Trees and bushes make riding in the shoulder impossible along South Toole Avenue

Between visiting family and climbing at Rocks and Ropes, I have had lots of occasions to ride on South Toole Avenue southeast of the new parking garage.

For a year or more, I’ve been frustrated that trees and brush have been allowed to overtake the shoulder, forcing cyclists into the roadway.

More than once it’s caused a negative interaction with a driver and myself.

Every time I rode by it, I grumbled.

Instead of grumbling, I am going to take my own advice — from this resource page  — and report the hazard via the See Click Fix application.

Below are the steps to get road hazards in the city fixed.

1. Report it: The city offers several ways to report roadway issues.

• The first way to report the issue is to use, a website the city partnered with a little over a year ago to make it easy for the public to report road issues.

You can report problems on their website, through a smartphone application which uses GPS and easily allows you to upload a photo. Lastly, SeeClickFix just launched a Facebook application, which allows you to report it on Facebook.

Greenhill said the city has received hundreds of reported issues through since the city started working with the site.

He said when the city receives a report from SeeClickFix, it is entered into the software system the city uses to track maintenance issues.

• Pothole hotline: Greenhill said most people are still using the maintenance hotline to report street issues. The number is 520-791-3154

• Email: You can also email the transportation department with requests for street fixes. Here is the email:

• Online bicycle spot improvement form: The city’s bicycle and pedestrian page has an online form, which allows cyclists to report road issues. The information submitted on the form is sent directly to Tom Thivener, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager. Thivener said via text message that he will forward the issue onto the appropriate department. He said it doesn’t get used much, but it does help keep him informed about where the issues are in the city.

2. Follow up: The squeaky wheel gets the oil

• Vote: has a built-in feature that allows users to vote for issues they want to see repaired. Greenhill said a report is generated each time someone votes for an issue to repaired. The votes are something they take into account.

“The more people vote for a specific issue, the more the government should take that into consideration as they put together their work schedule,” he said.

But — Greenhill warns — because of the budget, highly traveled streets will always take precedent over residential streets which fewer people use.

Here is the list of bike-related issues and a few issues with bicycle as the keyword on

• Call: If you’ve reported the issue but nothing has been done, the next step is to call the council member where the hazard is located. Download a ward map to find out who you should call based on the location of the issue.

Greenhill said it is important to make sure the council member’s office knows it is a public safety issue.

“If in fact the pothole causes any vehicle — whether it is a bike or a car — to veer out of its lane to avoid it, that is a public safety hazard and that should take priority with the city,” he said.

3. Do it yourself

While not expressly allowed by the city, some issues can easily be fixed by cyclists themselves. I’ve seen a rider pull out a pair of pruning shears to trim plants that were encroaching into the bike lane on Mountain Avenue.

Additional Resources

Arizona Department of Transportation Street
Maintenance ……………………….838-2800 or 838-2810
Marana Streets Department …………………….382-2500
Oro Valley Street Maintenance …………………229-5070
Pima County Street Maintenance ……………..740-2639
Sahuarita Public Works …………………………….648-1972
South Tucson Public Works ……………………..792-2424
Tucson Street Maintenance ………………………791-3154
Report polluting vehicles to the Pima County Depart-
ment of Environmental Quality Smoking Vehicle
Hotline ……………………………………………………..622-5700

11 thoughts on “Reminder: Report your road hazards”
  1. On a completely different end of the infrastructure spectrum, did they ever put in a ramp for people to get from the Rillito path to the Trader Joe’s on Campbell?

  2. It’s 2013 and Tom Thivener left for Calgary over a year ago. Can you verify that spot improvement form works? If he’s getting the text messages in Canada, it doesn’t help much, eh?
    Also is Tucson still officially involved with SeeClickFix? I was under the impression they lost interest (or couldn’t afford the partnership) after the first year.
    Emailing your ward councilperson doesn’t help much. When I complained about the open trench and the an impassable sidewalk at 3rd and Alvernon, I got a message back to call the Tucson DOT maintenance line (they’ve since put down some plywood over the trench).

  3. @Collin Forbes Canada is on metric system, has been for some time. Perhaps you should ask Ann Chanecka whether the spot improvement form works. The dangerous and probably violative plywood sidewalk at 3rd and Alvernon has been reported to City of Tucson (including Ward Six) several times via various media. It persists.

  4. If you are going to prune trees along bike routes yourself, it would be good to familiarize yourself with basic tree pruning techniques before you do so, so that proper cuts you make contribute to good structure in the tree. Don’t be randomly hacking branches mid-branch, leaving the branch to to die back or wildly sprout new growth, when the best place to make a cut would be where the branch leaves the trunk or a larger branch.  Don’t leave stubs.
    Make your cuts with the proper tool (pruners, loppers, or pruning saw, depending on the branch size and location) just outside the “branch bark ridge” at the union of branch and trunk.  When you are done, instead of leaving often thorny branches you’ve cut laying around to scatter and blow tires, have a plan for gathering and disposing of the branches.

  5. The conflict is inherent because the roadway edge is striped solid white.  Bicyclists aren’t required to ride on the shoulder in Arizona.  The portion of pavement along Toole varies in width from generous to pretty much non existent.  It’s also strewn with debris plus the trees you mention.  Personally and subjectively I don’t ride to the right of that white line.  I ride in the roadway.  Toole is a 25 mph street and the distance we’re talking about here is way shorter than a quarter mile plus there is plenty of room to safely pass except at the intersection of 13th and at the corner near the garage.  Sure it would be nice if the city trimmed those trees but in the long list of things I wish the city would do those particular tress are somewhat near the bottom.  For an interesting discussion of just this issue see AZ Bike Law’s post on Ray Rd here, 
    The link in the article to a piece  critical width is also interesting.  I’m all for avoiding conflict with motorists.  It’s troubling that so many of them seem to value their immediate and momentary convenience over my safety and state of mind.  I’m not sure that riding on eggshells is ultimately any kind of a path to a solution.  The number of times I’ve been pinned on a right shoulder of a road waiting for traffic to clear because I wasn’t willing to take the lane to make a turn is well beyond my ability to enumerate.  Not only is the conflict inherent it’s a setup in that roadways have been designed in a way that motorists have become accustomed to entitlement and the priority they are able to enforce with their faster vehicles and protective steel cages.  Witness the cars in the bike box at 4th Ave and Congress/Toole and the right turns on red in defiance of the signage.

  6. @Nate 3wheeler  Love the citizen’s ramp at t-joe’s.  I use it every Sunday morning.  My trailer does barely fit, perhaps 3wheeler is wider and doesn’t fit?

  7. Red StarSorry.  What Red Star meant to say is as follows:
    Hey Collin– Ann Chanecka might know if the spot improvement form works.  The dangerous and probably violative plywood sidewalk at 3rd and Alvernon has been reported to the City of Tucson (including Ward SIx) several times via various media.  It persists.
    This has been a public service announcement from the Red Star Comment Interpreter.  Thank you for your understanding.

  8. One of my largest complaints is the raised asphalt bump for westbound Broadway Boulevard just before you enter downtown and before the railroad overpass. This occurs where the roadway asphalt connects to the concrete roadway. The asphalt has been pushed up and creates an unsafe bump that cyclists are forced to navigate. The issue is particularly pronounced since the roadway grade is pretty steep which allows for some higher speeds to be reached on one’s bicycle. Anyway, I created an entry in the SeeClickFix site if others want to vote for it to be fixed.

  9. Is there an online way to report a need for road improvement/maintenance in Pima County, outside the City of Tucson?

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