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Downtown to Point Defiance- Tacoma Residents Brave Rain

Pouring rain didn’t keep Tacomans from venturing the roughly 7 miles between the Tacoma Dome and Point Defiance Park on Sunday.

They traveled by foot, bicycle, roller blades, skateboard and other self-powered means.

Just not in cars.

The Downtown to Defiance event shut down streets along the route to vehicle traffic for the morning.

Metro Parks Tacoma spokeswoman Nancy Johnson said between 800-900 people came out for the event, which previewed a 0.6-mile asphalt trail linking Point Defiance Park and Point Ruston, part of an $11 million project to build a pedestrian-only entrance to the park.

Johnson said they closed the trail at 6 p.m. Sunday, and that it won’t reopen until about mid-October when finish work on the project is complete.

Seven members of a local vintage bike group, the Skid Kings, said they were impressed by the new trail and would ride it again.

They left the Tacoma Dome at 8 a.m., and by about 11:30 a.m. they were stopping in Old Town for a bite to eat on the way back to their vehicles.

And maybe a drink.

“If we’re forced to buy a beer, what can you do?” 77-year-old Peter Hawley said, adding that a beer garden at Point Defiance would have been a nice touch.

Others weren’t as quick to make it to the Point.

When asked whether he and sons Elon, 5, and Ronin, 2, planned to make it to the end, Peter Brown said: “We’ll see.”

Elon made sure his dad and brother stuck to the paved path along Ruston Way instead of the road as they meandered along the route in their matching yellow rain jackets.

He was skeptical about riding his bike in the street: “It’s by the train track!”

“I’m faster than a jogger!” he added as they went.

They weren’t alone in straggling along the route, there were plenty of distractions.

A bouncy house, Zumba and other dance classes, nature booths and art stations were some of the activities that lined the way.

Asa Chamberlin, 5, would have stayed in the bouncy house if dad Jeff hadn’t insisted they continue on.

Being allowed to ride in the street was pretty cool though, Asa admitted.

“We think it’s a great idea, we’d like them to do this regularly,” Jeff Chamberlin said.

That will be considered, Metro Parks’ Johnson said.

Groups involved with the event, including the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and the City of Tacoma, will meet to discuss how it went and the possibility of doing it again.

But shutting down streets as they did Sunday is no cheap or easy feat, Johnson said. The event cost roughly $32,000.

It required law enforcement, marketing, notifying local businesses, and a lot of traffic cones.

Not to mention people willing to brave the rain.

“I think, despite the weather, everybody really had a great time,” Johnson said. “We’re going to debrief about (holding it again).”

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268

Original article published by the Tacoma News Tribune

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