Congress Street Award
Again, another accolade for Tucson, Arizona. Recently, Congress Street was awarded Great Street by the American Planning Association. Congress Street was a happening place back in the day. However, due to a skyrocketing population and increased car traffic, it ever so gradually became less friendly to the pedestrians walking on the street. This was a huge problem. The city planners wanted to address the situation head-on which ended up labeled from the American Planning Association as a 2017 Great Street Award.
In early 2000s, city planners, Tucson officials, and engineers planned out a series of inventive plans to breathe new life into the local economy and restore its commercial opalescence. Since then, Congress Street, has had several makeovers to try bringing mode-sharing back to the street.
Congress Street Award: Renovations Since Early 2000s
- Reduced the street from three lanes to two
- Sidewalks widened to encourage more pedestrian activity
- Trees planted to help with the relentless Arizona heat
- Bike parking added for cyclists
- SunLink, a modern streetcar added
- Restoration of the Rialto Theatre and the Fox Tucson Theatre
Congress Street Award: By The Numbers
- 67 new businesses have opened along the street since 2008
- 25 restaurants are currently operating along Congress Street, 16 of which are in historic buildings and 22 of which are locally owned or Arizona based
- 40 years is how long the Fox Tucson Theatre sat empty before it was revived as a significant community resource
- 12 historic buildings have had facades restored with private investment matching public funding at a ratio of 6:1
- 4 of SunLink’s 23 stops are along the street
Congress Street Award: The Designated Area
The designated area for Congress Street extends 1.63 miles from Toole Avenue on the east, which serves as a gateway to downtown, to Silverbell Road on the west, home of the historic Menlo Park Neighborhood and the Mercado District. The street’s commercial corridor runs about four-tenths of a mile between North Church Street and East Toole Avenue.
In conclusion, I truly hope that you get a chance to take a trip downtown and checkout the newly planned and reconstructed Congress Street. There are so many things to do and plenty of fun businesses to take your money. lol 😉
Have a great day! 🙂
Tony Ray Baker & Darren Jones