If you love pedestrian-friendly streets and Exo Roast Co. coffee, Living Streets Alliance needs your input.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, head over to Exo, 403 N. Sixth Ave., to learn about an upcoming project to temporarily transform the intersection of North Sixth Avenue and East Seventh Street. They're calling it a Community Pre-enactment.
This summer, Living Streets Alliance, with the support of the City of Tucson's Department of Transportation, won a $10,000 grant from the AARP Community Challenge to take quick action on a project that could improve mobility (for people, bikes, etc.) and promote public spaces. They need to fundraise at least that much for the project, says Kylie Walzak, the program manager for Living Streets Alliance.
To make this happen, Living Streets Alliance and the city are working with local businesses and the University of Arizona's College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.
Turns out, paint, planters and benches can do a lot for an intersection.
"It's a low-cost intervention that is not only going to improve safety (at the intersection) ... but it's also really supposed to transform the intersection into a people-centered, vibrant area," says Krista Hansen, a planner with the City of Tucson's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. "It's basically creating space out of under-utilized pavement and creating space for people to interact, stand and sit."
The redesign would realign lanes at the four-way stop to create more space for pedestrians and bicyclists by painting curb extensions on the asphalt, narrowing the intersection and shortening the distance people need to cross. Bright planters with native plants and plastic delineators could add a physical barrier, and benches or public art could brighten the space.
Everything will be temporary — likely lasting until the intersection goes under construction as part of the Downtown Links project to connect Barraza-Aviation Parkway and Interstate 10 on a new road that bypasses downtown.
"Benches, planters, all of it has to be moveable," Walzak says.
They're calling it a pre-enactment because the redesign will also function as a potential preview of how the intersection could look after construction.
"The intersection is supposed to be pretty pedestrian-friendly once Downtown Links happens," Walzak says. "We want to try it out now and get people's feedback."
The pre-enactment will demonstrate what could be possible at this intersection and others.
"It will show what's possible on a much smaller budget than other road improvement projects," Hansen says. "It's new to Tucson, but a lot of other cities are doing pop-up demonstration projects and having success with them."
Both Walzak and Hansen hope that this pop-up could become a model for a streamlined city process for others to use. Walzak believes these kinds of projects align with the city's developing complete-streets policy.
Walzak adds that the intersection was also selected for this project after a business owner in the area contacted Living Streets Alliance after a pedestrian was hit crossing the street.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, volunteers will collect data at the intersection to see how the space is used, what works and what doesn't. You can also give feedback on the project proposal and offer some of your own ideas for how to make use of the bonus pedestrian space.
"Placemaking is a huge piece of this, so we want the community to guide it as much as possible," Hansen says.
If you go
What: Community Pre-enactment — give feedback on the proposed redesign of the intersection at North Sixth Avenue and East Seventh Street.
When: Saturday, Sept. 8, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Where: Exo Roast Co., 403 N. Sixth Ave.
More info: Check out the Facebook event