Tucson Progressive

Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Ronstadt Transit Center: Community Space or Capitalist Dream?

In 2010, hundreds of Tucsonans came to a City Council meeting to tell the Council not to build a grandiose downtown hotel with taxpayer funds..

In 2010, hundreds of Tucsonans came to a City Council meeting to tell the Council not to build a grandiose downtown hotel with taxpayer funds. Taxpayers won that battle with developers. Will taxpayers will the RTC struggle?

The Downtown Tucson Partnership— like other business groups before them– has designs on the Ronstadt Transit Center (RTC). Since the early Feb. 5 City Council vote approving a 60-90 day public comment period before throwing the RTC to the dogs… er … developers,  the Tucson Bus Riders Union held a public forum at the Rialto, compiled and organized hundreds written comments collected at the forum, met with City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, and participated in collecting 2800 surveys from bus riders. 

When the Ronstadt Transit Center was constructed in 1991, it was billed as a community gathering place. Dance and music performances at the RTC were featured during Downtown Saturday Nights (pre-cursor to Second Saturdays but twice per month in its heyday). At the April public forum, dozens of speakers talked about improving the transit center, making it a focal point for community activities (as it once was), and building community– not commercial develop– at the site.

The big question is: in making its decision regarding the fate of the Ronstadt Transit Center, will the City Council listen to the 41-member Downtown Tucson Partnership or the thousands of Tucsonans who have voiced their opinion on this issue?

Today, May 17, a group of transit activists, downtown residents, and members of the Tucson Bus Riders Union will gather at the Ronstadt Transit Center in a community-building exercise. Wear white, bring your musical instruments, signs, and your community spirit to the RTC at 5 p.m. and let’s see what happens. Meet under the clock, and don’t disrupt the buses. This is a bus-friendly, community event– not a protest.

For background on the most recent Ronstadt Transit Center struggle, check out these links to stakeholder opinions.

Downtown for Everyone, Part 1: What Business Wants

Downtown for Everyone, Part 2: What Downtown Neighborhoods Want

Downtown for Everyone, Part 3: What Bus Riders Want

Downtown for Everyone, Part 4: What Tucson Citizens Want

Tucsonans have pushed back unwise development in the past. The proposed downtown Tucson hotel– financed by the taxpayers– is a perfect example of the people rising up and telling the City Council what to do… loudly and clearly. The people won that battle in 2010.

2 comments on “Ronstadt Transit Center: Community Space or Capitalist Dream?

  1. James Hannley
    May 17, 2013

    Well done, as usual, Pam. Your links to past articles that give readers depth and the links to these important documents are vital to widely informing the public. The best decisions affecting large numbers of the public are made with the most information from all sides of the issue. It is scandalous that the Arizona Daily Star sits out these important issues.


  2. Pingback: Feb 19 City Council Meetings: Bus Fare Hike, Ronstadt Transit Center Redevelopment | Tucson Progressive

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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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