The Rillito/Santa Cruz connection was the first major addition to The Loop.

Two years ago a leading Pima County official working on the Loop said they hoped to have the Loop finished in five years, but realistically expected it would be 10 years.

“I would guess within 10 years, the whole thing will be done,” Nanette Slusser, a county official working on the loop said for a Tucson Velo article two years ago. “I’d love to make it within five years, but I don’t know that I could come up with the money that fast.”

Matt Zoll, the county’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager said funding and construction has moved a lot faster than they originally expected.

According to Zoll the new goal for completion is 2014.

“It has just been accelerating,” Zoll said. “We keep pushing it as hard as we can.”

He said if you count the several section of on-street bike lanes that are being used a connection, The Loop is 70-80 percent complete now.

The portion of The Loop on the Pantano wash between Tanque Verde and Craycroft as well as a section of the path along Fantasy Island are the two most difficult sections and will likely be the last to be completed.

The Pantano section requires purchasing land from homeowners, archeological excavation and river back protection. The section along Fantasy Island requires government agreements.

You can check out The Loop map here.

12 thoughts on “County hoping for Loop completion in 2014”
  1. Five years or ten years, this bold effort by Pima County is for naught if City of Tucson Mayor, Council, various bureaucrats can’t/won’t do their part to integrate with this and make an effective commute/utility transpo infrastructure that works for constituents, given that City of Tucson can’t even do the simple and obvious things like fix the cyclist-deadly potholes in its existing bike boulevards…

    Ten years enough for COTDOT?

  2. Three questions for the County.

    1. Just for full disclosure, where did the funds come from to pay for this? Was something critical eliminated to expedite construction?

    2. When can we expect more bridges over the Pantano Wash, Rillito, Santa Cruz like the one at Mountain Ave or Treat Ave?

    3. Will the County support the City’s efforts to build bicycle boulevards once the Loop is done? They have indicated that the Loop would have to be finished first previous.

  3. With apologies to anyone actually killed by a pothole, allow me to observe that the bicyclist has the inestimable advantage of being able to ride around them. Referring to them, ad nauseam, as “deadly” strikes me as alarmist and unserious.

  4. Or, as former City of Tucson Transportation Director, Jim Glock, once suggested, “Get a mountain bike.” Regardless of whether you have anything to contribute other than churlish bickering and flaming, Red Star is happy that you are merely nauseated and not dead. Seriously. Perhaps when you are recovered you will search for someone who actually likes potholes…thanks!

  5. Construction is nearly finished on the path along the Julien wash from Rita to Drexel. Parts of it have been in place for a while now but new sections are being added to make it continuous. The article talks about buying private land from Craycroft to Tanque Verde, I am very skeptical that all the landowners will cooperate. They have a secluded area and I doubt that many of them will give that up willingly. I look forward to seeing as much of the loop done as possible. 29th to Julien wash has an engineering challenge at a cross wash, but otherwise I see it as an easier leg since the land is already aquired. I don’t know how they’ll manage to put a pth in from Kenyon to Broadway on the East side. Since a bridge across the Pantano at Kenyon is needed, it may be a workable idea to run the path on the West side to get around the problems there. I’m hoping they incorporate a segregated bike path on the future bridge across the Pantano for the Sabino Rd. extension to Kolb. A bike path connection to Pima Rd. on the East side of Udall park would be a great help.

  6. “ride around them” is possibly more dangerous than riding through them. How about fix them instead?

  7. How was that a flame? Maybe you’re the Potter Stewart of the blog scene? But back to the issue, the street car tracks can truly be called deadly.

    Love the loop. Every foot they add is wonderful. I’ve been enjoying not going on a section for a couple of months then returning to be astonished at what has been accomplished. First it was the poles being removed on the northern Sta Cruz section then the path got extended north of Cortaro Farms. The recent improvements at Sam Lena made my life a whole lot easier. Not having to lift my trailer over the barrier at the west end of the Tucson Mall was a big improvement.

    I would agree that the city needs to step up its game. Their penchant for creation of roads to nowhere being chief amongst my complaints. That said I’m intrigued by the planned southerly bike boulevards slated to be implemented in the near future. Getting south on the western edge of the city requires some luck and a road map if you want to steer clear of the cars which I find to be more threatening than the potholes. Although I did bend a rim on Euclid making a trafficless dash from Broadway to 9th one dark night. I didn’t see the yawning cavern in front of me until it was too late. Flatted and ruined a very nice red Mavic CXP 33.

  8. Hi Kevin,

    The funds are coming from various sources with the majority being Flood Control District bond funds, Regional Wastewater & Reclamation Department funds (for the interim Santa Cruz section from Camino del Cerro to Ina), RTA, and Transportation Enhancements. I have not heard of anything else being cancelled or delayed in order for us to progress on The Loop.

    At the current time there isn’t funding for other bridges planned across the washes, but it’s a definite goal. Years ago I worked with Keith Walzak to go after Transportation Enhancement funds to build a bridge across the Pantano at Kenyon but we were unsuccessful in securing the funding at the time. I was originally involved as a volunteer with helping secure TE funds and helped with the design on the Mountain Bridge in the early ’90s. That was a major county-city connection that eliminated a major barrier and was probably one of the most cost-effective bike-ped projects built in the region (along with the 3rd Street bikeway and Mountain itself).

    Later we also secured funds to build the Country Club bridge on the Rillito. With the County we also did secure funding to build a bridge over Camino de la Tierra on the south bank of the Rillito, which will address a hazardous roadway crossing (the project’s under design). We’ll continue to look at opportunities to build more bridges across the major washes by all means, with Kenyon still a good priority.

    The County has definitely supported the bike boulevards and continues to do so. Serving on the RTA committee, I’ve voted for over $6 million in RTA-37 and RTA-41 funding that helps improve several local bike routes to become bike boulevards. More RTA funding is going toward the bike boulevards than is going toward The Loop based on a review of approved funding from 2006 through 2013..

    I also assisted with the design of the 4th/Fontana boulevard; have sponsored several outreach and bike classes along the 4th/Fontana boulevard; secured funding for 3rd Street for the traffic calming in front of Sam Hughes Elementary; and did a safety assessment and made recommendations that resulted in the University Boulevard, 9th Avenue, 10th Avenue, 2nd Street, and 4th Street traffic circles being converted to yield signs from stop signs (we also paid Ignacio as a County employee to collect signatures for converting the signs).

    As a volunteer, I worked a great deal with the City and met with area neighborhoods to implement and improve the 3rd/University bike boulevard from the early 90s to present (as we know, more needs to be done but as a whole it’s turned out pretty good so far; now to put some street bond funding toward it for maintenance and develop a few more all-yield traffic circles such as 3rd/Treat and 3rd/Miramonte). I can provide a detailed history on the development of that boulevard if anyone’s interested.

    Hope this helps answer your questions Kevin and please let me know if you have any others or have specific recommendations. Thanks.


  9. I just want to say a big thank you to Matt and Chuck Huckelberry and everyone (sorry I can’t name everyone) who has worked and is working so hard to make the Loop a reality. It is such an incredible asset for Tucson in so many ways.

    Completing the Loop would be fantastic. I’m curious if there are longer term goals for “segregation” of wheeled and pedestrian traffic or better yet a widening of the boulevards? As TucsonVelo pointed out in an earlier post about being a pedestrian recently, there is room to coexist, but they often seem to be uncomfortable with us passing even when alerted in advance.

  10. What does support of a project really mean when talking about the RTA. Don’t all projects get supported. Some just get ranked lower than others. If you read the minutes from the meetings the County has been clear that it wants to see bike boulevards….just after the Loop is done. Now with all these other Loop projects out in the hinterlands of the County when will we see a focus on the urban core where the vast majority of tax payers live? Two bridges is not enough. We need 20 more. It has been 20 years since Keith Walzak worked in the area and we still haven’t built that bridge across the Pantano? The Loop’s progress has shot up in the last two years which is great. If we continue status quo on bike boulevards, cycle tracks, bridges, and other key low-stress bikeways, it will take 50 years to get any where. I’d love to see the County really support this. Not just lip service.

  11. Some good points and questions Kevin. Keith Walzak worked at the City through 1998. There have been 6 bike/ped planners in his position since that time. Most of the bike/ped bridge crossings would be under City jurisdiction if
    they want to pursue funding for the bridges.

    Approximately 76% of The Loop is located within the City of Tucson and is considered by the City as a key project and service for city residents within the urban core. The City has about 54 percent of total taxpayers in Pima County and the RTA funding that has gone to the City for bike/ped projects is a very similar percentage if not a bit higher than the population percentage.

    There actually has been quite a bit of progress over the past 22 years in terms of constructing new bike/ped bridges and improving existing roadway bridges to be more accommodating to bicyclists and pedestrians.

    In addition to the Mountain and Country Club bridges, the new Cushing and Alvernon bridges and the recently reconstructed La Cholla bridge have improved bike/ped connectivity across the rivers. I also worked as a volunteer to get bike lanes striped on the 1st Ave bridge across the Rillito; Broadway and 22nd Street across the Pantano; and Congress, Speedway, Grant, and St.Mary’s across the Santa Cruz. In the County we were able to get funding to reconstruct Dodge Boulevard north of Ft. Lowell and as part of that project we funded green bike lanes across the bridge, although the total space on the old bridge required that we reduce travel lanes to 10 feet and the bike lanes to under 4 feet (however, in the 7 years since the project was built there have been no bike/car collisions on the corridor). Prior to 1995 none of these bridges included bike accommodations across the rivers.

    Several of us as volunteers also worked closely with ADOT in the late 1990s and 2000s to get bike lanes approved to cross the freeway, with the first in the region on St. Mary’s and then with others provided at Speedway, Grant, Cushing/Granada, and then at Valencia out east under I-10. This helped reduce the major “barrier effect” for bicyclists caused by the freeways. More of the freeway interchanges are in the works to improve bicyclist access and safety, but some are going to be several years before they’re reconstructed.

    We’re working now to provide bike/ped separated facilities on Craycroft bridge by reconfiguring the existing space, on the Ina Road bridge and on the Camino del Cerro bridge. The bridges currently include bike lanes and we’re looking to enhance the separated pedestrian area to also serve bicycles

    We’ve also worked on concepts to make the Campbell bridge more accommodating to bicycles and the City is taking the lead on those efforts. As a volunteer, I wrote a TE grant for the Oracle bridge to stripe bike lanes; funding was approved but bike lane striping on the bridge still not yet approved by ADOT. We’ll keep trying on that one.

    We’ve supported a great deal of funding for boulevards as part of the RTA process. The County recently voted to support over $1.8 million in funding requests for boulevards.

    Based on an assessment of the funding stream, over $6.5 million has gone to boulevards in RTA 37 and RTA 41 funding, all located within the City of Tucson. In comparison, only $2.5 million has gone to bike lanes within the City and $4.7 million has gone to The Loop. Of that $4.7 million, $4.0 million (84%) has gone to Loop projects located entirely within the City of Tucson. I hope this helps clarify that of all the RTA bikeway projects, the boulevards have by far received the majority of the funding.and continue to receive support.

  12. What I find is odd is that I talk with a diverse crosssection of taxpayers in Tucson and Pima County.Yours is the first comment I have heard that doesn’t start with ” I support my tax dollar going to the developement of “the LOOP”.

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