10 Impacts of the Proposed Broadway Widening
1) The current alignment (the 30% design) ignores public input, which overwhelmingly advocated for preservation of the historic streetscape and local businesses.
2) The 30% design defies the direction of Mayor and Council, who approved an alignment that would have caused the loss of at most 11 historic buildings. The proposed 30% design will take out 30 historic buildings.
3) The entire project is based on traffic projections that are 20 years out of date. Current data show steady decreases in vehicular traffic on Broadway, on Tucson’s other arterials, and on arterials throughout the nation.
4) The project is estimated to cost $74 million, before cost overruns. At this time, cost overruns are expected to be at least $5 million. Our city government is in a budget crisis. Where, exactly, is this money supposed to come from? Coincidentally, the city plans to put tax increases on November’s ballot.
5) The city’s own data show that, after the project is completed, traffic will move 6 seconds faster. Yes, you read that correctly: SIX SECONDS. We are supposed to sacrifice two blocks of historic homes, numerous local businesses, go into debt, and tolerate a corrupt public process for SIX SECONDS.
6) By destroying local businesses along the Broadway Corridor, the city is sacrificing future tax revenues for the city itself and for the Rio Nuevo District. This will only deepen our budget crisis.
7) The city and county keep saying they are respecting the will of the voters by going forward with this project. Well, I voted for the RTA. I held my nose over the road widening projects, because I wanted to see light rail come to Tucson. I never imagined the devastation road widening would bring to historic neighborhoods along Broadway and Grant Road. THIS IS NOT WHAT I VOTED FOR.
8) If your neighborhood borders an arterial, this project is a horrible template that could be applied to you. For example, the city has long planned additional widening of Speedway in Feldman’s Neighborhood. The Major Streets and Routes Plan specifies a right-of-way of 125 feet along Speedway in Feldman’s. The city can (and usually does) require any property owner wanting a zoning variance along Speedway to deed the 125 feet over to the city — for free. That is a policy that drives urban blight, just as it did on Broadway.
9) This project is the exact opposite of everything that makes a city such as Austin or Portland attractive, livable, economically and culturally viable. There will be no dedicated transit lanes. Little or no landscaping. No replacement parking for the parking that local businesses will lose, meaning those businesses will likely go under. And of course, none of the beautiful amenities that were envisioned early on in the process, such as pocket parks and vegetation buffers between vehicles and cyclists.
10) This project is also the exact opposite of government accountability and transparency. In addition to the end-run around public input and direction from Mayor and Council, there have been allegations of early buyouts offered to national chain businesses (looking at you, Starbucks and Brake Masters) that were not necessary, given the alignment, and were far more generous than anything offered to local businesses.