Pages Navigation Menu

Tucson's two-wheeled news source

TPD targeting motorists on nearly complete bike boulevard

The Tucson Police Department is targeting motorists at this intersection.

The Tucson Police Department is targeting motorists along the nearly complete Fourth Avenue/Fontana bike boulevard.

Sergeant Jerry Skeenes said officers have been spending time at Grant Road and Fontana Avenue watching for motorists who are heading north and attempt to drive straight through the intersection.

Drivers are now required to make a right or left turn onto Grant Road rather than drive in the bike-only lane heading north through the intersection.

Skeenes said they recently spent two hours there and ticketed 15 motorists who drove through the intersection.

He said because the bicycle lane going through the intersection is just wide enough for a car, that some of the motorists were just confused about what they were supposed to do.

He said often one person will get in the bike lane to go across the intersection and several other people will follow.

The officers have also been on the lookout for motorists who stop in the bike box on the other side of the intersection.

“I actually thought that it would be a problem, but it hasn’t been,” Skeenes said.

The officers have seen a few people get into the bike box, but then realize they probably shouldn’t be there and pull out of it.

As for the bike boulevard, Tom Thivener, the City of Tucson’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, said the portion of the route north of Speedway should be completed in the new few weeks when the landscaping is added to the traffic circles.

Crews recently added bike boulevard signs throughout the route. The signs show cyclists where the bike boulevard goes, additional bike routes that connect to the bike boulevard and distances to parks, schools and libraries.

Thivener said he has gotten mostly positive feedback from the neighbors about the signs, but did get a call from one person who complained about the sheer number of signs.

But he said the point is to remind motorists over and over that they are on a road giving priority to bicycles.

As for the section south of Speedway Boulevard, Thivener said the city’s paving crews are holding up completion of the intersection at Speedway and 4th Avenue.

Once the strip of pavement the city is trying to add to make for a smoother ride is finished, the city will add lane restrictions for motorists requiring them to make right or left turns rather than go straight through the intersection.

Thivener said he doesn’t know when the crews will return to the street to work on the strip of pavement.

Thivener said he hasn’t seen a huge spike in bicycle traffic on the corridor, but didn’t expect to see one yet, especially because they haven’t started marketing the route.

“Has it made an environement that is friendly to bicycling? Yeah absolutely,” he said. “It is worlds better than it used to be. We have most of the pieces in place. Now it is up to the attitudes of the people in the neighborhood and whether they are ready to make a shift in their behaviors.”

I rode through the entire corridor last week and here is what it looks like:

A DIY pavement marking along the route.

A sign restricting motorists from driving through the intersection is up, but the pavement markings won't be added until the strip of pavement south of Speedway is completed.

Signs like this appear along the entire stretch and remind people the road is prioritized for bicycles.

Crews removed the center line on the street, which allows motorists to give cyclists more room on the road.

Signs like this tell cyclists how far it is to various points of interest.

Wayfinding signs like this show cyclists which way they the bike boulevard goes.

In addition to wayfinding signs, pavement markings show cyclists where the route goes.

This sign just before Grant Raod warns motorists they must make a right or left turn onto Grant.

The Tucson Police Department is targeting motorists at this intersection.

Motorists at Glenn and Fontana are forced to make a right turn. This driver, however, continued around the median.

 

26 comments
PLOshtyle
PLOshtyle

4th Ave/Speedway intersection Northbound is apparently ambiguous, and scary.  I pointed the signs out to a person in a car behind me in the Northbound bike lane around 5:30 pm.  The driver insisted it was allowed for local traffic.  I'm local traffic and wouldn't drive in a color coded bike lane.  Left me scratching my head.

3wheeler
3wheeler

Some folks are just nuts.  I hope the police ticket those people.

straw
straw

I'd always thought you were supposed to stop on the image of the bicycle opposite the sign.  You're saying closer to the curb works better?  I can try that and see if it helps.  At the UA light what works are 2 bicycles side by side.  

ManTheBuns
ManTheBuns

I think that putting in an established, well marked and integrated bike path along 4th avenue is a great idea, but I am worried about the 4 way yields they have installed; Are they going to kill or seriously injure cyclists/pedestrians?  My other worry is that by restricting north bound car traffic from going through the intersection at 4th and Speedway and preventing Southbound traffic from going south through Fontana/6th, that we are just going to cause a lot more traffic on the neighboring North/South streets.  Many of these cars will make their way back to 4th Ave. and they will be using the 4 way yields to do so, making the 4 way yields even more dangerous. Is anyone else worried about these? What kind of history do these 4-way yields have? What kind of safety record?  I am just curious what the thinking was that went into this design. 

Frank Tellez
Frank Tellez

Har! These comments are funny. :D Quit bringing up registration fees for bikes. I hate that idea. Why don't you charge registration fees to pedestrians so they can pay for the sidewalk? Or registration fees to airlines so they can pay for the sky.

Red Star
Red Star

Tom Thivener, What's the status of the 3rd and Swan crossing? HAWK or TOUCAN? When is it planned to be done?  (Red Star knows many at UA who don't want to live near the U and are biking the extra couple miles but for them crossing Swan, and Craycroft sucks they say)

Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

Come to the openhouse at the end of the month mentioned above, we should have an update there.  In any case, design is finally close to being done, which means construction is sooner than later.

Red Star
Red Star

Thanks Tom Thivener! "Come to the openhouse at the end of the month mentioned above" Maybe (personal and family safety concerns). Anyway, for those not in the 'scope, where and when? Details, please.

straw
straw

I rode the route to REI a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday and then again to the Farmer's Mkt this past Sunday.  I had been dubious as to the worth of this route but it turns out that is quite nice. I too was hung up at Fontana and Grant waiting for a light.  I ended riding over to the ped x button and using it.  The time I went to the mall the connections were annoying.  I was clipped by a passing dump truck towing a trailer with a back hoe on it.  When I say clipped I mean barely touched.  My point being Stone is a narrow bike lane with fast traffic and Prince isn't really any wider but it is less precarious somehow.  So the boulevard is still kind of a road to nowhere but it's a nice road to nowhere and I liked using it the 2 times I did.   Hey Tom, speaking of untriggered lights, what about the light on 3rd at Tucson Blvd?  I don't ever seem to have much luck with that one.  Especially going east.  

Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

Interesting on the 3rd/Tucson light.  I myself have troubles with west bound at night there.  The signal guys checked it out and the cameras were set pretty sensitive to catch almost any kind of movement.  Do you have more troubles when it's dark or during daylight?  We'll have an openhouse by the end of the month for improvements to 3rd St, make sure you submit detailed comments at the meeting or right after so we know what the issues are on the corridor. As far as 4th Ave/Fontana, it does get you close to  Tucson Mall but the primary intention is to provide for a friendly bike facility to the neighborhoods immediately around that area.  The six neighborhoods along it now have a decent north-south bikeway.  Of course, there are several east-west corridors, all about a 1/2 mile apart that need upgrading into bike boulevard status like: Yavapai, Blackledge, Copper-Flower, Seneca, Lester and Drachman.  A bike boulevard in isolation is something but a network of them connecting to other low-stress bikeways across the city and suddenly you have a viable way for many more people to get to a lot of destinations across the urban core, with out having to travel much on our higher stress facilities (aka bike lanes on busy arterial roadways).

straw
straw

Anecdotally more trouble with Tucson and 3rd at night but I tend to use that route more at night.  I've had the walk signal on Tucson go to flashing red then reset to green repeatedly.  A more Savvy biker had shown me the trick of shining a light at the camera and that seemed to work for a time but now it doesn't.  I always end up riding to the ped x button to get across now.  Maybe it's my cloak of invisibility?  The other one that drive me nuts isn't a City of Tucson light it's the UA light at Mountain and 2nd which is also camera triggered.  I've called them to no result.  Trying to make that left from 2nd on to Mountain headed North on a Sunday I always just run the light (which I find troubling by the way) 

straw
straw

Because bicycle trip routing has an aesthetic and your is different than mine and vice versa.  I hate Park because of all of the stop signs.  In my case 2nd ro Mountain  is not out of my way it's more direct.  Headed towards Mountain I'm coming from the west and usually on University.  Sundays I don't actually go that way anymore.  I head up 2nd  Avenue to Lee then over to 1st and back through Balboa Heights and straight through to Pastime on Los Altos and finally taking 1st Avenue to Sunflower.  It's a very calm trafficless route on an early Sunday morning.   Let's revisit my initial comment, the light at Highland and Mountain will not change to green with just a bicycle in the left turn lane.  It's a connection to a bicycle route.  While it's nice to know others have workarounds and alternative routing the reality is the light should work.  It's an odd one because the light is serviced by UA and it's their electrical dept that handles it.  

Sarah
Sarah

I use both underpasses, but if I'm coming eastbound from University Blvd I would rather go thru campus on the nice smooth fast road away from cars than turn left on Park, then right on Second (narrow crappy roads) to access the Olive underpass. And especially on a Sunday morning, why go out of my way to use Highland when traffic is so light? Different options are preferable under different traffic conditions. Olive is open to bikes.

straw
straw

Subjective call, you go your way I'll go mine.  I use Warren a bunch and pretty much never use Highland or Olive.  Wasn't Olive closed to bikes for a long time?  I wouldn't enjoy the left from Helen onto Mountain if I took Olive and I'd  be adverse to the backtrack if I took Highland.  Personally and subjectively I enjoy how direct Mountain across is.  

Nathan Johnson
Nathan Johnson

Why are you trying to turn left from 2nd onto Mountain? The Olive (or Highland) underpass is much nicer than crossing Speedway.

PK Steffen
PK Steffen

Not sure how this kind of marking is handled but, it  might help motorists if they had the word "ONLY" painted under the bicycle at the Grant Intersection.  See below...

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

Other than the idiot who almost mowed me down at the intersection of 4th and Drachman on Monday afternoon, the drivers have been a lot more considerate. As for the idiot, here are the details: Two-tone blue and white SUV, with a lightning stripe between the two colors of paint. I wasn't able to discern the make and model of the SUV, but the license number is AZ #AMD6674. This vehicle comes blasting through neighborhoods along the 4th Avenue Bicycle Boulevard at least once a day. It's driven by various people, none of whom give a rat's patootie about the speed limits or the presence of other people on the road. TPD, if you're reading this, nail this vehicle. Please.

Hobartpfloyte
Hobartpfloyte

TPD is worthless. Plenty of time to sit there and watch bicyclists, but no time to actually take a Police report. This is BS. They should start charging a registration fee to bicyclists. That would only be fair.

Red Star
Red Star

It may or may not be fair. (You don't define "fair" in this situation) How would charging a registration fee to bicyclists in and of itself change TPD resource allocation and practices? Explanation, please. Or are you just ranting? (and that's okay, too) Which?

Hobartpfloyte
Hobartpfloyte

Fair would be bicyclist would have to take a test, pass and pay for an operators license to ride in the street. Fair would be having to register the bycicle to operate on a public street. Fair would be a bicyclist would have to have insurance, so that when they swerve in front of an automobile causing an accident, they would be liable, instead of just leaving the sceen of the accident that they had just caused. As to TPD resources, instead of baby sitting a bunch of bycicles at an intersection, how about they actually show up to take a police report for a crime or accident, instead of making the public enter one on-line?

Red Star
Red Star

Well, Red Star can't leave this scene. Suggest you take up your concerns with TPD, city council, AZDOT, state legislature. Or a mental health professional. Seriously.

Rantboy101
Rantboy101

Wow you are dense. How do they enforce traffic laws now? MVD perhaps? Traffic cops? The funds from registering bicycles could be used to pay for more cops? As to a cyclist leaving the sceen, well that's up to the individual, you apparently are that type of individual.

Red Star
Red Star

"Fair would be bicyclist would have to take a test, pass and pay for an operators license to ride in the street. Fair would be having to register the bycicle to operate on a public street. Fair would be a bicyclist would have to have insurance, so that when they swerve in front of an automobile causing an accident, they would be liable, instead of just leaving the sceen of the accident that they had just caused. "How would you enforce this? How would it be administered? What wouldbe the fee amount? How would having insurance compel a cyclist to not leave the scene? "As to TPD resources, instead of baby sitting a bunch of bycicles at an intersection, how about they actually show up to take a police report for a crime or accident, instead of making the public enter one on-line?"You fail to explain how charging a fee would change TPD resourceallocation and practices. Reads like a rant, which is okay, better takenup with TPD and City Council, perhaps?

Colby
Colby

Tom - I have been stuck northbound at Grant several times waiting for the light to change and if no cars are there it never changes. The only alternative is to cross over the car's right-turn lane to get to the Ped button. Will there be a camera or some means to detect bikes waiting for the light?-

Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

There are several items on our to do list.  One is to fix detection at Grant and Fontana for northbound cyclists.  Our signal guys are going to install a "bike puck" there soon.  In theory, you should just be able to pull up and it will detect you and your bike, similiar to loops in the ground.  There's no camera detection at this old intersection so we had to find a solution.  This intersection is slated for a full rebuild and will get more turn restrictions once the Grant Road widening occurs along this stretch.  It will become a TOUCAN signal then. Not mentioned in the article but we have been installing Shared Lane Markings every block, once in each direction, since last week.  I know contractors had most of the route from Prince to Glenn done by friday.  This week they will probably have most of the rest in. Overhead signs showing that the corridor is a bike boulevard is slated where the route crosses arterial roadways. The Hawk at Ft. Lowell also has a bunch of sign changes and pavement markings coming.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] can cut distracted driving rates. Tales of bike commutes good and bad. Tucson police are already targeting drivers who ignore turn lanes on an upcoming bike boulevard. Over twice as many NYC women ride in protected bike lanes as on [...]