By Margo Greenman
Between family, work, chores and errands, we barely leave enough time to get from point A to B. Because of our rushed lifestyles, our daily commute is typically a hurried burst of distracted multi-tasking spent behind the wheel. For people living and working in and around downtown Tacoma, transportation advocate Downtown On the Go! aims to change that, inspiring Tacomans to set aside some extra time, leave their cars at home this summer, and use their feet to make their way across the City of Destiny.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Walk to work? In the Pacific Northwest? Where clear, blue skies change to thunderous downpours at the drop of a hat?” Yes, it’s true, Washington weather doesn’t always host ideal walking conditions, but as summer fast approaches and soggy sidewalks dry up for the season, there’s no better time to get into the habit of walking than now. With a full schedule of cleverly-themed, community summer walks, Downtown On the Go! is your incentive to get out and about.
“We started the walk Tacoma event as a way to get people on the street and seeing downtown,” says Downtown On the Go! Manager, Kristina Walker. “Often, people walk with us and realize it’s actually not that far from City Hall to downtown Tacoma,” she says.
Debunking the myth that the distance from your home to work and other downtown destinations is shorter than it appears, Downtown On the Go! has successfully converted countless car commuters into avid city walkers. In fact, the popularity of Downtown On the Go’s summer walk series has been so successful that, now, in its fifth year, the series includes a total of eight themed walks, including a new monthly walk to work event, held the last Wednesday of each month.
In addition to the monthly walk to work events, three exciting summer walks are taking place now through August. And, because all of the walks are conveniently scheduled during the lunch hour or right after work, finding time to join in the fun is easy. The next scheduled walk is the Public Art Walk on Wednesday, June 18 at 5:15 p.m. Walkers will meet at Fireman’s Park and be joined by locally-based Pacific Avenue Streetscape Artist, Elizabeth Connor.
Like the Public Art Walk, all of Downtown On the Go’s themed summer walks are led by a local celebrity or historian. This makes walking through downtown a fun and educational experience. In July, community members are invited to a Family Walk led by Franciscan Health System’s Senior Vice President, Dianna Kielian. Families interested in participating in this health-minded walk will meet at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma on Wednesday, July 16, at noon.
Saving the very best for last, Downtown On the Go! is wrapping up their summer walk series with an event you won’t want to miss. On Wednesday, August 6, downtown Tacoma will turn into a wild frenzy as the community comes together for a city-wide Scavenger Hunt. Participants will check-in at the Social Bar & Grill, then make their way across the city by foot and on public transportation, finding answers to clues and documenting their progress with photos. The hunt starts at 4:30 p.m. and ends with prizes, food, drinks and more at the Social Bar and Grill from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Walker says that as the walks continue to grow in popularity and more funding becomes available, Downtown On the Go! will add even more walks to their annual summer walk series.
Downtown On the Go! hosts a variety of other events year-round that encourage Tacomans to explore their city without a car. During National Bike Month in May, Downtown On the Go! inspired locals to pedal their way around town with several bike-themed events, and will do so again in September during Bike to Work week. In October, Tacomans are encouraged to find shelter from the rain on a Pierce Transit bus or the light rail, in support of Transit Month.
Downtown On the Go! is Tacoma’s transportation advocate, working closely with Pierce Transit and the city to provide locals with a multitude of ways to get around their city. “We work directly with downtown businesses and promote transportation, sometimes paying for transit passes or doing whatever we can to help. We all want to improve downtown, and transportation choices are the way to do that,” says Walker.
If you’d like to learn more about Downtown On the Go!, upcoming events and year-round options for exploring your city without a car, click here.
All photos courtesy Downtown On the Go!