Living Streets Alliance, a non-profit Tucson organization advocating for equitable transportation systems and vibrant placemaking, has been working for 11 years to prioritize people’s safety when visiting, resting, playing, walking and cycling on the streets of Tucson.
“Streets are our largest allocation of public space in the city (in Tucson and any other large cities) and as a society we’ve allowed cars to ‘have’ them,” said Nancy Siner, Development Associate with Living Streets Alliance. “Our mission, then, is to advocate for a thriving Tucson by creating great streets for all of us.”
The organization’s Cyclovia event, happening on Sunday October 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., aims to reimagine streets as places for people while maximizing them with engaging activities for all ages.
“Cyclovia is like a really long block party; a four mile activation of street space to elevate and celebrate community,” said Siner.
The event attracts about 50,000 people who participate by biking, walking, using wheelchairs, skating, riding scooters, or using any other means of people-powered transportation.
It’s a day filled with plenty of entertainment with opportunities to watch performances, color with chalk, hula hoop, blow bubbles, run through a water tunnel, watch BMX bikers, eat ice cream and much more! Food trucks will be on site and Siner says participants can expect to see cute dogs, Halloween costumes, cooky bicycles, and lots and lots of people.
Cyclovia is just one of the many ways that Living Streets Alliance is working to combat the mobility challenges that many families and children face. Their Safe Routes to School Program provides support to local K-8 schools so that walking and biking to school (and parks, friend’s houses, or around the neighborhood) can be an easy, safe, and enjoyable way to get around for children and their families.
The Safe Routes to Schools Program does this by providing resources such as a Riders and Walkers safety curriculum for 3rd grade students, afterschool bike clubs, mobile bike repair clinics that teach hands-on bicycle maintenance and provide repairs at local schools and community centers, and coordinated walking groups called Walking School Buses.
“Increased walking and biking have the benefits of building community connections and developing healthy habits in youth,” Siner said. “Around school zones, it also reduces traffic congestion and pollution and improves safety.”
Through their various efforts, events, and programs, Living Streets Alliance is on a mission to provide safe and dignified ways for people to move through the city regardless of their mode of transportation.
“It’s important to us to think about the different experiences people of all ages have on the street and create safe, welcoming, and usable spaces for them all,” said Siner.