The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of how we live, recreate, and move about our city. The City of Tucson launched the Tucson Slow Streets / Calles Lentas program to support this new way of life.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM) piloted Tucson Slow Streets, an initiative to reconfigure streets to support social distancing and encourage physical activity. The Slow Streets program temporarily closes certain streets to all but local traffic, giving Tucsonans more space to safely walk, bike, and run.
Slow Streets are neighborhood streets, temporarily limited to local traffic only through barricades, cones, and signs that:
Provide space for safe physical activity, transportation, and recreation (walking, wheelchair rolling, jogging, biking, and playing) in the street.
Encourage people driving to use alternate routes, only using Slow Streets when necessary to reach a final destination.
Urge people driving to drive slowly and safely, and look out for people sharing the street.
Do not impact emergency vehicle access in any way.
Slow Streets are NOT:
Closed streets - local residents, emergency vehicles, environmental services, and delivery vehicles can use them to get in and out of neighborhoods. Cut-through traffic is discouraged from using these streets.
What makes a successful Slow Street?
In general, Slow Streets:
Are neighborhood streets
Are not streets also used by transit
Are not located in commercial areas
Have safe crossings (e.g. HAWK, crosswalks, traffic signals where crossing major streets)
Prioritize underserved communities
Consider connecting to existing bicycle boulevard routes identified in the City of Tucson Bicycle Boulevard Master Plan
Phase 1: Pilot (May 2020 - June 2020)
Number of Slow Streets = 3
From May-June, 2020, Tucson's program was piloted in three neighborhoods: Feldman’s, Barrio Sin Nombre, and Fairgrounds. Segments were implemented on a rotating basis, with each installation in place 10-14 days.
Staff and volunteers evaluated the success of the program, made adjustments as necessary, and explored opportunities to expand the reach of Slow Streets in Tucson.
Phase 2: Expansion (August 2020 - January 2021)
Number of Slow Streets = 15
Thanks to a grant from PeopleForBikes, DTM implemented a neighborhood Block Leader model as part of the community engagement for the Slow Streets program. This approach creates ongoing opportunities for Tucsonans to provide input on how city streets can best serve them - both during and after this public health crisis.
A small stipend will be provided to residents chosen to be volunteer Block Leaders, who will assist with the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the Slow Streets project in their neighborhood. “Block Leaders” will teach their neighbors about Slow Streets, get feedback on the program, and help inform future street improvements. Materials will be supplied by DTM to help these efforts.
If your neighborhood is selected to participate in the program, the Slow Street will be in place for about one month, followed by low-cost traffic calming improvements.
Phase 3: Program Evaluation and Making it Permanent (January 2021-Current)
Number of Slow Streets = 2
Since we have started the Slow Streets program in May 2020 as a response to COVID-19, we have heard very strong support from the community to continue the program during this transition period we are in as a collective society. Staff have expanded data collection and evaluation measures to include speed feedback trailers, on-street surveys, and the online General Feedback Survey to understand the effectiveness and impact of the program. Slow Streets is now an ongoing program that will continue on a rotating basis moving from one neighborhood to the next around the city. If you would like your neighborhood street to be considered as a future Slow Street, begin organizing your neighbors to get support and fill out the survey link below.
We Want to Hear from You!
Please fill out this quick survey and share your thoughts about Slow Streets (available in English and Spanish).
- Share your photos on social media using the #TucsonSlowStreets and/or #CallesLentas hashtag in your post
- Report Slow Streets maintenance needs by calling or emailing us at: 520-791-3154 or TDOTConcerns@tucsonaz.gov
This program is a partnership between Tucson residents and neighborhoods, Mayor and City Council Ward Offices, the Department of Transportation & Mobility, and the Pima County Clean Air Program.
Click on the above map to view past and current Slow Street locations.
Click above image to see neighborhood Slow Street Photos!
Will this impact garbage pickup, deliveries or emergency vehicle access?
On the streets where this is implemented, local traffic will be allowed. This includes service, emergency, delivery vehicles, etc.
What is the criteria for selecting routes and streets?
Existing and planned bicycle boulevards with traffic signals at major intersections, streets not also used by transit, density, and equity are all factors in determining the candidates for Slow Streets. Want to propose a route? Complete the survey and let us know where you’d like to see Slow Streets.
Why wasn’t my street a candidate?
Multiple factors were considered when creating the initial map of potential streets. These factors include limited resources, hospital/emergency routes, transit routes and traffic patterns. (See Key Considerations above)
Will this be implemented City-wide?
The goal is to implement this in as many areas of the City as possible. The responses from the survey will help inform the details of the implementation.
How long will this go for?
The Slow Street is temporary and will be in place 24/7 for approximately 30 days.
Would normal traffic and safety laws apply?
Yes – local vehicle traffic would still be permitted, and normal bicycle, scooter and pedestrian laws would still be in place (i.e. stop at stop signs, don’t park scooters in the middle of the street, etc).
On impacted streets, how would people safely recreate?
The COVID-19 pandemic remains a rapidly evolving situation. Public health advisories will be updated when critical new information and recommendations are needed. Find the latest information on the Pima County Health Advisories page.
Once a decision is made, how would the public be notified what streets are impacted?
This page would be updated with a list and map of all the confirmed streets and there would be on-street signage.