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New station for Tacoma, WA proposed


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#1 CHamilton

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 06:48 AM

It's been known for some time that the Point Defiance Bypass now under construction will require Amtrak to move from its current station location to Freighthouse Square. Sounder commuter trains are already using the Freighthouse Square location, which is closer to downtown and has direct connections to Tacoma's light rail. Here is the first view of what the new station might look like.

 

Amtrak station could bring major alterations to Freighthouse Square

 
Yjnjp.AuSt.5.jpg

The proposed design of Amtrak Station at Freighthouse Square.

 

When the Amtrak station moves from Puyallup Avenue to Freighthouse Square in a few years, it will occupy a brand-new building — if the state has its way.

 

On Monday night, Dome district residents got their first glimpse of what the Washington state Department of Transportation and its architect would do with the 104-year-old structure that stands where the new train station is planned.

 

“This building is an old, wood building,” said Mahlon Clements, director of VIA Architecture of Seattle. “To meet all of the codes and to not cost too much to operate, it would require extensive renovation. We weren’t even sure how much of the structure we would be able to keep.”

 

The new design made some in the audience gasp. The reason: the westernmost 150 feet of Freighthouse Square was gone.

 

“I’m trying to be calm about this,” said Jori Adkins, a Dome Business District representative. “This building is the icon of the Dome District other than the Dome itself.”

 

Some likened the replacement — a glass and steel building with a roof line similar to Freighthouse’s and louvers to shade passengers from the sun — to a metal shed, an “Amshak.”

 

 

A local columnist is already decrying the proposal: 

Peter Callaghan: Destroying Freighthouse Square unnecessary, unacceptable


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#2 Guest_Nathanael_*

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 08:23 AM

I suggest putting the Amtrak station opposite Freighthouse Square on the south side.



#3 Guest_Nathanael_*

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 08:27 AM

(And I just emailed Ian Munce of the City of Tacoma, whose email address is given in the first linked article, suggesting precisely that.  There's a large vacant lot south of the tracks which would be quite suitable for a modern building.)



#4 Blackwolf

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:44 AM

Damn... That *THING* is just Fugly.  Cudos to those crying out against the double-insult of tearing down one of the city's oldest buildings to put up a monstrosity like that.


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#5 CHamilton

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 11:16 AM

The comments are pretty negative. This one seems to be echoed by many others.

This needs to go back to the drawing board . . . Amtrak and WSDOT should be ashamed. Tacoma deserves better. No excuse for not designing a station that is architecturally compatible with Freighthouse Square. Reminds me of when BNSF wanted to tear down King Street Station and build a modern box.

 

Personally, I don't find the original building very interesting -- it was "the freight terminus for the Milwaukee Road." Essentially a warehouse, and built without any of the architectural fancywork that many passenger terminals had. Do an image search and you'll see that it's a big, fairly featureless, wooden building. I'm all for preservation, and IMHO, the proposed building is bad, but if they can come up with a better replacement, I wouldn't cry any tears for the existing structure.

 

Too bad there are no longer any tracks at the magnificent Tacoma Union Station. It's been preserved and is now a courthouse. 

WA7587-G-2003-00005.jpg

Photo from GSA Historic Buildings.


Edited by CHamilton, 12 December 2013 - 01:09 PM.

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#6 jimhudson

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 12:04 PM

Here's a Chance for Tacoma to Get it Right this Time! Hopefully the Good Citizens of Tacoma will keep the Heat On and Not Go for that "Bus Station Modern" Look! I see No Reason why they can't build a  Classic Old Times  Building with all the Modern Conveniences, Except for the Chosen  Architect's  Ego! ;)

 

Everyime I pass through Tacoma I Look @ the Old Station (Nice Pic Charlie! :cool: )  that is Now a Courthouse and Wonder Why Not Design and Build a Smaller Version of this Jewel in Freighthouse  Square Mentioned in the Post Above????


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#7 CHamilton

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 01:08 PM

Jim, I can't take credit for the pic of Tacoma Union Station. It was taken from the GSA Historic Buildings listing.


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#8 EMDF9A

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 01:56 PM

They designed the Washington History Museum next door to the old NP/Union Station with the same architectural features, I see no reason why a new Tacoma station cant be built on the south side of the bypass tracks (as stated above) and in a miniature form of similar classic design.  I really miss Union Station as an active station, but am glad it was preserved as a Federal Court House.  Come on Tacoma, YOU can DO IT!



#9 CHamilton

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 03:42 PM

The Tacoma News-Tribune editorial:

Freighthouse Square vs. Amtrak abomination

A WSDOT rep told All Aboard Washington yesterday that the project is only at 15% design, and that he had never seen the slide before it was presented at the meeting last week. Sounds like they are back-pedaling rapidly. Let's hope that means a better solution can be found.


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#10 Anderson

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 05:05 AM

That design should be grounds to sack whomever was consulting on the project for some form of incompetence.  Frankly, it would probably make more sense to work out some sort of code waivers (I'm not sure who sets the relevant codes, the city or the state, but waivers exist for a reason) than to put in something that ugly (and likely expensive).  That said, a decent-looking replacement, preferably visually in the style of some of the older stations out there, would be the best option IMHO.


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#11 Guest_Nathanael_*

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 11:51 AM

After poking around on Google Maps, I think the best option is to leave Freighthouse Square as it is and build a new Amtrak Station on the south side of the tracks. There's a vacant lot on the south side of the tracks, as well as two architecturally uninteresting buildings. They're going to need a south-side platform sooner or later. Something could surely be arranged.

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:00 AM

Ugly.

#13 CHamilton

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:14 PM

From All Aboard Washington, with pictures and links to local press coverage.

Tacoma Freighthouse Square Station Concepts

On Feb 19th, WSDOT held an open house with 14 different conceptual designs for a proposed Amtrak station at Freight house Square as part of the Pt. Defiance Bypass project (replacing the existing Amtrak station) . While somewhat detailed designs they had not made it past the concept stage yet and into any kind of engineering. Some interesting tidbits included that if the east end were chosen, the floor would have to be lowered by several feet to meet up with track level (And judging by some of the proposed designs, it may be easier to demolish and rebuild than try and make that kind of a change to the structure.)...
Even though no dimensions were posted, the waiting rooms seemed to be small. For a building with a life of 20-50 years (20 years min. per the grant requirements) it would seem important to be building for additional train capacity beyond the few additional trips already programmed. Also, The non east-end options all had no reference to any curb drop-off and bus loading areas, while the east end options had designs under the building at street level. There was also no mention of long-term parking, although in a previous meeting Amtrak and WSDOT were considering Tacoma an “urban” station which does not “need” long term parking.

 

 


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#14 CHamilton

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 01:17 PM

From WSDOT: Freighthouse Square Station Workshop Update 2/20/14 

A link to an online comment form is included.


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#15 CHamilton

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 09:50 AM

 
MGPDG.AuSt.5.jpg

Renderings that were discussed Wednesday.

 

Weak foundations and swampy soil beneath Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square will likely dictate that the city’s new Amtrak station be an all-new structure built on the footprint of a section of the historic structure, a Washington Department of Transportation official said Wednesday.

 

David Smelser, the department’s chief planner for the $800 million Cascades rail corridor improvement project, said preliminary engineering studies conducted in the last several weeks show the existing building, which is more than 100 years old in some places, has foundation problems that make remodeling the structure for a new station difficult.

 

Smelser spoke at a Tacoma Amtrak Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon, revealing three semi-final concepts for the Freighthouse Square station. The three were chosen from 14 station layout concepts presented at a public meeting three weeks ago by Tacoma architect Jim Merritt.

 

 


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#16 Railroad Bill

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:04 AM

Charlie,  Looks like back to the drawing board for the new station in Tacoma. :( .  But I guess that is better than planning a station that might collapse on the present land structures. :o


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#17 CHamilton

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:40 AM

Charlie,  Looks like back to the drawing board for the new station in Tacoma. :( .  But I guess that is better than planning a station that might collapse on the present land structures. :o

I can't say that I'm surprised. The existing building has always felt somewhat rickety to me. But the good news is that (after the foofooraw generated by the original sketch a few months ago) WSDOT, Amtrak and Sound Transit are on notice that an "Amshack" won't do.


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#18 CHamilton

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 12:00 AM

From an All Aboard Washington member on Facebook.

 

Apparently, [reporter] John Gillie was at a different meeting than I was. The building needs some significant upgrades to bring it up to current standards. However, only if the east end is chosen (which I think is the worst choice and am opposed to) it would need a rebuild because the floor needs to be lowered about five feet to be level with the track. (This end of the building is on the worst soil.)

His article totally misses the point that the most important outcome here needs to be a facility that functions for Amtrak and actually meets the needs of the 120,000 passengers (and growing) that use the Tacoma station each year. I'm beginning to think that maintaining the essence of the long narrow 100+ year old freighthouse and providing a top notch Amtrak station can't be done. Amtrak stupidly got stuck with an inferior station 30 years ago when the DOT paid to move them from Union Station for the freeway and we don't really want to repeat that mistake for another 50 years.

 

 

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#19 neroden

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 02:21 AM

Amtrak stupidly got stuck with an inferior station 30 years ago when the DOT paid to move them from Union Station for the freeway and we don't really want to repeat that mistake for another 50 years.


I suggested the southside location where the former Milwaukee Road passenger station was....
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