12 Mar 2015

Urban Inspection 3: Waterfront

Today, Ned and I took a walk down to downtown Tacoma's waterfront.

Heading down Schuster Parkway towards Thea's Park.

On the 4th Street bridge, looking north you can see the railroad sidings and Temco, the grain exporter.

Looking south, you can see the Murray Morgan Bridge which connects downtown to the port over 11th Street. This was closed in 2007 after the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minnesota and opened again in 2013 after comprehensive rehabilitation.

A closer look at the ship Dansas.

Looking down at Thea's Park, where the 2014 Tacoma type-out was held.

Walking south along Dock Street, you can see the old city hall with its broken clock behind the I-705 exit ramps.

Now, Dock Street doesn't connect to downtown Tacoma for quite a while due to the railyard and a steep hill. But what's this I see?

Yes, it's a glass elevator! This saves walking 8 blocks out of your way to get into downtown. At first I was a little suspicious about whether it could be open to the public or not. It seemed too perfect.

There is even a nice mural and art installation under the bridge.

I had to take a video riding up the glass elevator, of course. This is facing north towards Thea's Park and eventually the Olympic Mountains.

Now on bridge level, looking down.

Looking towards the bridge from downtown.

I took a short detour down Cliff Ave (which is hardly an avenue, more like a back alley) for another look at the bridge.

After the bridge was bypassed by SR-509, WSDOT wanted to tear it down. The City of Tacoma bought it and after several years of neglect, finally closed and restored it.

Walking north again on A Street to the 9th Street intersection looking into the heart of the Theater District. You can see the Tacoma Link crossing the street.

Getting closer to home now, walking up the steps towards the old Elk's Lodge.

Ned was worn out after all this fast walking uphill. A tired puppy is a happy puppy. I, too, think it's brilliant that we have all of these cool places within walking distance.


  1. Love old industrial looking cities - that was the America that was the "American Dream" -- what have we done to so much of it??
    Thanks, and give Ned a pat on the head.

    1. I do too, and Tacoma is a fine example of one.

      I guess it's the Chinese dream now.

  2. Beautiful photography. I think you may have just inspired me to talk a walk through the old industrial area of my city, although my measly phone camera and I can't even get close to the quality of your photos. I especially liked the pictures overlooking the railroads.

    1. Old industrial areas are so fun to photograph. You can still take good photos with a phone camera; the most important things are framing and lighting. In some of these, the lighting wasn't great but I try to line things up in the shot so they look good.

  3. Thanks for sharing your walk. Those are some wonderful photos. Like landscapes I also like cityscapes, especially of old established cities.
    I used to love walking through places where I lived and photographing the surroundings. Never know when things will change.

    1. Things are changing quickly in Tacoma—there's a lot different now compared to when I moved here 2 years ago, and as I am going to have to move away for a few years soon, I want to document everything I love and am familiar with!

  4. Love the photos. I really like Industrial landscapes myself.

  5. What a great tour of the neighbourhood. I can really see the appeal of the place.

  6. That elevator was part of the restoration last year that culminated with the mural. I did a post on the mural dedication. The elevator was months late due to an inspection problem. We rode it one night then a few days later it was blocked off again. Now it's consistently open. we can get our bikes in there and avoid the hill.