Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
Ward 6 City Councilman Steve Kozachik is shaking up local politics again— by fighting for the people and for common sense.
Koz’s latest crusade is challenging the $71 million Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) project on Broadway Blvd. that would make Broadway outrageously wide between Euclid and Country Club and destroy 100 buildings, including an historic church and several long-time, locally-owned businesses.
In case you haven’t noticed the many “Construction Mess Brought to You by the RTA” signs dotting the county, the RTA is busily tearing up/widening streets, installing bus pullouts, and fixing bike paths– thanks to a sales tax approved several years ago by the voters. In the meantime, city streets are dotted with potholes and lined with weeds.
Koz– and most likely hundreds of other Tucsonsons– are asking, “What’s up with that?” For several weeks now, Koz has been trying to persuade the RTA to scale back the Broadway widening– which was based upon 1987 traffic projections– and divert some of the funds for this short stretch of street to other transportation issues– like street maintenance.
Koz is hosting a community dialogue tonight– April 30 at the Assembly of God Church. Below is the information he distributed. Click here for his Ward 6 newsletter, which has more background. If you want to have a say in this project, be there.
Government needs to hear the voice of the People
On Monday, April 30th at 6pm I will be hosting what is expected to be a widely attended community conversation at the First Assembly of God Church located just west of the corner of Broadway and
This community dialogue will be to engage RTA/TDOT in a serious discussion about re-scoping the planned $71M Broadway expansion project. We expect this “community conversation” to form a template for discussions in other parts of the community where similar concerns exist.
The purpose of this community dialogue is to open the door to readdressing the scope of RTA projects when it can be determined that the bases on which they were presented and voted on by the voters were flawed, and/or the funding and budgets for them are in question. Simply said, with millions of taxpayer dollars at stake, engage the people paying the bills and allow for a conversation that is based on the realities of current design, funding and need.
The voters approved $42M in RTA money for this project. We can design within that budget. The voters also approved $25M in County Bond money. We can use that in other areas of the City when it becomes available to address the transportation needs that the citizens prioritize.
Trying to solve our transportation issues by simply expanding road capacity is costly, and unresponsive to the creative input our community can bring to the table.
In a recent memo to the County Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry noted, “I completely agree with Councilmember Kozachik on this issue. It makes little sense to force the original scope of transportation improvements where they are clearly outdated or unnecessary. Reducing the size and scope of transportation improvements not only saves money; it is more responsive to community needs and desires.”
I will be joined by Tucson City Council Member Richard Fimbres, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias, Demion Clinco (Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation President), Stuart Taylor (representing the Tucson Bus Riders Union) and representatives from the Rincon Heights Neighborhood Association, the Sam Hughes Neighborhood Association, multiple business operators from along the Broadway corridor, numerous other Neighborhood Associations from throughout the City and concerned citizens.
I wish to thank Pastor Jim Munns and the congregation of the First Assembly of God for sharing their property with us as we work to protect their building from demolition, as well as over 100 other buildings that are sited along the north edge of Broadway from Euclid to Country Club.
Voters in 2006 approved a half-cent sales tax – not a bond as the writer contends – to help fund the multi-modal Regional Transportation Plan that includes not only roads, but also transit, public safety, bicycle and pedestrian projects, along with economic development. The RTA cannot simply divert funding for voter-approved RTP projects to help the city catch up with long neglected maintenance projects.
About 200 neighborhoods leaders and business people there tonight to hear Ward 6 Councilmember Steve K, plus Mark Kerr, aide to Ward 5 Councilmember Richard Fimbres; Colby Henley, Pres. of Rincon Hts. Neighborhood; Jessica Shuman, business owner of Kismet; John O’Dowd, Pres. of Sam Hughes Neighborhood Assn.;Sid Hirsch, business owner of Hirsch’s Shoes on Broadway,;Rev. Stuart Taylor, Bus Riders’ Union; Demion Clinco, Pres. of Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation; and District 5 Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias — all speak up against this process & widening plan. Numerous neighborhood leaders and former legislators (John Kromko, Ted Downing) and former Mayoral candidates present (Rick Grinnell, Dave Croteau) also in attendance.
Anyone who messes with Hirsch” Shoes messes with the community!!! People should not drive while texting or using a cell phone. I have neither. What I do have to do is drive while avoiding pot holes. It keeps me pretty busy.
And we have potholes in the millions, a trolley to nowhere (remember the museum complex?) so drunk U of A students can go downtown and a wasted $230,000,000 for Rio Nuevo. Go buy 5 busses for the route the trolley would use and leave us and our wallets alone. Tucson could not find its ass with two hands.
Posted video of this press conf. & my observations at:http://tucsoncitizen.com/community/2012/05/01/video-of-press-conference-against-rta-widening-of-broadway/
They should probably do nothing since that is always a good solution to traffic problems.