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City of Tucson's Slow Streets program brings awareness to the dangers of fast driving

City of Tucson's Slow Street Program
Posted at 6:15 AM, Oct 22, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — There's a neighborhood that is trying to make their street safer by urging drivers to slow down.

"I would say for the last year and a half that the traffic on Kelso has been so extreme," Nancy Reid, a resident of the neighborhood, said. "I'm always asking and begging for speed bumps, something to slow the traffic down."

Reid has lived in the area for many years and is now a block leader in the City of Tucson's Department of Transportation and Mobility's Slow Streets program. She said when the City of Tucson asked the community which street should be a slow street, her and her fellow neighbors immediately suggested Kelso Street.

"We have these signs just asking people to slow down and share the streets with people who are out walking," Reid said.

For 30 days, which started on October 14th and will end on November 9th, Kelso street is limited to local traffic only including delivery, mail and bus drivers. The program's leader and the city's livability planner Gabriela Barillas-Longoria said the program started at the beginning of the pandemic in an effort to get people outside and still social distance. With the drivers slowing down, it gave the street more space for others using it.

"First and foremost it's safety, bringing attention to streets," she said. "People should feel safe to use their streets, we know that safety is complex and that means different things for different people, but this is just a start.”

The city does designates four slow streets per year, one neighborhood at a time. After the 30 days, street improvements are made.

Joy Holdread is another block leader for the Slow Streets program who has lived in the neighborhood for many years. Armed with her straw hat and stack of flyers, she and her fellow leaders are trying to spread awareness to the issue of fast driving.

"Even though we don’t have painted crosswalks at every intersection and flashing lights," she said. There are people and dog walkers and bicyclists and children walking to school all the time and I think it’s wonderful to acknowledge that and to encourage that pedestrians are people too."

She hopes that the community will come together, something she's seen a bit already.

"They'll see that other people care and other people are making an effort," she said. "It will give them an opportunity to think about the streets being for everybody."

On October 23rd, Slow Streets will hold a free mobile bike repair for people to fix their bikes before the community bike ride on November 7th. Barillas-Longoria said the next neighborhood will be picked in the next couple of months but for those interested, head to tucsonaz.gov/tucsonslowstreets.

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