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Tucson region now boasts 1,000 miles of bicycle infrastructure

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According to Thum the increase in 2008 is due to the data not being updated and a lot of RTA projects being completed.

Cyclists around the region have thousands of options when they throw their leg over a bike. Literally.

An analysis by the Pima Association of Governments shows the region, which includes Marana, Pascua Yaqui Nation, Pima County, Sahuarita Tohono O’odam Nation and the City of Tucson, has more than 1,000 miles of bike infrastructure in the region.

The 1,009 total miles includes, bike routes, bike routes with striped shoulders, shared-use paths, bus/bike lanes and bicycle boulevards and is an increase of 190 percent since 2004.

For Ann Chanecka, the City of Tucson’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager 1,000 miles is important because each new mile of infrastructure is a way to encourage someone new to ride a bike.

“Every time we add a mile it adds a possibility to get someone out on a bike,” she said.

PAG’s Gabe Thum coordinates the group that puts the numbers together and said keeping track of the number of miles in the region is important.

“We are a bicycling town and we value bicycling, he said. The old adage, ‘you value what you measure and you measure what you value’ holds true. It gives us an overall general yardstick of how we are doing. ”

Thum said they finished the newest count in October and the 1,000 miles are counted by linear mile, meaning a mile long stretch of road with a striped shoulder on both sides only counts for 1 mile instead of two miles.

“We aren’t trying to double dip.” he said.

Matt Zoll, Pima County’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager and said it’s great to cross 1,000 miles, but there is more work to do.

“We always desire more, but we have it pretty good compared to other places,” Zoll said.

“It shows a huge commitment in the region to cycling that goes back a long time,” Chanecka said. “Now we have to look at how to have a complete network overall. We’re not done. We have more to do.

According to Thum the increase in 2008 is due to the data not being updated and a lot of RTA projects being completed.

This shows where the infrastructure, but not who built the bike facility. As an example, The Loop was built and maintained primarily by Pima County, but much of it shows up here in other parts of the region.