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by D.A. Barber
While construction abounds on the UA campus, the Main Gate District is seeing improvements of its own. The completion of the Tyndall Avenue Parking Structure will actually mark the beginning of a $500,000 project that will transform Tyndall Avenue from an automobile-oriented road, to a safer, pedestrian and bicycle friendly multi-modal corridor.
Called the Tyndall Avenue Enhancement Project, the goal is to create a one-quarter mile strip between Sixth Avenue and University Boulevard that will emphasize the human scale for a more livable community environment in the main gate and West University Historic Districts.
"The city of Tucson, long ago, agreed this stretch of Tyndall Avenue should be part of an enhancement project similar to the Mountain Avenue project, but it never went ahead and completed it," said Susan W. Bartlett, a University campus land use planner with the Department of Campus & Facilities Planning.
"So, given we were doing all the construction and improvements in the main gate district, they agreed that it was a good time to go ahead and do it."
For more than five years, the UA, the city of Tucson and the Marshall Foundation have make significant improvements for the main gate district at University Boulevard and Park Avenue. This has resulted in a pedestrian-oriented area that provides services for the students, staff, main gate businesses, adjacent neighborhoods, and the community at large. The transformation of Tyndall will be the final step in this major "streetscape" enhancement for the area. To minimize any inconvenience, construction on the project is scheduled to begin during the summer break of 2001.
"That's why we want to do it in the summer," said Bartlett. "It will be cheaper and faster if we can close that street entirely. Over the summer time we can because the traffic volumes on Park, Euclid, and Tyndall are much lower as soon as school gets out."
The Tyndall Ave. Enhancement Project, between Coronado Hall and University, will link the construction of a 300-bed student housing facility, and westward expansion of the Park Student Union. The project also includes partial closure of Fifth Street between Euclid and Park to ease traffic congestion and act as a shared open space for the new housing project and Coronado Hall.
Other improvements include:
- A proposed plaza at the SE corner of Tyndall and 2nd St.
- Wider sidewalks with specialty paving, street trees and landscaping, and lighting
- Ample bicycle parking and five-foot bike lanes, creating a north-south corridor from Second Street to Sixth Street
- Slower, calmer traffic with no street parking
The project is funded with "pass through" federal funds that are administrated by the city of Tucson. The UA acquired Tyndall from the city in December 1999 through an Intergovernmental Agreement that requires the University provide ongoing maintenance and repair of all improvements. The first step in the process is the completion of a design concept report to the city.
"Through that report we get an idea of what the ultimate cost of the project will be."
Once a conceptual design has been formulated, a public review process will seek input from the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses such as the West University Neighborhood Association, the Marshall Foundation, Old Pueblo Trolley and the Pie Allen Neighborhood Association.
The streetscape portion of the enhancement project will begin following the completion of the Tyndall Avenue Parking Structure and completion of the student housing and Park Student Union expansion.
University of Arizona in the News