Pima County officials said in a meeting with homeowners Wednesday night they are committed to creating a dual-use path on the south side of the Rillito between Mountain Avenue and Campbell Avenue.

Right now that stretch of the path is unpaved.

Nanette Slusser, the assistant county administrator, said they wanted to work with the neighbors to create a path everyone could be happy with.

The county brought drawings of the proposed path, which for the majority of the route, creates a separate paved section for cyclists and a dirt section for pedestrians and horses.

Several people at the meeting said they drive several miles just to use that stretch of the path because it is the last place just for pedestrians.

Neighbors who live along the path expressed concerns about increased crime with more people using the path, a lack of amenities for equestrians and the removal of trees.

The plans show about 10 trees will need to be removed to accommodate the creation of the two paths. Carlo DiPilato, a parks and recreation employee who is working on the upgrade, said that many of the trees slated for removal are dying or undergrowing because of larger trees around them.

DiPilato said when the county removes a tree they are required to plant three new ones as close to the original tree as possible.

Several people attending the meeting were unequivocally against it.

One suggestion was to use rubberized asphalt and stain it a different color to make it less like asphalt and more like dirt.

Several of the attendees complained about cyclists’ behavior when passing.

Pima County’s bike and pedestrian program manager Matt Zoll, who was at the meeting said the concerns could be addressed using the Bike Ambassador program to help educate cyclists on the path.

Several residents said they were considering creating petitions and continuing an effort to block the path despite the county’s commitment to it. Slusser said they have received a lot of feedback about the plan and that so far the feedback has been 10-to-1 in favor of the project.

You can email your own feedback to Sharon Bronson’s office as well as to Nanette Slusser.

Editor’s note: I spoke in support of the project as a resident of the neighborhood.

Here are the renderings of the park.

The top image is the section closest to Mountain Avenue and then they start heading toward Campbell.

Bike parking code discussion continued until January

Tucson bike and pedestrian program manager Tom Thivener said several cyclists spoke in support of requiring new developments to place their bike parking within 50 feet of the entrance during the planning commission meeting Wednesday night.

According to Thivener, Emily Yetman of Tucson Living Streets Alliance, told the commission that as a woman who often bikes alone, having the bike parking close to entrances not only makes biking safer, but makes her feel more secure when locking and unlocking her bike.

Thivener said the committee decided to continue the hearing to January to hammer out this issue as well as several others they are working on.

Thivener said it was a good step forward, but more work needed to be done to convince the committee about the importance of quality bike parking.

8 thoughts on “County committed to path improvement”
  1. Ok, I’m really not trying to be snarky, but do people really drive several miles to then get out and walk?

  2. It’s better than that, Colby. People drive several miles AND probably pass by several city parks to then get out and walk on this stretch of the Rillito path.

  3. And honesty, it’s about 100, maybe 100 yards of bicycle-free stretch we’re talking about here, with some unsightly neighborhood yards on the south side to look at as you’re walking it. I can’t believe people are so opposed to this idea, it’s going to beautify that side and make it more accessible for everyone. People just don’t like change, I guess

  4. Yep, I do.
    But I want the bike path put thru so I can drive several miles and then RIDE along the path.

  5. Michael,
    Thank you very much for getting the word out about both the Rillito and the parking issues!
    You provide a great service. Thanks, again.

  6. They are. They want to create a “dual path” which means there will be a paved path and a dirt path next to each other.

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