Tucson’s Wheels: What Keeps them Turning?

Broadcast on 2017/01/10 (PT)

wp-jimdegroodmdwp-patrickhartleyJim DeGrood, Pima Association of Governments, Deputy Director,
Patrick Hartley, Sustainability Coordinator

We hear from Jim and Patrick with an overview of the RTA (Regional Transportation Authority) program with an emphasis on mobility, sustainability and livability, and how RTA projects are making the region a better place with bike paths, lanes, wildlife linkages, more transit, and reduced congestion. (Download project information) There have been 770+ project improvements to date. RTA is self-funded and self-directed so they can apply dollars better to match local needs and improve our overall quality of life. In addition, you’ll hear about 2045 RMAP (Regional Mobility and Accessibility Plan), why they do the plan and how it’s developed – what elements they address regarding mobility, livability and sustainability and what some of the population trends are. Join us for this very important and informative show.

Watch a short clip from the taping of this show.


Download MP3

 

SHOW NOTES

INSIGHTS:

  • The RTA increases the quality of life for Tucson by focusing on mobility, livability, and sustainability. When we improve traffic flow, this reduces the time spent idling in cars, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, less time spent in traffic makes happier people too!
  • What is the RTA? The Regional Transportation Authority is the fiscal manager of the $2.1 billion, 20-year RTA plan, which was approved by Pima County voters in May 2006. The plan includes roadway, transit, safety, environmental and economic vitality improvements. Plan goals include improving safety, crosstown mobility and reducing congestion.
  • The RTA has completed 770 projects in Pima County since 2006! During the economic downturn, RTA projects helped keep some projects running. Without them, lots of construction would have stopped and companies would have closed.
  • Chronic Respiratory Illness is the third leading cause of death in Pima County. One of the big requirements from the federal government for the RTA, is to make sure we don’t have a negative effect on the air quality. As the RTA develops these plans to improve traffic flow and have more bike paths (which also has the added benefit of getting people outside to be more active), they are focused on improving air quality – good stuff!
  • What are some of the projects RTA has done? Check out their updated list anytime HERE. Here’s some of the current highlights:
    • Extending Wilmot Road 4-5 miles south to Sahuarita Rd. Currently, if you live south of Tucson, near Sahuarita Rd, there is no way to go north between Houghton and Nogales Highway. By extending Wilmot, Tucson will have a new connection.
    • They’re replacing Sunset Rd, which was a roadway that was lost in the 1983 floods. The road will go over the Santa Cruz River and connect with Silverbell.
    • The Ina Road interchange is under construction now. When it’s completed, Ina will go over the train tracks and then they’ll do it for Ruthrauff next.
  • Does the RTA only build roads? Nope! About a quarter of their funding goes to transit and other important projects in Pima County. Here are some highlights:
    • Sun Shuttle Dial-a-Ride provides door-to-door paratransit service to persons with disabilities living outside the Tucson city limits or City of Tucson residents needing to reach destinations outside the city limits.
    • Over the holidays they provided an electric shuttle that took visitors from Udall Park to Sabino Canyon. Almost 500 people rode the shuttle in one week!
    • RTA also provides transportation-related critical wildlife linkages as part of the environmental and economic vitality element of the plan. These funds may be applied to projects that are specified by the RTA plan or to any other transportation related project.
    • They’ve also partnering with a company called Metropia to address the “first and last mile problem” in Pima County.

STAY INFORMED!

GET ACTIVE!

  • Take some #CLIMATE #ACTION and download the Metropia app to plan your most environmentally friendly commute. You’ll save on gas AND help with keeping our air clean!
  • Learn all the great things happening to preserve our planet on the City of Tucson website .
  • Check out this short and fun video with Mrs. Green and PAG on#Carpool #Dating…yes it’s a real thing! 🙂