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Rail Monthly Update

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August 2014 – in review


In this issue: 

  • WSDOT community engagement continues for next phase of Freighthouse Square station
  • Kelso Martin’s Bluff moves forward with completion of environmental study
  • NFL and the U of O promote Amtrak Cascades; and a kids promo gets a jumpstart
  • Third public event planned on landslide prevention for north rail corridor 
     

WSDOT community engagement continues for next phase of Freighthouse Square station
Following the central location selection of the Amtrak station in Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square building, WSDOT entered the next phase of the project, preliminary engineering. WSDOT is continuing with community engagement during this phase by integrating a City of Tacoma’s Amtrak Relocation Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) representative with the WSDOT design team. The CAC representative is actively participating in the WSDOT design team meetings and serves as the liaison between the WSDOT design team and the CAC. In addition, the WSDOT design team is collaborating with Merritt Architecture, which is working for the City of Tacoma to develop the overall vision and conceptual ideas for the overall Freighthouse Square building. In September and October 2014, at least three meetings with the entire CAC and one public meeting are planned. WSDOT will continue to work with the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Dome District Development Group, Tacoma city council and mayor, legislators, Amtrak and Sound Transit. Once approved by FRA, construction will start in late 2015.

Kelso Martin’s Bluff moves forward with completion of environmental study
A public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18, 2014 for the Kelso Martin’s Bluff environmental assessment (EA) by WSDOT. The community is invited to view the study findings and offer comments on the EA for a proposed bypass that upgrades existing track and adds a third main track between Kelso and the Longview Junction. This will separate freight and passenger rail traffic, allowing trains to move around each other and improve the reliability and on-time performance of Amtrak Cascades trains. Completion of this project brings Amtrak Cascades passengers one step closer to more frequent and reliable rail service between Seattle and Portland.

NFL and the U of O promote Amtrak Cascades; and a kids promo gets a jumpstart
Amtrak Cascades was promoted by the National Football League (NFL), Sound Transit and the Seattle Seahawks as a multi-modal choice for football fans who traveled to the NFL Kickoff event in Seattle on Sept. 4. These partnerships helped provide visibility to let people know Amtrak Cascades is a great travel option. ODOT has partnered with the University of Oregon, Travel Lane County, and Lane Transit District to encourage season ticketholders and alumni to take the Amtrak Cascades to football and other sporting events played at home this fall. The Schools on Trains program for K-12 students and their teachers or chaperones is now active on an improved Amtrak reservation system for this program. The improvements will help increase participation by schools, which will lead to increased ridership and revenue by filling seats on the train during off-season train travel and during the school year.

Third public event planned on landslide prevention for north rail corridor residents
WSDOT, Sound Transit and City of Edmonds are collaborating on an open house in October 2014 for property owners along the Amtrak Cascades’ and Sound Transit’s north rail corridor. This is the third in a series of events to provide information to communities on how to help prevent landslides and warning signs of a potential landslide. By making proper improvements on private property, residents will reduce the chance of a landslide, which could impact rail service along the north corridor. According to a recently published brochure, How landslides affect your property, landslide risks could include lowered property value, increased insurance rates, loss of land, clean-up and repair of property and building structures, and liability for damage to other properties. The brochure highlights steps landowners can take to maintain and improve their property with vegetation, drainage, and construction setbacks. Over the past year, the cities of Mukilteo and Everett hosted similar events where WSDOT and Sound Transit participated.





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