Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Since the local media has pretty much ignored the recent struggle over the Ronstadt Transit Center (RTC), I am publishing a series of posts with position statements by the different players in the battle. Here are links to the other positions: neighborhoods, bus riders, and the public.
Here is the official unedited February 3 statement by the 41-member Downtown Tucson Partnership board regarding their vision for the RTC. This is what the businesses want.
Board Position Statement on
A Re-Envisioned Ronstadt Transit Center
February 3, 2013
The Downtown Tucson Partnership’s mission is to revitalize the city’s urban core so that it attracts, excites, and economically benefits the entire region. The Partnership was formed to administer the Business Improvement District in 1998, and provide services including enhanced maintenance, enhanced security, marketing and public relations for downtown, advocacy for downtown and issues impacting downtown, and economic development through our support of downtown businesses. The 41-member board is comprised of both the public and private sector stakeholders who are actively engaged in making downtown Tucson vibrant.
Ronstadt Center’s central location, critical multi-modal transit role, and proximity to available vacant properties present one of the most significant and unique entertainment/retail/residential development opportunities nationally. The Board’s position is a result of careful deliberation informed by case study research and community conversations involving a wide representation of City officials, Bus Riders Union, and downtown stakeholders.
The Downtown Tucson Partnership Board supports the efforts of the City of Tucson to pursue comprehensive redevelopment of the Ronstadt Transit Center and surrounding Congress St./Toole Ave./6th Ave. area into a major, active, transit-oriented, mixed-use downtown destination.
The Partnership Board encourages the City to pursue a process for redevelopment that is:
1. Comprehensive — encompassing the entire Ronstadt Center and adjacent parcels (Madden triangle (6th Ave. and Toole), vacant Toole Avenue lot west of the Train Station, and bordering streetscapes) in order to create a cohesive vision and capture the full potential of the area.
2. Inclusive — by continuing the consultative and transparent process begun by
Council Member Karin Uhlich, the City can fully incorporate the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders. The city needs to seek a developer with experience in building public/private partnerships, urban mixed use, transit-oriented development, and an interest in strong municipal relationships, consensus building, and transparent dealings.
Transit decisions, a key consideration, should be guided by bus riders concerns and the need for improved bus service and amenities. Completion of the Sun Tran study of bus rider volumes and travel patterns needs to be accelerated in order to inform decisions.
3. Transit-Oriented — planning and design guided by conditions and incentives that emphasize well-connected urban parks, public gathering spaces and streetscapes, excellence in urban design, and the creation of local jobs and expanded tax base.
Improvements in transit service and amenities, circulation, and parking are critical to the success of Ronstadt redevelopment, downtown Tucson, and the region. Bus service to the project is essential, however full accommodation of local and citywide transfer services on the Ronstadt site will be difficult, particularly as bus ridership grows. Consideration needs to be given to relocating bus transfer locations and express routes to nearby, less congested locations. Specific locations should be determined by an integrated multi-modal transportation plan for the larger downtown area (Euclid-Convento/22nd St-Speedway) that integrates pedestrians, bicycle routes, bus service, the Modern Streetcar, taxi, and auto circulation.
4. Expeditious — respecting the legal and financial needs of both the City and a developer. The Partnership Board offers its members as a consultative body for use by the City in the development of performance standards, any potential RFP process, and planning and design.
A re-envisioned Ronstadt Center has the potential to place Tucson on a national stage. Success will require a new level of effort and excellence by all concerned. The Partnership Board believes such success is well within reach and welcomes the opportunity to work to achieve this goal.