Streetcar route poses threats to cyclists - Tucson News Now

Streetcar route poses threats to cyclists

(Source: http://www.tucsonstreetcar.com/) (Source: http://www.tucsonstreetcar.com/)
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Cyclists and the streetcar both move, but neither is goingaway.  Those who represent the area and its cyclists took a look Friday atwhat needs to change.  In tight spaces such as Second Street, thestreetcar and even motorists might have to stay behind cyclists instead ofpassing too closely.

"You're going to kill somebody on one of these things becauseof the way the streetcar was laid out.  And we're going to map it forthem, and we're going to give it to TDOT, and we're going to say, 'you guysfigure out a solution,'" said Ward Six Tucson City Council member SteveKozachik.

"It's a combination of efforts of educating drivers,educating cyclists to not overtake the streetcar as well in those tight pinchspots.  I think we can do a lot of it with signage," said Living StreetsAlliance program coordinator Kylie Walzak.

A parked car can hold up the flow on Congress, as was seen about amonth ago.  The closeness of the rails to parking spaces could mean morechanges downtown.  Vehicle parking on that side of the street might giveway to parklets for businesses to offer additional seating to customers or bikeparking which can already be seen on Sixth Avenue.

"They tend to spend more time downtown on a bike than they doin a car, spend more money per capita, so there's compelling reasons for tryingto attract cyclists down there and make it as safe as possible," said DowntownTucson Partnership CEO Michael Keith.

"If we can pilot some of these parklets in high-density areasalong the streetcar route, maybe we'll start to change minds a little bit aboutthe value of that parking space," Walzak said.

Even if you don't plan on riding a bike or taking the streetcar,the rails in this area could still affect your safety, as Kozachik pointed outwhile watching a U of A police officer on a motorcycle navigate around therails on Second Street.

"Now you got a cop sitting there in the middle of thestreetcar lane because he doesn't want to get his tire in the tracks. There are going to be accidents all over the place with this thing.  Itwas a bad design," he said.

The streetcar is expected to start carrying passengers thissummer.

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