Posts Tagged ‘Bicyclists’
More people than ever are riding two wheels to work, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Between 2009 and 2010, Tucson saw its largest annual increase in ridership and more cyclists than ever on the roads.
Bicycle commuting in Tucson increased by more than 50 percent in one year. It went from 1.9 percent of total commuters in 2009 to 3 percent in 2010, according to data gathered from the American Community Survey, a follow up to the census. In Pima County, more than 7,000 people rode a bicycle to work. The survey counts workers ages 16 and older who commute on a bicycle three or more days per week. The survey does not include school or recreational trips, or bicyclists riding for health purposes, shopping or eating out.
Matthew Zoll, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager for the Pima County Department of Transportation, attributes the significant increase to a number of factors including the regional bicycle education and safety program, in which over 1,000 adults and 3,000 children take part each year learning safe and legal riding practices.
“I think this increase is in large part due to a regional bicycle education program that is the largest of its kind in the nation,” he said, “Also, additional improvements to local bike routes and the bike boulevard system as well as the addition of miles of new shared use paths and bike lanes and construction of The Loop have made getting around on two wheels easier than ever.”
The Loop is a 55-mile path being developed around Tucson, with links to Marana and Oro Valley, that connects the Rillito River Park, the Santa Cruz River Park, the Julian Wash Greenway, the Harrison Greenway and the Pantano River Park. Visit www.pima.gov/TheLoop to learn more about The Loop.
He also attributes the increase to good community events, such as El Tour, BikeFest, Tour of the Tucson Mountains and Cyclovia, as well as advocacy and advisory entities, such as the Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Pima County Bike Ambassador Program, the Coalition of Arizona Cyclists, Greater Arizona Bicycling Association, TucsonVelo, the Santa Cruz Valley Bicycle Advocate Committee, the Living Streets Alliance and more.
“Pima County is a great place to ride a bike,” Zoll said. “I hope these results encourage more people to give bike commuting a try. For those who need a little guidance, the County’s free Bike Safety Classes are available to help them gain confidence on two wheels.”
For more information about the Pima County Bicycle & Pedestrian Program and the Bike Safety Classes, visit www.bikeped.pima.gov or call (520) 243-BIKE.
Kids Learn Bicycle Skills and Lessons for Living Healthy, Active Lives
Tucson’s inaugural Youth Summer Bike Camp was a success thanks to a partnership among local cycling organizations and Pima County. More than 50 local children ages 8-13 gained bicycling skills, healthy lifestyle knowledge and confidence in a fun, peer-lead environment. The camp was so well received that co-coordinators are already planning for another camp next year.
“It was a huge success on all fronts,” said Daniela Diamente, El Grupo Youth Cycling Director and a co-coordinator of the camp. “We had an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone. The kids had a blast.”
Several Pima County departments, El Grupo and Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage (BICAS) joined together to offer three weeklong summer camp sessions. Each session, which ran from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, used fun, hands-on activities to teach bicycle maintenance and safety as well as healthful living tips.
Pima County Department of Transportation (PCDOT) Bicycle & Pedestrian Program provided nationally certified bike safety instruction through the Bike Ambassadors program, and more than a dozen El Grupo members ages 14-18, who are part of a United Way Youth Health Leadership Team, served as youth instructors. Under their guidance, campers learned to pick safe cycling routes and took group rides ranging from 5-20 miles depending on ability level.
“We really focused on bikes as a form of transportation,” Diamente said. “We rode to different parks and did bike-handling activities there and explored local neighborhoods. We wanted to show that you can use your bike to get places and it can be fun to use your bike.”
The campers’ riding skills and confidence levels increased by leaps and bounds in just one week. One camper who didn’t know how to ride a bike on the first day went on to ride eight miles on the last day of the weeklong camp.
Campers learned that in addition to being fun, riding a bike can be part of a healthful and sustainable lifestyle – an important lesson in a county where childhood obesity rates are startlingly high due in large part to sedentary lifestyles and limited access to nutritional information.
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), a national grant to reduce obesity and related chronic diseases overseen by the Pima County Health Department, helped develop the Youth Summer Bike Camp curriculum and provided bilingual promotional support. The Community Food Bank with the El Grupo instructors shared information about nutrition and making healthful food choices. The County’s Department of Environmental Quality Clean Air Program added air pollution information and awareness to the mix and supplied funds for patch kits, tire tubes, safety lights, bike repair tools and other supplies used during the camp.
In addition to gaining bicycling skills and self-assurance, campers received certificates of achievement, camp T-shirts and goodie bags with helmets, bike maps, bumper stickers and Share the Road guides thanks to PCDOT. Bicycle company Specialized provided seat pouches and customized water bottles for all campers and scholarships for those who couldn’t afford the $150 camp fee.
The first bike camp was such a success that the co-coordinators are already planning to offer an even bigger camp next summer, Diamente said.
“The kids were so excited about it,” she said. “We will definitely do it again. You better bet there will be Summer Bike Camp 2012.”
For more information about the organizations involved in the Youth Summer Bike Camp, please visit:
Pima County Department of Transportation – http://bikeped.pima.gov
Pima County Health Department Communities Putting Prevention to Work – www.healthypima.org
Pima County Department of Environmental Quality Clean Air Program – www.deq.pima.gov/air/CAP.html
El Grupo Youth Cycling – http://elgrupocycling.org
BICAS – http://bicas.org
Pima County, Ariz. (August 9, 2011) – Pima County Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Air Program efforts in fiscal 2010-2011 are paying off.
More than half those surveyed know about the program and more than half also knew about the county co-sponsored annual Earth Day festival and parade, the Bike to Work Day and Bike Fest.
Also, 74 percent of those surveyed said they have seen or heard TV or radio commercials about clean air or air pollution. A total of 403 interviews of males and females 16 and older were conducted by phone in June 2011 by a local consultant.
The goal of the survey was to evaluate the effectiveness of county programs designed to make people aware of what they can do to help clean the air – and to let them know when air pollution is above federal standards.
More than half of those surveyed said they found television alerts the most effective way for them to get information on county air-quality alerts.
A total of 43 percent said radio was the most effective way to reach them with these alerts. And 37 percent said a television news story is the most effective way for them to get this information. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is considering tightening its air quality standards to make them even more protective of health, so local air-quality alerts could become more frequent.
The survey also asked people whether they bike or carpool to work or school; whether they are driving less to reduce air pollution, and whether they have someone in their home with a breathing problem that could be affected by poor air quality.
The survey focused on transportation issues, since the majority of the air pollution in Pima County is caused by motor vehicle use. It asked people whether they ride a bike to school or work or to shop and do errands.
The last survey of the county’s Clean Air programs was completed in May 2008. Budget cuts made it impossible to do a survey in 2009 and 2010, said Pima County Department of Environmental Quality Senior Program Manager Beth Gorman.
Gorman said the survey results will be used by the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality to:
- Evaluate efforts to increase awareness of air quality issues
- Encourage actions to reduce air pollution
- Develop effective ways to communicate air quality alerts
- Develop public knowledge of air quality issues and county services related to air quality
The information also will be used by other county departments, including the Department of Transportation, as well as outside local agencies, to:
- Determine current travel behaviors
- Determine use of alternate modes of transportation
- Find effective ways to encourage the use of alternate modes of transportation
Gorman presented the survey results at a meeting of the Pima Association of Governments’ Travel Reduction Program Regional Task Force in July.
The $9,900 survey was paid for with grant funding from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. It was conducted by a local, private company hired by the county through a competitive bid process.
The evaluation of the county’s clean air program is required as part of the grant’s ” Scope of Work,” in order to qualify for state funding.
Pima County, Ariz. (July 20) – Pima County has painted portions of its roads green at some busy intersections to help bicyclists and motorists merge safely.
The green indicates that the intersections require extra caution.
Here are the locations of the six green-painted road intersections:
Dodge bridge/path crossing
Two additional intersections will get the green paint soon. They are:
Read more about what Pima County Transportation Director Priscilla Cornelio says about the bright green markings and see what they look like at KGUN9-TV’s website: