Paul's Note - May 3, 2019

Many of you remember between 2013 and 2016, there was work being done on Houghton Road, especially between 22nd Street and Broadway. I made sure to give all of you constant updates on the work being done there.

After that phase of the project was complete, you weren’t hearing much news about it, at least not from me. Work has still been going, just much further south of us. Work on a bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks south of Tucson was completed earlier this year and the section between that bridge and I-10 is currently ongoing.

Now, it’s time to roll out the next phases of the project. Neither of the two phases are in Ward 2, but the part of the project that runs from Irvington to 22nd will affect a lot of our commuting and shopping. The other will run from Mary Ann Cleveland Way to Valencia.

The Regional Transportation Authority, City of Tucson and Pima County want to give you an opportunity to take a look at the current plans for these two segments and also comment on them. There will be an open house on Thursday, May 16 that will run from 6 – 7:30 pm at Secrist Middle School (3400 S Houghton Road). Since it is an open house, you can feel free to drop in any time during those hours.

The plans are currently in design, but planned improvements will include widening Houghton to a six-lane roadway with a median, drainage improvements to provide all-weather access during major storms, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, bus pullouts and upgraded traffic signals.

Personnel from the RTA and Tucson Department of Transportation will be on hand to answer questions and take your comments.

There is also one final segment that is all Ward 2 that runs from Tanque Verde to Speedway. Initial design work is scheduled on that next year. Some original plans for that have changed since traffic is different in the area since the Sabino Canyon extension was completed. I will be keeping you up to date on that.

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One of the features of previous work on Houghton Road has been public art. A small amount (1%) is set aside from all public road projects for art. That could be the horses along Houghton Road to simple design features added to a railing along a sidewalk.

The University of Arizona college of Fine Arts will be hosting a presentation called Making Public Art Conversation Real: City of Tucson’s Public Art Collection. This will be a chance for the public to learn more about 100 pieces of public art in the city and what kind of conservation needs we have for public art in our desert environment.

This presentation will be Monday, May 6 from 5:30 – 7 pm. It’s free, but seating is limited so they are asking you to RSVP.

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I’d like to note two passings. One is Roy Laos, who served on the council (with an interruption because of a run for Congress) from 1977-1989. Roy came from a pioneer Tucson family and continued to have a great impact in the business community after he left office. My condolences to the Laos family.

The other I’d like to note was not a Tucsonan, but was an inspiration for many people I work with and respect. Jerry Emmett of Prescott passed away at 104. Jerry was born before women had the right to vote, but at 102, she got to go to the Democratic Convention to help nominate Hillary Clinton. She was a hard worker for causes she believed in up until shortly before she passed away. She was an Arizona treasure.