Cyclists, walkers, joggers and skaters streamed onto the streets in the Fourth Avenue/University area on Sunday when five miles of Tucson’s streets were closed to vehicles for the first-ever Cyclovia Tucson.
One of the people enjoying the streets was Tucson mayor Bob Walkup.
“It is breathtaking,” Walkup said. “It is just wonderful. This may be the start of greater things to come. Shutting down some of these streets and just enjoying Tucson.”
Cyclovia co-coordinator Daniela Diamente said she was happy with the event.
“I think it went really well,” Diamente said. “We had way more people than we expected. It seemed like everyone I talked to was having a good time.”
Many of the people who came to the cyclovia were families.
“There were tons of families, Diamente said. “That was really impressive. You had people in their spandex and people just coming out for a stroll. I saw some joggers — people who definitely came out to run the course — so it wasn’t just all about bikes. I thought there was some nice diversity.”
Seeing families out riding together was Erik Ryberg’s favorite part of the event. Ryberg was one of the first proponents of bringing a ciclovia to Tucson.
“That is what I enjoyed the most about the Bogata and Mexico City ciclovias too,” Ryberg said. “Seeing families getting out and getting exercise together. Bicycling is one way that families can do that except they can’t do it if the streets are full of cars.”
Many participants said they hoped there would be more cyclovias
“It is spectacular,” said Carson Smith, who was riding with his son Nathan. “They should have more of them,”
“I think more than once a year is realistic, Diamente said. I think once a month at this point seems kind of pie in the sky, but that doesn’t mean we can’t shoot for it.”
Ryberg said he hopes it becomes a regular event.
“As a once of year thing it is a celebration of the bike, but that is really not what ciclovia is supposed to be,” Ryberg said. “Ciclovia is supposed to be a celebration of your city. To do that it has to happen regularly. It has to be an event that people can look forward to all year long and do as a regular event.”
Chanecka said logistics and funding were the primary barriers to doing it more often.
The numbers haven’t been finalized, but Diamente said, at a minimum, Cyclovia Tucson cost $10,000, which doesn’t include all the donated services that may or may not be there if the event happened every month.
According to organizers, the primary hiccup on Sunday were crashes on the trolley tracks.
If we do it again, we’ll just have to close it off,” Chanecka said. Even if it is just with cones. Way more people fell than we would have like to have. You never want to hear people got hurt and a couple people got hurt. I know one guy likely broke his collarbone.”
“When there is nothing going on around the tracks, people crash on them,” Diamente said. “We had a lot of new cyclists out there or cyclists who aren’t used to riding around town, which is awesome. With that there are going to be accidents.”
Overall organizers and participants were happy with Tucson’s first cyclovia.
“I am walking away from it feeling really confident about how well it went and that we’ll be able to do it again,” Diamente said.
Editor’s note: I am waiting for data on the number of people participating in Cyclovia Tucson. I will update the post when it is available.