Tom Thivener marks the location where he would like to see engineers add pavement markings.

Cyclists trying to cross Interstate 10 will soon have another option available to them.

The City of Tucson is spending $1,000 to make crossing the interstate at Speedway Boulevard easier for cyclists by legalizing riding on the sidewalk underneath the train tracks on the east side of the freeway.

Tom Thivener, the city’s bike and pedestrian program manager, said cyclists and the bicycle advisory committee have expressed interest in making the crossing better for bikes.

“They wanted to see it fixed so they have a valid facility going though there,” Thivener said. “We measured it off and it is too tight to get bike lanes.”

He said they watched people ride through the area and many cyclists were stopping getting off their bikes and hauling them up on the sidewalk. The city decided to make it easier to do that.

Construction crews have already added ramps on each side of the underpass as well as signs saying bikes can ride on the sidewalk.

The city will also add 24-inch pavement markings to help guide cyclists onto the sidewalk from the bike lane.

The upgrade is a temporary fix since the intersection will be rebuilt in the next 5-10 years.

“It is a modest improvement that should make things a lot smoother for commuters who go through the underpass,” he said. “The underpass can be a big barrier to bicycling. One way or another, people from the west side get funneled into the I-10 underpasses. There are only a couple that are really bike friendly. We are incrementally trying to make Speedway more on par with St. Mary’s, which is probably our friendliest underpass.”

The city’s transportation director, Jim Glock, said in an email that he is going to have a truck go though ans clean the sidewalks, which are currently full of debris.

Check out the video below to see what the intersection looks like.

Have you ridden it what do you think?

11 thoughts on “City works to make I-10 crossing better for bikes”
  1. Riding through the underpass is easily one of those trips that I loathe. This should make it a bit better, although it would be nice to see tunnels similar to the Cushing Street one throughout the corridor… particularly one up north near Orange Grove. That would make getting to Silverbell so much better!

  2. I live at Grant and Silverbell. Is the bike lane on Grant ever going to extend from just east of I-10 to Fairview? After the I-10 underpass was completed, the bike lane was extended so now there is just that one little section that needs to be striped for bikes…

  3. Hmmmm, crummy bicycling near an Interstate. Is this a not-so-subtle message that, in the vicinity of an Interstate, cars matter but pedestrians and bicyclists don’t?

    OTOH, have you ever bicycled on the shoulder of an Interstate? I have. And I’m here to tell you that if you haven’t done I-25 in northern New Mexico, you’re really missing out. The climb up Glorieta Pass (east of Santa Fe) is a jewel. So is the descent onto the high plains of eastern NM.

  4. The sidewalk is generally covered in rocks and glass and I’m no fan of my handle bars moving so quickly by the railing nd wall. I’ll stick to taking the lane.

  5. I appreciate the option of riding on the sidewalk here, but I’m curious why the city hasn’t considered reducing the lanes to 10′ and actually adding a striped bike lane. If the lanes are the typical 12′ width, this would offer a 4′ bike lane, which is narrower than ideal, but still an improvement. This is something the city has already done in many places.

  6. I don’t think the city will do that much modification for just 4′ of bike lane, although lanes that wide do exist. For the money and result, this is a better solution. Used it, it is good.

  7. How about striping the merge back to the bike lane, so that cars have some visual cue that bikes will be crossing that lane to get back to the bike path? Better, yet, lane marking plus signage visible to drivers.

  8. Bingo. That’s what I’m thinking.
    Doesn’t this describe one of the big problems with sidewalk cycling in general?
    It seems like this is just a disaster in the making. First the railing whizzing by the handlebars, then the specter of merging back into traffic.

  9. It’s more fun to cross over up high… just haul the bike over the railroad tracks. Seriously, Speedway is just plain awful and Grant is not much better…. Miracle Mile is scary… only good options are St Mary’s and going further South towards downtown.

  10. This is my daily commute and I often opt to go through Barrio Anita to avoid the underpass. I have ridden the ramps with my 2 yo on the back, but there’s no possibility of riding that narrow sidewalk with a bike trailer in the near future. Maybe it will be nicer after some cleanup and stripes, but the other options are still better at this point. Thanks for the efforts Tom!

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