A bike box was added to the intersection.

The city continues to retrofit the the Toole/Congress/Broadway/4th Avenue intersection to make the multimillion dollar underpass friendly to bicycles and pedestrians.

Crews have been adding pavement markings, sharrows and bike boxes to the intersection.

Tom Thivener, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, said they are about 80 percent done with the pavement markings. The rain has slowed the completion.

So far the city has added a bike box at 4th Avenue and Congress Street, a green shoulder along Broadway Boulevard approaching 4th Avenue from the west, sharrows on Broadway Boulevard, Congress Street and Toole Avenue and green paint illustrating where cyclists should cross the streetcar tracks.

Lastly, the city has added small markings directing cyclists behind the parking garage, which is called the Jim Glock Bypass, to honor the outgoing Tucson transportation director.

The city has also instituted a few changes suggested in the Road Safety Audit report, which was performed earlier this year.

Check out the photos and video to see what the intersection looks like.

Crews add green pavement markings along Broadway Boulevard. Photo by Frank Tellez.
A cyclist rides over a newly installed sharrow on Toole Avenue. Photo by Frank Tellez.
Several drivers failed to stop behind the bike box and instead stopped in it.
Green paint alerts drivers to the presence of cyclists and shows cyclists where to ride on Broadway Boulevard.


The Jim Glock Bypass allows cyclists to avoid the intersection altogether by riding behind the parking garage and using a pedestrian bridge over 4th Avenue.


16 thoughts on “Toole/4th Ave underpass gets new bike markings”
  1. Thanks for a very informative video.  But, how will one ride west on Broadway and then continue to Congress, rather than going  north on Fourth?

  2. The picture above is the perfect example of uninformed drivers in Tucson.  I ride through the Speedway/4th ave intersection every day, and always have a car or 2 in the green bike box with me?  Can we educate these drivers about the bike boxes? Instead of reading the signage, they honk and yell at me?

  3. I’m not sure how salvagable this cluster :@&* of an intersection will ever be, but am glad the city recognizes the danger they created and are doing what they can to mitigate it.  The fact that they will put yet more trolley tracks in on some of the most heavily biked areas in Tucson shows they have not learned the lesson that poor planning leaves a world of hurt later.

  4. My wife and I ride the same way and have exactly the same issues; in addition, we struggle with everyone’s inability to understand the concept of a Yield sign in the roundabouts. I have been emailing Tom Thivener tdotbikes@tucsonaz.gov with suggestions/cries for help and he has basically told me to he’s done all he can do. Maybe if a few others chime in directly to him, he won’t be able to brush us off so easily.

  5. I agree about the bike box issue.  From the photos, it appears that a few signs are missing that may help clarify the issue.  First, a no turn on red sign like on the 4th Ave route would be nice.  Second, a Stop Here on Red with arrow located at the stop bar would also (hopefully) help.  Although I am up in Seattle, I was down in Tucson for the holiday and when I went to visit 4th Ave, both bike boxes had vehicles in them and they turned right on red.

  6. How, besides using police officers, is the city supposed to educate drivers about roundabouts, yield signs and bike boxes? I don’t think much at the roundabouts should change. I personally like yield signs. There is a no turn on red sign next to the bike box. Some see it some don’t. I’ve seen a significant learning curve down 4th ave. For the most
    part I think people have gotten used to it and use everything properly.

    My wife had an interesting experience coming home south down 4th. A car squeezed up next to her in the green bikes only lane. Instead of getting pissed off she politely told them that the intersection had changed and the lane was for bikes, green meant bikes only etc. The driver said, “oops, I had no idea” and got out of the lane. I don’t know if this is how most interactions would go or not.

  7. I think a community education effort is in order. Something like those Beat the Peak ads from years ago. How about a Green is for Bikes campaign of TV ads and radio PSAs?

  8. No matter what they do, that’s going to be a crap intersection for a long time.  There’s certainly not the money to tear up and redo that intersection.  Perhaps they could some “green box for cyclists only” signs.  I hope they’ll make knowledge of what green boxes and lanes are about and what sharrow signs mean test items on drivers’ tests.  Unfortunately, it’s likely the best thing us cyclists can do is either find an alternate route or politely let drivers in the wrong know what the pavement markings mean…..all while riding with eyes open in every direction.  After going to a concert downtown last week and parking with friends in the parking garage, I can say that garage is in a crap location–for drivers, too–and removed some options for making that intersection safer for cyclists.  In a car it took over an hour to get out of that garage.  During rush hours, cars fighting to get out  of the garage are just going to make that intersection more dangerous.

  9. Hey, neighbor!

    You’ll be pleased to know that another one of our neighbors has raised this issue with senior officers of the Tucson Police Department.

    This particular neighbor does quite a bit of walking, and he says that he’s almost been run over by people blowing off the roundabout yield signs. Near-death experiences while taking a healthy walk do not make him a happy camper.

    So, here’s hoping that the police will take some action. Methinks that they could write more than a few tickets and make this city some money.

  10. The caption of the closing photo (above): “The Jim Glock Bypass allows cyclists to avoid the intersection
    altogether by riding behind the parking garage and using a pedestrian
    bridge over 4th Avenue.”

    So, if the caption’s claim is accurate, then why did COT DOT fool in costly and dangerous ways with the *hopeless* intersection (painting, bike lanes, sharrows, etc., etc.)?

  11. I’m a cyclist and to a lesser extent, a driver, and I had no idea that green box was meant to be cyclist only, though it may have something to do with the fact that I don’t go down there often and I don’t pay much attention to new signage as I already know where I’m going.  I wonder if a lot of people do the same thing – ignore new signage in an area they’re already familiar with.  I’m not really sure how the big green box helps cyclists, though?

  12. Good question, Alan, It’s not as clear because I didn’t ride that route and I believe there will be a few additional markings.

    It looks like the city is having bikes transition to the middle lane and have added sharrows to indicate where they should ride in the middle lane, which continues to Congress or Toole.

    They painted one green section to show bikes where they should cross the tracks to enter Congress and they may paint another to showing cyclists where they cross to get into the center lane.

    If you look at some of the video, you should see the sharrows in the center lane.

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