July 26th 2012 Forum Findings

To learn more about what was discussed during the Forum, you can:

Download the results of the Forum (7MB)

or review them below….

 

 

PLANNING (Part I) Reviewed: Pedestrian Plan, ADA Transition Plan, Complete Streets Policy, Public Input Process, Sidewalk requirement policies, Connectivity & Access policies

 

Priorities

  • We have map and database for arterial & collector accessibility, barriers, gaps
    • How do we get this to a neighborhood level?
    • More street activities, e.g., sidewalk cafes
    • Offstreet pedestrian facilities?
    • Focus a hierarchy of pedestrian facilities pan – most bang for buck
    • Dedicated pedestrian funding source
    • Relation to transit
    • ADA – D.O.J.
    • Update PAG – 2000 Plan to 2012 Cost – $150K – $200K.
      • Focus plan on real implementation

Barriers

  • PAG 2000 Plan is not really a pedestrian plan
  • What is relation of ’96 COT plan to 2000 PAG?
    Hard to get down to neighborhood level
  • Maintenance Crisis
    • We do need to think about ped facilities in this context
    • Heat Island – is concrete best product?
    • Funding seems to be decreasing, not increasing
    • Survey barriers to walking

Next Steps

Now

  • RTA – Funds SW Gaps in arterial and collectors and HAWKS

Next

  • Walking audits
  • Identify the good pedestrian prototype example, such as Armory Park del Sol
  • Pedestrian “boulevards” – e.g., Highlands
  • Take back alleyways for pedestrians, good model projects
  • Selective street narrowing
  • Decision models, especially medians

Most (More) Important

  • Places to walk to – Ped magnets
  • Need for comfort criteria – shade, etc.
  • Information / education campaign
  • Garner grass roots support
  • More community conversation
  • ADA

 

PLANNING (Part II) Reviewed: Urban Trails Plan, Public Transit, Parking, Infill, Design Features

Barriers

  • Zoning for mixed-use development
  • Conflicts between neighborhoods and developers/city
    • Perception of “accessory unit” – especially within certain neighborhoods (probably due to mini-dorm precedent)
    • Blanket approach of planning and zoning
      • The city is really composed of at least two groups of residents – those that understand, want, and appreciate a denser urban environment, and those that understand, want, and currently live in an environment that is much more suburban in nature
        • Discussion that perhaps there really needs different types of zoning that respond to each of these preferences
        • Inter-jurisdictional disputes (who builds? who pays? who maintains? etc.)
        • Maintenance (especially when it comes to trails and creating an urban bike/ped network) and funding for maintenance
        • Current urban infill zone didn’t talk about prioritization/categorization of roadways and corridors – this was a missed opportunity
        • Land procurement in urban environments to create connections (limited ROW)

Next Steps

  • Reid Park is a highly successful urban trail – perhaps there are opportunities to establish paths and connections through other parks and/or golf courses
  • There are lots of opportunities for creating regional connections through the re-zoning process if the plans for the corridor/path are already in place.  Need to have specifications/plans already in place to capitalize on this!
  • Rebrand “accessory unit” so that it has a positive connotation
  • Identify development potential within the streetcar corridor (Downtown Tucson Partnership is already working on this)

Most Important / Priorities

  • There is a lot of momentum/support building for walkability within planning efforts in the city
  • In terms of transit, there really needs to be much more education to make it user friendly
    • There’s a lot of information that already exists, but people don’t know about it, so we need to do a better job of connecting them with transit info
    • Use the streetcar as a impetus for promoting walking
    • Walkability needs to be built-in to our zoning and land use codes (required in development)
    • Any design standards need to take into account the specific orientation of the street (for example, for shade trees to be effective on the N side of a street, the sidewalk is going to need to be a lot wider than it might be on the S side of the street)
    • Need to create means of prioritization/categorization of roadways and corridors in terms LOS for different mode types
    • There needs to be public involvement to envision alt modes corridors l(ike the streetcar corridor)

 

ENGINEERING

Priorities

  • Safety –lighting, activity and eyes on the street
  • Human scale – shade, need to engage all senses (visual, smells, full experience), road width is important to consider as people do not want to walk adjacent multi-lane high speed traffic, setbacks also important – more pleasant to walk adjacent buildings rather than parking lots
  • Destination – must have a close place that people want to walk to – parks, libraries, retail; also consider connectivity through neighborhoods (neighborhood greenways) instead of walking along major arterials

Barriers

  • Established or historic neighborhoods with missing or incomplete sidewalks and difficulties with retrofitting
  • Parking in sidewalk space is common in some of the neighborhoods and code enforcement is not consistent or creates resident backlash
  • No dedicated funding for traffic calming in neighborhoods – DOT staff must find grant funds or residents have to agree to add to property taxEmergency access limitations (not as major a factor in grid areas as opposed to cul-de-sacs)

Next Steps

  • Evaluate and prioritize list of requests for signalized crosswalks
  • Destinations – concept of 20-minute neighborhoods and design needs to engage surrounding residential instead of walling off and limiting access to major arterials (must be balanced with neighborhood safety concerns).
  • Prioritize Neighborhood Greenways to provide connectivity to destinations instead of along major arterials
  • Increase bus stop amenities (shade, seating, trash/cleaning, transit info)
  • Increase shade & lighting
  • Revise Major Streets & Routes Plan to reallocate ROW to non-auto uses (ped/bike, landscaping)
  • Wider sidewalk and buffers for retail/commercial areas

Most important thing(s)

  • Human Scale
  • Destination


EDUCATION / ENHANCEMENT

Priorities

  • Adult and Community Education
    • Aimed at drivers and pedestrians
    • Consider issues that are unique to Tucson – shade, lights, multi-lane crosswalks
    • Expand SRTS to high schools
    • Workplace Education
      • Create a culture of walking (i.e.,  walking breaks and meetings)
      • Use county and city resources and incentives
      • Create an inventory of existing pedestrian educational programs
      • Map of safe and pleasant walking paths/routes
      • Big picture – car-free urban trail system (Flagstaff as an example)

Barriers

  • School enrollment – zones spread across the city, charter and magnets increasing enrollment.
    • Makes it difficult to get people to walk to school and to build a community of walkers.
    • Car-centric urban design
    • Lack of adult education models
    • Walking isn’t “cool” for kids and there can be a public stigma associated with walkers.
    • Funding
    • Lack of neighborhood integration, neighbors not knowing each other well.

Next Steps

  • Adult and Community Education
    • Diversion Program
    • PSAs
    • Signage – combining public art, humor or memorials
    • Public education / forums
    • Emphasize benefits of walking vs. disadvantages of driving.
    • Safewalk / Buddy programs
    • Shade – trees, built structures at crosswalks, etc.
    • Develop walking programs to change culture in communities, schools, and the workplace.
    • Pedestrian challenges – use technology, such as a pedometer or phone app, as a tool and raise awareness
    • Wayfinding, Safety or Cultural Signage

Most Important

Education:

  • Focus on adult and community programs
  • Raise awareness – surroundings and behavior (how much are you really walking)

Enhancement:

  • Shade
  • Wayfinding signage
  • Maps of safe walking routes and paths
  • Beautification of walking routes

 

ENFORCEMENT / EVALUATION

Discussion

Enforcement

  • It is hard to get an accurate picture of pedestrian injury.
    • Pedestrian fatalities are rated by law enforcement officer on a scale of 1 -5. The way that the ratings are defined, however, results in false incapacitating injury designations.
    • Many of the details of the accident are not recorded so factors that contribute (notably, pedestrian intoxication) are not identified.
    • Traffic Division is responsible for 75% of all traffic citations. Other parts of TPD are not focused on street safety and are only interested in crime-related issues.
    • Currently TPD is not collecting information on property damage only crashes. This has saved time and resources for TPD, but it makes it difficult to identify where crashes are happening and what intersections are unsafe.  Additionally, it has resulted in an artificial dip in the number of crashes occurring in Tucson over time.
    • Grant funding for ped/bike enforcement does not encourage progressive ticketing, the funder mandates the action of the police dept.
    • The free class offered to bike riders who get a violation has been very effective. Rather than pay a fine, they go to the class.  Due to the reduction in the cost of the jaywalking ticket (from $185 to $88) and a minimum $50 fee per individual for a pedestrian class (because, unlike the bike class, it would be unfunded), there is no interest in this program at this time.
    • Both the TPD and other governmental groups (like PAG) have an incentive to have accurate reporting of accidents.

 

Evaluation

  • Recent federa l study of hawk lights found that 90% of the time they will function correctly.  It is difficult to monitor traffic changes locally, b/c there are not enough accidents.
  • It is important to consider summer vs winter population, b/c it is unpleasant to walk in the summer.  Also, winter population has higher proportion of elderly (snowbirds) and students, who may be less familiar with Tucson roads.
  • Current side walk inventory looks at arterials and collectors, it would be good to include residential areas
  • One strategy is to identify priority areas and what areas can benefit the most and then measure our progress towards addressing those.

Priorities

Enforcement

  • Encourage TPD to begin tracking non property damage crashes in order to get a complete picture of what is happening around safety.
    • Suggestions for following up on property-damage-only crashes at minimum time-cost to TPD include: online self-report, call-in self-report, etc.
    • Law enforcement education around the importance of street safety.  Encourage a shift in priority back to street safety.
    • Identify potential funding for free pedestrian violation courses, similar to those used for bikes.
    • TDOT has 80 sites where it wants to put in hawks; each costs $80,000.
    • Bonnie said that a lot of calls to their office include requests for sidewalks and speed bumps.

Evaluation:

  • Sidewalk inventories
  • Walking audits
  • Road safety assessments – because of agreements between neighborhoods/governments getting the RSA done and whoever does the RSAs that hold everyone accountable, these are currently the most constructive assessments
  • Identify populations of vulnerability – where would safety efforts have the biggest impact?
    • It is difficult to find the most dangerous areas because these areas may be carefully avoided by pedestrians (meaning there will be few incidents in this area, suggesting its less dangerous than it actually is).

Barriers

  • Lack of data
  • Lack of manpower
  • Attitude of Law Enforcement toward traffic enforcement
  • Effort needed to get data on residential areas.

Next steps

  • Pursue RSAs
  • Work with TPD to document property damage only crash data
  • Walking audit program
  • Create a single database that can be used by TPD, PAG, etc.

Most important

  • To continue to work together, share perspectives, and identify similar goals.