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City of Tacoma Right-of-Way Design Manual

The January 2016 City of Tacoma (City) Right-of-Way Design Manual (Design Manual) has been updated with a July 2016 Errata version and can be found via the link below.  Changes were made throughout the manual to correct reference errors and other non-substantive items.  The specific changes made can be found in the second document below titled 'City of Tacoma Right-of-Way Design Manual Redlined Errata Sections - July 2016'. 


Download the 'City of Tacoma Right-of-Way Design Manual - version January 2016 revised January 2018'


Download the 'City of Tacoma Right-of-Way Manual - Redlined Errata Sections'


The Design Manual outlines the requirements and regulations for public infrastructure improvements within the City's ROW and is applicable to both City projects and private development within the ROW.  These requirements may also apply to certain private development improvements on private property, for example a private road. 


The Design Manual was updated by City staff with input from the public. Public meetings were held to inform the public of the proposed changes and public comments were taken on the draft document.


A hard copy of the Design Manual is available for public review by Dan Seabrands, P.E. at (253) 591-5150.


Training on the updated Design Manual geared toward the development and engineering community and those involved with design of projects both on private property and within the City right-of-way were held December 17, 2015 and January 7, 2016.  This training was available to all members of the public.


View the training presentation.


Previous Design Manual available for reference:

Download the 2004 Design Manual


2016 City of Tacoma Right-of-Way Design Manual

Chapter 1 Introduction and General Requirements

The Design Manual applies to the construction of all street and ROW improvements including stormwater and wastewater construction, street lighting, traffic signalization, landscaping, ADA requirements, and channelization. The Design Manual provides the minimum technical standards required to construct improvements within the ROW. The Manual is designed to be used in conjunction with other local, state, and federal rules, regulations, and design guidance as applicable to a given project.   


Chapter 2 Work Orders and Local Improvement Districts

Focuses on the City permitting process which private developers must follow for constructing improvements in the city of Tacoma ROW.


Chapter 3 Site Development Permit and Right-of-Way Construction Plan Format

Provides the engineer with guidance and minimum standards for the development of the construction plans. The engineer should also reference the City’s Site Development Permit and ROW Construction/Work Order Tip Sheets.


Chapter 4 Street Design: Outlines design criteria and guidelines on the geometric design elements that must be considered in the location and design of the various types of roadways, which includes all elements in the ROW.


Chapter 5 Illumination

Discusses the applicable Tacoma Municipal Code regulations for street lighting.


Chapter 6 Traffic Signalization

Addresses traffic control devices such as traffic signals and warning beacons.  Their reliability and consistency in appearance and application is a vital part of maintaining a safe public ROW for all users.


Chapter 7 Channelization and Signing

Contains general requirements and design guidance for channelization and signing of roadways and paved trails within the public ROW. This chapter supplements the guidance found in the latest edition of the MUTCD as adopted and amended by WAC 468-95.


Chapter 8 Pedestrian Facilities

Provides accessibility criteria for the design of pedestrian facilities that meet applicable local, state, and federal standards. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA requires pedestrian facilities to be designed and constructed to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. 


Chapter 9 Tree and Vegetation Management

Establishes required procedures and standards for landscaping within the ROW.


Chapter 10 Shared-Use Paths

Provides guidance on how to achieve the appropriate separation, amenities, and design tools to ensure that the Shared-Use Path is designed consistent with the context of its location and intended users. Shared-use paths are designed for both transportation and recreation purposes and are used by pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters, and other users. 


Chapter 11 Stormwater and Wastewater Sewer Design

Provides design criteria for the construction of all publicly owned wastewater and stormwater conveyance systems.  The design criteria in this chapter apply to all proposed improvements to the City wastewater and stormwater systems, as applicable.


Chapter 12 Water Plans

Addresses the initiation process for design and approval of water plans. It should be noted that submittal and approval of the water plans is a separate and distinct process from the ROW Construction/Work Order Permit process.


Chapter 13 Construction Related Permits and Easements

Focuses on subjects that may have applicability to any proposed development within the City ROW including easements, dedications, State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and erosion and sediment control.


Reference Materials

Additional reference materials can be found at the end of the Design Manual.

General Special Provisions and Standard Plans

The City of Tacoma General Special Provisions (GSPs) and Standard Plans outline more technical details of construction within the ROW and City infrastructure.  Please note that the GSPs and Standard Plans are subject to change and additions may be made at any time.  Refer to this website for the most current versions.

Download the General Special Provisions

Download the City's Standard Plans (Also see below for New & Revised Plans)

New & Revised City of Tacoma Standard Plans

The City of Tacoma has updated and created new standard plans.  These plans became effective April 4, 2016 and additional changes have been made and are also incorporated in the main Standard Plans page (see link above).


Training on the New & Revised City of Tacoma Standard Plans was held on April 28, 2016.  The training was attended by members of the general public, the development and engineering community, and City staff involved with the design of projects both on private property and within the City right-of-way.


View the training presentation.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Typical Details

The Green Stormwater Infrastructure Typical Details have been developed for use by City Staff and private developers. Refer to the Stormwater Management Manual for associated design criteria and sizing guidance. 


Contact Mieke Hoppin, P.E. at (253) 502-2105 or by email for additional information about the details.


The Green Stormwater Infrastructure Typical Details and Figures can be found in the main Standard Plans page (see link above).