photo13It’s beginning to sound like a broken record and I’m surprised I haven’t posted about the problem on Fifth Avenue between Congress Street and Broadway Boulevard.

The parking on Fifth Avenue is too narrow to allow a cyclist to safely pass the vehicle out of the door zone. It is about 11 feet from the curb to the edge of the tracks. Parking spots are generally about eight to nine feet wide and cyclists should position themselves about 5 feet away from a parked car. The road is about three feet to narrow to allow cyclists to safely pass parked cars.

The above photo is a bit extreme since it is a wide construction vehicle that is parked away from the curb, but as you can see from the photo below it is almost impossible to pass standard cars outside of the door zone without being in between the streetcar tracks.


Here is a map of the street.

View Larger Map

11 thoughts on “Photo: Fifth Avenue too narrow for parked cars and tracks”
  1. That looks terrible.  But I don’t think the city gives a darn about making Tucson cycle-friendly.  The bureaucrats sort of like the revenue that bike tourism and Tour de Tucson pulls in, but they’re not about to go out of their way for cyclists.  You can argue with clueless Tucson planners until you’re blue in the face, but not get anywhere.   The bottom line is that the city thinks the streetcar will bring in a lot of revenue.  We used to go downtown with our bikes until this streetcar mess began.  Now we don’t go there at all, driving or cycling.

  2. SP – you should give it another shot.  While the spot on 5th Ave is definitely a problem, overall the number of bicycling accommodations (made by the city of Tucson) around the streetcar tracks is pretty amazing.  There are green spots, lanes, special directions and sharrows everywhere.  Lots of red curbs outlawing parking in narrow areas (see by the Shanty on 4th Ave).  This spot on 5th Ave looks like a miss.  We go downtown on our bikes more than ever.  Lots of bike parking, and more restaurants/bars than ever.

  3. The solution to the problem reported by Tucson Velo seems straightforward and simple: prohibit car parking in such areas and aggressively enforce, very aggressively. 
    Failure to do so means that common engineering standards haven’t been met and streetcar-frenzied COT can finally sit back, play the odds and wait for costly lawsuits to roll in. As they did at Broadway and Country Club years ago.

  4. agreed. turning onto southbound 5th ave from congress always unnerved me, because if there was a parked car i’d have to make sure i quickly crossed the outer track at a decent angle to straddle them while i rode far enough to cut back over to the right. that, rather than ride close to the outer track and risk getting sucked down by a wrong move.

  5. couldn’t bikers simply use the next street one block away? gee making this way too big of a deak in my opinion

  6. JamesRichardWilliams   If you look at the combined route from Main Gate through the south side of Broadway I think what you’ll find is that planning alternate routing is difficult and cumbersome and time consuming because of added overhead.  Cyclist like pedestrians and automobilists are simply attempting to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible.  5th Ave. is how you’d get from north of the downtown to south of it.  Anything else involves several light cycles and or riding on sidewalks.  (legally by the way) My take on why so many in the transportation cycling community are so aghast at the disruptions to safety and routing that the Modern Street Car tracks have caused is that University/3rd through the downtown and on 4th Avenue was probably the most used cycling corridor in Tucson and it worked well and it was efficient.   It’s difficult to understand why the city chose this particular route for a mode that is projected to require an operating subsidy of 4 million dollars a year.  Finally the number of track crossings at a shallow angle that are required to navigate Congress/5th/Broadway is at least 5 but likely more depending on where you are headed.

  7. JamesRichardWilliams  I think the key word in your rhetorical question is “simply” and the answer is in a word, no.

  8. JamesRichardWilliams  couldn’t black people simply use the next fountain one yard away? It’s the 21st century, James, time to progress.

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