Last year on February 5th, Tucson Mayor and Council unanimously adopted the Complete Streets policy we spearheaded. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the adoption of the policy–which formalized the City’s intent to plan, design, build, and maintain or streets for everyone no matter who they are and how they get around–we thought it’d be valuable to recap all the encouraging developments that have taken place in the implementation front over the past year.
- Complete Streets Program Coordinator: In April 2019, only two months after the policy was adopted, our partners at the Tucson Transportation Department hired Patrick Hartley as the Complete Streets Program Coordinator. This was a key implementation step that was identified in the policy, as it’s critical to have a dedicated staff person who will facilitate all the collaborative work needed with other City departments and a wide range of community partners.
- Complete Streets Coordinating Council: The Complete Streets Policy called for establishing a Complete Streets Coordinating Council (CSCC) which would have an active role in overseeing its implementation and bring accountability to the process. CSCC was formed earlier this year after an application period that received a lot of interest and had its first meeting at the end of October.
- Mobility Master Plan: Another key implementation step identified in the Complete Streets Policy was the development of a Mobility Master Plan to help guide the City’s transportation investments through a Complete Streets lens. For this work, the City recently hired Alta Planning + Design, a leading national firm specializing in the planning, design, engineering, and implementation of bicycle, pedestrian, park, and trail facilities and systems. Tucson’s first-ever Mobility Master Plan, Move Tucson, will be kicked off through a public event on February 5th, the first anniversary of the Complete Streets policy. We invite you to attend and be inspired by the keynote speaker Gabe Klein as he describes how “our cities are making us–and the planet–sick, and the problem lies in the automobile, which has taken over how we live and use space.”
- Complete Streets Design Manual: The Complete Streets policy called for creating a design manual to help guide context-sensitive design solutions in creating multi-modal streets that enhance the safety and comfort of everyone using them. Tucson Transportation Department has begun this work which will tie in with the Mobility Master Plan and go through a community engagement process later this year.
- Tactical Urbanism/Lighter,Quicker,Cheaper Projects: The policy also highlighted transportation improvements that can be built quickly through a “tactical urbanism” approach utilizing “lighter, quicker, cheaper” materials—like paint, planters, and portable street furnishings—for a variety of Complete Streets enhancements (such as protected bike lanes, traffic calming and management features, plazas, parklets, and intersection safety improvements), to test out ideas, implement pilot projects, and gather community input more quickly. Tucson Transportation Department partnered with us on two such projects focused on traffic calming so far, and they are increasingly interested in getting more of them in the ground. In addition to seeing more streets transformations in different parts of town, our wish list for 2020 also includes creating a clear and streamlined application process so that neighborhood groups and others can navigate it themselves.
While we acknowledge that there’s still a lot of work to be done (such as creating a Complete Streets implementation plan, establishing performance measures to track implementation and measure its success, and creating a community engagement plan to facilitate more robust, inclusive, and meaningful public engagement), we’re excited to see the quick action our partners at the City of Tucson have taken over the course of one short year.
Hope to see you on February 5th at the Move Tucson kickoff!