Downtown underpass will have park on top

2013-02-26T00:00:00Z 2013-02-26T15:58:12Z Downtown underpass will have park on topBecky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A future northern gateway to downtown Tucson will include the area's first deck park.

A quarter-acre park will sit atop the 2-foot-thick concrete deck of an underpass, where traffic will flow beneath the park and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, near the North Ninth Avenue-West Sixth Street intersection.

It's part of the $76 million Downtown Links project, which will connect Barraza-Aviation Parkway to Interstate 10.

The project is funded by the Regional Transportation Authority and managed by the city of Tucson.

The deck park will cost a minimum of $2.7 million, said Michael Bertram, associate vice president of HDR Engineering Inc., which conducted a deck park feasibility study.

That doesn't include the cost of landscaping, shade structures and other features.

A pedestrian bridge that would have cost $1.2 million also was considered, but the Tucson Department of Transportation, the Dunbar Spring Neighborhood and other downtown neighborhoods prefer the deck park plan as an attractive amenity that helps compensate the neighborhoods for traffic congestion and train noise, said city project manager Tom Fisher.

The park will include a neighborhood gathering place, a walkway and a bike path.

Other features will be chosen by a subcommittee of the Downtown Links Citizen Advisory Committee.

Sculptural shade structures, a playground, a dog run, gardens, art and a place for a coffee cart or food truck were among the features they discussed Monday.

The park also could accommodate some long-standing neighborhood activities, such as bike-in movies and community meals.

Who will maintain the space and where people from outside the neighborhood might park are problems that need to be solved by the subcommittee before the city can move forward with the park's final design.

The city's schedule calls for the design of Downtown Links Phases 3 and 4 to be complete in January 2015 and for construction to begin later that year.

Phase 1, which improved drainage in the Fourth Avenue area, is complete. Phase 2, which will improve St. Mary's Road between I-10 and Main Avenue, is under construction.

On StarNet: Read more local, state government and political news at azstarnet.com/politics

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.

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