landscape architecture concepts
Group one | green valley
The main focus of these concepts is to utilize existing infrastructure, minimize vehicular traffic by promoting passenger rail and reducing vehicular traffic lanes, as well as create a vibrant town center with mixed use and higher density communities. Due to the ecological value of riparian corridors, priority was given to restoring and revitalizing them by creating a buffer along either side of existing washes. The first concept converts two lanes of the existing I-19 highway into a two way passenger rail, converting the existing rail into a recreation path, and diverting freight traffic along a more western route. The second concept is similar, however freight rail occupies the two lanes that were previously used for I-19 and the existing rail line becomes a passenger line with recreation adjacent to it. Vibrant town centers are used to create an identity and sense of ownership and pride to the existing and future demographics.
Utah front runner
Atlanta Belt Line
Railroad Park (Birmingham, AL)
group three | tucson
If the proposed alignment for the I-11 corridor runs through Tucson along the current I-10 route, there is an enormous opportunity to capitalize on the growth and development that would occur as part as infrastructure redevelopment along the corridor.
As part of the highway itself, trucks will be loaded north and south of the metro area for through trucking traffic so that it will not have to interact with in-town vehicular traffic. This lane would be set apart so to avoid potential conflict and allow for speedy and efficient travel through the metro area. Center dividers and shoulders would be utilized as water harvesting basins to capture and contain stormwater, and to also serve as irrigation for native plantings, which would serve to beautify, shade, and provide safety for passenger traffic.
Within town, a light-rail, BRT or other passenger system is proposed along the west side of Tucson, stretching from Marana and the Sweetwater Plant south to Green Valley. Concentrated development at specific nodes along this route would encourage densified development in specific areas, notably those that have exiting infrastructure and identity, which would allow them to create and manage growth in a way that most benefitted that community.
Water treatment facilities are encouraged to locate and direct treated water into the existing Santa Cruz River bed in order to reclaim perennial water flow and make the river into an attraction for the city. This would also restore native riparian habitat and allow for developments along the corridor that could use these created green spaces as recreation and open space for the surrounding communities.
Easements along the existing railroad and highway infrastructure would be utilized as greenways for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, encouraging alternative transportation and maintaining a healthy identity for communities. As this is space that is currently completely underutilized, it would be a way of creating green infrastructure within existing site conditions.
group five | casa Grande-Eloy
Both Casa Grande and Eloy have been experiencing slow growth over the years and they are projected to continue to grow. Farmland, primarily cotton fields, dominate the landscape in this area, but agricultural fields are slowly being replaced by housing developments. Casa Grande has a current population of 50,296 with an apparent yet struggling town center with revitalization potential (the City Hall building is the primary focal point). There are 7 industrial parks with major employers in the manufacturing industry. Eloy has a current population of 17,448 and a less defined town center. The Saguaro Correction Center is the major employer for Eloy. Both towns have freight rail running through their center and are over a mile from the interstate.
After researching this section of the I-11 corridor, three areas of opportunity emerged: Connecting Casa Grande and Eloy to Phoenix and Tucson utilizing existing and new rail infrastructure and revitalizing the town centers; Providing an area for green industry and green industry tourism within an underutilized strip that is bordered by the rail and interstate between Casa Grande and Eloy; Encouraging development close to the town centers to protect farmland and allow for protection of riparian habitat.
Group two | picacho peak
This section of the proposed corridor looks at Picacho Peak State Park and surrounding environs, especially nearby urban centers such as the town of Marana. This area has a range of interesting considerations which matter for the corridor's design: 1) Union Pacific's proposed rail classification yard just south of the state park 2) The state park and nearby mountains role in providing habitat and recreation 3) Proximity to Eloy and Marana as urban centers with flow of potential visitors for eco-tourism expansion and 4) the CAP's location running beside and then under the existing highway.
group four | regional
In looking at the totality of the southern corridor, a few, select assertions were agreed upon by the group: the I-10 corridor presents the preferred route, both in terms of opportunity to strengthen the Southern Arizona communities through which it would travel, and in terms of environmental impact. This route shadows existing interstate infrastructure, as well as transecting key habitat, particularly riparian, mesoriparian and xeroriparian habitat (these intermittent and ephemeral flows the consequence of increased water demand and water management policy). Opportunities exist to provide critical habitat linkages for key species trans-corridor, as well as replenish struggling riparian zones along the Santa Cruz River and associated waterways.
Given these decisions, the corridor was segmented into singular regions: Casa Grande, Picacho Peak, Marana, Tucson, Sahuarita and Green Valley, Amado to Rio Rico, and Nogales – each with distinctive needs and design responses. Passenger rail, in addition to freight, is suggested along the totality of the southern corridor, with Transit Oriented Development at each regional growth hub to encourage smart growth and walkable, compact communities. Existing infrastructure would be utilized wherever possible in order to underscore local identity (in old town Casa Grande, for example,) and revitalize communities in decline through urban sprawl.
Recreation and tourism draws, particularly at Picacho (linking Picacho Peak to Red Rocks through a land bridge) and through multiple linear parks and multi-use trails linking to existing pedestrian paths and attractions along the corridor are also suggested. Opportunities to help communities attain greater food security through (controlled) agriculture (particularly around Marana, Green Valley and Amado) as well as suggestions for maximizing gain through population growth by installing living machines and bioreactors to process and cleanse wastewater and biowaste at existing wastewater treatment facilities, (which would also help to support riparian habitat) are recommended.