Traffic issues at Point Defiance Park are nothing new.
A notation in the archives of the park’s lodge — dating back to 1946 — notes the persistent “problem of handling traffic on streets adjacent to playgrounds, parks … and holidays.”
More recently, Tom Dargan, Metro Parks Tacoma project manager, said, “We have a nice park, but it’s not built for events.” Traffic, he said, “has been an issue forever.”
At a forum Thursday, Metro Parks garnered public opinion about how to deal with traffic problems in the park and shared current and developing plans for traffic circulation.
The meeting was the first of four to bring cyclists, pedestrians and drivers together to work on the problem. Officials hope to use public opinion and ideas to come up with detailed plans for improving overall traffic flow.
“The main reason we are having these meetings is to plan for the future,” Dargan said.
During Thursday’s meeting, Metro Parks officials gave an overview of its parking and circulations study, which implements ideas from the park’s 2015 master plan.
Conversation at the meeting centered on paths that could be shared by walkers and cyclists. At present, cyclists, walkers and drivers share the main road around Point Defiance.
“The master plan identified that Point Defiance needs to to be a bicyclist- and pedestrian-friendly park,” Dargan said.
Dargan noted that vehicles sometimes keep people from using the road for walking and cycling. He spoke of a parent who told Metro Parks last week that “they love to ride their bikes with their kids,” but cars often present a problem.
A shared trail might help ease congestion and allow park visitors to roam about and travel with ease, he said.
Those attending Thursday’s meeting filled out questionnaires regarding their typical Point Defiance destinations and their preferred modes of transportation.
Information from the surveys will go to outlining possible routes for a shared trail. An online version of the survey will be on the Metro Parks website for two weeks.
Metro Parks Tacoma’s next meeting, focusing on parking, will be in mid-November. Information about Metro Park’s plans and propositions for traffic circulation are available at metroparkstacoma.org.