Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Downtown for Everyone, Part 1: What Business Wants

The two Cadence maxi-dorms can be seen at left and right, just beyond the 4th Ave Underpass.

The two Cadence maxi-dorms can be seen at left and right, just beyond the 4th Ave Underpass.

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.

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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