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Rail Crossing Improvement

About the Project

The City of Tacoma has studied rail crossings in the Dome District, in Old Town, and in the West End.  Issues discussed/reviewed included safety, traffic operations, non-motorized mobility, noise, and economic or other quality of life issues.  These crossings have been identified as locations of concern by local residents, business associations, and property owners.  The rail lines at these locations are managed by BNSF, Sound Transit for commuter rail (AMTRAK and Sounder) and Tacoma Rail Mountain Division.

Final Rail Crossing Report

The final report addressing these rail crossings were completed in October 2018. 

Rail Crossing Evaluation Report, October 2018
Rail Crossing Evaluation Report Appendices

What Has Been Done and Next Steps


McCarver Crossing –  Sidewalks have been replaced, fencing has been installed parallel to the rail line in the crossing’s NW quadrant, and pedestrian signals, gates and new tactile surfaces have been installed on the crossing’s east side.  The City continues to work with BNSF on the possibility of installing similar fencing parallel to the rail line in the crossing's NE quadrant (parking lot side).


Dome District – The City is currently working with Sound Transit on the creation of a quiet zone at both the E. C Street and E. D Street crossing.  The design, permitting and construction of these improvements will likely occur in the 2020-2021 time frame.


West End – Pedestrian improvements are planned at both the 6th Avenue and S. 19th Street rail crossings.  Design, right-of-way and permitting activities are underway.  The City is also coordinating with BNSF on the proposed rail improvements and addressing the right-of-way concerns of adjacent property owners.  Construction is tentatively scheduled for 2020. 


Rail Crossings Map

This map shows the general location of the crossings analyzed.  



Public Outreach

The first series of community meetings were held in January 2018. The meetings were in the West End (January 23), Dome District (January 24), and Old Town (January 25). The goal of these meetings were to solicit comments from the public on their concerns regarding the subject crossings.

A second round of meetings were held in May 2018.  These meetings were in the West End on May 22, in Old Town on May 23, and in the Dome District on May 24.  The following information was presented at these second round meetings:

  • A summary of the public feedback/concerns collected in the January meetings
  • A list of potential engineering options that are being evaluated for each crossing; and
  • An outline of the project’s next steps.

The Poster Boards presented at each of the second round meetings can be accessed via the following links:


West End Meeting

6th Avenue Board 1 of 2

6th Avenue Board 2 of 2


South 19th Street Board 1 of 2

South 19th Street Board 2 of 2


Old Town Meeting

McCarver Street Board 1 of 2


McCarver Street Board 2 of 2


Dome District Meeting

East D Street Board 1 of 2

East D Street Board 2 of 2


East C Street Board 1 of 2

East C Street Board 2 of 2


South C Street Board 1 of 2

South C Street Board 2 of 2


Old Town: McCarver Street and Ruston Way

Old Town

About the Crossing

The McCarver Street rail crossing is owned and maintained by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF). Railways that currently operate over this crossing include Amtrak (ATK), and the Union Pacific Rail Road Company (UP). This railroad crossing is an at grade public crossing which primarily services intercity passenger trains, freight deliveries, and has two main tracks.

 N. McCarver Peds Waiting


About the Community

This rail crossing is located centrally within the Old Town Business District. Land use in this area is commercial with residential single family and multifamily nearby. Within a five (5) minute radius the 2016 population was 20,758, with total business of 1,300, and total daytime employees of 17,658.


The City of Tacoma has recently completed improvements at this crossing including signage, pavement markings, and fencing. The City continues to work with BNSF in implementing supplemental crossing improvements at this location.



Dome District: East C & D Streets between E. 25th and E. 26th Streets



As defined in the South Downtown Subarea Plan, part of the City's One Tacoma Comprehensive Plan, the implementation of a Quiet Zone centered around E. D Street and E. 25th Street has been identified as a strategy to support the area's long-term goal of reducing train noise in the core of the Dome District. The strategy was established through collaboration with South Downtown stakeholders, a Citizen Advisory Committee, and City staff during the development of the Subarea Plan. You can find the U.S. Department of Transportation guide to establishing a Quiet Zone here


About the Crossings

The East C and East D Street rail line is owned by Sound Transit which also operates and maintains the rail crossings. Current railways operating over these crossing include Tacoma Rail and Sound Transit. On December 18, 2017 Amtrak Cascades began running passenger trains through these crossings. This is an at-grade public crossing which primarily services freight, commuter, and tourist uses. This area has two main tracks. 


FreightE C StEast D St


About the Community

The Dome District, is a diverse mix of commercial, residential, entertainment, and tourism area. Transportation options central to this area are: non-motorized, commuter rail, Link light rail, train, and bus. Within a five-minute radius of this rail crossing there is a 2016 population of 20,323, total businesses of 2,102, and 34,380 daytime employees. There is recently completed construction on the rail line at this location. Amtrak has added a south platform for future passenger service at this location (moving from the previous north location).


Approximately 400 feet from East D Street rail crossing is the Tacoma Dome Station. The north building is at 610 Puyallup Ave., the South Building is at 424 E. 25th Street., and the Tacoma Link station is also located at 424 E. 25th Street.   The Tacoma Dome Station has 2,283 parking spaces and the facility is served by Sounder Lakewood-Seattle, Tacoma Link light rail, Sound Transit bus services routes 586, 590, 594 and routes for Pierce Transit and Intercity Transit.


The Dome District crossings experience a high level of pedestrians due to the proximity to regional bus transit, commuter rail, adjacent business, and event traffic from the Tacoma Dome.

West End: 6th Avenue and Titlow Beach / S. 19th St. and Narrows Marina

West End

About the Crossings

The 6th Ave and S. 19th Street rail crossings are owned and maintained by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF). Railways that currently operate over these crossings include Amtrak (ATK) and the Union Pacific Rail Road Company (UP). These are at-grade public crossing which primarily service intercity passenger trains, freight deliveries, and has two main tracks.


Land uses associated with the area are a mix of commercial, residential, and recreational.


W at 6th E at 6th S 19


About the Community

The 6th Avenue rail crossing experiences high pedestrian volumes due to being adjacent to the Titlow Beach Marine Preserve, Titlow Park, and popular destination restaurants. There is a recreational, non-motorized trail (N. Wilton Rd.) that begins at the scenic wharf area northwest of the rail crossing. The beach and small waterfront wharf is a scenic and recreation designation only accessible by pedestrians. This crossing has sidewalks on both sides of the roadway.


The S. 19th St. rail crossing experiences a higher vehicle crossing volume and lower pedestrian volume due to the marina uses and availability of parking on the water side of the tracks. Land use associated with the area is primarily commercial, but there are single and multi-family residential and recreational uses in the area. The south ½ side of S. 19th Street is in the City of University Place. There are no sidewalks at this crossing.




Old Town (McCarver Crossing/Overall Rail Study)


Amount Funding Source
$500,000 City of Tacoma
$50,000 Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission Grant



West End (6th Ave and S. 19th St. Crossings)


Amount Funding Source
$70,000 City of Tacoma
$1,106,750 Federal Highway Safety and Improvement Grant
$1,150,000 State Funds


Dome District (E. C and E. D St. Crossings)


Amount Funding Source
$985,000 City of Tacoma


Contact Information

If you have questions or comments you can contact City of Tacoma Project Manager, Mark D'Andrea, at (253) 591-5518 or by email.



 PH Cons