Working with the City of Tucson to get, and improve, ADA-accessible ramps for our neighborhood’s public paths

The City of Tucson is currently installing and upgrading ADA-accessible ramps where sidewalks intersect neighborhood intersections along bicycle boulevards. (The Dunbar/Spring neighborhood has a bicycle boulevard running along University Blvd and on 10th Avenue north of University Blvd, and on 9th Avenue south of University Blvd).

Unfortunately, the current phase of the program was only focusing on existing concrete sidewalks, not unpaved earthen walkways.

The Dunbar/Spring neighborhood has been working hard for over two decades to enhance our public earthen walkways (we even have an official map of them), and enhance the walkability of our neighborhood. But we have very few concrete sidewalks, as this neighborhood was redlined for decades, and often left out of public infrastructure improvements in the past.

So, if infrastructure improvements were to only be done on existing, concrete infrastructure, it seems this would be building on racism and discrimination of the past. So, I reached out to the project managers and the Ward One City Council office to request that the ramps be designed and built to improve access to BOTH existing concrete sidewalks AND earthen paths.
I also requested we get ramps for public earthen paths where no concrete sidewalks exist.

The project managers responded promptly to improve the ramps under construction, so they will improve access to both concrete sidewalks and public earthen paths.

As to getting ramps for earthen paths where no concrete sidewalks currently exist, it is my hope that we’ll get some in the next phase, but we need more folks pushing for this to ensure it happens.

Below are some of the images I sent project managers during our correspondence.

Form work under construction before concrete ramp and sidewalk were poured.
Green lines denote where I requested there be connect to earthen path to right, instead of a tripping hazard of a vertical curb.
We got the ramp to the earthen path, after transplanting the prickly pear cactus to put it in a better place.
Southeast corner of 9th Ave and University Blvd.
Photo: Brad Lancaster
New concrete pedestrian ramp that does NOT connect with the earthen path to the north (upper part of image) or to the walkway to the east (right side of image).
The green lines on the photo delineate where I requested there be a ramp connecting to the earthen path.
The yellow lines delineate where I requested a ramp for east-west pedestrian access.
I also requested that ramped curbs be used instead of vertical curbs. Northwest corner of 9th Ave and 5th Street.
Photo: Brad Lancaster
Form work for new ramp and sidewalk that would’ve directed pedestrians into a light post.
I requested they re-route the sidewalk to the north side of the light post and connect it with the public earthen path (this was later done).
Northwest corner of 10th Ave and University Blvd.
Photo: Brad Lancaster