The Main Stream

Sep 1, 2011 11:10 AM

2 Wheelin' in Tucson: Improving Downtown Cycling

TUCSON - Cycling through downtown Tucson can be somewhat tricky around the 4th Avenue underpass, where 4th Avenue meets Congress and Toole. To help figure out what improvements can be made, the City of Tucson enlisted the help of the Arizona Department of Transportations Road Safety Assessment Team.

Laurel Lacher, a mother and local cyclist, says she had a bad experience in that intersection.

"I came here with my children and we nearly got killed the first day we came through."

In fact, she now only cycles that area once she's already dropped her kids off at school.

Jim Glock, the City of Tucson's Transportation Director, who is also a cyclist himself, says he knew the area needed improvement.

"The Roadway Safety Analysis Team did go out there and they did see some bicycle maneuvers that were of concern, so we're taking advantage of that anecdotal evidence to provide us with the basis to make our recommendations."

Recommendations that include adding a green bike box at the 4th Avenue and Toole intersection, so automobile drivers will be visually reminded that the area is used by cyclists. Adding better signage, bicycle friendly crossing signals, and applying road names along the actual street pavement to help indicate what lanes continue to what road.

"Our goal is to clearly establish what lane you need to be in to go down which roadway that you would be approaching from the east," Glock continued.

Jane Barlow, who was cycling through the area for her first time, says having those markings would have been helpful.

"I just got confused and said I'm getting off my bike because I don't know what's going on," she said as she walked her bike along the road.

Additionally, Glock says the City will apply a double white stripe between the right turn lane and the center lane along Toole as it approaches 4th Avenue. This will be put in place to help stop drivers from making last minute lane changes.

Some of the improvements will be put in place in the next couple of months, however others will not be considered until after the new garage and street car is complete. According to Glock, the construction may change the existing road, so they want to revisit the topic once everything is finished.

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