Bike boulevard construction enters final phase

Crews are swapping out stop signs for yield signs along the bike boulevard.

The Fourth Avenue/Fontana Bicycle Boulevard is entering its final stage, which focuses on signing and striping the route.

Tom Thivener, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, said the the route should be completed soon.

“There is still quite a bit of work to do out there, but I think it will be wrapped up in a month,” he said

The majority of the construction is completed including speed humps, traffic circles and traffic diverters, which force motorists to turn right rather than continue on the bike boulevard.

Now contractors are working on pavement markings and signage. Crews recently replaced several stop signs with yield signs.

Here are a few details about several of the bike boulevard’s other elements:

Bike crossing at Ft. Lowell:

Originally planners wanted to install traffic restrictions which, like most of the other major intersections, would force traffic to turn right rather than proceed straight through the intersection.

Thivener said adding the restrictions at that intersection would have prevented the businesses’ semi-trucks from accessing their location.

Because of that and budget issues, the city decided to scrap the plans and make the existing pedestrian crossing more bike friendly.

Several speed humps have been added between University Boulevard and Grant Road.

Thivener said they will widen the existing sidewalks starting about 75 feet from the intersection and build a ramp to allow cyclists to ramp up from the street onto the sidewalk.

He said putting the ramp 50-70 feet from the intersection allows cyclists to enter and exit the road in area that is more calm.

In addition to the sidewalks and ramp, the city is planning on adding several news signs legitimizing bikes. Existing pedestrian crossing signs will be replaced with signs that include bicycle and pedestrian symbols that are designed to alert motorists to the presence of bicycles.

Pavement strip:

One of the most unique aspects of the bike boulevard project is the repaving of a three-foot wide section of the street between Speedway Boulevard and University Avenue.

Several readers have commented on the patches and said they were quite bumpy still.

Thivener said he has been working with the crews to smooth out the pavement.

“It is getting better,” he said. “I think we worked out some of the bugs with laying it out. It is definitely an improvement, it is not as jarring as it used to be.”

He said he really wants to hear from the bike community when it completed, but is still hoping that bike boulevards will be prioritized for regular pavement maintenance.

What do you think so far?

6 comments
Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

That's right, we'll be installing signs that make it legal to use the sidewalk on approach to the Hawk signal. They will likely say "Bikes can use sidewalk, yield to pedestrians". The sidewalk for this stretch leading up to the Hawk activation button will be widened from 4 feet to 7 feet. We're working within the existing curbed area...luckily there is three feet of dirt between the old sidewalk and curb that can be converted into a ridable area. Motorists will see clear signage that the Hawk Beacon will be for both pedestrians and bicycles. Will be the first Bike Hawk...but not the last. Asphalt strip between University and Speedway will continue as our Streets crew can find time. It's time consuming and they have to juggle other priorities but I am positive it will get done. The Striping and Signing is just getting started. Look forward to shared lane markings, bike boulevard wayfinding/branding signs, 2 green bike boxes, some green bike lane, and more restrictions for motor traffic wanting to go north on the bike boulevard at speedway and grant rd. Money is tight with the project budget, but if we have any left at the end of the project, we would like to rebuild the rough speed hump toward the north of the boulevard.

Mllemen
Mllemen

Comment on this quote: "Thivener said they will widen the existing sidewalks starting about 75 feet from the intersection and build a ramp to allow cyclists to ramp up from the street onto the sidewalk." Sounds neat, but bikes aren't allowed on sidewalks, last I checked. Tom knows this. Will there be an exclusion to the City Code for this site, allowing bikes on this sidewalk?

Ianjohn27
Ianjohn27

There are a number of locations throughout the city where bicycles are allowed on sidewalks -- it just has to receive special signage. The Stone underpass, the Speedway railroad underpass, and the 3rd street crossing of (I think) alvernon are a few examples that spring to mind. It doesn't have to be in the code -- just a posted sign saying something along the lines of "bicycles ok here".

Colby
Colby

I've been riding this pretty consistently for the past few weeks and it's always fun getting a sense for a new route - the neighborhoods, the traffic etc. The change from multiple stop signs to yields is a big improvement. Tom - if you read this - I know they're still working, but will they do the new strip of pavement in the northbound lane too? Also, the speed hump just south of Fort Lowell is a disaster - can that be redone/smoothed? Overall, I like - looking forward to seeing the completed project with signs/stripes/street markings.

James
James

I like what's happened so far, but I'll only be able to know how successful the project will be when they change the intersection at Speedway and 4th ave. I still don't use this intersection very much because of the way traffic behaves, as well as the bumpy road, especially heading north.

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

I live just east of 4th Avenue. Since the bike boulevard construction started, I've noticed that cars don't go barreling up and down 4th. The traffic circles and speed humps have forced them to slow down and, dare I say it, think about how they're going to navigate the road.