The travel lane on westbound Broadway Boulevard has been reopened, but one reader questioned what happened to the bike lane.

Now that the Barrio Centro parking garage on Broadway Boulevard and Fourth Avenue is nearing completion, the travel lane nearest the garage has reopened, but appears to be missing a bike lane for a short section of the route.

The change prompted one reader to send an email expressing her concern about the road.

“Now that construction is finished on the garage and the road is reopened, my downtown dwelling friends and I (most of whom commute daily to campus and elsewhere for work and graduate school using this route) are horrified at the change. I thought it was bad enough when the construction was happening, but now it’s amazingly much more dangerous and bike-unfriendly. To get to the right of car traffic, a cyclist heading west toward the northbound 4th Ave. underpass has to cross the tracks once to the left to get in between the tracks, then again to the right to get out of the tracks and ride into the tunnel.”

Tom Thivener, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager said even though it appears that the bike lane disappears, it actually goes behind the future streetcar stop.

Thivener said it isn’t clear what cyclists should do because there are no pavement markings. They’ll be added in two weeks.

Check out the photos below to get an idea what it looks like.

Bikes will move right onto the sidewalk area behind the planter you see in the photo. Thivener said there is only 10 inches between the track and the curb. Pavement markings will indicate cyclists should move to the concrete area behind the streetcar stop.
Cyclists will ride between the raised curb on the left and the gap in the cement on the right.
Cyclists will re-enter traffic into a striped bike lane once they have cleared the streetcar stop by using the gap between the planters on the left.

Lastly, crews have opened a fire lane behind the parking garage which allows cyclists to avoid the Fourth Avenue underpass intersection altogether.

Cyclists can access the the fire lane off South Toole Avenue. The fire lane connects to a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Fourth Avenue and dumps cyclists into the Maynards Market & Kitchen parking lot.

Thivener said cyclists will also be allowed to use the sidewalk on the west side of the garage to head south on Fourth Avenue.

Here’s what it looks like.

The fire lane looking east.
The fire lane connects to this bike and pedestrian bridge over Fourth Avenue.
9 thoughts on “Broadway Boulevard has new look and bike amenities in downtown”
  1. Now they need to take out the trees on the East side of 4th, South of the tracks and put in a path for bikes to go from the West bound Congress bike lane to the East side sidewalk in the underpass.  I encourage everyone who has never walked on the East side sidewalk in the 4th Ave. underpass to check it out.  Once you see it you will understand that it was designed to be a bike and ped path because it is something like 15 feet wide.  That’s right, a sidewalk in an underpass that’s 15 feet wide!  That’s far more than peds need alone and it’s expensive space.  Sometime in the design process, the sidewalk was made to not reach Congress, the path was narrowed to 5 feet on the North end, and the silly elevator was put in.  Anyone who has been in Tucson since 1980 has probably seen the architectural model of the downtown area as it “could/should” look in the future from a 1980 standpoint.  The city paid for the design work and for that model to be built.  The model was displayed in the main library lobby for years and it was a wonderful thing.  The proposed 4th Ave. underpass was very different from what we got.  The model showed an underpass with a very wide, seperated ped / bike path located on the side that has all the people, the West side.  That path went all the way thru from Congress to 9th as you would expect a path to do.  Bikes were not funneled in with the car traffic.  I don’t know when or why the design changed, but I know it went from great to crud.  The underpass we now have has a bike / ped path, the problems are that it’s on the wrong side and it doesn’t go thru.  Because of that, bikes are funneled in with the cars.  Cyclists, we got hosed. 

  2. Where bikes re-enter there in the third picture is 5.8 feet wide. A liitle narrow especially considering the angle of approach. There was no need for such a narrow opening. Seems if it had been intended as a bike passageway, it would have been made a little more thoughtfully.

  3. Where bikes re-enter there in the third picture is 5.8 feet wide. A liitle narrow especially considering the angle of approach. There was no need for such a narrow opening. Seems if it had been intended as a bike passageway, it would have been made a little more thoughtfully.

  4. The designed route for bikes through that short section is sub-optimal at best.  It’s certainly not obvious to cyclists passing through there now.

  5. You can’t ride IN the garage because the security guards told me skateboards and bikes are the same and not allowed. I was kicked out of there when I went there to take pictures last week. For any photogs out there it does have a nice view of The Rialto Theater and 4th Ave.

  6. how does this compare to the southwest corner of swan and grant, when the bike path literally disappears?

  7. Thank you for posting this!  I live right near this intersection, and am nearly killed there on a daily basis (today included.)  I’m not sure how I should have figured out that the “side walk” behind the planter was bicycle territory, and I can’t picture the fire lane at all, but I will surely investigate this option tomorrow!

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