No man is an island, and no transportation project is either – particularly when that project concerns rail track through a city’s downtown core and will affect neighborhood businesses, community members, and eventually, busy commuters. And did we mention that the proposed alignment included an at-grade crossing of a busy, five-way intersection, and a hill climb that matched some of the steepest commuter rail grades in the country? That’s the challenge that faced Sound Transit as they prepared to build 1.2 miles of new high-speed rail track in Tacoma.
Sound Transit knew that the project could not be successful without community support, and brought EnviroIssues on board to develop and implement a comprehensive community outreach strategy that included business owners, commuters, residents, elected officials, and city leaders. That strategy eventually included facilitating monthly meetings of the project advisory committee, a group that helped develop a design that blended the new track elements with surrounding buildings and landscape features. EnviroIssues also facilitated briefings and open houses with a highly-engaged stakeholder group to vet possible alignments; developed materials that were distributed to a wide range of audiences; conducted stakeholder interviews; and assisted with on-the-ground outreach and business mitigation during construction, assisting the agency with setting clear expectations for construction impacts.
And finally, we were on hand to celebrate when Sounder service was launched between Tacoma and Lakewood and that beautiful new track got to work!