REJECT THE BROADWAY ALIGNMENT! A model letter to the City of Tucson

posted Monday, March 9, 2015        


A model letter to the City of Tucson

By Broadway Coalition Member Laura Tabili


Send to:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,



The Broadway Citizens Task Force and Tucson’s Mayor & Council must reject the excessively wide and destructive staff-generated Broadway Alignment posted on February 20, 2015.


This alignment is an insult to the Citizens Task Force, who put in many grueling hours in good faith, and consistently directed the Design Team to:


–narrow the roadway to minimize impacts to the historic streetscape, parking and neighborhoods;

–preserve the Sunshine Mile’s sense of place;

–ensure safety for all transportation modes;

–encourage business; and

–use innovative design.



This alignment defies direction from the Mayor & Council to minimize the right-of-way, keeping it under 96 feet, and to flex and narrow it where necessary to preserve the historic built environment and the Sunshine Mile Business District.


This alignment disregards and disrespects the hundreds of stakeholders who attended the four public meetings, and overwhelmingly ranked Historic Preservation above all other roadway elements.




While the accompanying “report” lacks any budget, this alignment is sure to go tens of millions of dollars over budget, as analyzed in the Design Team’s own Acquisition Costs document of September 2014. (attached) Cost overruns will be borne by City of Tucson taxpayers, to the detriment of other community priorities, such fixing potholes on existing streets.(see Acquisition Costs document attached)




This alignment will worsen the pedestrian and bicycle environment, which is already extremely poor, by creating needlessly wide lanes down which motorists will speed, while removing homes and businesses from the edges. See




Adding lanes to Broadway is unnecessary, as traffic projected in 1987 has never materialized, and the latest figures show it has been falling for at least 10 years, consistent with national trends. (see Traffic Counts attached)




This alignment breaches Tucson’s Major Streets & Routes Plan, which states, (p.20): “Landscaped medians shall be provided on routes of more than four through lanes, EXCEPT WHERE THE ROUTE PASSES TRHOUGH OR ADJACENT TO A HISTORIC AREA AND THE WIDTH OF THE ROADWAY WOULD INTRUDE ON THE CHARACTER OF HISTORIC STRUCTURES.” Medians will worsen congestion by forcing motorists to double back, and they induce rear-end collisions because queued cars tail back into travel lanes.




Stripping the commercial buffer from the arterial, this alignment will undermine owner-occupancy, destabilizing adjacent historic neighborhoods. Destroying four continuous blocks of Contributing Properties, this alignment will severely damage Rincon Heights Historic District.




Demolishing National Register and Register-eligible properties can jeopardize Federal matching funds for improved transit, the ostensible “reason” for widening the street.  See section 110k of the National Historic Preservation Act, reproduced below.


The Design Team needs to be sent back to the drawing board–or, preferably, replaced by a more competent team–to produce an alignment that will be a genuine improvement for our City. Broadway Coalition has produced an alternative alignment with an 86′ footprint that would be a place to start.


As a community, we must decide whether to continue with a 20th-century development model that has brought our planet to the brink of destruction, or to become part of the solution. An up-to-date approach to Broadway would fit into the latter.


With all due respect,


Laura Tabili



Section 110 (k) National Historic Preservation Act


[16 U.S.C. 470h-2(k) — Anticipatory demolition]


(k) Each Federal agency shall ensure that the agency will not grant a loan, loan guarantee, permit, license, or other assistance to an applicant who, with intent to avoid the requirements of section 106 of this Act, has intentionally significantly adversely affected a historic property to which the grant would relate, or having legal power to prevent it, allowed such significant adverse effect to occur, unless the agency, after consultation with the Council, determines that circumstances justify granting such assistance despite the adverse effect created or permitted by the applicant.

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