Tucson joins 128 other cities across the U.S. and just one other city in Arizona in receiving a grant from the 2018 AARP Community Challenge program to fund “quick action” projects, helping to make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages.
LSA and the City of Tucson Department of Transportation will partner with local businesses and teams of volunteers to temporarily and rapidly transform the intersection of North 6th Avenue and East 7th Street, a busy, vibrant hub located in the crossroads of the 4th Avenue Shopping District, Ronstadt Transit Center and home to several small and locally-owned businesses, to be more people-centered and aesthetically vibrant. The $10,000 award may be used in a variety of ways to create a vibrant public place and enhance the mobility of everyone using the area. The project may include colorful painted crosswalks, vertical posts and painted curb bulb-outs to narrow the distance people have to traverse on foot, murals on buildings and streets, and planters with shade trees and native plants. “The emphasis is on enhancing a sense of place and making people feel safer as they navigate the intersection. This includes people on foot and driving cars, using bikes, pushing strollers, everyone,” says Kylie Walzak, Program Manager at LSA. Earlier this year, a driver hit a person crossing the street in the crosswalk on East 7th Street and fled leading the owners of one business to seek help in making the intersection safer for everyone.
Here’s an example of a similar-looking project from Austin, Texas.
The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative that helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. AARP staff and volunteers are working with roughly 300 communities across the country, engaging and mobilizing community residents, delivering technical assistance and expertise to local leaders and organizations, and supporting the work of the 275 communities and two states that have enrolled in the AARP Network of Age Friendly States and Communities.
This project comes at a time when the Living Streets Alliance and the City of Tucson are working towards adopting a Complete Streets ordinance that will, in many ways, pave the way for more of these lighter, quicker, cheaper street transformations to happen much faster all over Tucson.
This project will be implemented by the end of October and needs additional funds and in-kind donations in order to be completed. For more information about how to make a donation, or to volunteer for the project contact Kylie Walzak at email@example.com, 520-261-8777.