Striving to get more water-harvesting traffic-calming planted with native food forest plantings in the neighborhood

As per the City of Tucson’s process to request traffic calming, Brad Lancaster, of the Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Foresters met with Jesse Soto ( of the City of Tucson transportation department to discuss options for traffic calming at one of the entrances to our neighborhood, where two of our neighborhood’s bicycle boulevards meet at 9th Avenue and University Blvd, and is a major route of the El Grupo youth cycling program.

Speed humps were discussed to reduce speeding vehicles mid-block between existing traffic calming at the intersections.

Water-harvesting, traffic-calming chicanes or curb extensions were also discussed to reduce speeding traffic around the 9th Ave & University Blvd traffic circle, protect on-street parking from vehicles that otherwise drive down the parking lane, and create an example in our neighborhood where chicanes bookend each other by having them on both sides of the street (this was a strategy originally developed when our neighborhood received the Pima County Neighborhood Reinvestment grant in 2009, but we ran out of grant funds back then so chicanes were only installed on one side of the street, not both).

Jesse then drew up three maps for three proposed traffic calming strategies, and highlighted which properties within a block of each strategy would need to be approached to see if they would be willing to sign their approval. A minimum of 60% of the residents or owners of the highlighted properties need to sign their approval for the process to move to the next stage (only one signature per property is collected).

Below are the maps of the proposed traffic calming (and the highlighted properties that were approached). Brad and Rodd Lancaster went door to door to the highlighted properties with the petitions:

Thus far, signatures of approval have been secured from 90% of the yellow highlighted properties for the speed hump on 9th Ave. (more can still be added should others chose to add theirs).

Signatures of approval have been secured from 100% of the yellow highlighted properties for the two speed humps on University Blvd

Thus far signatures of approval have been secured from 94% of the yellow highlighted properties (including Merle’s Auto and Entrada Real Apartments) for the chicanes at 9th Ave and University Blvd. Additionally, a number of the neighbors have signed agreements to steward/maintain the landscaping within the chicanes should they get built).

The petitions have been handed in to Jesse Soto at the City (though we can still add more signatures of approval), and the City has confirmed we have more than enough signatures to move to the next stage of the process, whereby various City departments will review the conceptual plans and make comments. In about a month we should find out if the City then approves the proposed traffic calming or if we need to make any changes.

This process does not secure any funding, it only secures approval.

Once approved, we can pursue various funding options.
Brad is looking into an urban forestry grant as one possibility.

If we do secure some funding, but not all, it is possible to move on constructing what is funded, and do more later if more funding is acquired.

If you have questions about this process and the proposed traffic calming, you can email Brad Lancaster at

(Some speed humps along the University Blvd, 9th Ave., and 10th Ave. sections of bicycle boulevards in our neighborhood may get constructed as part of the City’s bicycle boulevard enhancement program).

At our 5-15-23 neighborhood association meeting, the neighborhood association voted to add its support to the proposed traffic calming for which the petition process was completed.

NOTE: Speed limits (and signage) along our neighborhood bicycle boulevards have already been reduced from 25mph to 20mph. According to Jesse Soto, if neighbors would like to see speed limits reduced in other areas of our neighborhood not along a bicycle boulevard, they can request this by emailing a request to TDOT concerns –

September 2023 update
In September 2023 we got approval of our water-harvesting, traffic-calming chicane plans – see image below.
Now we need to finalize details (we are working with retired engineer Henry Jacobs to create building specifications that are less expensive than the City’s current standard plans. If approved, we’ll publish and share them, so other neighborhoods can use them.

We also need secure funding – more to come on that, and speak up if you have leads on a funding path.

January 2024 update
The Dunbar Spring Neighborhood Foresters collaborating with Tucson Audubon applied for $130,000 Inflation Reduction Act urban forestry grant monies to pay for the water-harvesting traffic calming around 9th Ave and University Blvd.

We have been awarded $100,000, and will be modifying the plan to work within the less than requested amount!

Proposed new water-harvesting, traffic-calming chicanes are delineated with yellow lines.