In a special meeting Wednesday night, the Tucson Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee unanimously approved a motion to make it easier for bike boulevards to receive funding through the Regional Transportation Authority.
The motion encourages the RTA’s Bike and Pedestrian Working group, which controls which projects get funded, to give equal standing to bike boulevards when evaluating bikeway projects.
Additionally, the TPCBAC motion also encourages the Bike and Pedestrian Working Group to allow the city to add 10 bike boulevard projects to the original list of projects that were approved by voters in 2006.
Currently, when a project it being evaluated by the Bike and Pedestrian Working Group, they assign points based on various criteria. One criteria is whether the project was one of the original projects approved by the voters. If it was, the project automatically gets extra points.
While the move does not make boulevards a priority over other bike and pedestrian projects, Gabe Thum, a transportation planner for the Pima Association of Government said it will help bike boulevards receive RTA funds.
“It is going to give them more points in the application process,” Thum said.”It is going to help them.”
Tom Thivener, the City of Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator said he knew getting the TPCBAC to recommend prioritizing bike boulevards above other projects was a long shot, but said the motion sends a good message to the RTA.
He said he will continue to look for funding to create boulevards in the city.
“My main priority is pitching bike boulevards as the future for Tucson,” Thivener said. “The RTA is one possible funding source.”
Thivener said he’d like to see the TPCBAC support bike boulevards, not when it comes to RTA funding, but as a general solution for the region.
“I think we have some compelling statistics that say that they work, that they are safer and that they are going to get a lot more people biking,” Thivener said.
Discussion lasted for over an hour and included several members of the public, many of whom came to support bike boulevards.
Jerry Shapins, who recently moved to Tucson from Boulder, Colo. said, “You really need to pay attention to bike boulevards as a key attribute of your system in the future.”
“I thought the support that the community showed for the bike boulevards tonight was fabulous,” Thivener said. “I really hope those people stay involved.”