Nature Photography

Photo Essay: Where Greenways Sprout

My central Tucson neighborhood is one of those places that grows on you. It wasn’t my first choice of places for home buying, what with all that talk about the high crime rate west of Euclid Avenue.

But, given my modest and wildly fluctuating freelancer’s income, this area is all I could afford. I confessed this deep, dark secret to a group of neighbors during a welcoming party in early 2005. “Join to the club!” was the reply.

And what a club it is.

Looking for ethnic, income, age, and occupational diversity? We’ve got it! Strong opinions on any topic under the sun? Well, here’s Tucson’s 85705 — the zip code with an attitude.

If there’s one thing we neighbors can agree on, it’s the look of this place. Needs a makeover.

Here’s the intersection of First Avenue and Seneca Street. During rainstorms, First Avenue sends a huge quantity of stormwater south to Linden Street, which is just beyond the white car in the distance…

Photo essay - First Avenue looking south from Seneca Street, Tucson, Arizona

Here’s the intersection of First Avenue and Linden Street. This area becomes a raging river during our summer monsoon rains…

Photo essay - Intersection of First Avenue and Linden Streets, Tucson, Arizona

And where does that raging river flow? Into the not so wild or scenic Bronx Wash…

Photo essay - Bronx Wash in Tucson, Arizona

More water comes rushing out of this culvert. First rain we get will send all this trash down to Fourth Avenue or beyond. Lovely…

Photo essay - Bronx Wash culvert in Tucson, Arizona

Okay, enough of the culvert. But I’m not finished with ugly.

Back above ground to First Avenue. Note that big clump of buffelgrass next to the fire hydrant. This stuff could go up like a torch if a match touched it…

Photo essay - Buffelgrass in Tucson, Arizona

The house next to the west of the buffelgrass has been unoccupied since last summer. It was for rent for a long time, and then it went up for sale.

It may have been sold, and I hope that this time, it was purchased by someone who intends to live there. We have more than our share of absentee landlords around here. That doesn’t make for a healthy neighborhood.

Here’s where the Bronx Wash meets Second Avenue. Note the drainage entrances…

Photo essay - Bronx Wash drainage entrances in Tucson, Arizona

The Bronx Wash water will ultimately end up in the Santa Cruz River, which used to run year ’round. Nowadays, it’s a dry river bed.

The Bronx Wash watershed also collects quite a bit of water that runs out of the Third Avenue easement, which is shown here in all its current glory. Needs work, if you ask me…

Photo essay - Third Avenue easement in Tucson, Arizona

Quite a long post full of ugly. Now, here comes the pretty part: A group of concerned neighbors is working on turning our common space into water harvesting greenways that will slow the flow of stormwater and beautify the area. More details in future posts.

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