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Tucson's 6th Ave goes two-way to help drive downtown

Craig Smith

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Tucson's 6th Ave goes two-way to help drive downtown

CREATED Sep. 19, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - There's a real change of direction for traffic near Tucson's downtown.  One of the main ways out of downtown is turning to a way in and out.

Sixth Avenue has been getting cleaned up, and sprayed down with fresh stripes to steer drivers through a major change.
After being one way out of town for decades, it's becoming a two way street.  
During years of one-way traffic, shoppers looking for camping gear or military items at Millers Surplus needed an almost military determination to get there.   Manager George Landa thinks two-way traffic is the road to more customers.

"When it was a one way avenue it was hard to get to use because you had to come one way off Broadway into Congress to get onto the main drag.  Now you can come up Grant Road, you can come up Broadway, you can come off University."
Tucson Transportation Director Daryl Cole says turning one-ways to two-ways means engineers are paying more attention to how traffic patterns affect an area's economy.

"For many years transportation planners looked at 'we're moving traffic' and we're using vehicle traffic only.  We didn't look at the pedestrian, we didn't look at the bicycle, we didn't look at the holistic approach and the economic vitality of certain areas so."
Switching 6th Avenue to a two-way is just part of a long term road map to make it easier to get in and around Tucson's downtown.
Reworking the roads at St Mary's and Grenada work will make it easier to get from I-10, through downtown, and take Aviation Boulevard to the south.
At 22nd Street and Kino Parkway work is widening the roads in all directions...all work that should help a downtown waking up, have even more life.

The St Mary's project is about $7.5 million.  22nd and Kino's about $23 million.  That's a mix of federal and local dollars and the good news is interest rates are low now so more of that money goes for work, not debt.

You can learn more about the City of Tucson's traffic projects at this link.