Green Valley recognized for excellence in
bicycle safety



By Nick Prevenas,
Published: Wednesday, February 25, 2009
In some areas of the county, motorists and bicyclists share a contentious relationship with regard to roadway access.

Here in Southern Arizona, those two groups have a much more cooperative arrangement. Motorists and cyclists have learned to share the roads in hopes of increasing safety for everyone involved.

Last March, Pima County became one of nine gold-rated areas in the United States for bicycle safety, as rated by the League of American Bicyclists. The other eight include cities like Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, while Pima County — which includes Green Valley, Sahuarita, Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, the Pasqua Yaqui and Tohono O’odham areas — is the only region listed.

As a result, a handful of “Bicycle Friendly Community” signs will be placed in high-traffic cycling areas within the next couple of months.

Senior transportation planner for the Pima Association of Governments Gabe Thum presented the first of these signs to Green Valley at Thursday’s Board of Supervisors meeting at the Desert Hills Social Center. Thum said 40 signs will be dispersed throughout Pima County.

“It’s a special thing for our entire region to place such an emphasis on bicycle safety,” Thum said.

The gold rating was achieved by this area’s increased focus on engineering, education, enforcement, evaluation and encouragement.

Santa Cruz Bicycle Advocacy Committee members John Pilger and Jim Jordan discussed what this rating means for the community, as well as the plans the SCBAC has to make Green Valley even more safe and enjoyabe for cyclists.

Both men pointed out how instrumental SCBAC member Bill Adamson — who spent Thursday in Phoenix at the ADOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Steering Committee meeting — was to bringing these signs to the area.

“Green Valley takes pride as being a very bike-cautious community,” Green Valley Community Coordinating Council President Stan Riddle said.

Part of what made Green Valley’s transition to a bicycle-friendly community so smooth was this area’s reliance on alternative transportation — specifically, golf carts.

“Those golf-cart lanes around town really made it easy for us,” Pilger said.

With the bicycle lanes along Nogales highway, Jordan pointed out that a cyclist can almost ride from Tucson to the Canoa road exit. Once the roundabout planned at the intersection of Continental road and Camino Del Sol finishes construction in early summer, a cyclist’s ride will be uninterrupted.

Bike lanes will also be added to the east frontage road underpass, once construction begins on that area later this summer.

The SCBAC also has a user-friendly cycling map designed, which will point out the best areas to take a ride.

“We have so many part-time residents and visitors that we feel this map will make cycling a lot easier for everyone,” Pilger said. “I have friends from Vermont who came out here, and they were blown away with how bike-friendly our roads are.”

A 2007 Pima County Department of Environmental Quality survey determined that nine percent of Pima County residents use their bikes at least once a week, which puts roughly 100,000 cyclists on the road at any given time. | 547-9747

Cyclists line up eastbound on Duval Mine Road on Saturday during a round trip that started at the University of Arizona. Photo by Scott Taras/Special to the Green Valley News



Stan Riddle holds a sign like those that will be placed across the region touting a commitment to bike safety as Gabe Thurm, senior transportation manager for the Pima Association of governments, applauds