TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The City of Tucson is looking for help in deciding what area’s will be included in their second phase of ‘Slow Streets.'
The program was started in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM) piloted Tucson Slow Streets, an initiative to reconfigure streets to support social distancing and encourage physical activity. The Slow Streets program temporarily closes certain streets to all but local traffic, giving Tucsonans more space to safely walk, bike, and run.
Slow Streets are neighborhood streets, temporarily limited to local traffic only through barricades, cones, and signs that:
- Provide space for safe physical activity, transportation, and recreation (walking, wheelchair rolling, jogging, biking, and playing) in the street.
- Encourage people driving to use alternate routes, only using Slow Streets when necessary to reach a final destination.
- Urge people driving to drive slowly and safely, and look out for people sharing the street.
- Do not impact emergency vehicle access in any way.
Especially now, Slow Streets help meet the needs of Tucsonans to keep recreating and moving in a safe manner during the COVID-19 pandemic, while staying at least 6-feet apart.
Slow Streets are NOT:
- Closed streets - local residents, emergency vehicles, environmental services, and delivery vehicles can use them to get in and out of neighborhoods. Cut-through traffic is discouraged from using these streets.
- Gathering places – At this time, due to public health precautions associated with COVID-19, Slow Streets are not meant to be places for gathering in large groups or socializing. While using Slow Streets, people should follow current public health guidance (Pima County Health Department)
From May-June, 2020, Tucson’s program was piloted in three neighborhoods: Feldman’s, Barrio Sin Nombre, and Fairgrounds. Segments were implemented on a rotating basis, with each installation in place 10-14 days.
Staff and volunteers evaluated the success of the program, made adjustments as necessary, and explored opportunities to expand the reach of Slow Streets in Tucson.
Phase 2: Current (August 2020- December 2020)
The Department of Transportation needs your help in Phase 2. They are asking for recommendations on what streets should be picked next.
Thanks to a grant from PeopleForBikes, DTM will implement a neighborhood Block Leader model as part of the community engagement for the Slow Streets program. This approach creates ongoing opportunities for Tucsonans to provide input on how city streets can best serve them - both during and after this public health crisis.
Stipends will be provided to residents chosen to be Block Leaders, who will assist with the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the Slow Streets project in their neighborhood. “Block Leaders” will teach their neighbors about Slow Streets, get feedback on the program, and help inform future street improvements. Materials will be supplied by DTM to help these efforts.
If your neighborhood is selected to participate in the program, the Slow Street will be in place for about one month, followed by low-cost traffic calming improvements.
What makes a successful Slow Street?
In general, Slow Streets:
- Are neighborhood streets
- Are not streets also used by transit
- Are not located in commercial areas
- Have safe crossings (e.g. HAWK, crosswalks, traffic signals where crossing major streets)
- Prioritize underserved communities
- Consider connecting to existing bicycle boulevard routes identified in the City of Tucson Bicycle Boulevard Master Plan