Bike and pedestrian use of Downtown Links under review

Published: Jan. 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:14 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Citizen Advisory Committee is making sure that the $85 million roadway does not leave bikes or pedestrians at unnecessary risk of accidents with cars.

This work currently visible on St. Mary's road east of I-10 is just part of downtown links that will send traffic from the interstate to Aviation Highway.  It will carry not only traffic but also bikes and pedestrians.  And how it will do it is what the Citizen Advisory Committee reviewed Monday night.

Downtown Links will have a multi-use path along it to carry both bikes and pedestrians, along with the required bike lane along the road.  But where the multi-use path interacts with traffic, such as at traffic intersections, is what the CAC reviewed Monday night.

The committee concurred on the first few spots on the eastern end of the road.  But they were still concerned about right-turning traffic at Eighth Avenue and the future Links Avenue not seeing two-way bike and pedestrian traffic that crosses there.  And the committee awaits 3D renderings of where the path interacts with Sixth Avenue near the railroad.  A vote on that feature was tabled.  Decisions on larger intersections such as Stone and Sixth Street were also tabled.

"I think that the committee is very concerned that the design accommodate both all modes of traffic without a conflict that results in injury or death to somebody," said Gene Caywood, chair of the Citizen Advisory Committee.

"We're really working hard with the city and engineers to bring that human element into our roadway designs so that people don't feel alienated by the roads that get them places, they feel, we want our roads to welcome people, to support people who want to walk and want to bike places," said Kylie Walzak, who is also on the Citizen Advisory Committee and also chairs the Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee.

The 3D rendering of the Sixth Avenue multi-use path interchange near the railroad could cost about $10,000. But one committee member pointed out that the rendering will be important for other discussions with the Regional Transportation Authority, the City of Tucson, or the public down the road.

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