In planning for the future, looking to the past can be enlightening. In 1950, the Tucson region’s population was about 78,000, downtown Tucson was the region’s vibrant commercial center and the interstate system was still in the early planning stage. The 1951 Street Arterial Plan for Tucson recommended a set of street improvements to address the region’s existing and future traffic problems.
Plate 32 (2MB PDF)
The plan recommended making Broadway and Congress one-way through the downtown (an action finally implemented in 2007). The plan also recommended widening most of the major arterials in central Tucson. West of Alvernon, for example, Broadway, Speedway, Campbell and Country Club were to be widened to six through lanes, plus parking lanes and a 16-foot median.
Plate 35 (200KB PDF)
The total cost for all of the 1951 plan improvements was then estimated at $23 million. However, many of the key arterial improvements in the 1951 plan were not implemented or were only partially implemented. Unfortunately, the need for these improvements still exists today, only the problems are worse and the costs are much higher. For example, the cost of widening Grant Road to six lanes from Oracle to Swan is expected to be more than $160 million.
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