Why Living Streets Alliance?
Just think of streets as the great equalizer in our cities. We all use them just about every day to get from point A to point B, but most of us rarely thing about the many other ways that streets impact our lives. Here’s a few things to consider:
- Quality of Life. It’s easy to forget, but streets really serve the purpose of connecting people: from home to work, from your house to your parent’s house, you to your community. Sadly, the design of our streets in the past has created a city that requires a car to get around safely and comfortably. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can connect our community and neighborhoods with quality streetscapes that are better for everyone.
- Sick of Traffic?!? Just think if you didn’t have to worry about going out to get exercise every day after you got home from work. What if, instead, your commute became your exercise and became something you enjoyed doing. Imagine how much more time you could save having fun with your family or doing something that you enjoyed. Our streets CAN be a fun and safe way to get from home to work, shopping or to visit a neighbor without needing a car.
- Promoting Healthy Habits. What if you didn’t have to drive your kid to school every day or drive to do every single errand? Imagine the health benefits and time benefits of knowing that you and your child had a safe and well-used route to get to school or shopping on foot or on bicycle… and their friends did that too! Childhood obesity is at the highest levels our nation has ever seen. This puts them at great risk. Walking or bicycling to school would guarantee healthy exercise in their every day routine. But, we need to create routes that feel safe for both parents and for children first!
- Healthier Air Quality. Despite how much or how little we drive each day, we all have to share the air that we breathe and the increasing urban heat levels in Tucson. By not driving as much, we can help prevent poor air quality for ourselves and for our community.
- $$$$$$$ It is estimated that the average American spends upward of $9,000 per year to own and operate each personal vehicle. Meantime, many people below the poverty line are unable to afford a private vehicle and thus are limited to the options by which they can safely and efficiently commute. Imagine the amount of money that one person could save by not having to buy gas to commute every week – or – by not having to pay for expensive car repairs on a regular basis. Not to mention the amount of money that municipalities spend on trying to mitigate the major wear and tear of motor vehicles.
- Better infrastructure. Our streets can do more! A well designed street has the capacity to… (1) serve people through walking, biking, etc., (2) foster a healthier environment by making space for vegetation and habitat and allowing for water-harvesting and (3) create safer and more vibrant neighborhoods by calming traffic.
- For love of the desert! The southwest has a tradition of urban flight and sprawl which has threatened the health of the Sonoran desert and its fragile ecosystems. The desert can only withstand so much destruction. We hope that by creating living streets, living in the urban core will become a desirable option for all types and ages of people.
What LSA does
- On a daily basis, LSA works to make our vision of “Streets for People” in the greater Tucson region a reality. We do this in many ways:
- Making the “possible” visible. By getting people out into the streets and creating fun and unique events that involve everyone, we hope to remind this community of what great resources streets can be (and used to be!). We hope that if you have fun while riding, walking, strolling, or just being out in your streets, you’ll get involved and stay involved in our cause.
- Spreading the word. We hope to support existing education efforts and develop supplemental programs to help kids find safe walking/biking routes to school, help people of all generations learn to ride a bike and feel confident doing so, and connect people with information and resources on how to improve the conditions of their streets. We also aim to generate conversations and ideas about how we as a community can improve the quality of our streets.
- Doing our homework. Who has time to keep track of all of the decisions being made that affect how our region is developed? We work to keep track of how and why decisions are being made and then keep you informed so you can form your own opinions. We hope to create transparency between the government and you in all things related to transportation.
- Cultivating civic leadership. Changing the fundamental way our streets are planned, designed, and built, requires the active support and leadership of community members, neighborhood, business and elected leaders. We work to inspire everyone to make these changes.