Pierce Transit is studying the feasibility of implementing High Capacity Transit (HCT) along a 14.4-mile corridor on Pacific Avenue/SR 7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway. The corridor is currently served by Pierce Transit’s Route 1, which has the highest ridership in the system with 5,300 boardings per weekday.
Pierce Transit held several open houses in 2017 to introduce the HCT concept to people and businesses along the corridor and seek feedback. Agency staff have also been meeting with stakeholders in the area and soliciting feedback online. After reviewing several HCT mode options and gathering public input, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) rose to the top as the preferred option over enhanced bus, streetcar and light rail.
Bus Rapid Transit systems are designed to carry larger numbers of riders with greater speed, reliability and frequency than a standard fixed-route bus. BRT stations have additional amenities, such as real-time arrival information; off-board fare collection, raised platforms and multiple doors for faster boarding; transit signal prioritization for faster travel times through congested intersections; and unique, branded vehicles that carry more passengers, have room for bicycles onboard and provide easier wheelchair access.
The High Capacity Transit study has now entered a new phase, looking at details such as where the bus might run within the roadway, where stations might be located and how the corridor might grow around the new system. The public is invited to attend an open house to learn more about these options, meet the design team and offer feedback:
Tuesday, March 27, 4 to 7 p.m.
Spanaway Middle School Cafeteria/Commons
15701 B St. E., Tacoma
Wednesday, March 28, 4 to 7 p.m.
Garfield Book Company Community Room
208 Garfield St. S. #101, Tacoma
Thursday, March 29, 4 to 7 p.m.
UW Tacoma William W. Phillip Hall
Jane Thompson Russell Student Commons, Room WPH 101A
1918 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
The public can learn more about the study and Bus Rapid Transit at piercetransit.org/HCT-feasibility-study/. Questions and comments may be via email. They may also sign up to receive project updates via email by visiting piercetransit.org/StayConnected, entering their email address, and selecting the “Pacific Ave./SR 7 Bus Rapid Transit Project” topic.
There is already $75 million committed to this project; $60 million from Sound Transit 3 and $15 million from the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package. Pierce Transit plans to apply for federal funding for the remaining portion of the project, estimated to cost $150 million. If funding is secured, the design/environmental review/construction process could get underway in late 2018 or early 2019, with service beginning in late 2022.