City will have contractor widen bike lanes on Anklam

Soon cyclists like Andy Suter won’t have to choose between riding in the dirt and hugging the painted line separating the bike lane and the car lane on Anklam Road.

Suter said while he appreciates the new pavement, the stretch of road near the entrance to Pima Community College heading east toward the city, is very narrow and doesn’t feel safe.

“I have had some close calls there and the new construction didn’t do much to open up that section,” Suter said via Twitter.

Suter said he rides that section between five and 10 times a week and if he is riding his mountain bike, he’ll just ride in the dirt rather than ride in the bike lane, which measured between 1 1/2 to 2 feet in some sections.

According to a written statement from Michael Graham, a City of Tucson public information officer, the city will have the contractor return to the area and add more pavement.

“When the contractor milled and repaved the roadway, they did so in a straight line/edge and did not follow the wandering, ragged edge that existed. The contractor has agreed to return to this location and remove the leftover, ragged remnants and provide a small amount of additional paving, at their cost, to provide the bicycling community with a wider bicycle lane than what previously existed on Anklam Road.”

Tom Thivener, Tucson’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, said in addition to the added pavement, the city will also narrow the automobile lane to 11 feet from 12 feet.

“Eleven feet or greater is the standard,” Thivener said. “Twelve feet is often sought, but there is a whole balancing act of trying to get the bicyclists’ needs taken care of.”

According to the statement from Graham, once the additional asphalt has been added and the travel lane has been reduced, the bike lane should be between four and five feet along Anklam.

Thivener said the city received a few emails and an inquiry from Tucson Velo, which prompted them to take another look at the area.

We realized after the fact that bicyclists didn’t have enough room, so we’ve got to get that fixed,” Thivener said.

Check out the video and images of the narrow section:

YouTube version here.

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4 comments
Lazy Dad
Lazy Dad

So the other day I finished a beer and put the empty bottle on the counter in the kitchen. My son walks in and says, "Oh Dad, uhm thanks for the Goldfish tank, but maybe you could have gotten me something a wee bit bigger." I say, "what are you talking about?" Pointing emphatically at the empty brown bottle, "The ... gold ... fish ... tank. Thanks, I can use it. Sort of, but its a bit small." "Why on earth would you call that a goldfish tank?" "In the pet fish community we call any glass container a gold fish tank. I've heard some people say bottles aren't appropriate for fish, but that distinction isn't really important to me. I can fit most of a goldfish in there so I will." "I'll be honest with you boy. When I was Walmart buying beer it never occurred to me that you might need a goldfish tank. Even if I had known I can't say that I would gotten you one. But I tell you what, I got the bottle already so how about I take that bottle out back and break the neck off so you can fit the whole fish inside." "Gee thanks Dad, you're the best"

a concerned driver
a concerned driver

The distinction is huge. A bike lane is something a road engineer had in mind when laying out the road. That white line is called the "fog line" and is there so drivers can find the edge of the road in the dark. When that line was painted zero thought was given to a bicycle using the scrap of pavement outside the line. Calling that scrap a bike lane, or worse trying to use it as one is imparting to it a quality the road designer never had in mind. If a cyclist tries to ride in the space he endangers himself by giving the nearby automobiles the false impression they can safely pass without needing to cross the yellow center line.

a bicycle rider
a bicycle rider

I do think that it is relevant, because it makes it appear that whomever says it, is advocating that bicycles and bicyclists are only allowed to be on the roadway to the right of the white line in the "bike lane". I am buzzed, yelled, cursed, and honked at, every day here in Tucson, if I stray to the left of the white line, by motorists who believe that bicycles are only allowed to be in the "bike lane". By using these terms you are furthering this view and reinforcing what people/motorists think/believe bicycles should do, when in fact this is nowhere near what we are legally entitled to be doing.

a bicycle rider
a bicycle rider

Could I ask why you call the area to the right of the white line a "bike lane", when it is not technically a "bike lane"? The bicyclist in the first photo is riding in the appropriate and legal position. It might not be the safest per se, but it is legal. It is so nice of the city and contractor to fix this problem and expand the shoulder area to give more room for bicyclists to ride on the shoulder out of the way.

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  1. [...] Ft. Lowell Road to the growing list of federally funded resurfacing projects in the Tucson [...]

  2. [...] The city said they would have the contractor add additional pavement after a story about the extremely narrow shoulder appeared on this site. Check out the original story here. [...]