In the past year alone Pima County added an additional 32 miles of new bike lanes and the City of Tucson added over 30 miles. We’re having an official dedication of the new Brad P. Gorman Memorial Bikeway Nov. 5 - brand new bike lanes on the way to our favorite local haunt for the hardcore, Mt. Lemmon (check the October-November issue of Walkin/ & Rollin’ at dot.pima.gov/tpcbac/community.htm for details on the dedication).
The city’s been adding bike lanes all over the place as part of their large number of repaving projects over the past year Wilmot Road, Speedway, 1st Avenue, Greasewood, Stone, and many others.
Oro Valley, Marana, ADOT, and the City of South Tucson have also been building bikeways. South Tucson is building a new north-south bike lane through the full length of town along its main street, 6th Avenue. And new off-street pathways are being paved along the Rillito River and elsewhere.
And several more are soon on their way: Euclid from Grant to Speedway; Rosemont from Grant to Speedway, Kolb from Tanque Verde to Speedway; and Tanque Verde from west of Houghton to Fennimore Avenue, among others. “Road diets” are also on their way-taking a four-lane roadway without bike lanes or a center turn lane and reducing them to three-lane roadways including bike lanes and the center turn lane. These roads include Pima from Columbus to Swan, Calle Santa Cruz from Irvington to Valencia, and Camino del Sol in Green Valley.
Plus we have some new million-dollar educational and awareness programs up and running, and hopefully much more to come. We have a $567,000 federal Transportation Enhancement grant to promote safety among pedestrians, cyclists and drivers over the next three-year period. Look for safety announcements on TV, radio, and other media, including the transit advertising signs at bus shelters; bicycle safety classes for teens and adults including some great freebies; new bike lane stencils and wrong-way bike riding signs all over the region; and as many other measures we can think of to promote safety.
Our Safe Routes to Schools pilot program, funded by a $505,000 Enhancement grant and local funds, is getting into gear. We’re working with seven pilot elementary schools to improve safety and access among children getting to and from school. Plus we have two Safe Routes projects funded at over $1 million for bike lanes, sidewalks and shade landscaping. Two more are in the hopper to be funded along with a middle school comprehensive bicycle safety program. We’ll know if those will be funded by mid-October.
This gets us well on our way to achieving the goals of the “Platinum Challenge”, an effort by volunteers and staff to have the Tucson metropolitan area ranked as a “Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly Community” in 2006 by the U.S. League of American Bicyclists. The Tucson area was ranked as a silver level community in 2004 and although it’s a monumental effort to get to the platinum level, the folks involved are giving it their best shot.
So cycling around Tucson, although still quite intimidating for many folks, will continue to get better and better over the next few years. Please get in touch with us at 740-6403 to see how you can help out.
Brad’s mother, Jean M. Gorman, was determined that his death would not be just another statistic. As a result of her efforts and a galvanized bicycling community, plus strong support from the Pima County and City of Tucson transportation departments, the Brad P. Gorman Memorial Bikeway Fund helps with projects that make Tucson’s roads and streets safer. Those projects include establishing bike lanes and paths and educating both motorists and cyclists on sharing the road. It has provided bikes for kids, bumper stickers, light kits and classroom educational materials.
The Brad Fund was instrumental in getting the Arizona Legislature to enact a law drafted by Matt Zoll of Pima County requiring automobiles to give bicyclists three feet of space when they pass.
On Nov. 5, cyclists, family members, community leaders and friends will join in dedication ceremonies for the Brad P. Gorman Memorial Bikeway, a bike lane that runs the length of the highway from Tanque Verde Road to the base of Mt. Lemmon. The bikeway was scheduled to be completed in October.
The ceremonies, which will be at the northwest corner of Tanque Verde Road and Catalina Highway, will begin at 9 a.m., and will include food and giveaways. At 9:15, cyclists are invited to come along on a dedication ride along the bikeway.
Hosted by the Pima County Department of Transportation, ceremony special guests include the Gormans and Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll.
Gorman said community support has been heartwarming.
“We’ve had so many supporters, people who give donations
at our events, and people who come by and throw in a twenty and say, ‘Thanks
so much, keep up the good work,’” said Gorman. “We’ve
had wonderful regular supporters.”