UPDATE: About 200 Tucsonans came to the Tucson City Council meeting publicized below. The Arizona Daily Star reported that the city “got an earful” from residents who want a modest project on Broadway. The final City Council vote will be Tuesday, April 19.
Remember all of those public meetings in which the citizens of Tucson said they don’t want Broadway Blvd turned into a massive eight-lane highway?
Or how many times we said we wanted to keep valuable historic buildings on Broadway? Or how many times we said that following obsolete growth projects was a silly idea? Or how many times we said, “We’re widening Grant Rd., why widen Broadway, too?”
Well, apparently, we have not told the Mayor and Council, “Enough is Enough” enough times.
I thought the fight over sustainable development and modest expansion of Broadway had been won months ago when the citizens task force voted to go with a smaller foot-print for the widening– a plan that the neighbors and concerned citizens agreed with– but no. Developers, real estate speculators, and automobile promoters are putting pressure on the Mayor and Council to ignore the will of the citizens.
TONIGHT – April 5 at 5:30 p.m. is another major public hearing on the Broadway Widening Project. Note the location change. It will be at the County Board of Supervisors meeting room. Details from the Broadway Coalition, link to a petition to sign, and links to four years of past articles after the jump.
From the Broadway Coalition and Sustainable Development Supporters…
The Mayor & Council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and includes a public hearing on the Broadway widening project. The meeting will be held in the County Board of Supervisors meeting room (130 W. Congress) just to the south of the M&C chambers at city hall, to accommodate the large audience expected. There will be signs and people to guide you to the meeting room.
The Broadway Coalition will have a table outside the meeting room. We will have Blue wristbands for all those who favor sending the 30% design back — holding the design team to what the Task Force and Mayor and Council asked them to do: DO BROADWAY RIGHT!
Stop by the table and get this symbol of solidarity. We ask also that each speaker ask that all those who agree with our stance to raise their hand to display the blue band.
This is THE MOMENT to come out and tell the M&C to stand up to the RTA and do this roadway right or not at all. They are under a GREAT DEAL of pressure to approve the latest revised design. But … among many other offenses …
… did you know that there are now 11 full bus pullouts plus 5 “mini-turnouts” in the 1.9-mile project area? The route 8 bus now takes twelve minutes to get from Euclid Ave. to Randolph Way as it is. How long will it take waiting in bus pullouts at Euclid, Park, Highland, Cherry, Campbell, Plumer, Tucson, and Treat plus Country Club? Seriously– are they kidding??
And please sign (and comment, and pass along) this petition http://www.ipetitions.com/
Looking back I see I’ve sent quite a few messages on this topic over the past two years. Here are a couple favorite relevant links.
Broadway controversy summed up in ONE MINUTE https://www.youtube.
And a bit of project history… makes me wonder why the City kept pushing this along until now. http://www.tucsonweekly.
Please sign the petition and come out to the M&C hearing on Tuesday!
From Sutainable Tucson…
Sustainability on the Chopping Block: Tucson City Council Public Hearing April 5th
Let’s Listen to the Experts & the People — Not the Cronies…
International transportation expert Jarrett Walker says that road widening is planning for the past, not the future. Ignoring the historic shift to less driving and widening roads, including Broadway Boulevard, would be economically ruinous for Tucson. In the video below, Walker addresses Sustainable Tucson.
In today’s Arizona Daily Star, local architect Bob Vint echoes Walker’s comments and questions the widening project. According to Vint, with the current plan (not the one approved by the citizens’ task force), calls for demolition of 27 buildings — some historic or eligible for historic designation– and says another 50 structures may be purchased and demolished because the lots will be too small for development. Here’s an excerpt from Vint’s article. Read the whole article here.
The $74 million RTA plan calls for widening Broadway from Country Club to Euclid, from four lanes to six, with a central median and dual turn lanes to move traffic.
The plan includes 6-foot bike lanes, wide sidewalks and landscaping. The engineering team has done its best to skillfully design what they were asked to: namely, push six lanes of traffic through several of Tucson’s oldest neighborhoods. The fault lies not with the engineers, but with what they were asked do.
The current plan requires the demolition of at least 27 buildings, 18 of which are historically listed or eligible for listing.
An engineer with whom I spoke at the city’s open house on March 29 confided that as many as 50 structures may need to be acquired and demolished.
The problem with this? Residual lots are too narrow to build on. They become landscaped buffers to adjacent neighborhoods, but allow no redevelopment such as housing or businesses that would both add urban vitality and add to the tax rolls.
When I asked why six lanes are needed, when traffic counts on Broadway have decreased in recent years, the answer was, “That’s what the voters mandated in 2006 when they approved the RTA.” Yet the world has changed over the past decade.
The RTA vote was held before the Great Recession and was based on traffic projections from the 1990s. We shouldn’t be forced to follow outdated models, when growing evidence from around the nation shows it’s better to slow traffic down and give people a reason stay in an area, rather than driving through it.
The future will see reduced automobile use, increased cycling and public transit. Broadway at four lanes is perfect for bus rapid transit.
Reasonably there must be a method to amend the RTA plan to reflect changing conditions.
Four Years of Background Stories…
Here are some background articles from my blog Tucson-Progressive.com.
Public forum today: Should RTA knock down 100 buildings to make Broadway look like a freeway? (April 2012)
4 Lanes? 6 Lanes? 100 Ft? How Wide Should Broadway Blvd Be? (June 2014)
Feral Cats to Broadway Widening: Sh*t’s Going Down at City Council Meeting (October 2014)
Broadway Coalition Calls for Sustainable Expansion that Protects Businesses & History (March 9, 2015)
Broadway Widening: Citizens’ Task Force Meeting March 19 (March 19, 2015)
Broadway Widening Project: Residents Speak Out Against It… Again (March 23, 2015) [This one is particularly good because it has comments from citizens.]
UPDATED: Broadway Widening Redux: March 26 Meeting on ‘Community Alignment’ (March 26, 2015)
June 9 City Council Meeting: Broadway Coalition Redux #10? (I’ve Lost Count) (June 9, 2015)
All the new bus pullouts, added at the insistence of the RTA, will add 5 minutes to the bus commute, according to the modeling done by the engineering team. So, ten minutes per round trip, 50 minutes per week, 43 hours per year.
The Broadway widening is a wealth transfer scheme, to transfer some $40 to $50 million dollars in public funds to the 50 or so property owners who will be bought out.
It’s time for the RTA to conduct a 10 year review of all their projects, and decide their viability. Long term projections should always be subject to current scrutiny.
Architect Bob Vint wrote a very good guest opinion about this widening in today’s AZ Daily Star: http://tucson.com/news/opinion/column/guest/robert-vint-broadway-renovation-plan-needs-a-redo/article_7100d70a-8844-5150-873c-cb6d6d230f98.html