The City of Tacoma is engaged in a public planning and design process for the Prairie Line corridor—a conversion of the former Prairie Line rail corridor into a pedestrian/bicycle corridor and linear park through the heart of Downtown Tacoma. The City received a $465,000 grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council to fund the design and preliminary engineering of the trail. The public design process will run from June 2012 through mid- 2013. Subsequently, the City will seek funding for construction, predicated on the successful conclusion of the land donation from Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) to the City.
The project area is an approximately one-mile segment of the historic rail corridor, beginning at the south end of downtown, running through the Brewery District, University of Washington Tacoma (UWT) campus, crossing Tollefson Plaza and Pacific Avenue, running adjacent to the Tacoma Art Museum, and then arriving via the S. 15th Street ramp at the Thea Foss waterfront. UWT is designing the trail through their campus (S. 17th Street to S. 21st Street). The City’s effort pertains to the segments to the north (Dock Street to 17th Street) and south (S. 21st Street to S. 25th Street) of the UWT campus.
The Prairie Line Trail is a significant opportunity for Tacoma. The rail corridor is historically significant as the first transcontinental railroad connection to the Puget Sound, which shaped the early development of the City. It’s conversion into a public space provides an exceptional opportunity to create a truly distinctive public asset. The Prairie Line is envisioned as a major economic development catalyst for the revitalization of the Historic Brewery District, a unifying feature connecting different districts of Downtown Tacoma, and a pedestrian/bicycle gateway to Downtown and the Foss Waterfront.
More information is available on the City of Tacoma’s website.