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No action at meeting means BAC will continue boulevard support

Norm Land, right, expresses his "skepticism" about bike boulevards during the TPCBAC meeting.

No action was taken on bike boulevards during Wednesday night’s Tucson Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting.

The lack of action essentially solidifies the BAC’s stance supporting equal standing for bicycle boulevards in the RTA.

BAC members Eric Post and Julie Prince went on the record indicating they could no longer support the BAC’s motion because they wanted to ensure the projects the voters approved in 2006 were finished before bike boulevards were funded.

Post said if there was money left over after all the projects on the voter-approved list were finished, then he would support spending RTA money on bike boulevards.

BAC member David Bachman-Williams reminded the committee that they supported allowing the RTA to fund projects that were not part of the vote even before bike boulevards became a part of the discussion.

The BAC rehashed many of the arguments for and against bike boulevards, but ultimately ended the discussion, taking no action.

Undercover bike cops

Sergeant Jerry Skeenes presented information about the bicycle and pedestrian enforcement program, which you can read more about here.

In addition to the information in the previous story, Skeenes said they are using plain-clothes bicycle officers who are are being followed by an unmarked police car looking for drivers who violate the three-foot law.

Skeenes said bicycle officers often get more room than regular cyclists, but said cars do pass too closely occasionally.

According to Skeenes, the bicycle officers often can not catch up to cars. The unmarked police car allows the vehicles to be caught to cite the driver.

Bicycle crashes increase in Saguaro National Park

Paul Austin, the Rincon Mountain district ranger, who oversees the Forest Loop Drive in Saguaro National Park East gave a brief presentation about issues facing the park. You can read about many of the issues in a previous story here.

Austin said so far this year, there have been 14 serious bicycle collisions crashes that have required emergency response. According to Austin, the park usually averages seven serious collisions.

He said the number will continue to climb as the weather cools and more people ride the loop.

The park is looking into ways to increase safety on the loop.

12 comments
Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

L, Agree not exactly the same fruit but they are closely related. Both are 'low-stress' facilities where people can go considerable distances without having to deal with much traffic. The more low-stress bike facilities we build, the more we will minimize the excuses people have for not getting out onto bikes. Bike lanes on arterials are great for confident riders and are one of the keys to basic mobility by bicyclists but we can't rely on them alone. Tucson has been at 2% bike ridership (census numbers for biking to work) for the last 10 years. During that time we've doubled our bike lane mileage getting it up to almost 700 miles in the region. In addition to that we've educated hundreds of people with the bike safety classes, and done numerous encouragement events. Getting more people out onto bikes won’t be easy without some serious funds thrown at it. The Feds seem keen on funding bike/pedestrian improvements these days. With any luck, we’ll land some of that money to move the many projects identified in the Regional Bike Plan and in the 2040 Transportation Plan along. And if and when the second coming of the RTA is developed to replace the first plan, we’ll dedicate a lot more local money for bike/pedestrian improvements than the current plan. Bike/Pedestrian improvements in the transportation world are basically a cheap date. To put things in perspective, the entire bike boulevard network could be built for the same cost of widening one mile of roadway in the urban core.

Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

L, Agree not exactly the same fruit but they are closely related. Both are 'low-stress' facilities where people can go considerable distances without having to deal with much traffic. The more low-stress bike facilities we build, the more we will minimize the excuses people have for not getting out onto bikes. Bike lanes on arterials are great for confident riders and are one of the keys to basic mobility by bicyclists but we can't rely on them alone. Tucson has been at 2% bike ridership (census numbers for biking to work) for the last 10 years. During that time we've doubled our bike lane mileage getting it up to almost 700 miles in the region. In addition to that we've educated hundreds of people with the bike safety classes, and done numerous encouragement events. Getting more people out onto bikes won’t be easy without some serious funds thrown at it. The Feds seem keen on funding bike/pedestrian improvements these days. With any luck, we’ll land some of that money to move the many projects identified in the Regional Bike Plan and in the 2040 Transportation Plan along. And if and when the second coming of the RTA is developed to replace the first plan, we’ll dedicate a lot more local money for bike/pedestrian improvements than the current plan. Bike/Pedestrian improvements in the transportation world are basically a cheap date. To put things in perspective, the entire bike boulevard network could be built for the same cost of widening one mile of roadway in the urban core.

cyclovelo
cyclovelo

It isn't bike blvd vs Urban Loop, they are about as similar as apples and grapefruit. The idea of the loop is recreation. Bike blvds represent quiet ways in that commuters can get to work, or shopping. The blvds are in place without the calming, some routes have access to hawks and other ways to cross busy streets, but basically there is no reason that you use these routes now. If you are looking for a route it may take some trial and error, eventually you can find a route that meets your needs. Linda commutes 20 miles from northwest (La Canada and Magee) to south central (Drexel and Campbell). She has refined the route over the years and it now is quite functional. So get out and build your own route. The loop is where you take your kids to build confidence in bike riding. We need to think more in terms of education. There is something that everyone could learn from Bike Safety Classes. I know that encouragement and confidence can go a long way in getting from point A to point B. Do something ,take action,the really cool thing about bike blvds is that they can be built with funding from many more sources that other road projects. Look at Dunbar Springs. they are going to have one way cool bike friendly neighborhood.

Ryan
Ryan

I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but I have three acquaintances whose riding is or was contingent on quality bike routes. One used to live along Aviation, another along 3rd street, and they commuted by bike regularly. Both stopped riding when they moved away from those areas. The third friend moved to a house near Mountain and has been biking since.

Paul
Paul

"Build it, encourage it, and they will come" - seems to be the recipe that works in Portland

Scott
Scott

My daily commute crosses 9 main multilane roads that don't have a bike-signal (and 4 that do), even during rush hour I don't think it's ever taken more than 90 seconds to get a big enough opening to cross safely on any of them, and it's usually less than 20 seconds.

Mlemen
Mlemen

Yep, that's the spot with the most crashes. Unfortunately for future crashers, it's my understanding SNP cannot change/re-route/straighten/significantly modify Cactus Forest Loop because ? I forget how the road is protected - it's on the Nat'l Register of historical roads? Something like that.

KENNETH A
KENNETH A

The first steep drop with the right turn at Saguaro is one of the most dangerous places in Tucson for bike riders. I tried to count all the bloody crashes I've rode upon at that spot, over the years there are 10 that I've seen and helped assist at a few. That place in the loop needs to be reworked. Rangers telling people to be careful at that spot isn't enough to prevent all the crashes there.

Paul
Paul

Yep, those residential streets are great to ride now until you have to cross a main road that has 8 lanes with cars going 40 mph. If your destination is less than a mile a way I guess that works, but if you are trying to go 3 miles or 5 miles, maybe a bike signal would help, no?

Paul
Paul

Here's the kicker. The Urban Loop is half on-list and half off-list. The Loop is no more identified on the plan (it's not specificially) than bike boulevards. No one seems to bring that up or the fluctuating cost that river paths cost....hmmm.

Mlemen
Mlemen

Hey Mike, Regarding Saguaro Nat'l Park and 14 serious bike issues, my impression was these were crashes, not collisions. In any case, an uptick of serious incidents - whatever they're called - in SNP needs to be "looked" at. Thanks for being at the meeting!

Mlemen
Mlemen

There's also a "skeptic" camp which basically likes the idea of bike boulevards, but has doubts about the published projected costs (my take is the doubt is either from lack of confidence in the numbers provided, and/or the effectiveness of the boulevards placed away from the city core)

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