On Friday, May 16th, LSA presented our Pedestrian Safety & Comfort Bond Proposal to the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee (BAC).
We would like to send out a huge THANKS to the dozens of supporters of this initiative who showed up to the meeting to show their support, (we handed out over 70 pedestrian pins!) and to the many who had the courage to get up and speak about the urgency of this issue. We were humbled and honored by your presence and the stories and experiences you shared with the committee and everyone else in the room. YOU made a big difference; the committee heard loud and clear the need for attention to the issue of pedestrian safety and they understood the importance of creating a walkable community.
After dozens of comments by the public and a good deal of discussion amongst the BAC members, the committee clearly supported the objective of our proposal and moved to retain it for further consideration and discussion. The Committee supported the project in concept but wanted further information and clarity to determine the appropriate amount of bond funding. They requested that we make a few modifications and do some additional outreach to member jurisdictions to ensure that everyone is “on board”. Their main concerns had to do with:
- their view that this is a “transportation” program: Pima County Administrator, Mr. Huckelberry, recommended against the Bond funding transportation programs and projects. He suggested the problem is much bigger than LSA’s $25 million proposal and offered the possibility of a dedicated long term funding source to solve the full extent of the pedestrian infrastructure problem through a supplemental .0025 sales tax.
- lack of specificity: the general attitude of the BAC was that this proposal would be strengthened by including specific projects.
- regionalism: numerous committee members got it in their heads that this proposal was focused on solely the City of Tucson, which is not the case. We were clear about funding being available to every jurisdiction through this program, but they likely saw the “Demand/Need” and “Pedestrian Crash” maps that we distributed and made conclusions about what might be visually inferred through those maps: City of Tucson has the greatest need/demand.
The good news is, is that the BAC gave LSA the green light to continue working on and refining our proposal. What this means is that we’ve still got a lot of work to do to modify our proposal between now and October into something the committee can get behind 100%.
This is just the beginning. We need an army of people to help move our proposal forward and we’re ready for you to get involved. Here’s a few ways you can continue to help our initiative:
- Be heard by the BAC! Send in a letter of support or make an online comment. (There’s no deadline to do this!)
- Tell your leadership this is important! Consider reaching out to your elected officials to let them know just how important a safe walking environment is to you.
- Join our Pedestrian Bond Working Group. LSA is convening a team of people to help move this proposal forward. We’re looking for anyone who’s willing to do research, help with grassroots organizing, and/or is comfortable accompanying us to meetings with elected officials, staff, BAC members, and more over the next few months. If you’re interested, please let us know. This group will help refine our proposal and identify specific projects to include, so we need broad expertise and vision to make them outstanding.
- Fill our our “I Want to Walk” form. We’re continuing to gather signatures in support of a better, safer walking environment in our region. If you haven’t filled this out yet, please do!