The Tucson City Council voted unanimously to ask developers plans to change the Ronstadt Transit Center into a mixed-use facility.
The vote came at Wednesday's council meeting after bus riders told council members they were concerned about the impact those plans will have on the transit system.
Tucson will eventually hire a developer to redesign the space at transit center at North Sixth Avenue and East Congress Street downtown. The 4.7-acre space includes the city's central bus station, a location to transfer Sun Tran bus routes, plus two vacant parcels of land used for parking.
Several Sun Tran bus riders asked the city council to make sure any project protects the Ronstadt Transit Center. Transit riders and members of the Tucson Bus Riders Union also suggested improvements at Ronstadt, including upgraded restrooms, air conditioning and a transit services office for ticket purchases and other assistance.
"We need to expand Ronstadt for bus use," said Brian Flagg, a member of the Tucson Bus Riders Union.
The city council members said they respect the riders' opinions, and will require any development plan for the site to include a transit center. The mixed use development of the site could generate revenue to add amenities at the transit center, said Councilwoman Karin Uhlich.
"I think we've clearly articulated that transit services will be integrated into this in a way that improves the services and supports and the experience of transit riders and it will generate a potential revenue source that could be reinvested into transit," Uhlich said.
The city will ask developers to submit proposals for how to change the site to also include other uses, such as open space or housing and commercial development.
“This is the first step. We’re still going to see what type of ideas are out there, we’re not making any determination right now but putting out the idea of potential development, and asking for ideas, what are your ideas?” said Councilwoman Regina Romero.