Downtown Links is the alternative to the 'last mile' of the Barraza-Aviation Parkway, an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) project. This ADOT 'last mile' plan would have extended the current Barraza-Aviation Parkway as a limited access highway through downtown, resulting in a permanent loss of virtually the entire Historic Warehouse District. The City of Tucson offered to take over the project from ADOT in 1989. Over the past 19 years, scores of alternative routes and alignments have been considered in an open public process.
When Pima County voters approved the comprehensive Regional Transportation Plan in May 2006, it provided a funding source of a half-cent transportation sales tax and a mandate for the City to complete the Downtown Links as a modest four-lane roadway.
In December, 2006, the Downtown Links Citizen Advisory Committee approved an alignment north of the railroad tracks that connects with 6th Street at 7th Avenue. Due to conflicts with developing the roadway to meet railroad standards, the 6th Street portion of the alignment has been shifted slightly to the north. Four Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) meetings and two public meetings were held between January 1-June 30, 2008, where alignment options and issues were studied and commented upon. On June 23, 2008 the CAC voted to endorse the Curved 6th Street Alignment 3.d. to the Mayor and Council. And, on July 8th, the Mayor and Council voted 6-0 to approve Alignment 3.d. The next phase of the project is design and is expected to take 18 to 24 months.
The project goal is...
To provide the final link of the Barraza-Aviation corridor, connecting Broadway Boulevard and the 4th Avenue shopping district to I-10. This last element, identified as the Downtown Links, has been conceived as a modest, four-lane roadway on the north side of the railroad tracks, and includes enhanced pedestrian and bicycle access routes. Streets affected by this goal include Broadway Boulevard, Congress Street, Toole Avenue, St. Mary’s Road and 22nd Street.