More upgrades to the 4th Avenue/Fontana bike boulevard

Bicyclists using the new 4th Avenue/Fontana bike boulevard will notice some new features that will make it easier to use.

A "dinner plate" pavement marking points riders up onto the sidewalk in order to activate the pedestrian signal at Ft. Lowell Road.

 

The marking indicate the sidewalk is two way. Not pictured is a sign allowing bikes on the sidewalk and requiring them to yield to pedestrians.

The city’s bike and pedestrian program manager, Tom Thivener, said the signage motorists see on Ft. Lowell Road will indicate the the crosswalks can be used by both bicycles and pedestrians.

Motorists heading north on 4th Avenue are now required to make a left or right turn onto Speedway.

"Bike pucks" were added at the Grant Road crossing. Thivener said the pucks will detect bicycles and change the light to green.

17 comments
Steven Vance
Steven Vance

And another question, did the staff consider converting this signal to go through all phases without detection? That is, there would be no need for crosswalk activation because the signal would rotate and give a green to all directions in its cycle. 

Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

A TOUCAN signal is preferred for bike boulevard crossings of arterials here in Tucson.  We wanted one but budget and business/truck access issues prevented the City from doing so here.  Instead the City upgraded the existing HAWK beacon.

Steven Vance
Steven Vance

And did they discuss embedded loop detectors?

Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

It's more about timing than anything.  The HAWK beacon just got adopted into the MUTCD but the national committee is still wrangling over the exact language.  Since they are still working on it, the City's engineers, including the guy who created the HAWK, though it was best not to experiment with the HAWK just yet.  That day will come and I look forward to trying out curb side push buttons, so that you don't have to cross over to activate it. 

Steven Vance
Steven Vance

Do you know why the MUTCD allows curbside signal activations? They're also popular all over Europe. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/5376096462/

Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

It's more about timing than anything.  The HAWK beacon just got adopted into the MUTCD but the national committee is still wrangling over the exact language.  Since they are still working on it, the City's engineers, including the guy who created the HAWK, though it was best not to experiment with the HAWK just yet.  That day will come and I look forward to trying out curb side push buttons, so that you don't have to cross over to activate it. 

Ed Beighe
Ed Beighe

Thank. TOUCANS and HAWKS still confuse me. As far as i can tell, the actual rules (or more accurately: the lack of rules) about when a bicyclist uses a crosswalk are a huge muddled mess.State law (ARS) specifically apply to bicyclists only when using the ROAD. There are no Tucson local laws controlling bicyclists use of crosswalks (see that link i posted just above; there you will find a memo written by the tucson city attorney's office). Using the road, a cyclist approaches the intersection. stops. and goes when clear. all nice and legal. A cyclist using the sidewalk/crosswalk is (or is he?) subject to pedestrian laws . Ped rules (see 28-646 and 645) are you can only enter the crosswalk when the "walk" indication is on. Once it starts flashing "dont walk" you are not allowed to start across, even if you think (and probably can) make it. Typically the walk time is very short. followed by a much longer flashing don't walk. So does the left hand (city streets type people) know what the right hand (Tuscon PD, and attorney) is doing?

zz
zz

What the city has created at this crossing is sort of a cheap TOUCAN. It's design is basically for pedestrians, however. When a pedestrian has cleared the lanes going one direction and the signal is in flashing mode, cars are free to go. You can't go barging into that part of the crosswalk at bike speed because you don't have 'green light' right of way like in a real TOUCAN. Hope this fine distinction doesn't create any problems.

Ed Beighe
Ed Beighe

The whole idea of sending cyclist to the sidewalk and then have them press a pedestrian button and then proceeding along a crosswalk gives me the willies. In 1999  Leeanne Stanton was killed  somewhere in Tucson as she rode her bike along a crosswalk after pushing a button and getting the go-ahead. A driver blew through some sort of flashing red signal. Your city attorney would not cite or charge the motorist for anything.Which is odd because although not advisable, it's clearly not illegal to cycle in a crosswalk: http://azbikelaw.org/blog/sidewalk-cycling-in-arizona/

zz
zz

You get two different speeds of traffic in such a crosswalk. Drivers see the pedestrian and focus on that, waiting to go and a bike comes zipping in just before the signal ends and gets hit. It's very clear when you're supposed to stop at one of those signals, but going again is a judgement thing. You see it all the time. Drivers are unsure about when it's  OK to go. It's also not easy for a bike to  see when the signal stops flashing. If the city puts a crossing for Euclid at 5th St., it will have no signal at all. How wise is that?

Dielsalder1928
Dielsalder1928

I find it difficult to believe that putting bicycles on the sidewalk is a good remedy to a car traffic problem.

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

It's not the ideal solution. But if you're trying to get the Fort Lowell Road traffic to stop for you, the trigger for the walk sign is attached to a post that's on the sidewalk.

Alan
Alan

Why is the sidewalk set up for bikes to go in both directions?

zz
zz

Because the crosswalk is on the west side of the intersection, bikes headed north have to cross over to access the button, then cross back over to continue. Don't know why they could not have put one more button on the east side for bikes going north, except that would have put bikes crossing outside the crosswalk. Maybe not allowed.

Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

The bike pucks detect metal, just hang out over top of them at a red light and your bike should be detected. 

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

I live very close to the 4th Avenue Bicycle Boulevard. And I've noticed quite an improvement in driver behavior. Used to be that the sound of drivers blasting out of the Bronx Wash (at 4th and Linden) would wake me up. Apparently, these folks were in a red-hot hurry to get up to Grant Road. These days, I don't hear people speeding on 4th Avenue.