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Sound Transit to close Lakewood train crossings

Post by Brent Champaco on March 31, 2010 at 11:42 am with 6 Comments »
March 31, 2010 11:42 am

Less than a block away from Chuck Kimrey’s store, crews are preparing to improve a set of train tracks that will link Lakewood riders to Tacoma and farther north.

It’s part of Sound Transit’s effort to extend Sounder commuter service to Lakewood, something South Sound taxpayers first voted for in 1996.

The multi-county transit agency aims to extend Sounder service to Lakewood by 2012. From Tacoma Station, the tracks will run out of the Dome District and South Tacoma, into Lakewood and end at Lakewood Station.

Sound Transit is now upgrading a set of freight train tracks that run through Lakewood. Part of the job requires closing four train crossings over city streets, including 100th Street Southwest near Kimrey’s mattress store. That agency will close that crossing April 23-25.

The city and Sound Transit, after consulting with businesses near the tracks, agreed to close a train crossing to cars and pedestrians one weekend per month between March and June. Officials say the schedule will cause the least amount of interruption to neighbors.

Kimrey, owner of Beds, Bunks & Mattresses Off-Price Outlet, said he hopes that is the case.

“The least time they tie up the roads, the better,” he said this week.

The city says the work, while it will interrupt some businesses, is necessary. Voters in Sound Transit’s three-county area passed a bond in 1996 that included commuter rail service to Lakewood, and the city has been waiting for the agency to make good on the promise ever since.

Here are the train crossings Sound Transit will close over the next three months:

- 100th Street Southwest near Lakeview Avenue Southwest, April 23-35
– 108th Street Southwest near Lakeview Avenue Southwest, May 14-16.
– Bridgeport Way Southwest near Pacific Highway, June 25-27.

Read more about this story later in The News Tribune.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. According to documents posted at http://tinyurl.com/yfvap6f with the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission, City of Lakewood is intervening in a regulatory proceeding about future modification of these RR crossings.

    The City believes the crossings mentioned in the story should be rebuilt as grade separated since Amtrak trains will proceed through them at 79 mph.

    How does this regulatory activity impact the work at the street crossings planned by Sound Transit?

  2. TacomaTaxpayer98409 says:

    Well attention all Lakewood residents:

    I hope Sound Transit contractor fixes your crossing quickly and doesn’t leave them with signs up for months saying ‘BUMP’ or “Motorcycles use caution” like they have in Tacoma on Cedar Street, and S. 72nd and also thru the Nalley Valley.

    They have left these crossings incomplete and WHEN ARE THEY GONNA FIX THEM?

    I don’t think you’ll see grade separted crossings. Lakewood can make some noise but those tracks have been there a long time, longer than Lakewood.

    All you have to do is keep the idiots who drive around crossing gates and people off the tracks and you’ll be fine. With trains going thru there at that speed, the gates won’t be down that long. Tacoma Rail will run some freights but you already have them now.

  3. TacomaTaxpayer98409 says:

    To answer your question about regulatory activity impact the crossing work?

    I would say not at all. ST knows what they can do and they are gonna do it.

  4. Brent Champaco says:


    I’ve been looking into the UTC hearing and am planning to write about it in the coming weeks.

    As per your question, everything I’ve heard says the hearing won’t bear any impact on Sound Transit’s project. What Lakewood, along with the City of DuPont, plan to contest is the segment between Lakewood Station and the Nisqually area, where the the bypass route reconnects to the existing route to the south. Sound Transit, at least for now, will only go as far as Lakewood Station.

    Basically, Amtrak included its portion of the project north of Lakewood Station with Sound Transit’s application. That’s one of the things the city is upset about. It wanted the slower Sound Transit commuter service that its residents have been paying for, but it’s against the high-speed Amtrak service.

    I’ll let you know more when I get the information.


  5. Brent:

    Thank you, I’m looking forward to your reporting on this matter.

    In contrast to your note to me, based on the City of Lakewood filing to the WUTC of March 29 posted at http://tinyurl.com/yf6u289 , this municipality is apparently seeking formal reconsideration of the at-grade design of the three southern most crossings named in your story above, for the reason you hinted at: Lakewood officials apparently realized only recently — well after the at-grade design was approved by WUTC in 2008 — that 79 mph Amtrak trains are also going to pass through those three crossings as well as slower Sounder trains.

    City of Lakewood’s current position on the crossings to be used by both Sound Transit’s Sounder train and Amtrak trains is also stated in a March 1 email to WUTC staff from its city manager posted at http://tinyurl.com/ygto9ae .

  6. Brent Champaco says:


    Thanks for the information. I’ll check with the city and state. It will be interesting to see if, in fact, the UTC hearing has any impact on the Sounder project.

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