CityLine Interview with Walk the Waterfront and Waterfront Tacoma Forum

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Letter  – Thomas Johnson
  of Woody's on the Water

Tacoma Weekly – Tahoma   Salt Marsh salmon habitat

Walk Plan Will Lead to   Future  – TNT April 2008

How to Turn a Waterfront
  - Project for Public Spaces

Is Bremerton really    Boomerton?

Tahoma Salt Marsh

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Longest, Highest and only Exclusive Bicycle Bridge in the World Built by tTacoma wheelmen in 1896


Our Tacoma waterfront is a jewel to be protected and enjoyed. The shoreline is a riparian zone supporting many unique species of plants, birds and fish. Urban forests provide habitat for more wildlife. The beautiful vistas inspire and reenergize our souls.

Twenty two years ago, The City Club developed The Dome to Defiance plan to launch a better vision for our waterfront, one of clean parks, healthy environment and people friendly walkways.

The State of Washington, Pierce County,  MetroParks, The City of Tacoma and private individuals have invested heavily in a series of parks and walkways with the goal of  ringing the shoreline of South Puget Sound including Thea Foss waterway, Commencement Bay and Ruston Way.

The Chinese Reconciliation Park, Save Our Waterfront Now, and the Foss Waterway Seaport are also working to secure the health, history and enjoyment of our waterfront.

The placemaking organization called Project for Public Spaces has articulated a plan of thirteen steps to Turn a Waterfront Around. A pdf of their recommendations appears on the left sidebar of this page.

We learned at the community wide Talk Tacoma public meetings in Fall 2008, that the most appreciated aspects of Tacoma are: walking along
Ruston Way and Point Defiance Park.

Walk the Waterfront members believe that a seven mile waterfront walkway connecting the Tacoma Dome with Point Defiance Park would be a magnificent destination for all.

In Tacoma, we are so close to completing our dream.

Join us to Walk the Waterfront!

Walk the Waterfront Letter to City of Tacoma Planning Department
Dear Mr. Atkinson:
As a follow up to our conversation the other evening at the Center for Urban Waters, we would respectfully request that the Shoreline Master Program update not drop the protective language of on-site public access along our urban waterfront for all owners. These protections have been in place for many years and to not require an on-site public access kills one of Walk the Waterfront’s preferred recommendations. Because shoreline access is not available today for a waterfront walkway, it is critical the SMP includes the protections for public shoreline access as it does today.

While the availability of a shoreline walkway access is not immediate, the protection of on-site public access to the shoreline would provide the potential for a waterfront walkway to occur for future generations.

To re-clarify and emphasize Walk the Waterfront’s intent and mission, it is for a continuous, accessible urban waterfront walkway at and along the water’s edge that would be ADA complaint, flat, continuous and accessible for all users.

Walk the Waterfront based its mission on the City Club of Tacoma’s 1988 “Dome to Defiance” study for an urban waterfront walkway that would connect the Tacoma Dome to Point Defiance Park along one of the nation’s most beautiful waterfronts.

These on-site public access requirements need to remain intact and provisions need to be added that would require property owners to provide public access if there is existing shoreline public access within 200 feet.

The dream for over 60 years of Tacomans having a waterfront walkway would be killed if the public access requirement were eliminated and the option for property owners to pay for public access in another location.

The ability to buy one’s way out of providing on-site public access where mutual co-existence of businesses and on-site public access is achievable is not in the best interest of Tacoma and its citizens.

In summary, we urge the City of Tacoma to include within the SMP update:

1] Walk the Waterfront’s desire for a multi-mode trail at and along the water’s edge as the preferred funded project,

2] maintaining the requirement for on-site public access, and

3] adding the requirement for providing on-site public access if shoreline public access is existing within 200 feet.

Should you wish to discuss these points further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Lara Herrmann, President and Rick Rose, Vice President

Click here to email your comments for an extraordinary waterfront destination.
We are the stewards of our landscape, shoreline, beaches and marine habitat.

The laws are being rewritten now to block our access to Washington’s waters. There are many creative options which are not being discussed or considered.

We need to protect our present and future opportunities to make a more beautiful, vibrant Tacoma for our families, students, visitors.
Let your voice be heard. Speak up!

Click here for information on the Connect Tacoma Waterfront design charrettes for your Middle School and High school students and classes.


For over 60 years Tacomans have dreamed of a pedestrian walkway along the water, from the head of the Thea Foss to the beach and trails of Point Defiance.

To bring the dream to life we've formed Walk the Waterfront, a nonprofit organization dedicated to a continuous, accessible, vibrant path along those seven miles. We see so many opportunities emphasizing healthy lifestyles, recreation, business, conservation, culture and history.

We have three simple goals. First, we want the waterfront to drive millions of dollars into the local economy. Second, we want to show how a vigorous urban waterfront can actually improve the eco-health of Puget Sound. Third, we want to complete the dream of a world-class recreation and education resource accessible to and enjoyed by all Tacomans.

To achieve these goals and protect our extraordinary shoreline, we need a community-wide vision for the waterfront. We have nearly 80 percent of what we need already in place. Ruston Way is busy but Thea Foss Esplanade is quiet. We need to link these two public spaces with easily accessible walkways and bikeways. It is time to give Tacoma what it deserves and treat our waterfront as one continuous S-6 shoreline district between the Tacoma Dome and Point Defiance. We have held a series of conversations with some of the stakeholders on the waterfront: some of the many governments, private landowners, citizen users and nonprofit groups that make up the owner/user "checkerboard."

Now we need to hear from more of you who want to enjoy Tacoma's beautiful front yard. It is time to create a shared plan to finish the last 20 percent of our waterfront.

You can see the obstacles. They are all man made and each can be removed or worked around. It is time to be creative.

Do we have places that are ill-lit and unsafe? Dangerous stretches of road? Can we move faster to fix environmental problems? Can some sites be put to even better use? How can we continue to blend our historic past with an active, healthy future?

You in our community have the answers for what is in the best interest of Tacoma. Add your opinions. Help turn dreams into reality. Join us.
You have opinions about Tacoma's waterfront. We'd like to hear them. Click CONTACT and keep in touch.

Walk the Waterfront ... Continuing the vision ... Realizing our potential

Thank you to all who joined us for National Family Volunteer Day to help restore Tacoma's shoreline at Tahoma Salt Marsh and Beyond the Farm Stanford Volunteer Day at the Connect Tacoma Waterfront Charrette for Youth in May. Send us an email to volunteer for Fall 2011 Charrettes or get answers to your questions. Remember...Students under age 14 must bring an adult chaperone

Thank you for caring about a walkable, accessible waterfront for Tacoma.

Waterfront Tacoma sponsored by The University of Washington Tacoma Urban Studies department and Walk the Waterfront has brought together student researchers with leaders from our community. We thank UWT's Dr. Anne Taufen Wessels, Dr. Joel Baker, Dr. Brian Coffey, Dr. Jose Rios and Dr. Jim Gawel, University of Puget Sound's Dr. Dan Sherman, City Council Member and Architect David Boe, The News Tribune's Peter Callaghan, Exit133's Derek Young, City Council Member and Cascade Land Conservancy's Ryan Mello, Greater MetroParks Foundation Executive Director Drew Ebersole, City of Tacoma's Steve Atkinson, Port of Tacoma Commissioner Clare Petrich, The News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan, Foss Waterway Seaport's Tom Cashman, Walk the Waterfront's Lara Herrmann, and the many members of our community who have contributed greatly to the vision for a completed seven mile waterfront walkway linking the Tacoma Dome, LeMay Americas Car Museum, Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Museaum of Glass, Childrens Museum, University of Washington Tacoma, Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, with the parks, sidewalks and restaurants along Ruston Way and connecting to the retail at Pt Ruston and joining with the parks, zoo and ferry terminal at Pt. Defiance.

Congratulations to Greater Metro Parks Foundation for the outstanding Wine & Roses evening at the Point Defiance Rose Garden and Play in Peace Day at Wright Park and McCarver Park.
Play in Peace Day celebrating the playspaces at Wright Park and McCarver Park Wine and Roses 2010
Save the date and join your friends for the Greater Metro Parks Foundation luncheon Wednesday February 22, 2017 at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma.

© 2017 Walk The Waterfront