Tom Heath: Good morning Tucson. It’s 11:30 on a beautiful Sunday here in the Old Pueblo and I want to thank you for spending part of your brunch our with us. Hope you’re enjoying some avocado toast or maybe some delicious eggs benedict. So today perhaps recovering from a wonderful second Saturday may be gearing up for a hike on a mountain or just simply heading to the pool because it’s 90 degrees in November. Whatever your plans are. I’m glad you chose to spend a few minutes with us today. It’s November 12th. My name is Tommy and you’re listening to Life along the streetcar. Each week we discuss the events and topics which impact those who live work and play in Tucson’s Urban core and we do this by interviewing those in the know and inviting fun guests into the studio. Our focus is on social cultural and economic events and we shed light on those hidden gems that everyone should know about from a mountain to the U of A and all stops in between as a reminder. This is a community conversation. So, please keep
Tom Heath: those comments coming tell us the topics you want to hear the locations for us to explore and what you know that we should know. You can reach us email contact at Life along the streetcar dot-org and you can interact with us on Facebook at Life along the streetcar and please do like and share us on Facebook the broader the reach the bigger the impact. This show and all the other downtown radio shows are available in three ways. You’re listening perhaps on 99.1 FM some are using the TuneIn app on their smartphone and some are streaming it on Downtown Radio dot org again. No matter how you’re listening. We appreciate your time. This week’s feature interview is going to be with an Shaniqua the city’s director for the new Bike Share program, which launches this coming Friday. We’re also going to talk bacon Sports and maybe a little history. But first we’re going to start with news of a different bike program here in Tucson. The
Tom Heath: 35th El Tor to Tucson cycling event will be held next Saturday the 18th and every year on Saturday before Thanksgiving thousands of cyclists head downtown for this Tucson tradition their rides from 28 to 106 miles with starting locations all over town regardless of where those routes begin everyone ends up in Armory Park on South 6 in front of the Children’s Museum. The full 106 mile ride, which also happens to start at Armory Park at 7:00 a.m. So you can imagine the cyclist be lining up. Probably around 5:00 5:30. That route takes them around the perimeter of Tucson including through to usually dry, but not always riverbeds and it also hits some of the most exciting and attractive cycling areas in Pima County. There’s also a fun ride starting downtown. There’s a quarter 5 and 11 Mile rides, which follow the Santa Cruz on that multi-use Loop path. So regardless of your skill set or your time on a bike you can find a route that gets you out of the house and on a bike now, I’ll towards become a
Tom Heath: must do for many of the Tucson cyclists it draws Riders from United States and even some internationally and it’s a unique ride in that it’s designed to make sure everyone’s competitive no matter which route you’re taking whether you’re a first-time Rider whether you’re a professional you all going to follow along on the same course first-timers and Pros do the same route Pros. Just finish it a lot less. a lot faster now little tour is also a sense of frustration. I know there’s a lot of people out there that are not cyclists and they get caught up in these heavy delays when for cyclist safety. We’ve got roads blocked off and police are directing traffic and allowing cyclists to go through and sometimes it seems silly because you’ve got one struggling cyclist like myself that might be out there and you stopped a whole row of cars. So that individual can get through but we do understand that there is frustration, but what’s not widely known outside of the outdoor community at least that I’m
Tom Heath: aware of is that this ride supports local charities in 1996, the organizers created a fundraising program which now benefits dozens of nonprofits and organizations a lot of times if you raise enough money for the organization your fee for entry is waived by the L tour organizers. Local businesses also profit from Hell Tour think of all the people coming in all of the people in Tucson getting prepared and there’s an estimated 15 to 20 million dollar impact on Tucson for the week’s worth of activities. So if you’re sitting in a traffic jam cursing those spandex wearing Army of amateur cyclists that are out Way Beyond when the professionals have finished, please remember a few things in 2016. El Toro raised more than Twelve million dollars for 45 separate nonprofit organizations and drove approximately fifteen million dollars of Revenue. Tucson businesses And I know it can be frustrating and I know there’s times you’ve got to be places, but please know that we understand and appreciate your patience
Tom Heath: and a Tucson is the beneficiary of this event. On our Facebook page, we’re going to link to a complete list of the 2017 beneficiary. So you get a sense of who you’re supporting even by showing a little bit patients at the traffic areas on our Facebook page were also going to have the Armory Park road closures a nice map there if you’re in the downtown area of the streets that are going to be blocked off for the majority of the day and there’s also going to be a link to the alt or general information. The site will show you the routes the expected close times. So if you’re planning a trip or if you’ve got to go through town and you have some flexibility, you can look at that map and get a sense of when the last cyclist will be accepted through and when the police barricades will be removed. Again, I appreciate your patience as does the rest of the cyclists and El Tor and the nonprofits and businesses that benefit. My name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to Life along the streetcar on Downtown Radio.
Tom Heath: Thank you, as always to our Underwriters and speaking of Underwriters and fundraising I’ve been informed that last week. We launched our fun drive and in one week’s time, we hit our goals. So thank you Tucson for making that happen. We set a modest goal of $2000 for some equipment with some very specific purposes to improve your experience and we have hit that goal. That doesn’t mean you can stop donating if you’d like. You can always go to Downtown Radio dot org, there’s a donate button. They’re always looking for the sponsorship and the help of our community. And again, we’re volunteers on this station. So the money that you’re putting in here really does go to improve your experience. Hey, we’re going to move from a once-a-year ride and El Tor to the new ride available next Friday on the 17th Tucson’s to go Bike Share system will be operational to go t ug o Bike Share system. A bike shares another form of public transit and it’s initially focused here in Tucson in the downtown 4th Avenue and
Tom Heath: University areas. It follows very closely along the streetcar with a few Spurs that will go out into the neighborhoods and communities bike shares a low-cost option and it’s in over a hundred cities Nationwide according to Tucson’s press release over the bike share program in the past five years. The number of Bike Share trips Nationwide has increased from 2.3 million to over 28 million. I’m not sure the percentage but that seems like a pretty big increase over five years in addition 80% of those programs that have been in operation for more than a year. Have actually increased their number of bikes due to demand. Last week had a chance to sit down with the program director for the City of Tucson and genetic and she shared a lot about the history and the future and the operations of the Bike Share program. This particular portion of it is focused on what’s about to come out on Friday so that you can get your hands on one of these bikes and use it to most effectively get around Tucson. We will
Tom Heath: have the extended version on our Facebook
Tom Heath: page. Bike Share is an over a hundred cities in the United States. So we will not be the first bike-share really adds another arm to the transit system and it provides a multi-modal option for getting around right now in Tucson. It’ll be primarily the urban core. We hope one day to be able to expand. So more people can have access to the system and have it be easy for them. But right now it’s mostly centered around the streetcar line, but then also one to two miles out the idea is that you can take under 30 minute trips from point A to point B, so it’s really designed to be more of a transportation option is a 30 minute trips. That’s
Tom Heath: the limit that you
Tom Heath: can have the bike out at any one time whatever membership whether it’s a 24-hour daily daily membership or if you sign up for a monthly or annually with that you get unlimited 30 minute trips. And so yes that ideally you want Your trip to under 30 minutes. The one thing you can do in one thing I’ve done when I’ve traveled and Used Bike Share for getting around if I know I want to go sightseeing and see things you can just pop that that pop the bike back into a dock and take it right out. And then what happens in
Tom Heath: the rare case where you might be out for 31 minutes on the bike. Does it stop working?
Tom Heath: No good question after 30 minutes there is additional fees. And so that’s why you really want to get the bike in within that 30 minutes. I’m assuming to be near streetcar stocks. Yeah. So we do have several stations that are near street car stops, but I mentioned that there are also a couple miles out to to try to really broaden the range of transit in the urban core really easy Transit. So for instance, the most West station we have is near tumamoc Hill actually have a couple stations north of Grant Road. There will be a station at himmel Park. And then as far as South we go into the city of South Tucson, do you live in one of these neighborhoods pick the Bike Share take it to A Streetcar route park it. Yep. Exactly. So one example would be Menlo Park. There’s the Mercado streetcar stop. But some people may feel like they live a little too far to to walk to the streetcar. And so there are a couple stations in Menlo Park neighborhood that they could walk to get a bike and bike down to the Mercado
Tom Heath: you purchase time for these bikes as you go or you prepay. There’s Delhi Delhi pass a monthly pass in an annual membership. And so depending on if you’re a 2010 and you think you’re going to access the system a fair bit that annual pass is by far the cheapest way to go. There is a low a low income rate for people who are on the state food assistance program. If you do meet those qualifications you have access to the system for $5.00 for the entire year. Can you give me an idea of what the other costs?
Tom Heath: Like a 24-hour
Tom Heath: pass. So a 24-hour pass is $8 a monthly pass will be $18 and then an annual passes $80 if you’re writing the system every day that’s access to the system for 22 cents a day are the bikes available 24 hours a day. They sure are
Tom Heath: have you been on these are these comfortable bikes or they adjustable? How do you get a fit for
Tom Heath: them? So I have written these and many other cities and I think the thing the biggest challenge is trying to find your destinations and find your routes. So that’s something that it on every station. There will be a math that helps give you information about where bike routes are and you can Orient where you’re trying to get to and I think that’s one of the biggest pieces but the bicycles are comfortable they fit I am not a very tall person. So they fit anyone from from my size all the way up to two very tall people. Seats are just really easily and once you do it, once you’ll know what number you are. So it’s really easy to do and there are three speed don’t have a whole lot of hills in the downtown area. But even with the wind, I think three speeds will be really nice and there are step-through frame. So it’s pretty easy for everyone and they are heavy bicycles. You’re not going to win any races with these bikes but that’s really designed to be comfortable and have a system where people people
Tom Heath: enjoy their experience on the bike. There is a place in the front where you can put a bag backpack a purse, but it’s not fully contained. So I wouldn’t put loose objects in it. If you’re in transit and you have an issue with the bike. What’s your procedure for that there? It depends on what the issue is. There is a call center 24/7 call center that if you have any questions or any concerns, you can call if you happen to get a flat tire in your nearest station. The quickest easiest thing to do is take it to the station and there’s actually a wrench but On the dark that you can push to keep that bike out of operation and then you can pick up another bike. But if you’re if you have any challenges you can call that call center and you mentioned maps at the stations. Will there be an app that connects with these? Yes, absolutely. So there is an app. So the system is to go Bike Share and then the app is actually called cycle finder. And so when you download the app and you’re in Tucson cycle finder
Tom Heath: will go right to to go on the app. You can purchase access to the system and it will show you what your nearest station is and it will show you how many bikes are available at the nearest station and over time. It also will track things. Like how many trips you’ve taken and how many greenhouse gas emissions you’ve saved and in calories burned and so the app has quite a bit of functionality funding for this came from Lisa federal grants. I think there were some sponsors. Is the ongoing cost part of the city’s budget now, it’s not you’re right in terms of the capital equipment. That was a federal Grant so Federal funding to purchase the system, but then there is no city funding involved the o&m costs into the future will be user fees from people using the system and sponsorships. There’s 330 bikes that have come out today. Yes, how long do you expect those to last they are very durable and the bikes are specifically designed to work with the system and it’s really hard to you can’t really remove
Tom Heath: any of the pieces of the bike. And if you did it wouldn’t help you whatsoever. So we’re expecting the bikes to last a while. They’ve other cities have had really good success. So one of the questions I I’ve been asked many times is that Tucson is a bicycle friendly Community, but we all have our bikes so why do we need Bike Share and there there’s a couple reasons that I think Even though many people do on bikes that they still might be interested in taking Bike Share and that’s reasons like many people own expensive bikes and they’ll ride them on the weekends, but they tend to keep them at home because they don’t want them stolen having access to another bicycle. That is not not your bike. I think is something that will end up being really exciting. Another reason is one-way trips. For instance. If you want to take the streetcar out. It’s a Tuesday in the street car stops running at 10 and you need to get back at 11. You could jump on a to go bike and head back to where you’re going. And so
Tom Heath: the ability to do one-way trips I think is going to be really great. We’re working really closely with the University of Arizona and there will be stations on campus. So I think for students and for faculty and staff this will be a great way to get around and I think that it’s going to be another asset to all of the vibrancy. Already happening in the downtown area.
Tom Heath: Yeah, and is a very excited and passionate person about what she does and it comes through and how she talks about this this program that she’s been involved with for several years now admittedly. There is skepticism by some of the community there’s concerns about theft and damage to these bikes, you know, the equipment that selves and I think there’s a lot of questions as to whether the $300,000 anticipated operating and maintenance budget can really be absorbed by user fees and sponsorships and on a personal note while I understand these concerns and they believe their legitimate and things to be on the lookout for I personally think it is time for system like this in Tucson. We are seeing a growing and diverging population many of whom are looking for this multimodal Transportation option and you know being on the show as I’ve talked to business community and government leaders, there’s a message that they all share which typically over overlaps and in one key area. It overlaps many areas,
Tom Heath: but one thing that stands out in relationship to this Bike Share is that we need to attract and retain the next generation of professionals often. We hear these referred to as Millennials and Bike Share is a movement in the direction of the lifestyle qualities that many of these young professionals indicate that they want. We see that nationally and it’s not the single answer. It’s not going to solve our problems but it is part of the solution and I think it’s part of the holistic look as we’re moving forward and as I mentioned and spent more time with me and her extended interview includes a vision for Bike Share to expand into more neighborhoods and become an option for more Tucson’s outside of the urban core now for that Vision become a reality the city is going to need to show the initial launch as successful and then demonstrate the need and impact and perhaps go after some additional Federal funding that is available. She mentioned the to go Bike Share app. It went are the two to go
Tom Heath: bike-share.com. The website went live on the 9th and the cycle finder app shows the soon-to-be operational stations and get a sense of where they are and how that app works. Now I have ordered my annual pass. So I will be going with to go you can hear and extended interview will have links to the to go.com to go bike-share.com as well as the links for cycle finder for Android and iOS, of course, you’ll find that on our Facebook page. So three weeks ago. I met with the Margo’s us Co one of the owners of Hydra and she shared her concerns about the original process of streetcar implementation its impact on local Merchants her appreciation for the dialogue that followed from from those concerns and then her excitement about the future of downtown and this week you may have heard or read that Hydra is closing its doors at the end of this year and I immediately received those questions as to whether this announcement was an indicator of things to come for downtown. And then today in Arizona Daily Star.
Tom Heath: There’s an article outlining the work left to do for retail to really be a force in downtown and honestly, my reaction is very simple Margo’s departure wasn’t a complete surprise and the Daily Star is Right know what I interviewed with with Margo for the show. She told me that she and her brother co-owner Jose us go their decision to close was due to the time in their lives and the things that they wanted to do. For two decades of owning and running Hydra, they both had a desire to pursue things and other opportunities in other areas. And I expect to continue to see Margo in our community advocating for responsible growth and facilitating conversations. This is who she is. This is what she does and honestly, I think she’s now she might be freed up to do this at an even higher level and be a larger voice in the leader in our community. Now to leave the need for retail is certainly a hurdle that downtown’s are facing and we are at that point where we can start attracting different types of businesses,
Tom Heath: and I’m sure that we will see. Some retail happening in the next few years as we as we build out with some of these new Residential Properties coming in. There’s one thing the mortgage said in the Daily Star today, which I think is important for folks to understand something that I wholeheartedly agree with and that’s there’s a there’s a balance between the mom-and-pop locally owned stores and the national Brands the I think you see it main gate a very good example of how this works were 60% of those businesses and Main Gate Square are locally owned businesses, but the name brands the other 40% bring people to the area who might not otherwise visit this campus retail Center and the developers in downtown. With whom I spoke are in agreement with this the two sons charm can’t be washed away with the inclusion of national brands. Local businesses with these National Brands will have an opportunity to reach out to more potential customers in the urban core. But the uniqueness of Tucson the 4000
Tom Heath: years of continuously occupied settlement that’s molded Tucson is really the charm and the reason why people want to be here so National Brands can’t come in and turn Tucson and everything else every place else because there goes our charm But you can hear me talk a lot about balance as a key driver and I appreciate places like the AC hotel Tucson for bringing new people to our streetcar route folks that might not have stayed downtown or visit a Tucson, but they’re also incorporating local businesses and products into their guest services and when they go out and Market is this Rihanna wave on the sun Corridor and everyone marketing Tucson. They Market the charm of our city in the warmth of our community as well as the economic opportunities. So growing response way doesn’t mean that we lose those core tenants on which the growth is built. You know, it’s exciting time to be in Tucson, and I’m glad to be a part of it. Some
Tom Heath: news now from the streetcar line on the West End the Tucson Roadrunner skated two wins on Friday and Saturday sweeping the Bakersfield Condors and this puts them a top of their division the Pacific Division and if you haven’t been paying attention, they’re currently the top team in the AHL which is the level right below the NHL. So you’ve got a really good hockey team here in Tucson and it should be no surprise that we know how to play hockey in the desert because we also have the U of A. I scats. They’ve been nationally recognized and contenders for years. And again 2017. They’re highly ranked. Now the ice cats next home game is December 1st against ASU and the Tucson roadrunners our home on November 22nd. And both icecat and roadrunners play at the TCC Arena which you can get to on the streetcar on the east side the you of a men’s basketball team open up their season on Friday with a win leave they play again today and the football cats finished up their their season with a win against Oregon
Tom Heath: State moving the seven and three with two games left in the regular season, and they’ll be headed off to a bowl game and it’s the brunch our so I’m compelled to remind you about the fifth annual Bacon Fest held at the TCC next Sunday on the 19th local restaurants with bacon inspired recipes will serve them up to a very hungry and excited public Tucson craft beers live bands football in the TV’s will round out the activities in the best news is it’s at 2 o’clock. So you’re not going to miss this show. And you’re not going to want to miss next week’s show because we’re going to take a journey back in time to life in 1776. While the Continental Congress was declaring independence from Great Britain and its king 2,400 miles away. The Spanish were erecting a fortress the Presidio, San Agustin del toxin was the founding structure of what has become the City of Tucson. A museum now stands on that site and provides a glimpse of Life of Tucson in the 18th century and we have Rick Collins vice president from
Tom Heath: the Presidio the board of the Presidio trust and you’re going to be amazed at what they’re doing in the middle of downtown that honestly is probably unrecognized by most tucsonans. It’s another volunteer-driven organization having an impact and we’re going to discuss it next week 11:30 on our show here 99.1 FM Downtown Radio dot org, and as we’re approaching the top of the hour. I want to leave you with an appreciation for the thousands of people in Tucson who donate their time their money their energy and their expertise in doing this show. I’ve met with retired and active Educators Business Leaders Engineers veterans counselors, and so many others who have been inspired by events in Tucson and have taken on major projects and ultimately inspired others to do the same. You know Tucson of course is not perfect. We do have however a great sense of community and makes with positive Economic Development. It positions us to be one of the up-and-coming cities in America, but we’re gonna be looking for
Tom Heath: more volunteers for some of these organizations as we talk to each one of them you’re going to find that volunteerism is the key to their success because they don’t have large budgets. And the people that have been building these organizations are the point where they might want to step back or take a reduced role. So we’ll be putting a call out for those that want to come in and take on that mantle and move those organizations to the next level. Please keep those comments coming email us contact at Life along the streetcar dot org or connect on social media through our Facebook page Life along the streetcar, please like and share us make more of Tucson aware of what happens as part of life on the street car. Our Urban core is vibrant and we want to share with the world what we’re doing as a reminder. We have links to all the events and tools that we discussed today as well as the extended interview with Angelica. And I encourage you please to listen to that interview going to be even more excited
Tom Heath: as you hear from Anna she discusses where bikeshare really can take Tucson. Thanks for joining us. I hope you have a great week.