The project, which has sometimes been the topic of heated neighborhood meetings, is scheduled to take three months to complete.
One completed the section of the pathway will contain a narrow paved path as well as a separated dirt path.
Since Pima County added a paved path on the north side of the Rillito River between Hacienda del Sol and Country Club Road, this southern part is less critical. It does, however, create easy access to the Trader Joe’s shopping center and allows bikes on one of the only pieces of land in Pima County that banned cyclists.
The ban has been in place for more than 20 years.
Some neighbors in another area further west are also upset about the project. A story in yesterday’s Arizona Daily Star says some neighbors weren’t notified and they are angry:
Pima County is hoping folks will share the road on a new paved addition to the south-bank path of Rillito River Park. But the county’s failure to warn neighbors along one stretch that the bulldozers and buzz saws were coming has some hot.
Many neighbors near the river park’s south bank say they were never notified of the project, which they say will lead to safety concerns for the path’s users.
They envision bikes crashing into horses, and horses trampling pedestrians in some narrow sections.
“I’m outraged,” said Jeanne Fearson, a resident of the nearby Riverside Gardens neighborhood.
Construction on the south side of the Rillito between Mountain Avenue and First Avenue is ongoing. Crews are installing a second bridge to make it easier for cyclists, pedestrians and horses to cross a narrow wash along the route.