Two intersections along Sunrise Drive in the Foothills received a special green pavement treatment to help cyclists and motorists cross paths more smoothly.
Within the last week, green pavement markings were added on westbound Sunrise Drive at Paseo Otono and southbound Craycroft Road just past Sunrise Drive.
According to Matt Zoll, Pima County’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, the locations were just two from a list of dozens of intersections that have potential traffic conflicts.
“The intent of the green is to highlight to drivers and cyclists that this is a special merge area,” Zoll said.
In the case of the Sunrise and Paseo Otono intersection, the county added the green markings because the right lane ends in a right turn and cyclists have to merge across a lane of traffic to pick up the bike lane on the other side of the intersection. Take a look at the video to see the lane in action.
Zoll said he also wants to add a marking before the green paint that instructs cyclists to keep an eye out for cars who are also merging on their left.
“The cyclist will follow those dashed lines without ever doing a shoulder scan and they don’t realize that traffic could be coming up at 40 or 50 miles per hour,” Zoll said. “We need to get these ‘look’ markings in to try to get cyclists to be more careful as they enter those colored areas.”
The pavement on Craycroft Road is the opposite situation. Motorists heading east on Sunrise Drive and making a turn onto southbound Craycroft Road add a lane, which forces cyclists to merge across the new lane.
“We want to indicate — especially for the drivers — that they need to yield,” Zoll said.
Zoll said studies indicate the colored bike lanes do work to increase drivers’ awareness.
Zoll helped Larry Robinson, chair of the Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee’s facilities subcommittee, develop a list of areas around town where they would like to see colored lanes added — though he said it is important not to put down too many colored bike lanes because the color will become meaningless.
Zoll said one area he would really like to see the lanes is at the bridges on Pantano and Wrightstown Roads.
“There are four locations around there where colored lanes could come in pretty helpful,” Zoll said. “A lot of the cyclists have been intimidated by that structure forever.”
Here is the wishlist or locations around the region:
Proposed Green Bike Lane Locations
March 24, 2005 Updated 1-20-2011
City of Tucson
- Campbell NB approaching Grant (drop lane, 45 to 50 mph approach speed of some vehicles that are merging left at last moment)
- Campbell NB and SB over Rillito Bridge (3.5’ width, reduce lanes to 10’)
- Kino SB at I-10 (airport bikeway) – both sides (ADOT?)
- Kino NB at I-10 (airport bikeway) – both sides (ADOT?)
- Speedway EB approaching Harrison (drop lane, 45 to 50 mph approach speed of some vehicles that are merging left at last moment)
- Tanque Verde SB approaching Pantano/Wrightstown
- Tanque Verde SB departing at Pantano/Wrightstown
- Tanque Verde NB approaching Pantano/Wrightstown
- Tanque Verde NB departing at Pantano/Wrightstown
- Broadway EB approaching/across Aviation RT lane Complete. Bike lane should be restriped to 6-foot width min, 7-foot max. Consider 12” wide white lines on each side of bike lane as alternative.
- Broadway WB approaching Country Club (drop lane condition, 45 to 50 mph approach speed of some vehicles that are merging left at last moment)
- Mission NB approaching 22nd Street (being rebuilt to dual NB free-right lanes) Under construction. Unknown what is included in terms of colored lanes.
- Houghton SB at Golf Links – both north and south sides of intersection
- 22nd Street EB and WB at bridge over RR tracks (need restriping over bridge, connects to bike lanes on both sides) Review new bridge design
- Highland at 6th Street colored bike boxes Complete.
- Mountain Avenue – all intersections NB Mountain at Grant complete.
- Grant Road EB & WB, Oracle to Swan 2-ft green separating strip (also colored bike boxes to facilitate left turns for cyclists)
- Congress WB at Grande (drop lane, 35 to 40 mph approach speed of some vehicles that are merging left at last moment)
- Anklam WB at Greasewood (drop lane, 45 to 50 mph approach speed of some vehicles that are merging left at last moment)
- Park SB approaching and departing at 18th Street (drop lane, 40 to 45 mph approach speed by some vehicles, pinch point on south side of intersection)
- Tucson Blvd NB approaching Valencia (bike lane becomes RTO lane; would be good demo project for bicycle visitors arriving to Tucson by plane)
- Kolb SB approaching Valencia dual right turn lanes Complete.
- Kolb SB approaching I-10 Need to work with ADOT for approval.
- Kolb SB departure side of Sunrise Approved and under construction.
- New Alvernon Road WB departing at new River Road (at intersection with old River Road)
- Dodge Boulevard Bridge NB & SB (3.5’ width) plus crosswalk Complete.
- Sunrise WB at drop lane west of Kolb Approved and under construction.
- La Cholla at Magee (various locations). Also colored bike boxes for left turns. Approved and design in progress.
- Various interchange locations where high-speed ramps merge with arterial streets (e.g., SB Kolb at I-10 above).