IMG_1807I received this photo with a question. “What can I do about this car that is parked here everyday?”

The person who submitted the photo above was told by the city that they couldn’t tow it until it had been there for two days. At that point the city would consider it abandoned and get it moved.

You can take matters into your own hands when it is something small like a sign, which we dealt with last week, but when it’s a car you’ve got to call in reinforcements.

A big challenge is knowing if you are within the Tucson city limits another town like Oro Valley or Marana, or if it is Pima County’s jurisdiction. Knowing that will help you decide who to call.

Here are some of the common issues that need to be taken care of and who to call. If it is creating a dangerous situation be sure to stress that to the person you speak with. Cyclists are more vulnerable and things like potholes and debris in the the bike lane can lead to very serious injuries for cyclists. Make that clear when reporting the issues.

1. Cars in the bike lane

Cars parked in the bike lanes represent a serious hazard and despite what the person who submitted the photo was told they should be moved immediately. You can make a case for calling 911 if you think it is creating a dangerous situation.

The best bet is to call the non emergency lines for the Tucson Police Department, Pima County Sheriff’s Department Marana Police Department or the Oro Valley Police Department depending on where you are.

Those numbers are:

  • Tucson Police: 520-791-4444
  • Pima County: 520-351-4900
  • Marana: 520-382-2000
  • Oro Valley: 520-229-4900

2. Potholes and debris

Anything that forces cyclist out of the bike lane or shoulder is dangerous for both the cyclists and motorists. Here’s how you can report both potholes, or other debris that make it impossible to ride in the bike lane.

  • Arizona Department of Transportation Street Maintenance: 520-388-4200
  • Marana Streets Department: 520-382-2667
  • Oro Valley Street Maintenance: 520-229-5070
  • Pima County Street Maintenance: 520-740-2639
  • Sahuarita Public Works: 520-344-7100
  • South Tucson Public Works: 520-770-0032
  • Tucson Street Maintenance: 520-791-3154

Follow up

The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Be sure to follow up as many times as it takes to get the situation fixed.

3 thoughts on “How to: Get bike lanes cleaned or cleared”
  1. This is all very good advice. Thank you for the contact information for the various departments.
    In April, someone abandoned a car at the park closest to our house. It took the city 5 months to tow it. Now, there is a newly abandoned car in the same spot. TPD seems really indifferent to abandoned and presumably stolen vehicles. 

    Let’s hope that they tow that white Civic within the next few months.

  2. Will we ever be able to clear up the difference between a bike lane and a striped shoulder?
    The white car is on the striped shoulder- a part of the road cars are entitled to as much as bikes are entitled to the travel lane. This car is visible from a good distance and should be able to be negotiated safely on these wide lanes. If the car was parked in the bike lane, say on Mountain Ave., there would be a much greater hazard and require immediate attention. I trust the cops (groan) to access the degree of hazard in each situation. Sometimes it is too difficult to find an owner of a vehicle.
    I think cyclists and motorists are equally in error when claiming certain parts of the road to be ‘theirs’.

  3. A note of personal experience with the TPD non-emergency response.

    I was harassed by a motorist a couple weeks ago on my Friday afternoon ride home. I was able to get a clear photo of both the vehicle license and the passenger hanging out of the window. After arriving home I called the non-emergency number and left a message. I received a call back the following Tues or Wed and recounted the situation to the officer on the phone and gave him the license #. He told me that a “tag” would be placed in the system for patrol officers so if the vehicle is pulled over, they would presumably be question the driver about it. I figure that’s a long-shot at best.

    I don’t want to encourage using 911 for things that truly aren’t an emergency, but I’m seriously disappointed in their response to a “road rage” (the officer’s words) incident.

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