transportation
5:57 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Feds to Fund 16 Local Projects to Benefit Bicyclists, Pedestrians

It will soon be easier to walk or bike around the Puget Sound region, thanks to nearly $17 million in federal funding to build and expand foot bridges, trails and pathways.

The funding from the Federal Highway Administration will benefit 16 transportation projects in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties.

The projects were selected by the Puget Sound Regional Council from the 62 applications it received. They range from a bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians in Redmond to sidewalks in Seattle’s Skyway neighborhood. 

The city of Tacoma will receive funding for two projects: $95,000 for the Tacoma 13 Corridor and $1.9 million for its Prairie Line Trail. City planner Elliott Barnett said the Prairie Line Trail will get a lot of attention.

“It will be very hard to miss if you’ve ever come to downtown Tacoma, because it will cross right through the heart of the city,” he said.

The mile-long Prairie Line Trail will be stepped in history, running along what used to be the old Transcontinental Railroad. 

The city of Tacoma literally grew up around it, which, Barnett says, makes this new bicycle and pedestrian trail more than just a transportation project.

“It’s a big part of telling the story of Tacoma right here, in this corridor. And [it] will become the gateway between downtown and our premiere waterfront area, which is the Foss Waterway,” he said.

Federal funds will pay for construction of the part of the trail leading from the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus to the waterfront. The city envisions the entire Prairie Line Trail project will be an economic catalyst as well as a major public space.

The proposed projects that were not funded can be resubmitted next year, the Puget Sound Regional Council said.