Rails to Sails is located between the Tacoma Dome and the downtown area providing a major vehicular and pedestrian connector across the Northern Pacific Railroad Site and the Foss Waterway — “where rails met sails” during the early years of Tacoma when cargo arrived by rail and departed by sail through the Foss Waterway. In 1873 Tacoma became the western terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad. The railroad continued to grow and solidify its position within Tacoma commerce.
The project features a roadway elevated over railroad tracks that is supported on structural, MSE (mechanically stabilized earth) green walls and rock walls as an environmental amenity along the Foss Waterway.
The project includes artist collaboratively-designed sail inspired lights manufactured by Selux, painted graphics for roadway lighting, shaped-patterned barrier walls with portal windows reflecting NW storefronts and tugboats, railroad rail barriers, fencing with railroad rail posts, and wavy walkway supported on MSE green walls and rock walls. Each shaped barrier wall includes the name of a historic boat that worked the Foss Waterway.
Selux worked closely with the artist to provide the custom “sail” on the Ritorno RA fixtures for this unique project celebrating Tacoma’s rich maritime heritage — past, present, and future. The indirect lighting of the Ritorno RA provided the perfect blend of performance and flexibility of design while accomplishing the artist’s vision.