When you visit the Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair this weekend, you can expect to see a lot of construction projects.
Parking in the neighborhoods surrounding the street fair won't be any harder than in years past, but it'll still be the least fun part of the event. Here's what you need to know.
The fair is Friday through Sunday, and North Fourth Avenue is closed between Ninth Street and University Boulevard to allow for the big party and shopping event.
Getting to the fair on University Boulevard or Sixth Street won't be a problem. Parking close to Fourth Avenue could be.
Some sections of Seventh and Eighth Streets near Fourth Avenue are closed while crews install a new drainage system.
The tunnels they're installing are huge, big enough to drive two cars through side-by-side, said city engineering manager Jesse Gutierrez.
Two new culverts will replace an old, inefficient one and help reduce flooding that sometimes happens in the area, he said. And as long as the roadway is ripped up, the city is replacing sewer and water lines, too, he said.
The $7.4 million RTA project began in October and will be done in the spring. It's a prerequisite for construction of the streetcar line.
Food vendors will still be on the side streets on Fifth, Seventh and Eighth Streets.
Besides the drainage projects, you'll notice a five-story wooden structure and a crane.
That's The District, a student apartment project. Streets around the project will be open during the fair, but Fifth Avenue is closed between Fifth and Sixth Streets for now, and construction crews are blocking part of Fifth Street.
You can still find parking in the neighborhoods (permits aren't enforced during the event), and some parking lots in the area will charge for parking, like the church parking lot at Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street.
A good parking option would be the new Centro garage at the south end of the Fourth Avenue underpass, at Congress Street. You're practically right at the south end of the fair. To get there, drive into downtown on Broadway.
Free shuttles are available from the Pennington Street garage and the Main Gate area.
"Most of the parking they're accustomed to is still available, but I do highly suggest the parking structures," said John Sedwick, executive director of the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association.
Down the road
• More than 100 contractors attended a pre-bid meeting last month to learn about the streetcar-line construction job, said Carlos De Leon, RTA transit services director.
They asked for more time to put their bids together, so the bid date has been pushed back to Dec. 21, which pushes back the construction to February, he said. Construction had been planned to start in January.
• Mark your calendar for a public meeting about Interstate 10 between Tangerine Road and Ina Road.
The meeting is planned for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at Coyote Trail Elementary School, 8000 N. Silverbell Road.
You can get an overview of planned widening and improvement projects, ask questions and share your opinions.
Question: Reader Matt Somers wrote to express concern about the construction project at Broadway and South Cherry Avenue.
"The southbound lane of Cherry seems too narrow, especially if someone is trying to make a left from Cherry to westbound Broadway," he wrote. "Was there an error in the design?"
Answer: Good eyes, Matt.
City project manager Joe Chase took a look at the project after you wrote to us. He said the stripes on the road are left over from the previous roadway, but it will be re-striped at the end of the construction project. As a result of your concern, the contractor has put up temporary barricades to make that southbound lane wider and safer.
Send your Road Q questions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to 4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714. Please include first and last names.