On July 18th about 25 people from various walks of life, all of whom at some point in their daily commute use a bicycle, walk or take transit to get around downtown, came together at Maker House and sat down with Christi and Paul Cisek – owners of Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market, set to open later this year. The groups came together to share their ideas for how the new market can cater to and make life a little easier for committed bicycle users and people who primarily walk or take transit downtown.
The community get-together was sponsored by the Downtown Tucson Partnership with local pizza restaurants Empire and Magpie’s chipping in to feed the hungry bicycle commuters. Maker House graciously donated the space for the group to get down to work.
The group generated dozens of ideas ranging from elegantly simple – provide shade and a shelf near the bike parking area, to more complex – make it easier to cross Broadway at Arizona Ave. and install a TOUCAN crossing.
Living Streets Alliance was approached by the Cisek’s to “get the cycling community together” for a conversation about how their new endeavor can best serve the needs of this niche group. Rather than focus exclusively on one type of cycling – recreational, for example, LSA wanted to take the opportunity to introduce the Cisek’s to people – potential customers – who live within 2 miles of the location of their new downtown store. Earlier this year, the Downtown Tucson Partnership conducted a Pedestrian Intercept Study which found that 80% of downtown residents who live within 1-2 miles are arriving to businesses on foot, by bicycle or using a combination including transit. This will only increase as people use the new Streetcar more often.
With this in mind, the ideas generated by the group included lots of convenient touches that have the potential to turn the new market into a very special gathering place for residents and visitors alike – no matter how they choose to arrive downtown. The Cisek’s look forward to becoming one of the first businesses downtown to deliver groceries via cargo bike and there are plans to convert the space behind the main entrance into a beer garden, patio and live music venue to act as a focal point for the area. Good bike parking will be available at both the front and rear entrances.
Expect many more businesses to take note of the Cisek’s pioneering pro-bike, pro-walk, pro-transit efforts. Next up, LSA is meeting with the owners of Borderlands Brewing Company to discuss bike-friendly design in their new beer garden.