The City of Tacoma’s Public Works Department recently received a $2,119,250 grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) Transportation Alternatives Program to identify and design safety improvements, enhance pedestrian and bicycle connections, and provide better access to public transit on Portland Avenue from East 27th to East 56th Street. The Portland Avenue Vision Zero Project received the highest score in PSRC’s regional Transportation Alternatives Program competition.
“This funding is great news for our community as we work to improve our roads and meet our Vision Zero goals,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Portland Avenue is one of our most high-traffic corridors that many residents use to get around East Tacoma and access I-5 and transit, and these planned improvements will help us ensure every trip along this street is a safe one for every driver, cyclist and pedestrian.”
“Improving pedestrian and bicycle options is critical for the health and safety of our residents, as well as advancing our 2030 Climate Action Plan goals,” said Deputy Mayor Kristina Walker. “This project on Portland Avenue will make a vital connection to our multi-modal network and help residents get around safely without a car.”
“This grant represents the beginning of reinvesting in neighborhood corridors to enhance community safety,” said District 4 Council Member Catherine Ushka. “Our city streets should not be speedways through our neighborhoods, and this grant will help mitigate traffic impacts and increase health and safety through some of our low opportunity areas. This funding is critical to bringing our vision for a walkable and bikeable Eastside community to life. Thank you to the Puget Sound Regional Council for recognizing the importance of this project.”
This grant provides funding for community engagement and preliminary engineering for a comprehensive traffic study, survey, and design plan. The project’s outcome will be a community-informed transformation of Portland Avenue, aimed at lowering driver speeds and enhancing safety for all travel modes while fostering a stronger sense of community.
The northern section of this work will connect to planned light rail and transit improvements and the planned regional Tacoma to Puyallup Trail. At its southern end, this project directly connects to the Pipeline Trail and popular community destinations such as the Eastside Community Center, First Creek Middle School, and Portland Avenue Park.
Portland Avenue was identified as a high-risk corridor in Tacoma’s Vision Zero Action Plan due to the number of fatal and serious crashes, high driver speeds, inadequate bike facilities, and limited pedestrian crossing options. Tacoma’s Vision Zero Action Plan uses data-driven and equity-focused strategies to guide Tacoma toward the goal of eliminating fatalities and severe injuries crashes by 2035.
The City of Tacoma will work closely with the Puyallup Tribe, the Eastside community, Sound Transit, Pierce Transit, and other partners to improve safety and multimodal access and connectivity along the corridors.