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This is the City of Tucson's Bicycle & Pedestrian Newsletter. It is designed to inform Tucson's bicyclists and pedestrians about current bike/ped happenings, how you can get involved, and how you can have fun on bike or on foot!
 
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Re-Striping Successes on Park Avenue and 36th Street

 
In 2014, Park Avenue (between Irvington Road and Valencia Road) and 36th Street (between Campbell Avenue and Country Club Road) looked very different than they do today. Both roadways had two lanes of traffic in each direction, lacked a center-turn lane and bike lanes. Motorists regularly exceeded the speed limit and there were a number of crashes - some including bicyclists and pedestrians - on both roadways.
 

36th Street and Forgeus Avenue before re-striping. There are two lanes
of motor vehicle traffic in each direction and no bike lanes.

In 2014, the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) resurfaced these roads and re-striped them to better meet the needs of road users. The four traffic lanes were transformed into one lane of motor vehicle traffic in each direction with a two-way left-turn lane in between; five feet wide bike lanes were also added. A parking lane was also added along a section of 36th Street where previously cars had been parking on the sidewalk area, blocking the walking area.
 

36th Street and Forgeus Avenue after re-striping. There is one lane of motor
vehicle traffic in each direction, a two-way left-turn lane, and bike lanes.

In the year that followed, TDOT monitored motor vehicle speeds and crashes on these re-striped roadways. Recently, staff compared these results to speeds and crash statistics from before the re-striping. (Learn more about how evaluation is an essential element of bicyclist and pedestrian safety.) The results of the analysis are in: re-striping effectively reduced vehicle speeds and crashes.

Average speed was reduced by 7% on the re-striped segment of Park Avenue and by 5% on 36th Street. Even more impressively, crashes were reduced on the re-striped segment of Park Avenue by 66% (from an annual average of 95 to 32 crashes) and on 36th Street by 70% (from 23 to 7). There were zero reported crashes involving bicyclists or pedestrians in the study period following re-striping. 

 

This flyer summarizes the results of TDOT's analysis of the effects of re-striping on Park Avenue for interested community members. Speeds and crashes declined, while traffic volumes stayed the same.

Based on these and other successful re-striping projects, TDOT is planning to change two more Tucson roadways like Park Avenue and 36th Street. Changes to Church Avenue (between St. Mary's and Cushing Street) and Main Avenue/Granada Avenue (between Speedway Boulevard and St. Mary's Road) are currently being planned to improve safety and better serve people bicycling and walking. Email to tell us where you would like to see re-striping.

Mountain Avenue Improvement


The intersection of Mountain Avenue and Grant Road has been improved for bicycle safety.

Here's a list of the improvements you'll notice when riding through the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Grant Road:
  • Bright green paint (not really paint, but thermoplastic) has been added to the southbound bike lane near the intersection. While the northbound bike lane has long had a green lane and signage, the southbound bike lane did not. The solid green lane lets all road users know that this space is for bikes.
  • Plastic delineator posts have been added along the edge of both the northbound and southbound bike lanes near the intersection to prevent motor vehicles from straying into the bike lane and slowing the right turning movement. TDOT has heard complaints that right-turning motorists sometimes use the bike lane at this intersection - these posts will help!
  • Signage has been added to remind drivers that bicyclists are present. In particular, right-turning drivers are instructed to yield to bicyclists who may continue straight through the intersection.  

The southbound bike lane at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Grant Road now features green paint, plastic posts, and signage to improve bicyclist safety and comfort.

Mountain Avenue's wide, buffered bike lanes make it a popular north-south bike route for many Tucsonans, especially University of Arizona students, faculty, and staff. Mountain Avenue also connects to popular east-west bike routes, such as Blacklidge and Elm, as well as the Loop shared use path.

Take Our Survey!


The City of Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Program is seeking your help through an online survey targeting the motor vehicle speed limit on bicycle boulevards (select residential streets that prioritize bicycling and walking). The survey is part of a graduate research project for the University of Arizona College of Public Health by our awesome intern, Krista Hansen. The results will be used to inform the City of Tucson about our community's opinion on speed limit and safety.

Cities such as Portland, OR and Seattle, WA have lowered the speed limit on their bicycle boulevards corridors to 20 mph to promote safety and comfort. Krista is studying the feasibility and interest in Tucson of trying to change the state legislation to allow for a 20 mph speed limit like other communities have done.

This anonymous survey takes only 5 to 10 minutes to complete, and it will be available online through March 18th. Your participation would be greatly appreciated.

 

Click the button to take the survey.

 
If you have any questions about the survey or have difficulty accessing it, please email Krista Hansen at Kristahansen@email.arizona.edu.

Road Recovery Program Improves Bike Infrastructure


Major Tucson bikeways are being resurfaced, bike lanes are being widened, and gaps in the bike lane network are being filled thanks to the funding made available by the Road Recovery Program and the leadership of the Bond Oversight Commission.

The Road Recovery Program was made possible by Tucson voters who approved Proposition 409 in November 2012. Due to the sale of bonds, the City of Tucson can use about $100 million "to restore, repair, resurface and improve the condition of [our] streets" over five years. You can learn more about the Road Recovery Program - and view an interactive projects status map - on the City of Tucson Street Bonds page.

The Bond Oversight Commission was appointed by the Mayor and Council and City Manager. The role of the 11-member committee is to provide oversight on the program funding and to select the neighborhood streets to be resurfaced and the type of treatment used to resurface them. Bond Oversight Commission Chair, Bruce Burke, describes his experience: “As commission members we have a very important role to ensure the bond proceeds are used only as promised. The projects are being completed ahead of schedule and we were fortunate to have excess funding capacity in the program to add additional roadway segments to improve. This excess funding is allowing us to make significant improvements to the bicycle facilities in Tucson.”

We told you about resurfacing on Third Street in a special edition newsletter last June, but many more improvements have happened since then. Check out a list of highlights below:
  • A portion of Treat Avenue - a popular north-south bikeway and future bicycle boulevard - has been resurfaced.
  • Portions of Grant Road, Campbell and Stone Avenues have been resurfaced and bike lanes on these roads have been widened to six feet (from four or five feet). Many people find that wider bike lanes make their bike rides more comfortable and enjoyable. Traffic engineering project manager, Diahn Swartz, says "I've ridden Stone Ave a couple of times since we resurfaced, and I would not have chosen that route if it didn't have wider bike lanes. One foot really does make a big difference."

A repaved Stone Avenue with a six foot wide bike lane.
  • Bike lanes were added for eastbound bike traffic on 22nd Street between Tucson Boulevard and Country Club Road, for westbound bike traffic on Wetmore Road just east of Oracle Road, and for bike traffic in both directions on Corona Road between Tucson Boulevard and Country Club Road. Filling gaps in our bike network makes it possible for more people to make better use of existing bikeways.

This bike lane was added along Wetmore Road. The dashed bike lane helps bicyclists move to the left of right-turning traffic at this major intersection.
  • A buffered bike lane will be added along portions of Escalante Road between Pantano Road and South Camino Seco.
Future newsletters will tell you more about bike improvements that have been made possible by the Road Recovery Program. Email to tell us what you think of these projects.

February Bicyclist of the Month

 
February's Bicyclist of the Month is Les Pierce. Like some of our other recent bicyclists of the month, Les doesn't own a car; instead, she rides her "trusty steed" - an old Trek nicknamed "Miles" - everywhere she wants to go.

How long have you been biking regularly?: Les has been biking for quite a while! Living in Syracuse, New York in 1991, Les says, "the penny dropped that driving the whopping three miles to work was just stupid -- it wasn't really that much faster once the time spent finding a parking space and walking to the office was factored in, so why bother?" Les was particularly impressed by the architecture she saw on her meandering commute, including "lots of historic buildings I would not otherwise have known about." She continues, "same is true here. You miss so much when you only see Tucson through the windshield."

 

A very early picture of our bicyclist of the month, Les Pierce, on her first set of wheels.

What challenges have you had to overcome in order to bike regularly?: "My personal bete noir," says Les, "is that a lot of our court and other official buildings seem to have been built with the assumption that people will only arrive by car and will be able to stash whatever won't get past security checkpoints in the car trunk. So those who bike (or are homeless) and travel "with stuff" bear a disproportionate burden when trying to access services or our government officials." She continues, "I understand the security concerns, but I also think that having shelves or lockers available just inside the entry, where people can leave their stuff unmolested will encourage more folks who interact with "official-dom" to do so by bike, and also encourage those who bike everywhere to attend more Council meetings and otherwise engage with local government."

What is your favorite bike ride?: Les has two favorite rides: "I had the pleasure of visiting the southeast side recently and the ride along the Julian Wash Bikeway is nice because one can see so much -- mountains, sky -- and it feels worlds away from traffic." She continues, "that said, biking on Broadway or Speedway right at sunset when the neon and other signs are lighting up is pretty magical."

Thanks, Les! We wish you many magical bike rides in the future!

Coming Soon:

  • Want to nominate someone for bicyclist or pedestrian of the month? Email Jessica. (You can nominate yourself, too!)

 
  • Next month's newsletter will describe our big plans for the Bicycle Boulevard network. (For real, this time!)
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