Downtown to Defiance

Cyclists on Schuster Parkway, Tacoma, WA

Cyclists on Schuster Parkway, Tacoma, WA

In my ongoing survey about the Ruston Way waterfront, visitors expressed concern about car traffic and the potential for increased traffic due to the residential and commercial development at Point Ruston. Some visitors also expressed interest in closing Ruston Way to create bike and pedestrian pubic access. Suggestions included closing the road on weekend mornings or one weekend day each month. Today’s Sunday Parkways event, along Tacoma’s waterfront, is an example of how closing a major traffic artery along the waterfront prioritizes human powered transportation over cars.

Cyclists and walkers on Schuster Parkway, Tacoma, WA

Cyclists and walkers on Schuster Parkway, Tacoma, WA

Streets were closed to cars so that runners, walkers, bikers, and skaters could experience the 7 miles of waterfront without car traffic. Holly and I joined the route at Old Town Dock and walked to downtown Tacoma and back–a six mile walk.

My favorite part was walking on the Schuster Parkway ramp that links Schuster Parkway and Ruston Way. I’ve driven on this road many times, but have never had the opportunity to walk on it.

View of Schuster Parkway ramp, Chinese Reconciliation Park, and Commencement Bay, Tacoma, WA

View of Schuster Parkway ramp, Chinese Reconciliation Park, and Commencement Bay, Tacoma, WA

It was interesting to have an elevated vantage point to view passing trains, Commencement Bay and Chinese Reconciliation Park. As I walked the route I thought about how slowing down, walking instead of driving, helped me notice perspective and scale of building, plants, and railroad tracks. I also noticed that much of the waterfront view from downtown to Ruston Way is obscured by buildings. The walk made me consider the challenges to creating coherent public access to the waterfront stretching from the city center to Pt. Defiance Park.

Poster promoting Downtown to Defiance event

Poster promoting Downtown to Defiance event

Amy E. Ryken

Amy E. Ryken

Amy E. Ryken studies partnerships that foster connections between schools and community resources, such as museums and outdoor environments. She is particularly interested in a broad definition of learning that considers how people learn, in a wide range of settings and activities, over the life span.
Amy E. Ryken

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