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New trail segment opens to Tacoma’s Eastside. Up next: 1.4-mile trail farther south

New city project looks to connect Tacoma Dome Station to the Eastside

Crews are working on phase two of the Pipeline Trail project which involves a 2.4-mile non-motorized trail to improve walkability in the city and connect the Tacoma Dome Station to Tacoma's east side.
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Crews are working on phase two of the Pipeline Trail project which involves a 2.4-mile non-motorized trail to improve walkability in the city and connect the Tacoma Dome Station to Tacoma's east side.

Finding a place to bike and walk in Tacoma just got easier.

As of April, the city completed two out of three phases expanding the Pipeline Trail from East 48th Street on Tacoma’s Eastside to East D Street at the Tacoma Dome Station.

The 2.4-mile urban trail segment is complete with sidewalks, ADA compliant curb ramps, new LED lighting, signage and bike compatible crossing beacons.

“Completing the Pipeline Trail has been a decades-long initiative that will be a game changer for the Eastside of Tacoma and the greater region,” District 4 Council Member Catherine Ushka said in a press release. “We are gaining an urban trail system that will entice families to experience the health benefits of exploring the outdoors, while providing the community with a safe and accessible walk and bike path when traveling to Eastside community centers.”

The project was expected to open in mid-December but was delayed because lighting poles were on back order.

The city “had to wait for the temperatures to warm up in order to strip the trail and roadways,” city spokeswoman Stacy Ellifritt told The News Tribune on Thursday.

City leaders are celebrating the completion of Phase 2 of the project with a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony on Saturday. The Puyallup Watershed Initiative will also hold a free helmet fitting and giveaway for all ages prior to the event.

Next steps

Expansion of the Pipeline Trail isn’t over yet.

The city’s next endeavor? Taking the trail farther south.

Construction is expected to start this month on Phase 3 of the Pipeline Trail, which includes a 1.4-mile segment stretching from East 56th Street in Tacoma to East 72nd Street at Waller Road East in Pierce County.

The trail will include a 12-foot wide asphalt surface, two-foot gravel shoulders on both sides, signage, benches, LED lighting, ADA ramps and three pedestrian-activated signals at East 64th Street and Pipeline Road, East 60th Street and Pipeline Road and East 56th Street and Pipeline Road.

The cost: about $2.5 million, with $1.9 million funded through a federal grant.

The segment is the last portion of the Pipeline Trail within the city limits. After that, the trail is Pierce County’s undertaking.

Pierce County budgeted $200,000 in 2019 for survey, design, permitting, public outreach and grant submission in early 2020 for the expansion of the Pipeline Trail, county spokeswoman Libby Catalinich said.

The county also allocated $5 million in upcoming years for engineering, permitting and construction. The project would extend the trail from East 72nd Street and Waller Road East to 94th Avenue, with a connection across 128th Street to the Nathan Chapman Trail.

The county is aiming to start construction in 2022, Catalinich said.

The goal is to have the 15-mile Pipeline Trail eventually connect with the Foothills Trail in South Hill.

A report by the Puyallup Watershed Initiative estimates an increase in health, transportation, environmental and economic benefits for the region of $5.6 million per year.

“The Pipeline Trail was one of those high-priority community trails that we called out specifically in the report,” Liz Kaster, active transportation manager for PWI, told The News Tribune.

The completed Pipeline Trail will be a “powerful” connection for the community, Kaster added.

“We’re just really excited.”

About the event

What: Pipeline Trail Phase 2 Dedication and Ribbon Cutting

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8

Where: East 43rd Street and Pipeline Road East in Tacoma