May 2018

Minutes Date

Treasurer's Report: Total in the account is $2,351.01


May 31, 6 to 7:30 pm at the Trinity Presbyterian Church. Union of 6th, the group working on the Flycatcher project, meeting to discuss an individual parking plan.

June 5th, 5:30 pm, public hearing regarding the unified code amendment.

Individual parking plan at St. Augustine Cathedral approved, but you may appeal. Deadline is May 30th.

Dunbar-Spring historic street lights not functioning. Reported to Ward One. If you noticed these lights out please report to Ward One or Tucson Department of Transportation at

Tucson Public Library has a robust events calendar that includes an adult summer reading project, music, a Stonewall authors reading, and much more. Please visit the library either online or in person to review the summer events calendar.


Downtown Links Projects with Sam Credio and Farhad Moghimi

Karen provides a brief introduction and for additional context mentions Arizona Daily Star article published on April, 19th, which reported that high bids were rejected. This puts the project at a standstill.

Sam of Downtown Links:

The bids did come in with the low bid at $55 million. The engineer’s estimate was at $39 million. Approximately a $16 million dollar difference.

A decision was made to cancel the bids and reevaluate the bid process.

Many requests to see the bids were submitted, however, the bids are confidential bacause the project has not been awarded yet. Once the project is awarded the bids will be made public. Project is being reviewed to determine how the shortfall can be made smaller. This includes simplifying the construction plans and to ways to lower risks for contractors.

The number question is ‘what is the timeframe,’ and unfortunately the answer is that there is not one at the moment.

Typically there would be five to seven contractors pursuing a project this size, however, only three bids were received by the city.

Contractors feel there is a high risk level with the project and that working with Union Pacific and their process is less than ideal.

That is essentially all the information that can be provided at the moment.

Question and Answer:

A resident asks what constitutes simplifying the design? Sam responds that a comprehensive look is being taken at the storm drain and the box culvert system design to eliminate redundancies. The storm drain system in the neighborhood is very deep which is very expensive so researching alternatives to mitigate those costs are being explored. A resident asks for a summary of the Downtown Links corridor project to which Sam provides an in depth yet brief overview of the project especially phase three, which will pass through Dunbar-Spring.

Karen adds a second part to the first question specifically calling out (for the benefit of the voice recording device present from AZ Daily Star) the proposed pedestrian deck, bike path, and public art. What is the RTA’s position?

Farhad states that RTA does not get involved with those project details. RTA is a funding agency that provides a grant for the project to be built and also provides logistic support. Karen presents a question related to bid size. For instance what happens if instead of a $16 million dollar bid overage what it is $5 million. What happens then and where does that money come from?

Farhad’s response is that RTA cannot account for “what if” scenarios. RTA’s goal is to bring the project in under budget.

The project’s total budget is just over $90 million and the completed phases have costs approximately $45 million so there’s roughly $45 million left to finish the third phase. RTA has already leveraged an additional 20% in financing the third phase to bring the final costs closer to the engineer’s estimate.

Karen presents questions about the low whistle zone or the “no regular use of the train whistle”.

Sam states that what Karen is referring to is a quiet zone and that early in the design is was established that such a zone would be a major benefit of the project and to the community. The way that the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) handles quiet zones is to assess risk at crossing. The project includes at very busy at-grade crossing at 6th Street and 9th Ave, which is to be replaced with an underpass. Improvements must be in place for the quiet zone to be approved for final review.

There are two different crossing that are handled separately by Union Pacific and the FRA. The 9th Ave crossing is an at-grade vehicular crossing at the ultimate condition will be a pedestrian and bicycle crossing only and the same is true of 7th Ave. A final ruling has yet to be determined as to how these crossing will be dealt with.

These modifications are included in the scope and budget for the Downtown Links project. Sky adds that the 9th Ave crossing is one of the most dangerous on the Southern lines. Sam confirms this and adds that Union Pacific is adamant about the closure of this crossing to automobiles, pedestrians, and cyclists. The City has maintained that that crossing and 7th Ave must remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Karen asks if splitting the bids so that a variety of contractors handle different pieces of the total project in order to lower costs. Sam states that was looked at early in the design phase several years ago, however, it was found that better economies of scale are achieved by grouping the project phases. At this point he begins to review the project map and detailing the risks of construction in a very busy area - 6th St and Stone Ave.

Karen asks if RTA can override a decision that TDOT makes?

Farhad stresses that these are voter approved projects and that it they are considered a team effort by both organizations that need to be completed on-time and on-budget.

Karen asks if there are risks to the FEMA identified flood zones. Sam says “absolutely not”.

Here Sam transitions into a examples of “unknowns” that contribute to project bids potentially being high. These include the removal of dirt from construction areas, shoring for storm drains, box culverts, and the underpass.

There is a general discussion about the high cost of steel and concrete impacting the overall project.

End of Discussion.

RTA discussion by Mindy Blake

Mindy presents a five minute RTA promotional film and then gives an overview of RTA, its scope, its funding, its current projects, and its future projects.

Natasha raises questions about budget and allocation of funds.

Fahad details that if funds are leftover from a specific project they cannot be relocated to another project so instead the remaining funds are used for categorical sub-projects around primary projects. These include safety updates, improvements to pedestrian walkways, bike paths, etc.

Eva-Marie asks if a project completion date for the Grant Rd project is set.

Farhad states that phase two (Park Ave) is to be done by August 2018.

Christopher asks about the Loop bike path and if plans exist to connect that system through the city to create a safer and efficient bicycle network.

Farhard states that the City is working to shift bicycle traffic onto designated boulevards (bike lanes) and is dedicating approximately $5 million over the next five years to make this happen.

From here there are questions about the Broadway expansion and whether or not any flexibility is available to change the project. Farhad simply states that project at hand is what was voted for and will be completed. End of Discussion.

Listserv & Google Groups

Karen and Sky open up a discussion about transitioning the Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood email group from Yahoo to Google.

M(Sky)/S(Karen). A motion to move listserv to Google Groups. Motion passes with 10 ‘yes’ votes and 1 opposed.

Gentrification Event and Action

Karen is working with other neighborhoods to host this event on September 15th from 9 am to 1 pm at the Dunbar School. Funding is actively being sought. A deposit is needed to rent to school. Menlo Park has donated $100 and Karen put up $100 of her own funds.

M(Glen)/S(?). A motion to repay Karen $100 for a deposit on the Dunbar School for the gentrification event. Motion passed by unanimous assent.


DNARC - A proposal is in place for a 20 story building at the parking lot behind the former Chicago Store. El Presidio is building at the former Art’s BBQ location. The Rio Nuevo extension has passed.

WAMO - No update.

Neighborhood Garden - Meter reader noticed increased use of water. Is anyone actually gardening there?

Dunbar Coalition - JCC is talking with the Idea School about a project. Tenant discussion is ongoing (upstairs).

Walkability - No update.

Neighborhood Foresters - Karen, Brad, and Glen met to create an annual project plan. More information to come. Projects with Habitat for Humanity were also discussed.

April Meeting Minutes - M(Karen)/S(Glen)/A. Motion to approve the April minutes. Motion passed by unanimous assent.