With speeding a concern in many residential neighborhoods across Tucson, the city is taking action with the introduction of a new program.

The Safe Streets Mini Grant Program is set to bring about safety improvements, including traffic circles and speed humps, to neighborhood streets.

Tucson has committed to a 10-year program, allocating funds based on need, feasibility, neighborhood support, and available resources. It is providing $350,000 in funding in its first year, with a maximum funding cap of $75,000 per project. The funding comes from voter-approved Proposition 411.

Gabriela Barillas-Longoria, project manager at the Department of Transportation and Mobility, explained, “The majority of the 411 funds are used to repave all of the neighborhood streets; a small portion of that is for system-wide safety, which includes improving safety in neighborhoods.”

The application period for this program has already commenced and will remain open throughout the year for the first round of projects. Residents can access the application online or obtain a printed version from the program’s website.

Barillas-Longoria emphasized, “Its a very simple and accessible application where folks can tell us where they see the needs in terms of speeding on their neighborhood streets, and if they have ideas of what they want to see built.”

Yolanda Herrera, President of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, voiced her concerns regarding the growing problem of speeding in her neighborhood. She said, “Here in particular, it seems to be increasing with the amount of traffic, with the amount of building that are going around our neighborhood, and with the different shopping centers.”

However, Herrera also expressed her apprehensions about speed humps and their potential impact on the safety of first responders. She noted, “I know the fire department has their say as far as what can be proposed, whether its speed humps, traffic circles, or trees, they need to look at safety wise. I know we have traffic circles in another area of our neighborhood where the fire department then had to reroute how their trucks exited their fire department.”

Given the flexibility of the application, Herrera suggested the installation of trenches with trees, which could facilitate natural water flow and address the speeding issue in a way that ensures safety for all residents.

Tucson’s Safe Streets Mini Grant Program stands as a promising solution to the issue of speeding in residential areas, with the community actively participating in shaping the safety improvements they deem necessary for their neighborhoods. As the application process continues throughout the year, it remains to be seen how these initiatives will enhance the safety of Tucson’s residential streets.