UPDATE, 12:15 p.m.: The University of Washington Tacoma has posted a detailed map and list of what will be happening tomorrow. Find it here.
Original post: I just got off the phone with Whitney Rhodes, president of the Downtown Merchants Group.
She said Tacoma Police Lt. Rob Jepson, who supervises operations in downtown, briefed the group this morning on what to expect during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the University of Washington Tacoma tomorrow. He’s in town for a campaign rally in support of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who is running for re-election against Republican Dino Rossi.
Here’s what Rhodes knows:
• Tacoma Link service will be shut down from 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
• All streets around the UWT campus will be closed, no through traffic or parking, from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m.:- Pacific Avenue between South 21st and South 17th streets
– South 17th Street between Pacific and Market Street
– Jefferson Street between Pacific and Market
– Likely Market Street between South 17th and South 21st streets
STREET CLOSURE UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.:
From 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., Pacific Avenue and Market Street between South 21st and South 17th streets will be closed to traffic and parking. South 21st and South 17th streets will be closed only to parking. Traffic and parking availability may be interrupted during the day, and is subject to change.
• Buses in the area will be rerouted.
• Pedestrian traffic is allowed, but the event, while free, requires an RSVP. Law enforcement encourages people who aren’t RSVP-ed to the event to stay away.
• More than 100 law enforcement officers will be in the area, from Secret Service, Tacoma Police, the Pierce County Sheriff’s office and other outside agencies.
Everything is subject to change if the Secret Service decides change is needed, Rhodes said.
The heavy security is understandable and out of downtown’s control, Rhodes said, so she simply wants the information out so workers and business owners can plan.
Downtown employees will be heavily affected, she said. Many DaVita employees park at the Tacoma Dome station and take the Link to work. Access to the parking garages around the convention center, where many commuters also park, might be off limits because of the street closures. And restaurants that usually have deliveries on Friday morning, preparing for the weekend, are scrambling to make other arrangements.
Rhodes said she has heard that the Secret Service went door-to-door in the downtown area to discuss some of the impacts on business.