Add Ft. Lowell Road to the growing list of federally funded resurfacing projects in the Tucson region.

The city recently finished repaving Ft. Lowell Road, from Country Club Road to Oracle Road, and narrowed the travel lanes to provide a wider shoulder for bikes.

According to City of Tucson traffic engineer Diahn Swartz the goal was to provide six-foot shoulders east of 1st Avenue. Due to a mistake by the contractor, the shoulder is actually wider in some areas. Swartz said they decided to leave them as they are.

To make the wider lanes happen, Swartz said they narrowed the travel lanes to 12 feet.

“The lanes did narrow, but they are sufficiently wide in their new condition,” Swartz said.

The repaving isn’t completely finished because different crews are working on the intersection at Campbell Avenue and Ft. Lowell.

Swartz said the crews will add the shoulder when they finish the intersection improvement.

According to Swartz, they used computer models to test adding shoulders to the section of Ft. Lowell between Stone and Oracle Roads, but Swartz said they couldn’t fit the shoulders in.

She said she wasn’t comfortable adding sharrows to that section because the markings are so new.

“The fact that sharrows are brand new tells me I want to use caution and not just throw then down,” Swartz said.

Swartz said they tried to leave the right lanes as wide as possible so bikes and cars could share the lane.

Check out the video below to see what the new pavement and shoulders look like.

YouTube version here.

7 thoughts on “Ft. Lowell gets new pavement and wider shoulders”
  1. Hi, Peter, there is a legal distinction between bike lanes and shoulders. It’s not one I am 100 clear on, though.

    For the laymen a bike lane and shoulder are the same thing.

    There was a discussion here:

    I think the main concern is if it is called a bike lane, the assumption is the cyclist is required to stay in it. When it is a shoulder, it is a place for the cyclist to ride, but can leave if need be.

    I’m not a lawyer and I haven’t yet gone to chat with our local bike lawyers about it extensively. Perhaps they will see this and fill us in.

  2. Ft. Lowell could definitely benefit from sharrows between Stone and Oracle. What’s this non-sense, they’re “too new”?! Some streets need to be among the first to use them.

  3. Bb:

    If a shoulder is not the roadway, and a bike lane is part of the roadway, where is the shoulder in the photo above?

  4. Having looked at the link Mike provided, I finally get the gist of the terminological tectonics.

    I always considered a shoulder to be the place where motorists could pull over if their car breaks down. All kinds of laymen, I guess.

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