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Puyallup City Council to hold special meeting to discuss Sound Transit station improvements, parking issues

Post by Kari Plog / The News Tribune on April 16, 2013 at 4:25 pm with 9 Comments »
April 17, 2013 2:51 pm

The Puyallup City Council will hold its second joint meeting with Sound Transit board members and city officials to discuss access and improvement of the transit station in downtown Puyallup.

At the first meeting last week, a facilitator helped the group work through hopes, fears and suggestions regarding the issues surrounding parking and other access-related problems that have come up as the Sounder station’s use has increased.

Last year, Sound Transit said it would begin planning long-term access improvements at the Sumner and Puyallup stations. Parking garages were included in the initial plans, but some officials were reluctant to build a multi-story garage. They feared, and still fear, the garage would cause additional traffic congestion.

Roughly 1,600 commuters catch the train at the two East Pierce County transit stations on an average weekday, and Sound Transit has forecast that demand will double in the next 20 years.

Also last year, the agency finished a nearly two-year study of eight stations to determine which improvements are needed in the next two decades. Puyallup and Sumner were included in the study, which was funded by the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure approved by voters in 2008.

Sound Transit 2 has made funds available for various access improvements. Michael Williams, Sound Transit’s development director, said at last week’s meeting there is about $55 million earmarked for improvements to the Puyallup station. Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow said Wednesday that the Sumner station has about $40 million pegged for improvements.

The meeting uncovered a group with divided expectations, with some council members supporting “looking to the future” and others fearing trading in tradition for mixed-use buildings and urban living.

Councilman John Palmer said a more holistic approach could mean a city with fewer cars on the road and more diverse housing options. Deputy Mayor John Knutsen said “forcing housing” and development in the city could create more problems for residents paying for a transit system they aren’t using.

Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Executive and chair of the Sound Transit board, said the train is here to stay so instead of focusing on the past officials should work together to “do it right.”

“Let’s look at all the options out there,” McCarthy said. “You have a big chunk of change, let’s do something with it.”

The next joint meeting is Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers on the fifth floor of City Hall in downtown Puyallup.

Kari Plog: 253-597-8682
kari.plog@thenewstribune.com
@KariPlog

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. Rail transit doesn’t benefit Puyallup, only Seattle business.
    Why now hurt Puyallup citizens with pointless improvements?
    If a chunk of change improves nothing why use it?

  2. By the time the state gets to adding more to the gas tax, and any other tax they can conjure up for the taxpayers to pay,people will be flocking to the park & Rides for the sounder trains ! Then They’ll raise the fare rates, due to excessive more fuel use, or employee’s longer hours.
    I’m still trying to figure out how the Tacoma Dome can add events at night, then shuts off the Trolley service a hour or so before it’s over ?????

  3. The money is already there from a previous Sound Transit measure. Station improvements won’t raise taxes.

    Commuters like my husband benefit the city tremendously. His job may be in Seattle, but his home and heart are here. We pay our mortgage and our taxes with his salary. We shop at downtown businesses, we volunteer in the community, and we vote for school bonds. I understand that there are folks nostalgic for the small town of years past, but it is truly hurtful to see the contributions of so many young families derided and devalued because they are headed by folks who commute to work. We need to decide what we want for the city long after we are all gone. If we want to be a town of folks who rent apartments and then move on to better things-well, fine. If we want to be a town with middle class families and children and people who put down deep roots and try to make the community better, then we need to acknowledge the reality of where people work and quit treating commuters like the enemy.

  4. jimkastama says:

    To Megb,

    Well said! We are fortunate to have a rail station in our downtown core. The ability to commute to a world class city like Seattle and still enjoy the amenities of a small town is priceless. This will become even more important in the future as energy prices rise, making other forms of transportation more costly. It’s good, and wise, to plan for the future.

    Jim

  5. Valleychic says:

    Morning Megan: I’ve heard proposals of building a parking garage at the Red Lot vs downtown which may be a better solution than building a garage downtown on Sound Transit property. If your idea of creating a better downtown community is to displace long term residents and their homes with stylish cottage housing and transit garages for 1000 commuters–most of whom do not reside within the city limits, then let me suggest the city come to your residence along with several of your neighbors and seize your property through eminent domain to build a park for others in your neighborhood to use. People who live downtown in the targeted area that commuters cherish so much for their parking, have lives, they volunteer, many work in Puyallup so why are their needs not valued and yours more important.

    Before you came to Puyallup, people commuted to work–whether Tacoma, Fort Lewis, Seattle or Olympia. This is one of those unique communities that people love to live in. Why tear it down to meet the needs of just a few.

  6. MegB – well said.
    A garage would be an investment that helps the city of Puyallup and the surrounding communities. Parking is currently a nightmare at the Puyallup station and the commuter train capacity could be considerably increased if the parking situation could be improved. My family considered living in Puyallup and making the ST commute to Seattle, but after learning about the inability to find parking, we settled on Tacoma partly because of its parking (though Tacoma is amazingly enough full to capacity as well). So now our Seattle salaries are invested in Tacoma.

  7. Once again Valley chic steps up and tries to discount those who don’t have the same point of view as him/her. Most people probably agree with Meg!

    Downtown is slowly becoming a destination that people want to visit for dinner, entertainment, drinks, shopping, etc. The views of many current council members is so antiquated, they truly want to keep us stuck in the 60s. Thankfully the last several years have seen downtown evolve and become a great place. It’s time to keep moving forward!!

    Valleychic, I will type slowly so you can understand me… 1960 called and they want you and your bff’s on the council back!!

  8. hahathisisgettingfunny says:

    @ Valleychic, you don’t happen to wear a plaid shirt on a regular basis do you, just curious?

  9. hillguy – don’t you mean 1860 :)

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