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City plans renovation for 5th/6th Street

By Maya Schechter
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 26, 2000
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In an attempt to improve the quality and safety of transportation, the City of Tucson Department of Transportation is planning a renovation along the Fifth/Sixth Street corridor, from Interstate 10 to North Wilmot Road - including some UA areas.

The Department of Transportation has been working closely with the University of Arizona to "make sure our ideas go hand in hand," said DOT Project Manager Kim McKay.

The DOT is conducting public forums to receive feedback from citizens living in the area of the Fifth/Sixth Street corridor. The forums began Jan. 18 and will continue until Saturday.

Libby Stone, UA Neighborhood Relations coordinator, said the UA has made its opinions clear to the city.

"Although the project is only in its planning stage, we want them (Department of Transportation) to know the impact the future plans will have on the 35,000 students and 12,000 employees at the UA," Stone said.

She added that the Highland Avenue corridor - which includes the campus recreation center and several residence halls - will be most affected by the renovation. Plans for a new parking structure, a new campus health building and new residence halls will also be affected.

The forums are part of the project's initial stages, which aim to obtain a consensus of community members' hopes for the future of Tucson, McKay said.

"This is just the beginning phase of a very long process that might take up to five to 10 years," she said. "Our goal is to have citizens look into the future and find a way to help them accomplish their safety issues."

The second phase will kick off in April with a meeting between Tucson's Citizens Advisory Group and the DOT to analyze ideas and determine a master plan. The master plan will then be taken to Mayor Bob Walkup and the Tucson City Council to be approved for funding, McKay said.

The second phase may take 10 months to complete, so construction will not begin for at least another year.

"An issue that citizens have showed a major concern for are pedestrian and bicycle safety," McKay added.

To improve safety, city officials are considering adding a bike lane to Fifth/Sixth Street.

However, they are also pondering whether to entirely eliminate bicyclists on Fifth/Sixth Street, making Third Street the only bike-accessible roadway.

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