Tucson gets public input on massive Grant Rd. widening project

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Grant Road is about to undergo some major changes, but not before the City of Tucson listens to the comments and concerns of nearby businesses and residents.

Construction on this project has already begun at the Grant and Oracle intersection where workers are moving utility lines.

Monday night, representatives with the project held a public meeting to talk specifically about land use.  After Grant is widened, developers may have some new options.

The Grant Road improvement project will widen Grant to six lanes, use pedestrian friendly infrastructure, and landscaping.

"It's not just how we move traffic from one end to the other," said City of Tucson Transportation Director Jim Glock.

Monday night planning and transit officials with the City of Tucson got an ear full from residents and business owners about a proposed mixed use zoning option along the segment of Grant that will be widened.

"For example there may be an opportunity to go multi-story," Glock said.

Jim Glock with City of Tucson transit says, by law, they city cannot change zoning in a way that diminishes property values.

"They're looking at little, what I would call nowadays, boutique strip malls," Glock said.

Chet Gardiner lives near Grant and Mountain and has long opposed the project because he feels there should be a greater focus on mass transit.

He says so far he doesn't have a problem with mixed use zoning, but he might under different circumstances, "I would if I were living closer to Grant."

Some attendees had concerns about more condensed commercial use, while others asked about the process of changing zoning, "Have you decided on that process? Is there a time line?"

The city plans to host meetings within each neighborhood that will be affected by the project.

Some residents are concerned about noise from increased traffic and commercial structures, but there is a plan to use buffering to block noise from residential areas.