This is the road improvement that back in 2006, Pima County voters strongly approved known as the Regional Transportation Authority plan that was to have 17 “Key Regional Corridors” in lieu of the construction of a bypass highway. One of these was to widen Broadway (for two miles from Country Club to Euclid) with six lanes, two bus lanes, bike lanes and other amenities with direct access to I-10 via the Links Project. This widening project was approved 10-years ago. Voters were promised a multi-modal transportation gateway to Downtown Tucson that would take us far into the future.
A 13-member Citizen Task Force (CTF) was then formed to advise the City Transportation Department, that met for over two years, with 1500 volunteer hours and 38 public meetings in total, to discuss the project. From this CTF it was agreed to go forward with a “start small” approach that seemed a workable compromise that satisfied everyone, the business community, the neighborhood groups, and city council.
The current plan, called “the 30% Plan,” due it being reduced in scope and functionality by more than 30% from the original, was approved by Mayor and Council and sent to the Transportation engineers this past June for realignment. It is now ready for more public input.
However, this modified alignment and reduction is now threatened once again by further constriction, with many wanting to reduce the plan even further. Reducing the possibility of a multi-modal corridor. Such concepts were considered and rejected earlier by the RTA Citizen Advisory and Technical Committee, before the 2006 RTA election that voters approved.
According to the Broadway Coalition, the group opposing the widening of Broadway, on its Facebook page, states they would prefer to see Tucson “stop growing” or at least place “more focus on walking, cycling and mass transit” than road widening. The Facebook page has an interesting collection of anti-car articles posted by Broadway Coalition which made me wonder, if they are declaring a war on cars, why don’t they just come out and say so?
Go to https://www.facebook.com/broadwaycoalition/?fref=nf to see for yourself Broadway Coalition’s vision for the future of Tucson. They would like to see buildings relocated rather than razed, but have not offered or begun to establish any funding for this over the 10-year period.
Those supporting the Broadway widening claim they have been assured of this road improvement for over 10-years now, and have made plans for such. The rationale being that Broadway is still a “key regional corridor” — stress regional here and the gateway to the revitalizing downtown district. These businesses have kept afloat as best they could while waiting.
Meanwhile, businesses and property owners along this stretch of road share space mostly with vacant buildings, that have been boarded up for years. It’s these businesses and property owners that are victims here, held hostage by our own City planning and the inordinate power given by government to a neighborhood group, in essence, to dramatically reduce and trump any voter-approved regional project. It is an abdication of responsibility with a deleterious effect on both regional planning and economic growth.
The businesses did not the cause the blight of Broadway Boulevard in Tucson, they are victims, held hostage to it in our community.
Expecting a large crowd, Tuesday’s city council meeting and public hearing for the Broadway Widening project has been moved to the Pima County Administration Board of Supervisors Meeting Room at 130 W. Congress.
The meeting time will be at 5:30 p.m, and the Broadway Widening is to be item #8 on the Public Hearing Agenda. It will be important for those who want Tucson to move forward with this project to show up and be heard. Those who want to stop the road improvements are planning to be there in force, with already over 1,000 signatures opposing the project on their petition.
An online petition in support has been started by the Tucson Chamber of Commerce and can be found at this link: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/145/722/795/pass-the-30-percent-broadway-design-plan/
There is also a public comment forum posted online by the City of Tucson at https://www.broadwayboulevard.info/comments.php