Tucson examines intersection for cyclist safety

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The City of Tucson is finally taking another look at the confusing downtown intersection where 4th Avenue, Toole and Congress meet.

There are some proposed fixes intended to make the intersection easier for drivers to navigate.

But some feel the changes still may not be enough to keep cyclists safe.

Cyclists have been complaining about this area for more than a year now.  That's because you have bike lanes that disappear, cyclists riding in traffic, and lanes that confuse motorists.

A city panel has made a few suggestions.

It's the area where Toole runs into Congress runs into 4th, a dubious intersection that's about to see some changes.

"It's hard to say how much they'll actually help," said Michael McKisson from tucsonvelo.com

Michael McKisson with the cyclist news site tucsonvelo.com says the city's proposed improvements might help car traffic.

"If you're in the right lane you have to turn right down Toole, making the pavement markings a little more clear as to which direction you go," said McKisson.

The recommendation list includes restricted lane options, fresh paint and more signs.

"I mean there's still not bike lanes there's not bicycle specific infrastructure," said McKisson.

A year ago the head of the transportation department said bike lanes are not needed.

"We're finding for the safety of bicyclists, having them integrated with the vehicles is actually a better way to manage that," said Jim Glock from the Tucson Transportation Department a year ago.

There's still a long list of gripes from cyclists.

"If you want to activate this cross walk you have to take this turn up here.  Some of these cars that are cruising through here are not expecting to see a cyclist come up around this corner," said Josh Capps.

"It's just backed up from the light and they can't get through so this traffic just backs up here what does that mean, it means I weave through traffic to get through," said Elizabeth Garber.

There are near term fixes in addition to long term measures.  An official report detailing the improvements will be issued at the end of May.