4th Ave. · bike · bikes · car · Google · Google Earth · Google SketchUp · Tucson · University of Arizona

A Better 4th Ave: Bike Boulevard Scenario Final Project

4th Ave. and Elm St.

When I watch people bike around the nationally recognized bicycle friendly campus at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, I see people biking slow, biking fast, wearing flip-flops, talking on cellphones, talking to friends, etc. Some people would identify this as “bad biking behavior”; I see it as something else.

On campus, people can bike without a fear of being hit by cars! Since many perts of campus are closed off to cars, people have the freedom to bike or walk around at whatever speed they want, however they please. Safe, car free (or car lite) streets are ideal for stimulating bike ridership.

For my final project in my 416E: Geovisualization class, my group and I created scenarios for bike related infrastructure. We focused our scenarios on a short stretch of 4th Ave. This street is currently undergoing treatments to become more bike friendly. However, we built scenarios that demonstrated the possibilities for turning 4th Ave. into a real bike boulevard.

What is a bike boulevard? Watch the video below to find out:

To build our scenario, we used Google SketchUp. This is a free object modeling program that is quite easy to use. We then imported our models into Google Earth to provide real world imagery as a backdrop. Here are some screenshots from my Google Earth + SketchUp model:
4th and University, looking North

4th at Catalina Park, looking North

4th and Speedway, looking North

My scenario was a “bike friendly” scenario. Someone else in our group did a full “bike priority” scenario as well. Unfortunately, we could not export our video tours onto YouTube. Apparently, you need to buy Google Earth Pro to do that.

This project was fun because it forced us to learn how to use some useful Google freeware to build a real world scenario. I plan on using this software in the future to create more models.
4th Ave. at Catalina Park

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2 thoughts on “A Better 4th Ave: Bike Boulevard Scenario Final Project

  1. I'm sorry being "free" to ride while talking on a cell phone is not the image of cycling that promotes the practicality and sensibility of cycling. It's no different than the image of car drivers driving while on cell phones. Simply put, it's the image of people who don't give a damn about other users of paths or roads. It's an image that makes responsible cyclists cringe.More importantly, feeling free from the danger of being hit by a car shouldn't make someone feel free to put someone else at risk, which is exactly what cell phone using cyclists do.

  2. After reviewing what I wrote, I agree. I was simply trying to get across the idea of a cycling environment where people felt safe and free. In hindsight, I also cringe when I see people biking and texting. However, when campus is empty on weekends and off-hours, the cycling environment is much different. For example, I would never consider biking + cell phone use on campus during peak hours, but during off hours, I've sometimes found myself riding slowly through the mall making a phone call. But as I said, I essentially agree with you and the cell phone example is probably a bad one. Thank you for the feedback!

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