Coming soon: Bicycle pavement markings & education along streetcar

intersection6

Bike boxes like this one will begin being added along the streetcar route.

Starting next week, the streetcar route will look a little more green.

Ann Chanecka, the City of Tucson’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager said, bicycle-specific pavement markings would be going in along half of the streetcar route.

The markings, which include green bike boxes, sharrows and guides to show cyclists how to cross the tracks safely will be added to the section through the University of Arizona, University Boulevard and down Fourth Avenue.

In addition the the markings, Chanecka said they are working on an educational brochure and public service announcements to educate both motorists and bicyclists about the pavement markings and what they mean.

Chanecka said this is the first time they have had the money to help educate people about the pavement markings and how both motorists and cyclists should use them.

11 comments
Gary Thacker
Gary Thacker

University Boulevard is now too dangerous for bicycling.  If you stay far enough out from the parked cars to avoid getting doored, you are too close to the cracks of death.  My wife got dumped onto the street and is now recovering from a broken arm and leg.  

As typical for The City of Tucson, the streetcar is costing twice what it was supposed to when promoted in the RTA election and they are using a track design that is not friendly to bicyclists.  Now wonder the Phoenix GOP thinks we are all a bunch of socialist idiots in Tucson.

3wheeler
3wheeler

I don't like it.  I don't like it one bit.  I've been a cyclist for 46 years and I've never needed a marked box.  Why would I want to reduce the visibility for a guy in a car?  I am very much for the Idaho stop, and allowing groups of cyclists to take a whole lane, but this is no real help for cyclists and a hazard for motorists. 

RockafellowLaw
RockafellowLaw

@3wheeler The issue is with bike wheels getting stuck in the tracks and causing bad falls. These markings will guide less experienced riders to take a path over the tracks that will reduce these types of falls.

3wheeler
3wheeler

@RockafellowLaw @3wheeler

If this is some sort of way to protect cyclists from getting their wheels caught in the trolley tracks, please explain to me why the green paint in the photo above extends right into the trolley tracks?  My previous comment is solely related to the green "bike boxes" at intersections.  As I said before, I can't see how they provide any benefit for cyclists, and I see a real hazard for motorists. If the city wants to paint green pathways for cyclists to follow along the trolley tracks, it's just a waste.  There is no room for a traffic lane, a parking lane, plus a designated bike route that is five feet from the parked cars so cyclists can be safe from getting doored.  I understand that you are not my enemy, and that you are probably as good an ally as any cyclist can have, but I need to make my thoughts clear that this sort of "help" from the city is no help at all.  The city sold cyclists out on this deal a long time ago when they decided a Disneyland ride is more important than cycling.  Buses work great at a far lower cost in every way.  But  the rail fever is highly contagious among the elite who can't picture themselves riding a bus with the "filthy" masses.  Steel tracks must have a mysterious and powerful way of washing the ridership.

3wheeler
3wheeler

@chubasco @3wheeler @RockafellowLaw 

You make several good points on various issues.  I did some research on bus vs. streetcar costs back when the streetcar was being talked about.  I found various studies that contradicted each other, some gave the fight to busses, some gave it to streetcars.  Streetcars without a driver are considerably cheaper on labor, of course.  Electric is cheaper to run than an on-board engine.  Rail cars supposedly last forever with a new paint job and interior every few years.  With labor costs being such a huge factor, I'll have to concede that driverless streetcars are less expensive over the long haul.  I still don't like the track crack of death, nor the way they hog the whole street.  In the end, I'll probably take my out of town guests for a ride on our streetcar sometime.  Just like Disneyland. 

chubasco
chubasco

@3wheeler @chubasco @RockafellowLaw 

"Waste". It's such a great signaling word. So, the equally empty buses are not a waste because the dirty masses ride them? If you ask me, all that fresh pavement, complete with fancy landscaping & artwork up on the NW side when all of us down here in middle-class land have to pass another tax on ourselves just to get the potholes fixed is the real waste. Private investment follows transit investment quite reliably, so I guess it takes some disneyland image- and someone who can secure grants & loans in a realistic amount; it's not like the downtown real-estate developers or restaurants are going to take on the risk of building a train even though they are the main economic beneficiaries. Feel free to prove me wrong, I don't like holding false positions. Waste is spending a couple thousand a year on a car, when you could pay a couple hundred in train/bus taxes plus fares plus bike repairs. Moreover, people like trains, they've always liked trains, just like they like bikes and cars and cowboys; it's stuck in our psyche. And what people like, they spend money on, be it taxes or fares. I think the city actually does a decent job overall - fire, police, parks, transit- those are all uses of public money that provide decent public benefits. I'd rather they'd'a spent it all on the loop, but I don't suspect light rail grants can be applied to bike paths without some subpoenas being issued down the road. Yes, the city is spending our local money on the train too, but I don't think it's large enough percentagewise to explain our budget problems- I rather think that's more due to a pension system that was dumb enough to believe they'd make 12% in the stockmarket forever, and a health insurance system destined to consume 100% of our personal income plus tax revenue. The old are robbing the young via promises made that can no longer be kept since american business shipped all the good jobs to china. At least I can ride the train or the bus if it's built. I get precisely zero keeping pensions & social security on life support a few more years, except cuts to my kids' music & PE teachers. But I digress. There is broad public support here and in most other cities for investment in rail, just like for bikes. Traffic is it's own worst enemy once you turn 20 and the excitement of 'freedom' wears off. People seem to be convinced it's worth the 'waste' to enable *all* possible alternatives. Just roughly speaking, building rail is costing us on the order of $100M, no? There's roughly 1M people in Tucson paying sales tax, so that's $100/yr. That's a pretty small piece of my sales tax for any given year, so the cost-benefit works for me, but I don't expect everyone to see it that way [i.e. those running our school system seem to think zero is an approximately appropriate cost for the benefit of an educated populace (seriously, what would our society be like if only the wealthy could read again? I guess when you retire with enough to relocate to Arizona, schooling someone else's kids seems like a waste too)] Everyone enjoy the rant? We'll see how long my account stays active here, lol.

3wheeler
3wheeler

@chubasco @3wheeler @RockafellowLaw 

Calm down, chubasco!  Get your emotions under control.

Denver has empty street cars running at all hours.  My uncle, who lives there says it's a horrible waste.  You do know that we borrowed money for this, there is interest to pay on the millions we borrowed.  If we had the density of New York, rails might make sense but not in Denver, and not here.  As for the image factor, indeed I am acutely aware of the mental disorder that we call "image."  That is the reason I call it a Disneyland ride, and note that people who would never sully themselves by riding a bus are giddy over the streetcar.  To those who value image, Bus = low-lifes, and  Streetcar = sophisticated.  I am quite aware that humans operate on image. 

chubasco
chubasco

@3wheeler @RockafellowLaw 

Emotion aside, rail has higher capital costs and lower operating costs than buses (no diesel, fewer drivers). I think it will end well in the long run, but right now I have to agree it's mostly a stimulus to downtown drinking establishments via thirsty UA students. Now if they ever put in a decent set of tracks like Denver...don't discount the image factor. Humans operate on image...

zz
zz like.author.displayName 1 Like

@3wheeler @RockafellowLaw And on top of all of that, you can't even see those markings anymore. We ALL know this. The streets are filthy because of the lack of rain. If the city doesn't want to wash them down once and a while, fine. There are few storm drains anyway....it would end up in the bike 'lane'. From the picture above, the bike box and sharrows are gone. If it's not reasonable to maintain these features, then maybe move on to something else. It's money wasted.

Gabrielle
Gabrielle

"Chanecka said this is the first time they have had the money to help educate people about the pavement markings and how both motorists and cyclists should use them."

Something that, no doubt, will be quite helpful to drivers, such as the one pictured. =)