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: business, bus riders, and the public.
Here is the official unedited early February statement by the Downtown Neighborhoods and Residents Council their vision for the RTC. It was written in response to the Downtown Tucson Partnership statement (here). This is what residents want…
Downtown Neighborhoods and Residents Council
Position Statement on Ronstadt Transit Center
The Ronstadt Transit Center (RTC) is a unique and valuable resource for downtown, downtown neighborhoods, and the entire region.
The assumption, held by some interests, that the RTC should (or needs to) move is incorrect. In fact, for best of use of current bus and future bus, streetcar, and intercity train riders, the RTC’s use as a transit center needs to be upgraded and expanded.
It is premature for the Mayor and Council to issue a request for qualifications. Additional steps need to be taken prior to issuing the RFQ, with priority given to a larger, more inclusive public process.
In the near term, it is difficult to predict the future of downtown and transit needs; downtown links, the street car, and other transportation projects will change the traffic and transit patterns. Moving forward quickly with changes to the RTC may lead to unforeseen consequences; mistakes are likely to be cast in concrete, which will be difficult—if not impossible–to change.
Accurate and complete data are necessary to support any decision, and need to be gathered before any RFQ is issued. A survey of current and potential transit users is key, along with the collection of new data on current bus usage (and limitations). Based on those facts and data, any resulting plan needs to present a long-term vision for an integrated multi-modal transportation center/system.
Any decision about future uses of the RTC needs to be preceded by an open, inclusive process that includes the expertise of bus riders, neighborhood residents, and downtown neighborhood associations as well as downtown business owners, civic leaders, and urban planners. The process needs to be more than a public hearing; it needs to be an inclusive design process in which these key stakeholders participate in shaping the future of a viable transit center.