Cyclists head down Grand Avenue, where there is currently no lane marked for bicycles, during a memorial ride last summer for Mark Seeger, a local man who was killed by a diver while biking on the busy thoroughfare.
A bike lane covering about three miles on Grand Avenue and Apache Boulevard leading to Nogales High School is in the works and could be finished by March 2023, according to a presentation given to the Nogales City Council in October.
The path, 10 feet wide and designed for pedestrian and bicycle use, will run along Grand Avenue between Baffert Drive and Country Club Road and along Apache Boulevard from Grand Avenue to Mariposa Ranch Road, design documents show.
The $1.3 million pathway will be paid for by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The project also includes additional work on Mariposa Ranch Road ($140,000) and Apache Boulevard ($180,000) that will be funded by money from the city’s overweight permit fee fund. And the city estimates that a design for the Apache Boulevard work will cost another $120,000.
A project timeline shows city crews doing preliminary work in 2020 and 2021, with construction of the bike lane getting underway in late 2022.
Bringing bike lanes to city streets has been a topic of discussion for several years, though previous plans have lost momentum or hit roadblocks.
When the Mariposa Port of Entry was under development in 2011, an idea was floated for a bike lane near that port. And in 2015, the city council talked about putting a pathway near the DeConcini Port of Entry, after a number of local riders wrote to elected officials asking for a bike lane. Neither of those came to fruition.
Two years ago, ADOT hosted a public meeting on a proposed plan to improve 13 areas in the city for pedestrian and bike safety. Speakers at that meeting highlighted the unsafe conditions for cyclists, joggers and pedestrians on Grand Avenue.
In recent years, the local biking scene has gained visibility. That’s thanks in large part to the 0S3 group, a family-friendly club that hosts weekly public rides. 0S3 was behind the Monte Carlo Trails project, which finished construction of an gravel bike path in that neighborhood last year.
The plan presented last month suggests that, after several years, at least two city streets will see protected lanes for cyclists.
And it comes just months after a cyclist was killed in an accident on Grand Avenue. On May 31, Mark Seeger of Nogales died after his bike was hit by a truck on Grand Avenue, between Congress Drive and Apache Boulevard.