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What You Thought 8 Years Ago.

In January of 2010 I asked If Tucson needed a U of A / Downtown Planning Interface effort with Neighborhoods.  Since then we spent well in excess of  one billion dollars.  It included a $200,000,000.00 street car, 6,000 luxury student beds and residential projects valued at $500,000,000.00 and hundreds of millions in commercial starts within a mile radius of Tucson’s core hotbed of development….and still counting. Unfortunately we also have seen losses in traditional family oriented home ownership in the core.  You may be interested in what you said about this eight years ago.  Do you like what you see today?  Are we creating enough opportunities for a robust home ownership bordering the university and within our great historic centers like downtown and the 4th Avenue District?   Here are some thoughts you shared in 2010; paraphrased from memory:

  • Chuck Albanese, Architect and former dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, CALA – Embraces the idea. Would like to see the architectural community involved. It is a good time for discussion
  • Gal Witmer, Architect, Member of WUNA long term university area resident and representative. She supports supports embracing these sensitive issues
  • Robert Vint, Architect, Preservationist and president of Vint Associates – Thinks it is a great idea and a good time for it.
  • Jim Mazzocco, Senior City Planner. Something like this is needed. Nothing specific addresses this issue. The City would have to manage the creation of any new plan for it to functionally work and be administered.  The City of Tucson’s budgets are too impacted to embrace a major effort.

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Here are (3) links to current  critical documents in downloadable PDF.

1) Cook Study  2)  Caywood Analysis  3)  Historical Commission’s Response

Mayor and Council will likely vote to defer approval of the 74M  30% RTA plan for further study to correct serious problems on April 19, 5:30 @ M&C chambers.  Check for meeting location.  Under desperate inside pressure, they can also vote to move forward on the flawed plan.   Check out the above links.  The plan on the table  is a downtown killer.  The RTA is pushing an “effective” 8 lane plan that disguises itself as a 6 lane context sensitive plan. The 16  bus pullouts split over both sides of the short stretch invalidate  outside lanes 5 & 6 as “bus” lanes.  So, why does the RTA want 6 traffic lanes of in & out of downtown  at the end of Broadway?  This moves more traffic to a bottleneck @ 4th Avenue  & Congress.

What about the “downtown congestion stigma”?  The west end of the Broadway Corridor is an opportunity we need to jump on, hard.  An intentional urban corridor for both cars and pedestrians can be part of the destination; a collection promenade; a narrow continuous rubber tired shuttle system to all points with 3 minute leads.  It is an obvious extension of the downtown business explosion we see before us.  We can coat tail on to this economic phenomena; making a worthy urban destination more accessible to all.  Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 11.33.53 AM.pngThink about the 16th St. Denver Mall and then imagine an urban concept, even greater without  compromise to the vehicular access we currently enjoy; but vastly smarter than the blinded 75M 30% plan.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.56.13 PMIt has been said before, that in assuring the positive outcome of good deal. You have to be able to walk. The question here, is should we walk? We didn’t do it before and we suffer the consequences over and over. Here a $74M over-design makes no sense in the face of a crippling city budget deficit. Tucson needs to walk away from what’s on the table and figure out how to keep valuable staff employed and save tax revenue.  Here is some good reasoning for walking on the deal currently on the table.  Read this clickable excellent editorial by Bob Vint in the Daily Star.  Broadway renovation plan needs a redo   This a deal that many city leaders want to walk away from but has its argument as well.  Please view Tim Steller’s point of view which is not supported by this blog:  City’s New Broadway Widening….

Here is Bob’s full text if you want to view it on this page:  Something must be done with Broadway. The main entrance to our downtown from the east is shabby, neglected and ripe for redevelopment. It should be an inviting gateway to our revitalizing city center, an extension of that vitality into the city. How best to accomplish this? Continue Reading »

Please view:   City to decide which Broadway buildings will be razed for widening

Screen shot 2013-09-26 at 12.18.11 AMApril 5th could be a day in Broadway Corridor infamy.  Residents contend Mayor and Council wants to approve the Broadway Corridor 30% design plan apparently against their will.  City transportation and the RTA seem to be in neighborhood quicksand.  The upcoming vote is a key milestone for final acquisitions of historic business and residential properties slated for full or partial removal.  Local residents and neighborhood leaders see the widening as a damaging vanilla colored 6-lane widening between Eulid and Country Club.  The Broadway Coalition, a citizens group representing surrounding neighborhoods asks that you attend the crossroads event on April 5th, 5:30PM, @ Mayor & Council chambers, 255 W. Alameda.  A public plan display preceding the vote is a week earlier on March 29th, 5:30PM, 450 S. Tucson Boulevard.  More here:  Broadway Improvements

A meeting of 25 neighborhood leaders was hosted by the resident based Broadway Coalition at the Ward 6 office on March 21st.  The meeting was intended to mobilize city wide support to turn down the 30% plan, ahead of M&C’s vote.  The coalition says the Broadway needs to be done right or not at all; that the improvement wastes 76 million dollars of tax money.  It damages local businesses and historic context along the Sunshine Mile.  Please view the Broadway Coalition Website  Continue Reading »

Screen shot 2015-08-26 at 12.14.06 PMThis the latest and 4th student Infill housing project under construction at the north-west corner of the university, bringing the bed count at this location to over 2000 higher end luxury student bedroom rentals.  Construction of six-story complex to be complete by fall 2016.  The Hub-2 is the smallest and half the height of the previous 3 towers.  Please view the link in the Arizona Daily Star:  Hub high-rise getting smaller companion near UA

Peach PropertiesMuch is still planned to happen downtown.  The latest subject for development are proposals by Peach Property and The Alexander Company.  The Peach proposal shown here is modern and more attractive, but destroys the beautiful tile adorned arcade that Melody Peters did back the 80’s.  It is built from bricks that came out of the old Tucson Livery Building that Steve Leal lobbied to save back in his ponytail days.  He managed to save the bricks.  You can view both proposasl in the the links below.  The PDF’s are large so allow some time.   Peach Proposal (PDF): Peach   / Alexander Proposal (PDF):  Alexander / Daily Star Article:  Hotel, homes, stores: Developers reveal downtown Tucson proposals.