The Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) recently took an increasingly common step to make biking and walking in Tucson a bit safer. When repaving Speedway between Silverbell and Greasewood, city engineers looked at the actual traffic counts on the street and determined that it didn’t need 4 automotive travel lanes — that two lanes could easily accommodate the current levels of traffic, leaving extra room for new buffered bike lanes and, along some parts of the road, a new turning lane to make it easier for cars to get onto local neighborhood streets.
This kind of lane reconfiguration is known as a “right sizing” or a “road diet”, and they’re being used more and more across the country to rebalance roadway priorities. Most importantly, they are proven to greatly improve road safety for all roadway users.
You can learn more about road diets here:
- Bicycle Tucson, “More room for bikes following Speedway ‘road diet’“
- CityLab, “So What Exactly Is a ‘Road Diet’?“
- PAG Traffic Counts for Tucson
- US Department of Transportation Road Diet Informational Guides
Even though in this particular case it was a very safe resizing — there is very little chance it will impact car travel times in any way — TDOT and the Tucson Mayor and City Council are already receiving complaints from a few citizens who see ANY reduction in travel lanes as a step backwards, even if it increases safety for motorists and bicycles alike, and even if it has no impact on commute times.
We’re asking you to share your story about this road segment and let the City know that you appreciate the road diet. If you bike or walk along this roadway, and you’re happy to see these new lanes providing you a safe place to do so, we need to hear from you. We’ll share your story with TDOT and our elected representatives so that they understand that a few angry drivers don’t outweigh the need for safer streets for everyone!
Please fill out the form below and we’ll share it with the right people so that the next time we ask for a road to be rebalanced for safety they’ll be that much more likely to support it.