Screen Shot 2016-09-29 at 8.56.02 PM

Bicycling magazine released their latest list of the best bicycling cities in the United States and once again Tucson has fallen.

The newest rankings place Tucson in the number 23 slot.

When I started Bicycle Tucson (formerly in 2010, Tucson was ranked ninth overall and the region has been falling ever since.

Here are the rankings from the bi-annual list:

  • 2010: 9
  • 2012: 12
  • 2014: 18
  • 2016: 23

Here’s how the rankings are compiled according to the post:

Every two years, we sift through Census and department of transportation data on more than 100 cities, consult with experts from organizations such as People for Bikes, the Alliance for Biking & Walking, and the League of American Bicyclists, and talk with bike advocates and everyday riders to identify the 50 most bike-friendly towns in the United States. We look at everything from miles of bike lanes to the percentage of cycling commuters who are female—a key indicator of safe bike infrastructure—to the number of cyclist-friendly bars. The goal is not only to help you plan your next relocation but also to inspire riders and municipalities to advocate for change. (“Shaming works,” admits one city planner we spoke to this year.) Here are the 50 cities that made the cut this year—how does your town measure up?

Obviously a list like this has a lot of subjectivity and isn’t always dead on, but is the drop something Tucson should be worried about? Is it because Tucson isn’t keeping up or because other cities are finally getting in the game? What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Tucson drops again in Bicycling’s latest rankings”
  1. Putting sharrows on the street doesn’t change much. Putting tracks in the street changes a lot. The city owns this decline. The county is really trying. It seems the commuter numbers are up, but not because of what the city has done. I think we’ve been concerned about the decline for a good while…….so?

  2. Thanks for initiating this discussion. My wife and I share our time in both Seattle and Tucson, biking extensively in both cities.  Seattle is ranked 5 in the study you reference, and Tucson 23.  We cannot agree with those rankings.  Seattle is way over-rated and Tucson under-rated.

    We prefer biking in Tucson over Seattle, but partly because the geography in Tucson is one thousand percent  better for biking than in Seattle.  The mountainous terrain and extensive bodies of water (lakes and Puget Sound) encountered in Seattle funnels all traffic into narrow corridors – making cycling dangerous where it mixes with heavy traffic.  We will no longer bike Downtown in Seattle.  Tucson at least has a grid for the street network and cyclists have more options (e.g., Bike Boulevards) to get around town.  Obviously, the weather in Tucson is way better for cycling than many other cities too.  

    As far as biking in Tucson goes, overall, we think it is great.  The only issue Tucson has in our minds is the major arterials are serious impediments to cycling.  The 1970’s mentality in City Hall that stills wants to expand major arterial streets to 5 and 7-lanes and worse make traveling any distance on a bike or on foot a dangerous proposition.  The Bike Hawks are great, but crossings on major roads are frightening.  I expect the bike hawks on major, multilane arterials will eventually lead to some serious collisions with bikes and peds – when drivers fail to stop.

    Finally, I will add that Tucson partly has a PR problem.  Without the tech employment base (Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, etc) cities like Seattle have, Tucson will not be taken as seriously by media types.  That’s unfortunate, as we believe Tucson has a lot to offer, hence our decision to move her permanently in 2017.

  3. Riding around and in downtown has gotten less pleasant. Streetcar tracks ( I finally lost to them last week) and more traffic because of increased density. Also, streets are more bumpy and full of potholes than ever. As for the region, I don’t really ride for recreation and I think it’s time for the County to start thinking beyond The Loop. I agree that it feels dangerous to cross major streets. I live south of Grant and pretty much refuse to cross it to go north. I would rather drive.

  4. So Mike….in your recent move closer to downtown, I assume commuting was part of the consideration. What commuter-centric infrastructure could have been in place to basically take that consideration out of the picture?
    I think this thread is real important for Tucson cycling and not just for some magazine ranking. We’ve lost some strong bike advocates among the higher-ups of city government and it’s telling.

  5. @zz We moved for lots of reasons, but bike commuting was certainly a big issue, however the biggest thing was distance and safety for my kids. I feel comfortable riding most any place when I am alone, but when I get out with my kids, that changes. 

    I like access to neighborhood streets and shared use paths. Our new commute is largely made up of neighborhood streets and a shared use path. As you mentioned, sharrows don’t make me feel safe with the kids. Areas with fewer cars do.

  6. MikeMcKisson Well, I guess you can take some assurance, then, that by the time the city finishes its arterial project injecting cars directly into downtown, your kids will be old enough to handle it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.