Several bike commuters make their way south on Mountain Avenue this morning.

Data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Tucson has seen its largest one-year increase in ridership and more cyclists than ever before are on the roads.

According to data gathered from the American Community Survey, which is a follow up to the census, the region went from 1.9 percent ridership in 2009 to 3 percent in 2010.

Pima Association of Government’s bicycle planner Ann Chanecka said 3 percent is the highest percentage of bike commuters the city has seen.

She said PAG reviewed the data and is confident that the data is accurate and statistically significant.

Tom Thivener, the City of Tucson’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, said they are working on a press release about the jump and wouldn’t go in to details.

He did say that there is a lot of excitement about the numbers.

Chanecka said the increase is a sign that the bicycle programs in the region are working.

The American Community Survey asks this question to determine people’s mode of transportation:

How did this person usually get to work LAST WEEK? If this person usually used more than one method of transportation during the trip, mark (X) the box of the one used for most of the distance.

Stay tuned for updates to this story and be sure to check back tomorrow for more reaction.


16 thoughts on “Data: More cyclists on Tucson roads than ever before”
  1. I’ve noticed the bump, from commuting to U of A on mountain from 4 years ago to now, there is almost what you could call ‘bike traffic’ 

  2. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I worked on the UA campus. For the first 4.5 years of my time there, I walked to work. Didn’t see a lot of other walkers on my route, but most of it went through the Blenman Elm nabe until I got to Speedway and Campbell.

    In early 1992, I moved to another location, and it was very close to the Mountain Avenue bike route. So a bike-commuting I went.

    For the first year or so, I noticed quite a few fellow cyclists. Then they gradually disappeared.

    On Mountain Avenue, it seemed as though the SUV was taking over. Massive amounts of vehicular traffic heading to and from the UA every day.

    I left the UA campus job in 1994 and remained in my near-Mountain Avenue location until 2004. All the while, the automotive traffic vastly outnumbered the bikes.

    I think that a lot of the current bike commuting trend is being driven (‘scuse the pun) by the high cost of purchasing and owning a car. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to wait for a bicycle to come by and pick you up. (I’m looking at you, Sun Tran.) You just hop on that bike and go places.

  3. USA Census Bureau is very, very good at promptly posting their results online. Where’s the link to this study’s findings ( the primary source)?  Or, does it have to get filtered through Ann Chanecka and Tom Thivener before the wee people can see it?

  4. I’ve noticed an increase as well. Not just college kids and lil’ whippersnappers but about 7-8 of my neighbors have started riding as well. It’s pretty common to see people riding about now than it was a year and a half ago when I started riding. I’ve also noticed more bikes at the bike racks lately and more bicycle friendly businesses. Non=profit groups are starting to give discounts to events if you arrive by bike which is really nice. Wish regular businesses did that. 

  5. Nope just doing the day job, plus they have changed the forms and it’s harder to get to.
    That’s what the line about updates is all about.

  6. Ann Chanecka, your comment (and the “link” you provide) is arrogant, patronizing, unprofessional, hostile and selfish.

    Good job and thanks!

  7. Ann wasn’t at all meaning to be unhelpful–the site is difficult to figure out. Maybe this will help:

    However, go to the results tab in the upper right and click on result 1 of 2.  You can try to search for specific areas and towns within the region, such as Catalina CDP, Marana, etc but it’s a pain. Suffice to say here are some numbers:

    Total work 


    S. Tucson

    Catalina Foothills CDP

    Oro Valley



    Vail CDP

    Catalina CDP

    Total metro

    Tucson MSA

    Pima County

    Suffice to say, the numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. For instance, if Oro Valley has only 2 people who usually use a bike to get to work, then I know half of them. One good thing as an aside is that despite all their noise, motorcyclists only account for about 1,500 of the commuters in the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Area, with cyclists more than 3 times their number. Of course this is only for work trips, which is about 20 percent of all trips.Likely some factors in the jump between 2009 and2010 is the presence of good community events (El Tour, BikeFest, Tour of the Tucson Mountains, Cyclovia, etc), advocacy and advisory entities like GABA, TucsonVelo, BAC, the Bike Ambassadors, SCVBAC, LSA, and others, addition of Safe Routes projects that also accommodate adult workers, improvement of local bike routes, expansion of bike lanes, addition of more shared use paths, and expansion of the regional bicycle education program which has about 1,000 adults and 3,000 kids going through it per year (although the kids don’t count as work trips, but maybe they inspire their parents a little…). Or maybe it’s mainly the economy and people learning/realizing they can save a wad of cash by cycling. A number of people taking the classes are doing so for that reason. It’s good to see more people cycling to work, but it may also be a reflection of our rough economic conditions.

  8. Anna response is absolutely not arrogant, patronizing, unprofessional, and selfish.  It is a succinct statement about where to find the data.  That she didn’t stoop to the level you did when you spoke of her and Tom Thivener as you did only reflects her professionalism.  Further, her statement that you can do your research if you’d like means that with the raw data in hand, you can run your own analysis if you would like.

  9. Erik Ryberg — the story was run too soon,  for whatever reason. It wasn’t ready for prime time, it just plain wasn’t (consider all the above  Pilates-action by the  bureaucrats…one would think they haven’t even read the Census Bureau report, so supposedly difficult it is for them to find it and share it with them people who pay for them, the reports and the bureaucrats).   Red Star raises that point and then some go off and gratuitously bash Red Star for the usual psychological reasons. That’s okay. Blogs tend to devolve to chat rooms.

    At least there wasn’t an attempt to draw profound conclusions from photoshopped photos…

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