness Center, McChord Clinic, McChord Education Center and Madigan Army Medical Center. It will then turn around and head back to 62nd AW Headquarters with the same stops. The route will go through gates between McChord Field and Lewis Main but will not need to be stopped for an ID check, as riders will already have been vetted when they entered JBLM for work that day. The bus on this route is expected to be a Bluebird bus and not the one hydrogen bus.

The hydrogen bus will be used for the Green Route. The route will run from the Hawk Education Center on Lewis North to Madigan where it will pick up and drop off passengers who need to ride the blue route, and turn around to head back to Lewis North. Stops include Lewis Army Museum, Garrison headquarters, Waller Hall, Lewis Main Exchange, Stone Education Center and Madigan.

The busses will have signs in the window designating it the Duty Shuttle and there will also be signage at each stop with information on the bus and route times.

The bus routes begin Monday and will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will not run on holidays, weekends or days with inclement weather. For more information visit: www.facebook.com/jblmcommutes or call 982-2684 (option No. 4).

Filed under: Transportation, Green Crush,

April 24, 2012 at 7:40am

MORNING SPEW: Eatonville's donut shop happy, trippy TV, FOX's worst shows ...

"THE SIMPLE LIFE": Bad.

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

Sorry Eatonville Roughians: Your police force is still active. (News Tribune)

Tacoma Scores $7.2 million For Point Ruston: Gov. Chris Gregoire signed more than $1 billion in public works spending. (News Tribune)

Tacoma Drinks: More than 165 state liquor stores were auctioned off, with the highest single bid for a store on Tacoma's Pacific Avenue. (News Tribune)

Reality TV Taking Its Toll?: The number of immigrants coming from Mexico to the U.S. has steeply declined while the number of Mexicans leaving has increased sharply. (CNN)

Fashion Rules: 29 trends you need to try before you die. (Refinery 29)

Surprised There Wasn't More: FOX's 25 worst shows of the past 25 years. (Zap 2 It)

Ride The Snake: 5 memorable TV drug trips. (Hollywood Reporter)

April 23, 2012 at 7:50am

MORNING SPEW: Fircrest fisticuffs, Baywatch Tacoma, cats vs. dogs answer ...

CATS VS. DOGS: The age-old question finally has an answer.

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

How Many Tacoma Fire Department Personnel Does It Take To Rescue Two Dumbass Beachcombers?: Two engines, three ladder companies, tech-rescue rig and five staff members, as well as two medic brigs. (New Tribune)

What Happens If You Pull A Gun On a Fircrest Police Officer?: You'll get shot. (News Tribune)

Fircrest Vs. University Place: It's all fun and games until you want to improve the roads until you try to charge traffic impact fees for developments. (News Tribune)

Find The Stolen Guns Game: Although the game involves crimes. (News Tribune)

George Zimmerman: He's been released on bond. (CNN)

Obama Power Play: With Republicans blocking his agenda, the president has been using executive powers to enact measures on the environment, education, drug shortages and recess appointments. (The New York Times)

Cats Vs. Dogs: Finally, an answer on which is better. (Buzz Feed)

Old Spice: It's trying to make "smellf" happen. (Time)

Handy Guide: 12 things being sold on eBay because they kind of look like Jesus. (The Awl)

Finally, The Answer: Why do we say "Ye Olde" something-or-other when we want to sound Old English? (Neatorama)

It's Official! The gays prefer Adele to Lady Gaga according to a very scientific Gaydar poll. (The Sun)

China Knuckles: It's for the girl who wants to be chic and eco-friendly while still being conscious of self defense. (Who Killed Bambi)

April 4, 2012 at 9:43am

TOMORROW: Green Drinks

THE HUB: There isn't a better place to talk about bicycling while drinking beer. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

LEARN ABOUT TWO-WHEEL AWESOMENESS AND DRINK HARMON BREW >>>

Whether you have a bike gradually rusting in your garage or you cycle to work every day, the upcoming Green Drinks event is for you. It's an opportunity to learn about Tacoma's Bike Month and tip back some beer at The Hub while enjoying happy hour prices. Being green has never felt so good.

Green Drinks is an international event, but Tacoma's chapter is organized by volunteer Chrissy Cooley and meets on the first Thursday of every month.

Thursday, April 5, the focus will be on Bike Month happenings in Tacoma. Speakers Diane Wiatr, mobility coordinator for the City of Tacoma, and Kristina Walker, Downtown On the Go manager, will both talk about Bike Month events, cycling and active transportation in Tacoma.

"These ladies have put together a fantastic month (along with many others), and they will be talking for about 10 minutes, but then mostly there for good conversation afterward," says Cooley. 

While there are some greenies bound to show up each meeting, there is no regular, core group. Meetings are held at different locations and attendees can show up any time between 5:30 and 8 p.m.

"It is very casual, and the primary focus is to have a good time," says Cooley. "It ain't easy being green, and we can be a good group to lean on for support or ideas. These events are very simple and unstructured, but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of serendipity."

But you may wonder: Do I need to bike or walk to an event filled with people talking about ways to minimize my carbon footprint?

"The weather has a great deal to do with (who shows up on bikes)," says Cooley. "Most people are coming straight from work, so we get a lot of bus riders with the bikers. But never fear, we won't shun those who show up in an SUV."

To get onto the Green Drinks events emails: earthycooley@gmail.com

March 19, 2012 at 8:02am

MORNING SPEW: Pacific Ave. opens, Apple Computer payoff, rock stars before and after ...

WE ALL GET OLD: Grace Slick. Photo courtesy of i1245.photobucket.com / via: randompictures.livejournal.com

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

Tacoma's Lower Pacific Avenue: It will open to traffic for the first time since June. (News Tribune)

Tacoma And Puyallup Police: They've had it with the whole smash out a car window and steal stuff trend. (News Tribune)

Holy Crap: There are Washington state high schools where four out of 10 students do not earn a diploma in four years. (News Tribune)

Madoff Madness: The owners of the New York Mets reached agreement today to pay $162 million to settle claims related to the Bernard Madoff case. (CNN)

Apple Computers: Investors will score big this summer. (The New York Times)

Rosie O'Donnell: Oprah fired her. (USA Today)

Never Too High To Talk: George Clinton takes fashion, fishing and fun. (SF Gate)

Shirley Manson Of Garbage: She was on Chelsea Lately. (Pink Is The New Blog)

Rock Stars: Let's see what they look like old. (Buzz Feed)

About this blog

News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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