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Schuster Corridor Multi-Use Trail

Dome to Defiance Vision
We would have a shoreside people‐place. No other waterfront in the Northwest would be as spectacular. This would not be all parks or all commercial development. The shoreside people‐place would be a unique blend of mixed uses including industrial, commercial, residential and recreational. It would include both public and private areas. The identifying characteristic of this waterfront would be its urban quality close to the population centers. It would have public access and view access to the water the whole length of the shore. It would be easy to get to; it would link downtown, neighborhood areas, and our major in‐town park. It would be diverse and interesting; primarily an area for Tacoma and Pierce County residents, but it could also be a major magnet for tourists and other visitors.

Project Goal
The Schuster Parkway Promenade will provide an inviting, safe and convenient connection between downtown and Ruston Way, completing a significant addition to Tacoma’s trails network and enhancing the Dome to Defiance waterfront promenade for recreation as well as creating a viable non-motorized commute trip alternative.

Project Scope
The Schuster Parkway Promenade project will consist of a shared-use promenade along Schuster Parkway connecting the Thea Foss Waterway esplanade and Downtown Tacoma with Old Town and the Ruston Way shoreline promenade. This trail serves as a critical segment of the 8.5 mile “Dome to Defiance” multi-modal access system that stretches from the Tacoma Dome in South Downtown to Point Defiance Park in the North end of Tacoma, linking together the City's most populous neighborhoods with commercial, recreational, and cultural destinations. Completing the 1.6 mile Schuster Promenade segment will enhance the capacity of the system for all users and promote active transportation and healthy living. The following project components were developed through a yearlong study and public outreach effort that began in 2012 and was completed in December of 2013. That effort produced a conceptual design and feasibility study that recommended the following components of the project:

  1. Shared-use promenade abutting Schuster Parkway, from S. 4th Street overpass to McCarver Street in Old Town.
  2. NE 30th Street: Road diet from Old Town to Schuster Parkway to accommodate promenade.
  3. Elevated promenade along slope sections to enhance views of Commencement Bay, provide for separation from traffic, improve slope stability, and ensure ADA compliance with a relatively flat grade.
  4. Signal and intersection improvements at S 4th Street and Schuster Parkway.

Recent News
The Schuster Parkway Promenade Project has been recommended by the Pierce County Regional Council and submitted to the Puget Sound Regional Council for an STP grant that would fund the preliminary engineering for the promenade. The grant application was submitted on April 8, 2014. In addition, the project is on a contingency list for funding from the 2013 PSRC Transportation Alternatives Grant.

Study DocumentsSchuster Parkway Promenade: Conceptual Design Report (PDF)
Schuster Parkway Promenade: AQ Analysis (PDF)
Schuster Parkway Traffic Analysis - Final (PDF)
Schuster Parkway Promenade Recommendation
Schuster Parkway Promenade Cross Section
The promenade will extend from the 4th Street Ramp, including intersection improvements, to North 30th, providing a 12-foot multi-use path, accessible for all users and abilities. The promenade will include sections of raised causeway that will provide views of the waterfront over traffic and create a greater separation of pedestrians and cyclists from traffic, thereby providing a more comfortable and safe experience.

Achieving greater mobility in this corridor was identified in several past planning projects beginning in the 1980s with the Dome to Defiance Report published by the City Club of Tacoma. Additionally, other planning documents identify Schuster Parkway corridor as a future non-motorized connection, including the 2013 Shoreline Master Program and the 2010 Mobility Master Plan (MoMaP). Tacoma’s MoMaP was honored by the Puget Sound Regional Council in 2011 with a VISION 2040 Award in recognition of Tacoma’s innovation and commitment to sustainability in anticipation of a growing population. Tacoma’s commitment to developing a connected non-motorized network was central to the receipt of this honor. By 2020, the City hopes to build 123 miles of bike lanes and boulevards, develop 42 miles of trails, and install 146 blocks of sidewalks. The Schuster Parkway Promenade is an integral element of this expansion and connectivity. 

A preliminary analysis of potential trail alignments along the Schuster Parkway corridor was performed as part of the Shoreline Master Program update (SMP) and the Mobility Master Plan (MoMaP). The alignments included an overwater/waterside trail, reconfiguration of Schuster Parkway and the existing sidewalk, and the enhancement of the Bayside Trails system. Other project considerations included linkages to the Stadium Way and Pacific Avenue streetscape improvements and slope stability planning.

During the summer and fall of 2012, staff performed site visits with stakeholder groups, including representatives from Downtown on the Go, the Bicycle Pedestrian Action Committee, the Tacoma Wheelman, Sperry Ocean Dock, TEMCO, the Port of Tacoma, and BNSF railroad.

On November 14, 2012 City staff presented the scope of work and project approach for the Schuster Parkway Promenade, including feasibility criteria and design considerations to the (now) Infrastructure, Planning and Sustainability Committee. At that meeting the Committee requested that staff focus on the Schuster Parkway right-of-way as the primary alternative for connecting the Thea Foss waterway esplanade and the Ruston Way shoreline promenade with a multiuse trail. Additionally, the Committee requested that staff consider a three to seven year timeframe as a target implementation horizon

On April 10, 2013 staff provided a recommended alignment for the promenade and a conceptual design for a full access system that combines elements of the Bayside Trail and Waterfront Esplanade. The graphic below depicts the potential buildout of a promenade/trail system.

Link to a larger image of the Schuster Parkway Trail Map depicting the potential buildout of a trail system

Staff Contact
Steve Atkinson
Associate Planner
(253) 591-5531