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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractPeople have been traveling for thousands of years in an attempt to improve their lives by some means. “For many centuries individual movement and trade relied on walking, packhorses, and horse-drawn carts and wagons” (Black, 2003). The facilities for these modes were placed along the natural pathways people used to get around. Black (2003) explains, “The first major roads to be built in Europe are attributable to the Roman Empire...among their many and varied skills was a talent for road building... Their roads were built in response to a potential need to move armies quickly from one place to another, and they were built to last forever.” Roads have changed over the centuries since the time of the Romans. Modern materials have replaced cobblestones, and new transportation options have complicated roads. However, the underlying goal is still the same: to move people, goods, and services from A to B. More often then not, we see roads built for moving cars while other transportation options such as walking, cycling, or using transit are often an afterthought. While Tucson roads provide options, they are not necessarily safe or comfortable ones. Sidewalks in Tucson are infrequent outside of the urban core and often without shade. Bike lanes tend to be narrow and unprotected. Transit stops are unshaded and service has a long headway, leaving people to wait in the hot sun. All of which leads to uncomfortable walking conditions, the potential for automotive bike accidents, and heat stroke from sun exposure. It does not have to be this way; roads can be friendly to all modes of transportation with better design and planning. Adding trees along the street can provide shade over sidewalks. Buffers and barriers on bicycle lanes help keep drivers and cyclists separate. Shaded transit stops, and more frequent service creates a more pleasant experience for users. There are so many options that it can be difficult to pick the right ones for any given situation. Wardell 3 Up until recently, policies in place that dictated how to design roads for all users were limited to The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) design standards and the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The design standards have favored drivers over alternative transportation. However, more cities have started to adopt complete streets policies. These policies often follow designs from NACTO- National Association of City Transportation Officials- which favor a blend of options for all users. In Spring 2019, Tucson passed its Complete Streets Initiative, which put into place new guidelines for building and designing our roads. At the same time, the passing of Prop 407- Parks and Connectivity Bond- provided funding to implement complete street designs. While many roads will not see an upgrade until they are repaved, the city now has a policy in place to elevate non-personal vehicle modes. However, is this a policy that works- will it improve our transportation options and create a more vibrant built environment- or is it one that will gather dust on a shelf? This study sets out to critique and compare Tucson’s Complete Streets Initiative to other examples, one in the Southwest and one in the Northwest to compare a similar climate and a differing one. Our plan will be compared against Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Hailey, Idaho in categories such as enforceability, design standards, and transportation options. The strengths of those plans will be identified and then used to propose ways to improve Tucson’s policy.
DescriptionSustainable Built Environments Senior Capstone Project