Police “harassment” of cyclists at Treat Avenue along the Third Street Bicycle Boulevard is one again a hot topic.

The Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee drafted a letter asking city officials to end the “harassment” of cyclists on the Third Street Bicycle Boulevard. The BAC decided not to send the  letter asking that it be edited for tone and brought back for consideration next month.

The draft letter did raise questions about why police are picking that particular intersection to ticket cyclists when safety reports don’t indicate it is a dangerous intersection. The letter even got the Arizona Daily Star in on the action.

The letter indicates a resident who doesn’t like bicyclists is the cause of the enforcement against bicyclists.

Here’s a snippet from the letter:

The intersection of 3rd/Treat has been a sore spot with the cycling community for some time. Most recently, a Tucson Police officer was stationed at this intersection for over an hour during the morning commute of Tucson’s “Bike To Work” day on April 24. What a way to send mixed messages!

We believe the underlying cause of the unnecessary enforcement is because there is a person in the Sam Hughes Neighborhood who does not like cyclists and has found they can effectively harass them by complaining to the police. The police then respond with an officer to ticket some of the cyclists. This seems to happen about every other week.

The intersection of 3rd/Treat is not a dangerous one, but the police are ticketing cyclists there as if it is. The last bicycle-related crash recorded there was in 2009, and the injuries to the cyclist were minor. The stop signs are largely unnecessary. However, earlier efforts by the Tucson Department of Transportation to replace the stop signs with more appropriate traffic control devices have been blocked by the neighborhood, probably led by that same neighbor who complains about cyclists.

The City of Tucson had planned to replace the stop signs with yield signs, but was held up by a “clerical error” which was prompted by residents in the area.

The BAC is requesting the city direct Tucson Police Department to focus on other more dangerous intersections in the region.

We would like you to direct your staff to help end the neighborhood harassment of cyclists by removing the stop signs and installing alternate forms of traffic control at this intersection.

Cyclists riding on 3rd should slow down for this intersection, but they shouldn’t need to stop unless necessary.

In addition we would like TDOT to adopt long-term policies to acknowledge the “bicycle arterial” nature of streets like 3rd Street and allow them to be treated differently than other residential streets. This would allow for a streamlined process for signage and safety improvements that weigh the greater good of the city residents who use this route over the objections of one or two neighbors who don’t like bicycle traffic on the public street in front of their homes.


6 thoughts on “BAC blaming Third Street resident for police stings”
  1. What can we do to help change the signs to yield signs or pass legislation to make stop means yield to bikes?

  2. Westbound traffic on 3rd could be excused for missing the stop sign. It is obscured by tree foliage.
    I also think Cmo Miramonte shouldn’t be a 4-way stop.

  3. @Bike for Life Not much, as you phrased your question.

    Most of the ridiculous TPD enforcement problem at 3rd and Treat (and elsewhere) can be placed on Diahn Swartz, the city’s excuse-making and obsolete traffic engineer and her supervisor Daryl Cole for a failure to modernize infrastructure in this instance.
    And, on easily-manipulated TPD Chief Villasenor for creating an environment where lazy and opportunistic TPD motorcycle officers will sit at that intersection (and elsewhere) for hours and hours to make their daily quota, err, “performance standard.” And on the Mayor and senior COT DOT employees for pushing bike share when they haven’t even got the basics down.

    Get in touch with these people. Perhaps file a complaint with TPD’s Office of Professional Standards (Internal Affairs), supposedly they investigate anything City of Tucson government malfunctions including incompetence and political manipulation…

  4. If calling TPD about traffic infractions is really that effective, we should be able to get the cops to crack down on dangerous and annoying vehicles: using Mountain Ave bike lane as travel or turn lane, rampant red light running at HAWK intersections, etc.
    Apparently the cops are willing to respond to complaints if bikes are in the wrong. They shouldn’t mind ticketing speeding cars and people who don’t signal turns.

  5. I’ve had 2 cars miss the corner turn by my house and drive into my front yard in the last couple of months. 1st one took out a city sign and 15 feet of my front yard. Cops called, they never showed up. 2nd time took another 5 feet of my yard out in a different area. Sign is still down 2 months after the incident. The sign was knocked down about a tear ago. The police rarely ever set foot in out neighborhood.

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