Free limo rides!
Driving to and parking at Tucson's gem shows can be a real hassle, especially now that the city-sponsored shuttles that frequent shoppers loved are gone.
But this year you can catch a free shuttle or, better still, a free limo ride to get around the shows.
First, you need to get to a shuttle stop. If you're driving, Road Runner suggests starting at the Tucson Expo Center, 3750 E. Irvington Road, where parking is free and there are more than 1,000 parking spaces.
If you're taking a bus or biking, we suggest heading to the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. There are around 1,000 parking spaces at the TCC, but you'll pay $8 to park there. If the lot is full, obey no-parking signs in the neighborhood or you're sure to get a ticket. Instead, pay to park in a downtown garage and walk a few blocks.
From those two hubs, you have a variety of options for shuttles to other shows in town. Here are some suggestions.
From the Tucson Expo Center you can ...
• Get a limo ride to the Tucson Convention Center on the Luxury Route. Limo rides are free for buyers. You can thank the JOGS Show for the VIP treatment.
• Ride the Copper Route shuttle to the shows at the Holidome and the Kino Sports Complex.
• Ride the Amber Route shuttle to the many shows along the downtown Interstate 10 frontage roads.
• Ride the Ruby Route shuttle to the shows near I-10 and 22nd Street and/or to the shows at the Kino Sports Complex.
From the Tucson Convention Center you can ...
• Get a limo ride to the Tucson Expo Center on the Luxury Route.
• Ride the Turquoise Route shuttle to the bead shows at the Doubletree and to the Gem Mall and Holidome shows near the Kino Sports Complex.
All of the shuttles are sponsored by the shows themselves, and there are several more routes we didn't mention. The JOGS show doesn't mind shelling out for the rides because shuttles keep vendors and buyers happy and comfortable, said director Yelena Masemko.
Down The Road
If you've ever been stuck in a long line of cars behind a bus stopped on Oracle Road, know that relief is coming.
Last week the Regional Transportation Authority board approved four new bus pullouts on Oracle, which will probably be under construction in about a year. There will be one in each direction near Casas Adobes, one at Lavery Lane and one at Rudasill Road.
There were around 40 bus pullouts in the original RTA plan, but that project was more than $1 million under budget, said RTA Transportation Services Director Jim DeGrood. So about $550,000 of that leftover money will be spent on this extra project, he said.
Getting permits for the project will take a long time because Oracle is a state highway owned by the Arizona Department of Transportation, which has a big backlog. That's the same reason the bus stop signs on Oracle have been sitting in sandbags for years.
Tobin Rosen wants to know why the speed limit on Tanque Verde Road east of Catalina Highway is 40 mph on one side and 45 mph on the other.
A: The project to reconstruct Tanque Verde Road from Catalina Highway to Houghton Road was administered by the county, but about 1,800 feet of the road is in city limits, said city spokesman Mike Graham.
So when the county finished the project, it asked the city traffic engineers to review it, he said.
The county had posted 35 mph and 45 mph speed limit signs, but by city ordinance the speed limit there is 40 mph, so the signs were changed.
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