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Archive for the ‘Modern Street Car’ Category

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The second of Drachman Institute’s 3-part series of transit-related talks took place Friday, August 15th at the Drachman Center, 44 N. Stone Ave., Tucson.  The event started with definitions of  what TOD (Transit Oriented Development) means and how to support density & diversity.   The streetcar is a start, but sustainability of that success has to be larger network with the right development.  In a related post, Jarrett Walker & Associates calls this economic zone  our network map for high frequency transit routes.  The challenge will be reasons to invest.  Kelly Iitzen talked about demographic survey analysis.  Laura Jensen explained GIS mapping of  base demographic regions, zoning areas, bus routes and an array of other data overlays.   Jacob Bintliff from the San Fransisco Firm,  BAE Urban Economics put it together with recommendations for strategic investment planning. (more…)

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Clickable information link:  Sun Link Tucson Streetcar Update

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The RTA’s website:  sunLINK

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The streetcar is beginning to look a bit like revitalization.  Click on the link for a Daily Wildcat Summary of development.  According to the Downtown Tucson Partnership, between 2008 and 2013 roughly  600 million has either been spent or committed to development in the core with perhaps much more to come.  That’s hopeful, because taxes on that development will be needed to cover the  public  subsidy the street car and maybe a little more.  Ridership was never intended to cover its cost density.  It was intended to exist in a deficit.   As surrounding historic neighborhood become impacted by overlapping commercial, how will they hang on to their residential flavor.  How do they become magnets for preservation and serve as a poetic counterbalance to commercial exuberance?   How do we make downtown not only a fun place to play, but a great place to live?

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Click here to read:  Neighborhood association ought to back Main Gate project, by Robert Lanning, Architect.   Published by the Daily Star.   Here are some other points to consider:  An edge / transition strategy is necessary.  It is missing.  One way it can happen is with a sub-regional downtown / U of A master plan that outlines what is coming so neighborhoods know what kind of final input they need to be prepared to engage in.  The MGD skirts this.  It is a fast track style re-zoning which is developer driven.  If the project is like the $35 million dollar“Vue on Apache” in Tempe, Neighborhoods might have reservations.  Not only is neighborhood input necessary in driving our best urban planning but to imply neighborhoods can not be part of a plan omits a key part of the picture.  Watching the frustration of developers and neighborhoods year after year speaks for itself.  Many agree that the transition is or should be the stretch of property just east of Euclid, but what does it look like?   Are there plazas, hard-scape, sidewalks, trees and base development of low masses, including some of the fine historic structures creating the idea of being walkable and pedestrian friendly.   A good transition insures this and when you look at historical structures that might be part of this, you have to see beyond the weeds.  Map courtesty of WUNA.

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The Arizona Daily Star published a piece by the Dean of the College of Architecture, Janice Cervilli.   The Dean sees this as positive for not only development,  but for the community.  What do neighborhoods think?   Check out the Dean’s point of view on a dicey subject in the Modern Streetcar, Intelligent Infill can Make Tucson a More Livable City.

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