DCIM100GOPROWhile the family and I are on vacation, I thought it would be interesting to pose a few questions about biking in the Old Pueblo and allow Tucson Velo readers to voice you opinions about the topics. Please keep the discussion civil because I’d really prefer not to have to moderate comments on vacation.

Today’s question relates to you. Here’s the question:

If money and political will were not a concern, what would you do to improve cycling in the region?

20 thoughts on “Community Question: What would you do?”
  1. Build a barrier between all bike lanes motor vehicle lanes. Something like this:  http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/11/23/nyregion/bike1/bike1-articleLarge.jpg

  2. 1) Bicycle riding/safety as part of the curriculum of elementary schools, with yearly refresher courses through out all school grades.
    2) A section devoted to pedestrian and bicycle awareness and safety in driver manuals, with mandatory testing on it included as part of driver’s test.
    3) Tax breaks and/or incentives for businesses and residential apartment properties to encourage inclusion of safe bicycle parking/storage.
    4) Finish the Loop.
    5) Begin a building a comprehensive network of East/West and North/South connecting pathways and boulevards that are either car-lite, or car-free. The goal being to make a lattice work of city proper connections, with the Loop as its outer perimeter.
    6) New pavement! Lighted bicycle crossings at all major intersections! More crosswalks!
    7) Investigate the viability of a bike-share program in Tucson (theft issues, demand, etc.. Ditto for a comprehensive car share program?
    8) More fun things like Cyclovia! Enhance funding for programs like BICAS to help people buy bicycles, by creating a “layaway” options for those who are short on money ?
    9) And, as an added dream…begin working with our frontage roads, with the thought of creating a statewide bicycle “highway” that would, ideally, someday connect to the national system slowly being created right now. 
    In a nutshell, become the “Copenhagen” or “Amsterdam” of the desert Southwest!  =)

  3. Gabrielle succinctly laid out the major ideas that are tossed around by bike planners.  I’ll just refer to her list to express my thoughts.  I don’t think bike share programs are viable.  Let bike shops rent bikes to tourists and whoever wants one.  I very much support #4, #5, #6 & #9.  On #5, I’ve looked at maps of our city pretty closely with the idea of creating a bike route grid every half mile and see that the city and county have allowed several property owners to create blockages.  I’m very much for property rights, but many blocked spots could have been kept open without any pain to the owners if right of way policies were explained and required before the owner started the design phase.  If we are to open all the blockages in the grid now, it will cost money to buy property that didn’t have to be a problem.  The city and county didn’t/don’t have a plan and a policy.  Another thing, I was told the parks department doesn’t support bike paths across “their” public parks.  For instance, the West end of East Pima Rd. ends at Udall Park.  There should be paved paths within Udall to connect Pima with Sabino Canyon Rd., Tanque Verde Rd., and the Pantano River path – the LOOP.  Some parks have walking/cycling paths, but they are viewed as exercise features of the park, not as thorough fairs for commuters.  Reid Park and Sam Lena are exceptions.  I need to talk to someone in the parks department myself and see if I was misinformed.

  4. “If money and political will were not a concern, what would you do to improve cycling in the region?”
    Such questions are charming and cute in that they assume away most of the problem and thereby run the risk of being silly. Nevertheless, they are not without merit and dramaturgy.

    1)  Make Sun Tran and Sun Van no fare. Wow!

    2)  Install  serious speed humps every 200 yards (oh, should that be every 100 yards, or every 300 yards?) on the the arterials.   Make these speed humps so that only bikes and the bus can get through them without “speed humping.” 

    3)  Base vehicle tax and registration on miles driven. Raise those taxes and fees hugely. Maricopaland is sure to go along!

    4)  Change state (Maricopaland) insurance laws to allow mileage-based auto insurers entry into this market, provide whatever financial incentives are needed.

    5)  Repave the center 10 feet (or 12 feet, if you wish) of key neighborhood streets with pot hole and fissure proof surface. Drain rain runoff appropriately so as to preserve the asset. And they can still park their cars on the public roadway, in front of their homes!

    6)  Work the transpo synergy and reach out to people in sprawl land such as Rita Ranch, Oro Valley developments, etc., etc., and buy them the most simple of bikes so that they can ride a mile or two to a safe protected bike and ride and then take the bus the rest of the way in to work.  It’s important that you take them in hand and show them, educate them and fund them for they are babies and will default to the car.

    7) Provide all the tax incentives you want to small Old Pueblo businesses (actually, it’s the millionaire strip mall developers who are really in play, but that’s one of the sad illusions of American life) for “safe bike racks” but until you change complex local zoning and all kinds of complex parking lot ordinances as they relate to bikes, and reach back to old properties, not much will happen.

  5. 3wheeler Yeah, I’m with you in that.  I, personally, do not see bicycle-share as realistic in Tucson. Such a program is fantastic in a dense urban environment. I would LOVE to see a car-share (a la Zipcar) here, though. And don’t even get me started on what we should be doing with our public transport!
    I have always been utterly baffled at the “classism” surrounding bus transit, here in the U.S. In most places in Europe and Southeast Asia, bus and subway travel is just seen as one more mode of transport, like trains (and don’t get me started on that issue either!).  The sad truth is that we  -as a generalized collective subconscious-  have some nasty prejudices not only in regards to race and ethnicity, but also with socio-economic “status”. 
    Off course, I think that getting everyone started on riding bicycles might just prove be the “cure” for all that nonsense. =)

  6. huesername I just got a mental picture of a cute, fuzzy, yellow baby chicken wearing an ugly black strip of spandex, while  riding a teeny-tiny chicken-bike. No…just, no.
    That’s  just clucking wrong.

  7. Here are several things I’d do in a fantasy world that I forgot to say in my last note.
    Like other people, I’d finish the LOOP.
    I’d extend the LOOP path east along the Tanque Verde wash and run it up the Sabino wash to Sabino Canyon. 
    I’d extend the Pantano path to the frontage road on I-10.
    I’d extend the Santa Cruz path South to the San Xavier mission.
    I’d extend the Santa Cruz path North across the Santa Cruz and connect it to the CAP canal path and to the Tangerine Rd. path.
    I’d run a path from the Santa Cruz path, thru Kennedy Park, up to 36th St. and out to Tucson Mtn. Park, run it thru on a route that’s separate from the existing single track, and run it thru the narrow and connect to the new CAP canal path. 
    I’d run paths along the Alamo Wash, and along the Arcadia Wash.  The Arcadia Wash path would run from Irvington Rd. to the Rillito path.  It would run thru Tucson Mall.
    I’d finish the path that’s planned along the wash that runs thru Lincoln Park by extending it to the Pantano and to Irvinton. 
    I’d build the planned path along Irvington from Kolb to Houghton.
    I’d build the Arroyo Chico Wash from Reid Park to Euclid.
    As I said in my previous note, I’d make sure we have a bike friendly grid on residential streets at every half mile, North and South.  That would require the following:
    Bridges across the Pantano and the Santa Cruz, and more bridges Across the Rillito. 
    A path thru the Randolph Golf Course.  It would go between the 2 courses at the half mile point.  I’d sink it in the ground 4 feet and have a mesh cover to keep errant golf balls from hitting cyclists and keep cyclists from sneaking onto the courses.  There would be bridges across it for the golfers, of course.
    El Con Mall would need to have a path thru it going East – West.  A hole would need to be cut in the wall along Arcadia, South of Rincon High School.  Several properties would need to have holes cut thru them along that challenging latitude.
    Easy, right!?

  8. 3wheeler It appears that you have VERY well thought-out and detailed ideas regarding both, bicycle infrastructure and “real-life” implementation. Have you thought of putting all this into an actual paper presentation? Your research could be quite valuable to all pertinent bicycle organizations, as well as the city. There is some really good stuff here..

  9. @Gabrielle 3wheeler 
    I have sent maps with suggested paths to Ann Chanecka, & Matt Zoll.  They are both very nice and I’m sure would be thrilled to implement all of them if we lived in the fantasy world that this question conjures up.  Thanks for the kind words Gabrielle, but I know I’m  not especially brilliant – if you look at the map you’ll see all the same issues I see.  I’m sure that there have been plenty of folks working for the city and county who have laid out conceptual routes on a map that look very similar to mine.  The problem is, they don’t share those ideas with the public.  There is no web-site titled, “The Ultimate Fantasy Bicycle Plan for Tucson and Environs.”  Instead, you get little revelations here and there of things they are planning, but planning is much further down the road than dreaming.  Tucson Velo has been a wonderful source of information about what’s going on with the city and county, but even Tucson Velo isn’t privy to the deep secrets.  I’d love to have lunch with the aforementioned officios and bring a computer with Google Earth and my Jedi powers of mind control…  Ha ha.

  10. 3wheeler 
     “El Con Mall would need to have a path thru it going East – West.  A hole
    would need to be cut in the wall along Arcadia, South of Rincon High
    School.  Several properties would need to have holes cut thru them along
    that challenging latitude.”
    Both Arcadia and Rincon High School are approximately almost 2 miles from from El Con Mall. How would cutting a hole in the wall along Arcadia improve your access to El Con Mall? 
    Nevertheless, we are playing Fantasy Island. Given that, why not evict Sun Lighting on Broadway, then nano-scale El Con Mall and slide it eastward and shoehorn it into that space. You could walk there, maybe.

  11. Red Star 3wheeler 
    Are you really that dense, oh 3rd person, person?  It’s not about my ability to get to El Con Mall, it’s that El Con represents a blockage in the grid.  The blockage there really has nothing to do with the mall and everything to do with the NIMBYs, such as yourself, who live next to the mall.  The NIMBYs don’t want the soiled masses going by their elite homes to get to the mall.  I have more traffic going in and out of Sun Lighting than any one street would get if they were all opened to the mall. 
    As for the need for a hole in the wall on Arcadia, I forgot, you can’t understand big words like latitude. : )

  12. 3wheelerRed Star 
    You forgot the other big word: longitude.
    As for El Con Mall and the devil NIMBYs, perhaps when you resolve the apparent contradiction “…it’s that El Con represents a blockage in the grid.  The blockage there
    really has nothing to do with the mall and everything to do with the
    NIMBYs” and calm down, you will build a constituency for 3rd Street. It needs help.
    Red Star

  13. Red Star 3wheeler 
    Once again you desperately try to change the subject.  You must really hate people, you’ll do about anything to keep them from going by your house.  El Con is just one of many blockages in the grid.  Whether an east-west route is ever put thru doesn’t change the fact that it is right on the 1/2 mile grid and it’s a barrier.  Actually, the walls between it and the surrounding NIMBYs are the true barriers.  El Con owners probably wouldn’t mind cyclists crossing their property east-west since they don’t mind the cyclists who currently cross north-south.

  14. Finish The Loop, more specifically get the Pantano portion connected to the Rillito River portion.

  15. Red Star 3wheeler
    I know you don’t hate me, Red Star.  I also know you don’t actually hate people in general.  With that said, I’ve had conversations with folks in the neighborhoods around El Con on this subject – they all were aware of the pressure to provide access to the mall thru their neighborhoods because they all instantly repeated the same scripted response to rebuff the mention of a route thru there.  I assume that people talk about this subject at neighborhood association meetings.  I sense there is a shared attitude that pedestrian and cycle traffic thru the neighborhoods will bring higher crime.  Honestly, it might.  I live, as you know on a street that runs right thru.  I’ve been the victim of car theft and burglary, but I imagine your neighborhood gets hit too.  The cars are nicer and the houses probably have nicer goodies inside, I’m sure crime already exists there.  Anyway, it would take a lot of pressure to get city politicians to take on a fight against a group of people who probably contributed to their campaigns.  Far more of a bike grid across town would need to be built and used before that section would get serious attention for opening up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.