Room packed for bike boulevard info meeting

Residents packed the meeting room at Himmel Park Library last night to learn more about proposed improvements to the 3rd Street/University Bike Boulevard.

After a brief presentation by Tucson’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, Tom Thivener, residents were asked to look at the maps and proposed improvements to make suggestions and ask questions.

A few interesting details about the upgrades emerged during the meeting. Check out the photos below.

Residents look over the project maps before the meeting.

The city will add a HAWK signal at Swan Road with accommodations for bicycles in the fall of 2011.

The stop signs at Treat Avenue and Third Street will be removed and replaced with yield signs.

The bicycle detection system at Tucson Boulevard will be upgraded to better detect bicycles.

Eventually a bicycle crossing will be added at Craycroft Road.

Did you go to the meeting? Anything else that jumped out at you?

17 comments
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straw
straw

I don't hate the 5th Street alternative route idea but I do have concerns.  Crossing 4th Ave at 5th St is pretty difficult because of the cars on 4th slowing to look for scarce parking spots and the lure of the Brooklyn parking lot.  It would need a traffic control device.  Stone is actually a lot easier to cross and the same is true for Euclid.   I like the sharrows on University but I did speak to a wheelchair user who hates them.  She liked having a line to ride on one side of.  She also doesn't like the 4 way yield at Treat because it makes the intersection less safe for her on her wheelchair. Personally and subjectively I don't have a need for any changes at either Swan or Craycroft but I'm not the target audience for them either.  I already use a bicycle for virtually all of my personal transportation.  I also don't cross Swan or Craycroft daily so my experiences are limited.  I've never had a problem but that doesn't mean one doesn't exist. Looking at a lot of the proposed changes it seems to me that an Idaho Stop Sign Law would solve a lot of the problems.  Giving bicycles the option of treating stop signs as a yields but still requiring cars to stop would completely solve Treat and a number of other intersections.   Thanks to T-Dot, Tom and others for putting together this event.  It was fun to see all those bikes parked outside.  It was a great opportunity to talk to people.   3Wheeler, you run the lights at Country Club and Tucson Blvd.? That just seems wrong to me. Traffic lights are on fairly major roadways and they create an expectation for drivers of ALL vehicles. When those expectations are violated bad things happen plus it reinforces the idea that bicycle riders are just a bunch of lawless hooligans riding against traffic on sidewalks and running stop signs at full pace. I hate it when I'm there at Tucson patiently waiting for my crossing signal and bikes just ride through. Traffic works when everyone does what everyone else is expecting. That's why u-turns mid block on side streets are so dangerous. I am with you on Alvernon though. I never use the light or the sidewalk there unless somebody else has already triggered it. I see riding in traffic as a cooperative venture and I try ( and sometimes fail) to hold up my end of the deal.

zz
zz

Individually, crossing may not be a problem. When school starts, cyclists will be crossing in larger numbers kind of in a surge. Some will walk their bike, others will ride in the crosswalk - legal, but many drivers don't think so. I continue to believe Euclid will be a concern in an uncontrolled situation.

Red Star
Red Star

Thanks, Tucson Velo and COT.  Great presentation on its own terms but also in that it sets an example for other cities.

Mindy
Mindy

Love all the changes.

Red Star
Red Star

"Eventually a bicycle crossing will be added at Craycroft Road" When is eventually?  Why wait? Why not close the automobile median turns there and use the freed-up space to construct a bicycle island where cyclists could safely wait midway in Craycroft for the the Speedway/Craycroft and the 5th/Craycroft lights to do their thing? Could that be implemented sooner and at lower cost?

3wheeler
3wheeler

I like that idea.  All I want is a reasonably safe place at the midpoint, I don't need a light.

zz
zz

Ah, but the 50-60% that are waiting-for-that-light-to-go-in-so-that-they-can-start-riding,  do. 

zz
zz

It's hard for me as a rider to square it around in my mind that something like a bike boulevard is the threshold that determines people start riding their bikes. I think there are other things more conducive to ridership. Major among those, according to the mood of the room last night, is pavement condition. Why is the city so resistant to this situation.  If money is short for repaving, at least work on filling in the ancient, in-line, tire-grabbing cracks. People unfamiliar with cycling don't realize what a hazard they pose until they get out there riding. You and I can cross most streets with no problem, but everytime I have to deal with the Drachman intersection on Park Ave. I think of the hundreds of cyclists during the school year who have to deal with it, too, every day and I think, "f. this s.  Platinum should be in the *distant*  future."

Red Star
Red Star

Look, we all work traffic gaps whether we happen to wear our motorist or our cyclist cap at the time. It's habitual and intuitive for all. And, granted, some are reckless with that...some really push it.  But why not try a bicycle island, a safe barricaded waiting zone,  right smack dab in the middle of Craycroft around 3rd  so that cyclists can safely work the traffic gaps at lowest cost to the city. Red Star isn't seeing how this low cost approach to the problem of getting across the Old Pueblo's big mean automobile synchronized  streets  necessarily discourages cycling. (the chimera, platinum status, being another and possibly irrelevant thing-grow up and think for yourself, Tucson) Time to experiment, COT?

3wheeler
3wheeler

zz, Do you think lots of average, non-rider types, would get into cycling with the addition of lights?  You may be right.

Red Star
Red Star

Is the photomap from last night posted online in its entirety? COT DOT? Tucson Velo?

3wheeler
3wheeler

I don't use the traffic lights at Alvernon or Country Club now and don't see any need for new ones at Swan or Craycroft.  I wait for traffic to clear at Country Club and just run the red bike light.  At Alvernon, I wait for traffic to clear in the near lane, turn right and then get into the left turn lane and turn when traffic allows.  I can't bring myself to push a button that will cause other people, sometimes many other people, to stop for me.  It's not equitable.  I do like that the Treat stop signs are going away! I also like the addition of stop signs on the residential cross streets.  I was intrigued by some of the requests and concerns that other people had at the meeting.  One lady asked that a slated traffic circle not be installed.  A minute later, two other people requested a traffic circle be put in where one was not already shown on the plans.  One fellow said he thought the intersection at Campbell is really unsafe.  In 30+ years, I've never had a bit of trouble at Campbell.  He said cyclists have been hurt there.  I guess it's true, but I don't know how the intersection or the signal were at fault.  It just fascinates me how we all latch onto different things that bug us.   Except for the bumpy roads, I think we all agree that bumps stink.  All my riding for the next 2 years is going to be done circling the East end of the UA mall.  That new asphalt is butter smooth!

Red Star
Red Star

Red Star likes the changes to 3rd and Treat: change out the stop signs for yield signs and put in a traffic (calming) circle. Traffic circles and yield signs seem to go hand-in-hand. This looks like a relatively inexpensive and quick-to- implement solution. It could be done next week. One suggestion to City of Tucson: don't attempt to grow plants in the traffic circle as you would have to route water to the plants and watering systems require maintenance (which means costs). A pile of rocks would do as there is already plenty of vegetation in Sam Hughes neighborhood. Seems the stop sign lady has come to her senses...

zz
zz

Riding the new sharrows on University. Cars seem bewildered. Is there really any need to keep that center left turn lane? Voted 'no' on the survey for the 5th St. alternate route. I suggested that the stress be reduced on University by eliminating parking and giving that 'lane' to cyclists. Talked to a resident on that section who was agreeable to that idea.

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

I'm with zz on eliminating University Boulevard parking. Too much risk of being doored there now. Higher frequency streetcar traffic won't help matters.

Mike H
Mike H

Does any one recall what was proposed (if anything) for the crossings at Rosemont and Columbus?  They're not as bad as Swan or Craycroft but can be difficult to cross at peak hours.  Thanks!

Mtngoat
Mtngoat

Those both have proposed median islands so you can cross halfway, and Columbus has a proposed cycletrack on the west side to deal with the jog at that intersection.