Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bike Blurbs: Parkland to Lakewood

A year or so ago I attended Pacific Lutheran University's Academic Festival. All the graduating seniors, some alumni and a few underclassmen in the maths and sciences get together and present their year-ending projects.

I mentioned to a former professor of mine that I needed to ride to Lakewood Town Center (no, I don't care how the signs spell it, I'm not putting an 'e' on Town) for some wedding registry shenanigans, and he pointed me at this little gem:
Distance: 4.5 miles
Hills: Easy
Traffic: Easy/moderate

Part 1: Right on Ainsworth Ave; Left on 112th St

My specific route is from the Morken Center, where AcFest was, and makes its way to Ainsworth for a start. However, 112th is fully bike-friendly up to C Street, so once you're in the neighborhood any northbound street between C and Ainsworth will be low-traffic enough to get you over.

Part 2: Cross Steele; Right on South Tacoma Way

The formal bike lake ends just before Steele, but the 112th remains an easy ride past the North edge of the base. The stretch on S. Tacoma Way, crossing I-5, is the closest to difficulty you'll find along the way. A short climb with limited shoulder (there is a little-used sidewalk if you prefer), and you will have to be comfortable enough around cars to get to the left turn lane when you hit the main road, just past the 512 Park and Ride.

Part 3: Left on Pacific Highway; Right on 108th St; Right on Davisson Rd

After that it's smooth sailing. Pacific Hwy sports a bike lane over to 108th, and you'll roll comfortably on down to Davisson. Don't make the mistake I always make of turning right off 108th as soon as your lane ends, because you'll end up turning left into the main Town Center entrance off Bridgeport, which is no kind of fun.

If I'd known about this route in my college years, you can bet I'd have seen a lot more movies, and spent a lot more at Barnes & Noble.

Bike Blurbs is a twice-weekly exploration of modular cycling in Tacoma, WA, covering the popular trails of the area, and the city routes that connect them into a broader cycling experience.


Anonymous said...

I have the opposite approach with that-which-used-to-be-called-Lakewood-Mall: I go all out faux olde English and call it "Lakewoode Towne Centre". Or, in parody of a church nearby, "The Little Mall on the Prairie".

izenmania said...

Yeah, I actually just call it the Lakewood Mall in conversation, and then clarify what I mean when I get the confused looks.

North Tacoma said...

Stick with Villa Plaza. Best I can do if that doesnt work is pronounce it "Towney" Center.

Matt in Tacoma said...

I don't think I could have envisioned this route in my mind. I would have like gone twice as far to go around the 512 interchange. Very helpful.