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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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The Streetcar is Ready
for You and Your Bike

You can ride the Sun Link streetcar beginning July 25, 2014. For information on the route, streetcar schedule, and ride price, check out the Downtown Tucson Partnership’s streetcar info sheet.

We also want to remind you that you can take your bike on the streetcar – a particularly great idea if you want to cut a few miles off your cross-town ride on a hot summer day. See the pictures below to find out how to ride the streetcar with your bike.

Also, bicyclists and pedestrians should be on their best behavior along the streetcar route – of course, you should always bike and walk safely, but Tucson Police Department will be issuing citations leading up to and throughout the streetcar launch.

Be especially cautious to avoid the “door zone,” and ride slowly along the streetcar corridor. Bicyclists who ride slowly are better able to avoid rolling onto the streetcar tracks when a motor vehicle in front of them stops suddenly. Riding slowly allows bicyclists to avoid moving quickly around stopped cars/near the tracks. You can also review Sun Tran’s safety tips for riding near the streetcar and the tracks.

Do You Know
How to Use a Bike Box?

You may be noticing more and more green bike boxes at signalized intersections than ever before. Soon, you will also notice educational signage at intersections with bike boxes.

The bike box allows bicyclists to pull in front of motor vehicles at a red light and wait in the green area behind the pedestrian crosswalk. Motor vehicles are required to wait behind the white stop bar (behind the bike box, as shown in the picture below).

There are many benefits to the bike box. For instance, bike boxes…
  1. Give bicyclists a defined space, separate from vehicles at intersections
  2. Make bicyclists more visible to motorists
  3. Help bicyclists to turn and maneuver more safely
  4. Make bicyclists’ travel behavior more predictable to others
So, if you are on a bike, you can use the bike boxes to get out in front of stopped cars. If you are in a car, stop behind the bike box and respect the bicyclists in front of you.
Bike box educational signage

Success on Treat Avenue

In January, we told you that the Bicycle & Pedestrian Program partnered with Watershed Management Group to add shade and water harvesting to the Treat Avenue Bike Boulevard. Along with the financial support of the Arizona State Forestry Division, a section of Treat Avenue is now an even more pleasant place to walk and bike. Here is how Watershed Management Group (WMG) described the project in their newsletter:

"WMG enjoyed working with Robison Elementary School and nearby homeowners to convert their sites from bare, scorched earth to water-harvesting oases with shade for people and urban habitat for wildlife. Watch these sites grow and enjoy the shade as you bike or walk along the Treat Bike Boulevard."

Watershed Management Group volunteers and staff at Robison Elementary
Click here to see the Treat Avenue Bike Boulevard Shade Map in greater detail

Learn more about Watershed Management Group's Green Streets Initiative here. If you are interested in completing a similar project on your street, there are several local resources to help you get started at minimal cost. Click on the links below to learn more.

July's Rider of the Month uses his bike and the bus!

Ben Matiella is July’s Bicyclist of the Month. For the last few years, Ben has regularly biked from his home in northwest Tucson to work in midtown (with a little help from Sun Tran) using his mountain bike. Here’s what Ben has to say about biking in Tucson:  
You live 19 miles from work – how do you bike that far regularly? In the morning, I ride a couple miles to a bus stop, take the Suntran 104x express into town and then ride a couple more miles by bike to work.  I get off of work too late for an express bus home, so sometimes I ride all the way home (19 miles). Or, I’ll pedal six miles to Tohona Tadai Transit Center, catch the 16 to Ina/Thornydale, and then pedal the last six miles home.
Where else do you bike? Any time I can go to the bank, library, or auto parts store – yes, I have gone on my bike to get car parts; bit of any irony there, I think – I will, for the sake of exercise and saving gas.



Ben Matiella and his mountain bike

What made you start biking regularly? I’d like to reduce my carbon footprint as much as I can.  Also, besides the exercise, it just seems ridiculous to go back and forth [to work] five times a week by myself in a car; too wasteful. I also like to avoid all of the wear and tear on my car. 
Where would you like to see more investment in biking? My favorite bike ride is along The Loop, so I would like to see more pathways in areas that have not been done yet. For example, it would be nice to put a bike path along the railroad tracks. It’d be a nice straight shot into town.
What advice do you have for other Tucsonans who want to bike more? Wear sunscreen. Bring lots of water. Consider learning how to make simple bike repairs and carry spare tubes and/or a patch kit and the tools needed. And enjoy the ride!
Thanks, Ben! Keep riding!


Coming Soon:

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

  • Thank you again to those of you who took our survey! Stay tuned for highlights from the results!
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