South bank paths of Rillito River Park nearly complete between First and Campbell avenuesby Pima County News on Oct. 26, 2011, under Parks & Recreation, Pima County, The Loop, Transportation, Tucson
Pima County residents and visitors are a big step closer to being able to walk, ride or run on the south bank of the Rillito from the Santa Cruz River Park path all the way to Craycroft Road now that pathways between First and Campbell avenues are nearly completed.
The pathways are now open for public use, but ongoing finish work is being completed and pathway users are asked to use caution.
The pathways consist of an 8- to 11-foot-wide paved path and a parallel 3- to 8-foot-wide decomposed granite “soft” path. Wherever possible, the paths also have shade landscaping.
As part of the Rillito River Park, the newly completed segments are also a part of The Loop, 55 miles of car-free paths being developed around metropolitan Tucson for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians. The Loop will link the Rillito, Santa Cruz and Pantano river parks with greenways along the Julian Wash and Harrison Road.
The new segments make it easier for residents of homes and apartment complexes on the south side of the Rillito to walk or ride to workplaces and shops near Campbell Avenue, the farmers market on Sundays at St. Philip’s Plaza, and other nearby locations.
They also provide a new car-free Safe Routes to School path for students and their families going to Rio Vista Elementary School at Mountain and Prospect Lane, and to other schools located near the Rillito path.
Elsewhere on the south bank of the Rillito, pedestrians and cyclists need to cross to the north bank for short distances to travel the full 11.6 miles through the Rillito River Park.
The prime consultant for the First Avenue to Mountain segment was Westland Resources Inc.; the general contractor was Tucson Asphalt Contractors Inc. Construction cost $300,000 and was funded primarily by a Transportation Enhancement Grant administered through the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The prime consultant for the Mountain to Campbell segment was Olsson Associates; the general contractor was M. Anderson Construction Corp. Construction cost $240,000 and was funded by 1997 Pima County bonds.
The Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program is conducting safety and informational outreach along the pathways for the next month, providing free bike maps, bike safety class schedules, and other items, as well as talking with bicyclists and pedestrians about using the pathways as safely as possible. Contact Matt Zoll with the Pima County Department of Transportation for more information at 243-BIKE (2453).