Mountain Cog

061 – Bikes, roads, and other modes. A conversation with “Roundabout Sam”. (Sam Credio, Director of Transportation & Mobility, City of Tucson)

December 12, 2023 Mountain Cog - Joshua Anderson & Mike Festerling Episode 61
Mountain Cog
061 – Bikes, roads, and other modes. A conversation with “Roundabout Sam”. (Sam Credio, Director of Transportation & Mobility, City of Tucson)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode Josh, Mike, & Roundabout Sam have an interesting conversation on the vast challenges and success stories related to managing transportation & mobility in Tucson, Arizona.  While centered around Tucson… these topics directly translate to any major city.  The subjects covered include: increasing bicycle, pedestrian, and motorized safety on our roads, bike lane strategies, bicycle events (like El Tour De Tucson and Cyclovia), community engagement and feedback, road design, construction, and repair (including Sam’s favorite topic; potholes), how Arizona monsoons reek havoc on our roads, funding challenges, and much much more.  Sam is humble, hard working, well versed, and funny guy.  You will like Sam and after listening to this episode you will walk away with a better understanding of what goes into managing transportation in a large city. Enjoy.

Report a road or other transportation & mobility concerns…
Email:
Tdotconcerns@tucsonaz.gov
Call: (520) 791-3154

DTM: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/Departments/Transportation-Mobility

Cyclovia: https://www.cycloviatucson.org/

El Tour De Tucson: https://eltourdetucson.org/

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Josh:

So I uh it was hard for me to like really understand that my father, like when I was a kid, was stealing from the Department of Transportation.

Mike:

Your dad stealing from the Department of Transportation, yeah.

Josh:

And then, when I got home, all the signs were there.

Mike:

That's pretty good. Well, that one's sorry, but the reason that that joke is extra special for tonight is because we have All right. I brought my thesaurus with me. We always say special guest, our special guest, so Josh asked me to dig into the thesaurus to get a little more creative, without saying special every episode.

Josh:

We're gonna let Sam pick. Yes, so Sam what kind of guest are you gonna be? All?

Mike:

right, here's what the thesaurus kicked out. Okay, exceptional, extra special, that's, that's weak, I know I use that unusual, noteworthy, special, remarkable, special. Yeah so tonight we have a what kind of guest?

Josh:

What are you that's?

Roundabout Sam:

that's like a he's a humble man that's exactly. Can't ask a humble man to give us that. Although it's remarkable, sounds pretty, there you go. Remarkable, we have a remarkable guest.

Josh:

tonight we have a remarkable guest. Would you like to introduce yourself, sir?

Roundabout Sam:

I'd be happy to Sam Credio. I'm the director of transportation and mobility for the city of Tucson.

Mike:

Wow, yeah, that sounds in.

Roundabout Sam:

That sounds pretty special, I chose remarkable, because it is remarkable that I'm in this position. It's unbelievable. I'm still kind of that's awesome.

Mike:

So we're sitting in the Tucson area, right In your, the director of transportation and mobility of the city of Tucson. So you're a home, homegrown boy, though, right From university and everything.

Roundabout Sam:

Pretty close yeah, my family. I was born in Chicago.

Josh:

Okay.

Roundabout Sam:

And my family moved here when it was was less than a year old.

Josh:

What you said. I just said Midwest, yeah, there's like a lot of Midwest, a lot of Midwest yeah.

Roundabout Sam:

Midwest transplant. I was less than a year old, so Tucson's my hometown.

Mike:

So did you ever make it to the broad stop when you were one year old? Your parents are like he can eat, let's go to the broad stop outside of Racine, Wisconsin. Never made it to the broad.

Josh:

Next time you're up, next time you're in Racine, wisconsin, the broad stop at the broad stop. How are you talking?

Mike:

about. Is that close?

Josh:

Is that close to?

Mike:

Chicago Racine, wisconsin. It's the halfway point where I was born, actually between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Josh:

Yep. So there you go, josh, all right, hey, listen this is good Brought, worse Brought stop, okay, sorry, I cut you off though Chicago, one years old, two years old yeah, moved to Tucson and been here ever since.

Roundabout Sam:

Went to Santa Rita High School. Yeah, I went to the U of A and graduated with a civil engineering degree and I started working in the private sector as a designer for roads transportation projects. Really, in fact, I've designed a handful of projects around the city. Star Pass, mission Road was a project I worked on.

Josh:

Oh, very cool.

Roundabout Sam:

I designed the whole roadway. Let's see Kamino Seiko right-stand intersection. I designed that, wow. So I've got you know, my fingerprints on the city and in 2011, I was laid off and, luckily enough, in 2012, I found myself at the city of Tucson. Been there ever since.

Josh:

Wow, yeah, that's awesome. Hey, so so, um, so I've never talked to someone that's designed a road before. Yeah, can you like talk me through the process, like, what does it take? What is, what are the steps in designing a road?

Roundabout Sam:

It really depends. If it's a new road, Is it a? Are we widening the road? Are we retrofitting it? For some reason at Star Pass and Mission was a really cool project because we actually realigned the road. If you remember, Mission Road used to go straight through around A Mountain.

Roundabout Sam:

Yes, so we we realigned that to create a T intersection to slow down speeds there, oh, interesting. And on top of that we also added some bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. So it was a really cool project, one of my first as a designer, and what goes into it is you collect data, you collect survey. That's the boring part. You lay out your horizontal, your your vertical. But what's more interesting is when you get out and go to the public, because you lay out your design and you go ask the public, what do you think about this? And then that's where they tell you well, you know, we we enjoy walking or biking in this area, so we'd like to see bike lanes or we'd like to see more sidewalks, and so and in that instance, we actually did some water harvesting in the middle.

Roundabout Sam:

That was when water harvesting was like not even really a thing, right. And so there was this whole open area that we created, this little like mesquite forest almost, and what's cool about that is, during construction, we uncovered an old landfill. We started pulling tire after tire out of that area. Yeah, wow, so it was. It was that was a. That was a cool, exciting project. Design is anywhere from 12 to 24 months.

Josh:

Oh, wow, so it's quite a long time.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, so, and then that includes, you know, trying to find out where the utilities are at underground, making sure the public's happy with the project. Then the city bids it out and then a contractor. I think that one took about a year to construct, so, start to finish, it takes anywhere from two to five years to to build a project, but we have some that lasts a lot longer, and I think you're going to ask me about one.

Mike:

Yes, I won't spoil it. Thank you, that's got to be such a cool thing.

Josh:

Like anyone that's involved in creating something that, like lasts a long time, like every time you drive down that part of town. You're like I did that.

Roundabout Sam:

Yep, my mom used to live on that side of town and she'd always drive by it and tell people my son designed that.

Mike:

It is really cool.

Roundabout Sam:

It's kind of a lasting legacy, and I think that that's why I really cling to my role at the city is that I get to serve the public and provide a service that you know hopefully has an impactful, lasting impact on the community?

Mike:

Yeah, for sure, absolutely, that's. That's really cool, sam. All right, so question backing up to your title director of transportation and mobility? Yeah, how help us understand that. Second, half of your title.

Roundabout Sam:

What? Yeah, so we actually used to be called, our department used to be called T dot to son department of transportation, and that was just everybody knows is T dot. And in 2019, actually 2020, the mayor and council had a retreat and one of the things that they talked about doing was changing our name and adding the word mobility to it, and there was a motion and a vote and they changed their name. Like in the middle of a meeting. I was actually on vacation. I came back.

Josh:

Yeah, we changed our name.

Roundabout Sam:

And and at. At the time some of us were scratching our heads, but what we realize is that transportation is just one piece of what we do, and our name now more accurately reflects the service we provide to the community, because mobility is about moving people, all types of people, all different modes, through the community, and so we were already doing that, and so now transportation and mobility just sort of is a nice way of describing the work we do.

Josh:

So I heard you use that phrase the different types of modes. So what are the different types of modes of transportation that you typically do?

Roundabout Sam:

Yes, so in our department we handle everything, basically everything you see between the sidewalks. So curbs, sidewalks, streets, lighting, traffic signals, but we also have parking in our. In our department we also manage the transit system for the city of Tucson. We manage all the maintenance, we we have the capital projects. We basically everything you see. And then encompasses people walking, biking, riding a bus, driving a car.

Mike:

Right on. Yeah, that sounds like it covers a lot of different areas. Sam does yeah, it does.

Josh:

How's your funding, man? Yeah, doing OK you know.

Roundabout Sam:

So that's a good question. I'm glad you brought that up. Most people don't understand how transportation is funded, so our primary source of funding is the gas tax, and so whenever you fill up your tank, 18 cents of that per gallon goes into what's called a highway user revenue fund and then we get a share of that and it's about 60 million dollars a year. Ok, that that comes into the city.

Josh:

That's your share, that's my share that.

Roundabout Sam:

That's what we use for fixing the potholes, addressing street lights I mean, mostly that is maintenance, and we can also use that for some capital projects, but that's primarily how we fund it. We can't use gas tax for transit, we can't use it for parking, it's only for the transportation needs. The bad thing about the gas tax is the 18 cents was set back in like nineteen, ninety something, and it hasn't changed since then. Right, so you know, we all know the cost of everything has gone up, but yet our funding has stayed pretty much the same, and so we have to get creative with how we fund our system, and we've done that through sales tax, through bonds, and and just also we there's a regional sales tax as well that we participate in.

Josh:

Have you guys seen with the, with the right, and I don't even know what the metrics are, but with the rise of electric vehicles, have you seen a decline? In the number of gallons sold and therefore a decline in the available revenue for you.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, yeah, that's something we're watching really closely. In fact, I had just got our quarterly numbers for her how we use a revenue fund and they were down and I was a little bit worried because we haven't typically seen a decline, we haven't seen an increase, it's been flat and that's been the concern for us because the needs continue to grow but we are funding sources flat. But this last three months we actually saw a decline in her and I'm just curious. I'm wondering what that's due to. Damn you, elon Musk, and that's a concern.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, we don't get any funding from electric vehicles. Yeah, the wear and tear on the roads is same as a gas powered vehicle.

Josh:

Right Interesting.

Mike:

That really is All right. So we've had campfire cycles on, yeah, ok, right, yep, and running behind campfire cycles is a beautiful new road that you get, smooth as can be and really cool. So we took that after doing what's it called the escape room, did an escape room downtown Tucson, and we're on the way back and my daughter said my daughter goes to school with your daughter, ok. And she said that Grace's dad helped, like design whatever, build this road, whatever. You know nine year olds to say ten year old say. And I said really, and so I chatted you about it. So we got kind of connected with this whole topic here, so so that you can you tell us about that, like the planning and what went into that, and you know the length and duration and all that.

Roundabout Sam:

That's. That's a really cool project. So that project is called downtown links it's just kind of the name we gave that project. It's actually the third phase of a three phase project. So the first phase of the project was a big drainage project around the 8th Street 4th Avenue area. That went in in roughly 2012. And the reason that was the first phase is because we had to get the box culvert in before the streetcar tracks were laid on 4th Avenue Right.

Roundabout Sam:

The second phase was St Mary's, from church to I-10. That was the widened St Mary's to four lanes. Previously it was two lanes. There was no sidewalks, no lighting. We actually added sidewalks, lighting, drainage. That was my first project at the city. In fact, when we cut the ribbon on it, grace was just barely a year old I think she just turned a year old and so I was the project manager on that, both the construction and then the design, and I joked that they just picked the youngest guy in the room and we're like you're going to do it because this project is going to last forever so if you think about we were working on the design of that one.

Roundabout Sam:

They just completed it back in 2012 and we're still still working, still working on it, still trying to build it. So the history of that project is when ADOT was going to build aviation, they actually were going to continue aviation straight across downtown over to I-10. What that was going to do is wipe out all those warehouses where campfires at and the city lost their mind. They had protests, they held hands through the underpass and 4th Avenue and ADOT said forget it, we're out and turn the project over to the city of Tucson. And since that time it's been about 30 years that we've been working on figuring out what that project was going to look like and ultimately, what we landed on is a local four-lane road with bike lanes. It's pretty limited access to get people around downtown and over to St Mary's to I-10. Because we know that we could see the traffic volumes growing and downtown's not getting any. Streets aren't getting wider. Downtown you can't. There's no room to do that Exactly.

Josh:

There's no capacity, so and downtown?

Roundabout Sam:

was growing. It's growing with the streetcar and development, so we want the people that are going downtown to enjoy it, and then those that need to get around it. That's what downtown Lynx was intended to do. Ultimately, the road was renamed to Maclovio Baraza Parkway. That was a request from the Baraza family that Baraza Aviation Highway's named after. They actually approached us and asked if they would name the new road after their father, and so we did, and that's how, and what's really cool about that is we don't build new roads very often.

Roundabout Sam:

It's only the second new road in a really long time, the first being the Sabino Canyon Road extension over the landfill there, and then, this is the second new road, so it's been really exciting to be part of that, both from the design and now actually we cut the ribbon on that East Mile. I got to cut the ribbon as director, which is really cool, and then we're working on the West Mile right now, which is a new road underneath the railroad track, so you will no longer have to wait for the trains there. And a quick side note that that grade crossing at Sixth Street was one of the most deadliest crossings in UPS alignment, like across the country, because of all the pedestrians, a bicyclist and vehicles at that location.

Mike:

Oh, up, union Pacific Railroad, union Pacific Railroad, yeah, so yeah, yeah yeah no, yep.

Roundabout Sam:

And so that project is slated to be complete later next year and it's going to be a brand new road and it's a cool project. It's been a lot of fun working on that one.

Josh:

That's cool. Do you track metrics, like are you able to track how much traffic is going through, like on that East Road? You know? Yet we do. Yeah.

Roundabout Sam:

So periodically we take traffic counts. We try to do them in the spring and the fall. Yep, try to avoid summer and winter because of the, you know, people leave for school or the snow birds come in. So spring and fall and yeah, we haven't yet, but we'll do some traffic counts to see it's pretty well utilized. I see lots of folks out there driving. But what's really cool about that project is all of the alternate modes that we accommodate it through the design, and so what I mean by that is, during design a lot of folks told us hey, 9th Avenue and 7th Avenue are major thoroughfares for people walking and biking to downtown and we need to maintain those connections. And so through the design on this project, we found ways to keep those connections in place or enhance them. And so if you notice along that new road, there's actually a multi-use path on one side of it and we worked really hard with the bicycling community to try to either enhance or maintain those connections.

Josh:

That's super cool. You said a friend, we've got a kind of a worldwide podcast here. You said a term on it. Make sure our listeners know. You said snow birds. So here in Tucson I think it's a Tucson term, Maybe it's not, but like it's really hot here in the summer and it's really nice here the rest of your life. I always say we have four months awful and eight months of awesome, and during that eight months of awesome we get a lot of people that come down where it's super cold and they live here, like during the wintertime or whatever. We call them snow birds. So our population grows in the winter.

Mike:

So, sam, recently you have been bicycling, and your family as well, and I know you went to the really cool event called Cyclovia.

Mike:

And I know that there's a group in Tucson I always forget the name who puts that on Living Streets Alliance. Yep, thank you. So it's a really cool, fun event. And anyway, I know you have to close off the roads, I'm sure the lawn, you know, tpd, tucson Police Department is involved and all that. But so you're biking, so trying to kind of connect our podcast of bicycles and that to the nexus of you know kind of what you do here. So you mentioned there's feedback from the community and you heard, like seventh and ninth streets, avenues, avenues and continuing of the bike paths. So how does, like the whole bike community fit into your transportation and mobility?

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, that's an excellent question. You mentioned Campfire. Shout out to Campfire. They actually helped with my bike that I got hooked up with. So the Ward 1 council member actually her team got together. They found me an old bike at Bikis, brought it over to Campfire. Toby from Campfire hooked it up for me. That's cool, and they gifted it to me.

Roundabout Sam:

So, yeah, I have been cycling more, which has been really, really cool. We've got a lot of different ways that the cycling community interacts with our department. So one is there is formally the Tucson Pima Bicycle Advisory Committee that we have a staff lead that supports, and that is a group of people that represent all over the city and the county that are bicycling advocates, and so that is their sole role is to make recommendations to both mayor and council and our department on ways to improve bicycling across the community. Also, on projects like downtown links, we typically have an advisory committee made up of citizens that either are there in the neighborhoods or represent some specific area that we want to make sure that we're addressing, and so that was another way that they participated is providing comments during the design period, or just people have my email address so they email me directly and said hey, why don't?

Roundabout Sam:

you fix this?

Josh:

We'll go ahead and put that in the show.

Roundabout Sam:

There you go, it's public records.

Mike:

So I can only imagine like being in your position, like when I'm driving down the road. It's like you know your comments, like potholes and waiting for another red light. But to think about all that goes into it, and then like how open you are with listening to the public, I don't know if everybody, including myself, really has a good understanding of that. So, yeah, kudos, you know, and that's what makes our city a special place as well.

Roundabout Sam:

Absolutely, and you know I. So a couple of things is we've got different ways for the community to reach out to us and they can. You know, and I can give you the information. We got a phone number you can call and email address. You can report those potholes you don't always have to call me Mike.

Mike:

There's a number for that. Sorry, how to throw that in there? Yeah, absolutely.

Roundabout Sam:

Absolutely, we could talk. We should probably talk about potholes before we're done here. But you know one of the things I take my role as a public servant very seriously and our, our really hardworking 250 hardworking employees do that as well, and so we, when we hear those complaints, we want to address them. We want to make sure that if there's something we can fix, we'll try to fix it, and if we can't, then we'll tell you why we can't.

Mike:

So the Department of Transportation and Mobility is 250 city employees. That's correct.

Roundabout Sam:

Oh, wow.

Mike:

That's really cool.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, we could all of the Sundran, sundvan and Sundlink employees, because they're not they're not city employees, but we got a big team.

Josh:

Wow, that's very cool, yeah, okay.

Mike:

So some future projects. You know that you mentioned the voice, the advocacy groups of the bicyclists. Do they come to you and say, hey, we would like to see you know some bike paths, things like that? How do you know? Do you have anything in mind that might be coming down the pipe here?

Roundabout Sam:

Sure, so a few different ways that we address that. One is a few years ago, we actually completed a 20 year mobility master plan called Move Tucson, and so we did as we did broad outreach to the community. We asked that question what is it you want out of your transportation system? And what we heard is we want more transit, we want more walking, we want more biking, we want safe facilities that we can do those things. Of course, there was also some road projects that we there were some widening projects, but by and large, what we heard is that the community wants to modernize our roadway system, and what that means is they want sidewalks, they want lights, they want to be able to get across town efficiently. That doesn't always mean just adding more lanes. It means optimizing our traffic signal equipment. So that has been, for the last several years, kind of our guiding light.

Roundabout Sam:

We also have some voter initiatives that we're working on, and so one in particular that I think you all be interested in is back in 2018, the voters approved proposition 407. It was called Parks and Connections, and so there's a parks component and where the city's investing a lot of money in our parks across the city. But there was also a connections piece, and I thought that was really cool because we're investing in walking and cycling, providing those connections to the parks, and part of that program includes building several bike boulevards throughout the community, and that's something we're right in the middle of delivering as we speak. You call them bike boulevards, barks boulevards yeah.

Josh:

So, sam, are you guys involved with the Tucson Loop at all?

Roundabout Sam:

We're not involved with the loop. So the loop is, interestingly, maintained and operated by Pima County Regional Flood Control District, because those are all flood control facilities next to the wash. So even my counterpart at the Pima County Department of Transportation. They don't maintain the loop Interesting.

Josh:

So the loop is actually a public control. Yeah, I had no idea. Yeah, I would imagine that you're considering that in your design, though, so you can hook into the loop where it would make sense.

Roundabout Sam:

Yes, absolutely, and so I mentioned bike boulevards and it's interesting, most people are like what's a bike boulevard? So a bike boulevard is creating a low stress environment for people bicycling and actually walking as well, and so what that means is providing routes, typically through neighborhoods and local streets. That means lowering the speed limit to 20 miles per hour. We install speed humps, traffic circles, lane marking, signage, and again, it's just creating that lower stress, safer passageway for our most vulnerable users. And then part of that is where we see an opportunity to tie into the loop. That's what we're doing, because we know that people within the inner city want to make their way out to the loop, and so we want to be able to provide those safe connections.

Josh:

So when I'm riding on a street and I look down and I see a bicycle painted on the street, I'm on a bike boulevard, basically.

Roundabout Sam:

You may, you may not be depends where you're at.

Mike:

So would it be safe to say that it's not just let's build something here, you know, on a path there, but you guys have like a grand scheme and like you use the word connections.

Josh:

Move Tucson, was that right.

Roundabout Sam:

Move. Tucson was the master plan we did. Yeah, yeah.

Josh:

That's the grand scheme.

Mike:

That's the grand scheme. The move, Tucson. So I think I don't know if I shared this with you or it was with Wolfman, which the episode just dropped on Halloween timeframe.

Josh:

Yeah, a couple of weeks ago.

Mike:

Yeah, and but we had been talking at one point about what you mentioned the less stress and when we can look at the technology that people wear now when riding bicycles, you can start monitoring when they're stressed, and it's interesting to note that when there's high traffic and things like that, they can start to almost analyze that and tie it, you know, to the the riding in there.

Mike:

Absolutely, and so, with that kind of feedback in mind, I really like what you, what you mentioned there with the low stress, and one that comes to my mind is is it third? Third street, second street, I forget which?

Mike:

one Third street, yeah, third street and just a nice path. I think I'm going to be talking about the safety of Arizona students riding that, which is awesome for our university and all that. Sadly though, you know part of riding with traffic that there are accents that do happen. So I wanted to, you know, kind of explore that a little bit with you If you have any statistics to share and I know that's paramount to what you do as far as like safety and that goes and if there's anything that like we as a, as a bike community, can spread the word we also drive cars, you know to kind of just to create more of a safer environment. Just kind of, you know, help us explore that, that topic a little bit.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean. So I became director in April of 2022. And then we closed out 22 with nearly a hundred traffic related fatalities, including cyclists, engines, vehicles and I mean and I've told people that's as a as a transportation director it's just unacceptable.

Josh:

The population.

Roundabout Sam:

The population to signs about a half a million. Yeah city limits, yeah, about a half a million, and that was the highest. I mean I've got the stats back to 2015,. Nearly a hundred traffic related fatalities, the highest in that range, and so you know we've got to do something. So a few things that that we're doing as a department, and I know that you had chief Kaz Maron not too, long ago, my buddy Chad.

Roundabout Sam:

We got together right away and said look, we got to do something. So we have our teams meeting quarterly to figure out how do we address this concern, because, you know, traffic safety involves a few different things. It involves encouragement, education, enforcement, engineering, and I think equity is the is the fifth one.

Josh:

Well, those all ease, those are all ease the five and we explain the equity, because I got all those. But equity.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, so equity has to do with. Are you prioritizing safety in more affluent neighborhoods versus less affluent neighborhoods?

Josh:

I got you.

Roundabout Sam:

And we actually see a disproportionate impact on communities of color, communities that have experienced historic disinvestment, and so you know we need to make sure we're not leaving those folks behind. Okay.

Mike:

So you know we're not leaving the folks behind at the five ease, but so you were on with with on the YouTube I saw it anyways with when Secretary Buddha judge, get a town right for the 22nd Street Bridge and he had made a reference of that To disadvantage neighborhoods, and I think that speaks then to what you're talking about with the equity, as he wanted to create a safer bridge. That's like a better word.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, so 22nd Street Bridge is a really good example about how we can Provide some investment in areas that have experienced historic disinvestment. So 22nd Street Bridge right now you can't drive a school bus over it, you can't drive a suntran bus over it, you have to route around it because it's currently weight-restricted, and so Just there you have a barrier for people to get from their neighborhoods to read park to the University of Arizona, and so that is one of the ways that that bridge replacing that bridge is one of the ways that we can address that historic Disinvestment. Also, walking and biking that area not not too fun if you've ever done it. So we're gonna look for ways to improve that as well.

Josh:

Very cool, all right so let me just can I dig in something said real quick. Is that all right? Yeah, so you're actually seeing a disproportionate amount of fatalities in the underadvantaged or Lower income or I don't know what. Was it right? Tell me what the right. Tell me what the right phrase. Is that the right? You're way, you're better than me, that's right.

Roundabout Sam:

The right phrase is historic disinvestment. Okay areas that have experienced historic disinvestment, and what we found through that move to son mobility master plan Is that those are areas of high transportation needs, so they have their one vehicle households, so they're walking. They're taking the bus more than via than homes with two vehicles, and so in those instances, that's where you have a concern, where, if somebody's walking every day to the bus stop.

Roundabout Sam:

Pedestrian numbers. Exactly, it's a numbers thing. And then if you look at the community, maybe they're their neighborhood doesn't have sidewalks, doesn't have a safe passage across a major roadway, and so then you that's where you have that incident of.

Josh:

Fatality or a serious incident. Right yeah, so it makes sense. That's where you should be focusing.

Roundabout Sam:

Exactly we want to and that's the equity piece to answer your question about the five E's. But it you know back to my, my original point of that, that, that conversation, is that it's not something that just Sam in the Department of Transportation and mobility can solve or that Chad as a chief of police can solve. It's something that we have to work together on, and the Enforcement's a big piece of that. And so what we're trying to do is come together and we meet quarterly. We're looking at data, we're trying to analyze the data and say where are we having incidents of high speeds, running red lights, running left turn arrows? So that way we can work with our engineers, we can work with the police and try to address those issues systematically, knowing that we exist in a An environment of limited resources. So we want to make sure we optimize where we spend that money.

Mike:

Okay, so the, the five E's that we talked about, and then the statistics. Chief Kazmer had made a similar Statement when he was first interviewed, when he became chief, that he would like to address the, the fatalities and the accidents. So you guys are lying, definitely on that. It sounds like which, which is awesome. Um, going back to the, the, the, the bicyclists and that, the bike boulevards, I'm sure would help as far as, like Creating a safe corridor, if you will. Um, I don't know if the message is out there enough yet for the community to give the three feet, uh, when you pass a bicyclist. Yeah, and in fact, you know, I don't know if I don't know what it is.

Josh:

You know, so it's like what.

Mike:

What can we do to kind of get that Just to?

Josh:

be double's advocate. I don't think the words out there to the bicyclists either, that they got to share the road too.

Mike:

That's, that's both sides of that. That's a good as a cyclist myself.

Josh:

I see guys riding two or three abreast and I'm like I know, legally you can do that, but is that really the safest thing? So I think the, the cycling community in Tucson has some accountability, responsibility here too. It's not just the, the drivers.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up because you know, I heard your interview with with the chief and I think that there's a responsibility by all of us To operate our whatever mode of transportation we're doing safely. If you're, if you're walking, you know don't walk across the light, don't cross against the signal, you know be safe and and I've seen cyclists break the the traffic laws and that creates an unsafe situation as well. So I think it's important that we all, you know, abide by the traffic laws and operate whatever it is we're operating safely. The other thing I'll add, mike, is that we are to address that concern is we are starting to build more protected bike lanes. So, as you know that throughout the city we have bike lanes, but if you've ever ridden in a bike lane with 45 mile an hour cars next year, you don't feel very safe.

Roundabout Sam:

Right, I'm pretty proud that I was part of a group that made the decision to install the first protected bike Lane in Tucson and it was on that downtown links Um st Mary's portion. If you go out there you see those little plastic pylons. That was the first protected bike lane in Tucson, um. Originally the design just had a little painted buffer and then the bike lane, and we had an opportunity to add those as a pilot and that that's catching on. We're actually going to add more. On the new road I'm a clove You'll browse a parkway and we're building more, even even more robust than that, adding actual curbs. Um, between the the bike lane and the vehicle lane, if you go over to main avenue south of speedway, we are testing out this thing called Zika zebras. They look like little armadillos in the ground and it's again to provide that physical separation Between the bike lane and the vehicles.

Josh:

Huh, I mean that's that sounds like the time I've spent in europe, like that's how they, that's how their, their cities and their streets are set up. A lot there have have kind of embraced cycling. It's part of their culture over there. But there is a lot of that protected bike lane, pretty prolific all over europe.

Roundabout Sam:

So absolutely, in fact. Uh, I'd said about five or six years ago, we had a cohort of folks go to the netherlands to examine how are they dealing with bicyclists, um, and the roadway, and what you find is that they use bikes more than vehicles. I think people for bikes sponsored that trip, and so we try to learn on Techniques that we can bring back to the super cool.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, that's yeah, prove the experience and you know, you know, cycling just recently in this job and and getting my new bike and get I actually like to get out on the road and try to experience what that is like for myself and I tell you it's a. It's a completely change your perspective. Yeah, riding the bike throughout the city versus driving a car just the hills alone Is a new perspective.

Josh:

It's a whole walk, walk a mile on someone else's shoes. Absolutely, you can totally see where they're coming from. Interesting yeah, that's a really good point.

Mike:

Um Something you mentioned about going over to over to europe.

Roundabout Sam:

Oh yeah, that was it.

Mike:

So in europe they tend to ride more bicycles than I think anyways, in the united states, in in europe for modes of transportation, yeah, per capita. Um, are we doing anything as a city maybe to promote that? I know they're looking at like A high density, more than a high density housing which will kind of allow for, you know, more mobility if you will in closer proximity, but, um, I don't know, is there anything that that we're doing to promote that whole Bicycling, maybe like syclovia, events like that? Yeah, the word out.

Roundabout Sam:

Absolutely. I think that syclovia is a really good example About just getting people out riding their bike in a really comfortable environment so they can say, oh you know, maybe I can do this, maybe I can ride it to work. Once a week, um, there are there's national uh week without a car. So I think just this last month in october, there was a living streets alliance sponsored. It was a whole week where they encouraged people to try a different mode of transportation.

Roundabout Sam:

I think the work that we're doing through prop 407, uh, prop 411, which, if you want, we can talk about in a little bit Um, to try to create that safe Cycling environment, but it goes beyond just cycling, because I think in a city like tucson that is sprawled out as much as it is, the transit system plays a really important role as well. Yeah, and one of the things we're doing as a city is we have a project right now. Well, we are studying what a transit origin development would look like along a potential high capacity transit corridor, and so what that means is that we're looking for opportunities to create that density and that mixed use development Along roadways that have high transit use, with the eventual intention of setting up a bus rapid transit System which we're actually in the works right now. They're very, very early stages.

Josh:

So what is? What is a bus rapid transit system?

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, so bus rapid transit is a system that is, a bus system that operates in its own lane. So we take a lane of traffic and convert it to a bus only lane and it operates at um at a high frequency and it can carry a lots of people and it can move people pretty quickly through the city, much more efficiently than a single occupancy vehicle can interesting.

Mike:

Yeah, and then I don't know who designed them, but the little bike carriers on the front of the buses. Yeah, you know that's kind of cool, right, yeah, right to the bus stop.

Roundabout Sam:

Exactly, take the bus near a stop, ride your bike to work Exactly, and so all of those things play together. I mean there are absolutely people that can ride 10, 15 miles into work, no problem, but not everybody has that opportunity. So creating different ways for people to to get about the city without always just hopping into a single occupancy vehicle Is is the way that we're going to get things done. You know, we people complain about the traffic here. I tell them go to Chicago and see the traffic. This isn't traffic. Yeah, but we can't, especially in Tucson. We can't build our way out of this. I mean, I can widen the roads only so much before we have to figure out a different way to do things.

Josh:

Is there any plans for any other highways through Tucson?

Roundabout Sam:

There is not no, Well, I shouldn't say that a dot is is planning an extension of aviation state route 210 to connect over to i-10 Um, actually southeast of its current location. So that is in the works right now. But beyond that there's no east west freeways coming anytime soon to Tucson.

Mike:

That is so funny what you said about like perspective. Yeah, because when we're we have it's an interesting, like you mentioned, spread out community. It's a lot of surface streets, but if you compare this when you go up to the big city phoenix or chicago or LA, whatever it's like okay.

Roundabout Sam:

This is this isn't bad.

Mike:

This isn't bad it is. Yeah, it's the nature of you know how our city is laid out, right like you said.

Josh:

Hey guys, we've mentioned psychlovia a couple times. I think it's worth just telling our listeners a little bit about what psychlovia is and I think it happens twice a year.

Roundabout Sam:

That's right.

Josh:

Yeah, twice a year, spring and fall, I believe, and uh, it's. It's a festival in Tucson. It's focused around riding bikes or walking and they shut down portion of the street. I think historically it's been like a loop. This year it was an out and back Roughly four or five miles and all kinds of local vendors and organizations come out and there's all kinds of events and things for kids and Adults and it's just a great place to a great way to kind of come out. No traffic on those streets at all, ride your bike, enjoy Tucson, and there's a lot of our local flare, that kind of yeah, the food that it have brought worse out there as well.

Josh:

I saw you're in a bratwurst kick today.

Mike:

I am, and then my kids went and so it was just fun cruising up and on the road with no cars around. Yeah right, and the volunteers it looked like they were quite an undertaking, it is and and Sol from genuine BMX is always out there with his big ramps and uh yeah.

Josh:

You get to see some kids flying in the air.

Mike:

Yeah, that was cool too.

Josh:

Anyways, I just we went to it a couple times, I wanted to give some context to our listeners. So yeah, psychlovia twice, twice a year.

Mike:

Twice a year. It's definitely worth checking out if you're ever in the area.

Roundabout Sam:

It's a lot of fun, especially if you've got new bike riders, like my little six year old Just kind of getting comfortable on her bike. We're scared to death of cars pulling out of driveways and knocking her over. You take her out there and she was able to just ride and have fun and it's it's. It's a lot of fun and even if you're not going to ride the bike, go walk it. It's a really cool event. Lots of vendors, we help sponsor it, but living streets alliance is the organization that puts it on and we're even having conversations. How can we do it more often? You know, maybe we do little smaller psychlovias throughout the year to just again keep that encouragement going.

Josh:

Yeah, that'd be cool, yeah, very cool.

Mike:

So, speaking of events, when we had chief on chief kasmar he, we talked about the tour to Tucson. Do you guys do anything with that? Just you know they're your roads in the city of Tucson, a lot of those, or is it pretty much just?

Josh:

all do you have to do maintenance work or anything, and for preparation for that?

Roundabout Sam:

Absolutely so. We, we definitely do maintenance work ahead of two or day to some. We have the route. We work at the organizers and we go out. We make sure potholes are filled, there's no debris, we sweep the streets. We make sure there's no tree limbs hanging down. We do work with them on all the the permitting of the traffic control. We help them get the word out to make sure people know that on that one saturday in november Maybe you don't want to leave your house, if you can avoid it or if you're going to go ride l2 or Um.

Roundabout Sam:

Last year we actually were able to um advance one of our paving projects Near the tcc to make sure that it was right at the end. It was on cushing right at the end of the route to make sure there was brand new pavement for that.

Josh:

Oh, that's super cool.

Roundabout Sam:

We pull, we made it happen. Our folks do the impossible every day and they were really excited to have that.

Josh:

So so, once a year in november I think it's actually the 18th, this I guess not this weekend, but next weekend Um, yeah, there's, there's a, I think 100, a 70, a 30 in a 15 mile route. I might not have that exactly right, but it's something like that. Uh, just amazing. I I think there's 20 000 plus Cyclists that come and do that event, huge event, great tour, uh in the weather, and that's part of the eight months of awesome yeah here in november. So, uh, come out, check out the uh, the great, the great streets of tucson, and if you have any complaints, you can just email sam, that's right.

Mike:

And it'll be in the show now and he'll get right on that for you.

Josh:

That's too funny you guys ride l tour. I did last year my uh. My niece um for the first time. Um said, hey, I want to do it, and she's like uncle josh, we come around the tour. We're mountain bikers so we can do that much road biking. But I, I did go out last year and ride with her. What do you think? We had a blast and I've done. I haven't done it before Um, I, we did the uh when we had audio cyclists another company. We dressed up as grillers and we handed out bananas to people, but um, yeah.

Josh:

And then it actually comes like right up old spanish trail and down loma altos. So we are down, actually up up pistol hill all the way around. So we always go out and see everybody and we know lots of people that are out there riding it, struggling.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, I had my bike for like three days and people were like you ride l tour. I'm like I Haven't even rode my street yet, but uh let me think about that, all right.

Mike:

so, speaking of riding bikes, you've got a group that at the, at the transportation and mobility, who rides bikes like bikes, right?

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah.

Mike:

And I think you mentioned that they're putting a team together for the 24 hours in the old Pueblo. Yeah, is that right? That's correct, and I think they extended an invitation for you to ride with them. They did they did so.

Josh:

Are you going to ride, sam? How tall are you? Six one, six one. Do you want to borrow one of my bikes for the race? You're welcome to borrow one of my bikes, that's what Mike said too so yeah, josh, that was good for me, yeah, yeah.

Roundabout Sam:

I have a road bike now I don't have a mountain bike, so I'm thinking about it. I got it. Folks are telling me it's not that bad, you could probably do it.

Mike:

You could probably do it. What's the strategy? Like what? What team do they have? How many lives would you be doing?

Roundabout Sam:

So some of the folks have participated before in other teams and finally this year we've got quite a bit of cycling enthusiasts in our department, in our planning division. I would say just about every single one of our planners is a cyclist. A lot of them cycle to work.

Josh:

Oh, that's awesome.

Roundabout Sam:

And so they all started talking and said well, why don't we just put a team together? So I think they've got five or six. Right now. I think you can have 10 on a team. You do a corporate team. Yeah, they're. They're trying really hard.

Josh:

If you're going to do a corporate team, it's like no stress at all. That's what I heard. Yeah, it's no stress at all. You should go do it, I mean you should do one lap, yeah. It's 16 miles, it's not very technical, the back end, you know a little bit of climbing, don't?

Mike:

don't, don't make it. That seems so bad.

Josh:

It's only like 2000 feet of climbing or something it's yeah, yeah, Only 2000 feet.

Mike:

No, but one lap. I mean just the whole experience of nothing else, especially with, like you know, the department.

Josh:

I think it'd be a great have you ever been out to that or seen that happen?

Roundabout Sam:

Never been out to it, never seen it. It is the craziest thing.

Josh:

It's like just this ranch desert and then all of a sudden there's like 5000 people in this town is erected and just anarchy and chaos. All in the right, all in a positive vibe.

Mike:

It's a cool. I know you're a busy guy, but I think you'd really enjoy the experience. That's the grind, I mean. So what is? It's November, February. You have plenty of time, you know, to train.

Josh:

Yeah, I mean, we learned that all you have to do is like oh yeah.

Roundabout Sam:

All right, so I've done that race like I don't know a dozen times.

Josh:

And what we learned is that we could go from like beer drinking, cigarette smoking, couch sitting overweight guys and in like four weeks we could prepare for the 24 hour race. And the way that we did that was three intensive interval training workouts a week of like 30 to 45 minutes.

Mike:

I started a company to do this.

Josh:

You know we were so stoked on it.

Mike:

We did start a company.

Josh:

We lost a lot of money on that company.

Mike:

But Right, but you're still on YouTube in Japan.

Josh:

Yeah, we do have a loyal following in Japan. This is true At least six people in Japan that are still using all the music and everything and had an cadence with it.

Mike:

It's pretty well done, actually.

Josh:

Yeah, it's a, it's a cool product. Anyways, yeah, if you do that you know interval training on a bike, you can do it on the bike that you have, you know, just go fast for a minute and then go slow for three minutes. Go fast for a minute, go slow for three minutes. It's like that easy you can. You can prepare yourself so kind of like January 8th when you're like done with the holiday.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, You're like, oh God, what did I do to myself?

Josh:

Yeah, you can take a month. It'll help you get out of what happened to you, and over the holidays I like it, go do the ride. And Todd Seydow is, I know Todd, you know Todd, so so he's, he puts that he's. He lives in San Diego now.

Roundabout Sam:

We actually ride, right?

Josh:

Yeah, we just learned that he well, they all know each other. Come on, oh, yeah, he, yeah, he moved to San Diego. Yeah, that's what? Yeah.

Mike:

Yeah, trader. Yeah, all right, no offense, todd. I have to bring this up because I just got the notification that the police reports been officially like all done. I got it last week from the city of Tucson Police Department. Ok, because my kids bike was stolen out of the garage. All right, you mentioned parking areas Like do you do you cover any of the like bike parking areas and is there anything like for bike theft, like to prevent that within the city?

Roundabout Sam:

So you do no? Well, so we don't. We don't regulate bike parking. We do offer bike loops for businesses that want bike parking outside of their their business, and so we've got a team that works on that.

Josh:

So and by bike loops you're talking about like a metal.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, the metal metal metal that people want to put in front of their business and encourage bike parking. So, no, we don't regulate that, though.

Mike:

But you'll help like get them set up with those bike loops.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, yeah, well because we want to encourage people to cycle. I've watched some pretty cool YouTube's about bike theft in New York City. Casey Neistat has some cool ones.

Josh:

You want to check it out? I'm not aware of that. I got to check it out.

Roundabout Sam:

You can put a Apple AirTag.

Mike:

Yeah, that's yeah.

Josh:

That's a great idea. We should probably do that, dude. Yeah, I got out like a whole box of Apple AirTags in there and I haven't put them actually they're on all my bikes.

Mike:

Just getting the word out here. I'm trying to, so you know hidden in great places.

Josh:

You'll never find them.

Mike:

Yeah, right on, OK. So the jury's still out. If you're going to do the race, we'll. We'll keep in touch with you.

Josh:

Well, I thought we decided Didn't you just commit?

Mike:

Oh yeah, I thought you committed. What was it?

Roundabout Sam:

Can we get you to commit, Sam? I'll commit to the interval training and then we'll see how it goes. What if we?

Josh:

what if we fund your entry fee and you can use my bike. I like it. It's an amazing carbon bike.

Roundabout Sam:

It's like I don't want me on that, it's fine, it's fine. It's fine, you'll be fine. You'll be fine, you can't hurt it right, it's a mountain bike.

Mike:

It's meant to be like abused and just to not to scare you in the last part, it's not that bad, but what it is? Its last you know a couple of miles and it is uphill, but the cool thing is when you are climbing, climbing, climbing, there's someone behind me who is encouraging me.

Josh:

Yeah, that's one thing. That's cool about mountain biking is I don't see it as much in the road biking, but like everyone's, like you got this Good job.

Mike:

He was pulling me up there, yeah.

Josh:

It's so supportive and, like we, that race has everything from the best riders in the world as a matter of fact, I've ridden that race with Lance Armstrong to guys like me yeah.

Roundabout Sam:

Not the best rider in the world. So I almost bought a mountain bike right before I got this road bike, so that was definitely something that I was looking into. So maybe I don't know, maybe I'll find something on Facebook marketplace and we'll go for a ride.

Mike:

Yeah, and if you ever wanted, like seriously, if you want to try it, because Josh lives across the street, is you know beautiful trails up here yeah, just grab the bike, come out.

Josh:

Come out, come out anytime. It'll fit you, it'll fit you, it'll take us five minutes to get you sized up and you can take it out anytime Awesome, I appreciate that.

Roundabout Sam:

Speaking of hills, yeah, so one day I took my bike out, want to go for a little ride, and I live like Alphalings Harrison area, and I just went out, took Bonanza Stella and I was like you know, I'm going to ride to the entrance of the loop at Irvington and Harrison.

Josh:

Yeah, that's right by Kinesia Island, yeah.

Roundabout Sam:

Right the entrance, yep. And so I started riding and started getting dark at my bike lights. I was. I had no idea that hill on Harrison was the way that I was. Just I couldn't even see the hill.

Mike:

I was just cycling.

Roundabout Sam:

I was like well, I could see the traffic. It's not that far away but it was a grind. I told a friend of mine he's like you're crazy. You did that at night. It's like my third bike ride.

Mike:

Seeing you handle it, no problem, it was awesome.

Roundabout Sam:

Coming back was a lot of fun too, so going down down the hill, yeah. But it was, it was cool. It was just that grind, you know, just kind of just keep keep pedaling, keep pedaling.

Josh:

So you got it. It was a lot of fun.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, that's awesome.

Josh:

So you know, if you have a road bike, your clothes have to match your bike, is that? Right, but if you ride a mountain bike. You don't have to. You can wear anything. Get to know.

Mike:

Yeah, all right. So we're not doing the bike race. We did it last year with the 24 hour.

Josh:

Did we decide that?

Mike:

Easy call. I think with the registration is closed. Easy call me last night. So we did the race last year. Just for your information, Josh, a friend of mine from Wisconsin and punk rock. Dan Punk rock Dan, yeah, and we got in what? Three laps each and they erected a fourth. I think in our times were a minute, I'm sorry, an hour and 30 minutes, up to two hours, something like that Roughly yeah.

Mike:

So just to put it in perspective, like Chad would have done it in chief Casmer would have done it in about an hour.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah.

Mike:

Okay.

Roundabout Sam:

He's hardcore yeah.

Mike:

They're so fast in. The best part, if you end up doing it was on your left, on your left, just getting past the whole time it's like on your left and then the best is you got little kids on your left, on your left.

Josh:

Like dang it, they're just gone. The first year I did it, I did one lap with the corporate team and I didn't know like I just stopped every time someone came up to me and said I just pulled over. I was like I got to be nice, I was pulled over. My lap time was two hours and 45 minutes. Oh, you got all. You pulled over Because I pulled over like a hundred times how?

Mike:

long were you with the whiskey tree as well, Josh? Well, yeah.

Josh:

Halfway through there's a tree with whiskey bottles all over it and, if you want, you can stop and take a shot or couple shots. And there's usually summer between 20 and a hundred people sitting there. You know like it's like a party and you know you can do what you want. The razors just roll through and the rest of us stop and take a shot. That's cool. Yeah, I probably stopped at the whiskey tree for 10 or 15 years.

Mike:

Oh, that's awesome.

Josh:

So so you know interesting stories from those Another. I don't think I've told this on the podcast before, but another year I was there with the four man team and on our team we had a last minute dropout and we got this guy to come out and he was a triathlete, like hardcore, like athlete, just he was sculpted, he was just amazing, amazing athlete. And we, you know I had done a couple laps and then we started drinking and I drink a lot.

Josh:

And it's like two in the morning and I'm pretty well like like, like, like three sheets three sheets of the wind and these guys, the guy comes in, the guy's supposed to go out, doesn't, doesn't want to go out and I'm like, well, maybe.

Josh:

I should do a lab. But I'm really drunk and the and the triathlete's like listen, yes, you should definitely do a lap. The way that your body works, in like 10 minutes your body will have burned off all the alcohol and you'll be fine. And I was like, oh, that sounds perfect. So I went, I went to the lap. That doesn't happen. Your body does not burn off the alcohol.

Roundabout Sam:

I rode that lap, intoxicated the entire time, which is on a trail, not anywhere near the roads.

Mike:

Yeah, yeah, very impressive.

Josh:

No, it was it was awful experience.

Mike:

But it was a life lesson, yeah, no, I can only imagine.

Josh:

Exercise does not make you sober.

Mike:

In case you guys thought that it did All right, good example, josh. All right, so kind of back to what we were talking about before.

Josh:

We got on a tangent here. I'm sorry. I told you, sam, it goes all over, that's all right. That's all right, that's all right, it's yeah. Go, go go.

Roundabout Sam:

Let's talk about potholes. Oh, we can't, we can't not talk about potholes. Let's talk about potholes.

Josh:

All right, all right, all right, so so what happens? So so I see a pothole, there's a way for me to report it. What happens after I report it?

Roundabout Sam:

So there's two ways you report it and call it in 5207913154.

Josh:

He's got that number memorized.

Roundabout Sam:

He's not reading, just for a note there's, that was off the top of his head.

Mike:

That's impressive.

Roundabout Sam:

So is that the pothole hotline the pothole hotline is actually called tconcerns, back from when we used to be called t. Okay, and go ahead.

Mike:

Okay, hold on T. Do you have a nickname, or is it t? I don't. Do I have a nickname?

Roundabout Sam:

T Now, oh, the department. So yeah, we call our department DTM now Department of Transportation Mobile. What's your nickname? I don't have a nickname. They call me director credio.

Josh:

Okay.

Mike:

We'll come up there, that's pretty cool, but All right, okay. So you're saying pothole, hot, yeah, yeah.

Roundabout Sam:

Call the phone number. You've got to tell us what. Where it's at, people will be. Like I was driving, there's a pothole. I need you go fix it, like where it is on golf links like thanks. I'm not joking. People will literally do that. I had a pothole on golf links, go fix it. So I need to know like what direction you're driving roughly the cross streets. As much information as you can. We actually have an email address to T doc concerns at Tucson, az dot gov.

Roundabout Sam:

You can send pictures of it and there's also an app called C click fix, which most people are familiar with it. It's a third-party app that you can take a picture and send it into us actually anything transportation related. Wow, I'm down a sign down, but mostly people call about potholes and so that comes in and we issue that to our Our street maintenance division. Our street maintenance divisions about a hundred strong.

Roundabout Sam:

Sounds like a lot of 250 of 250 and it sounds like a lot of people. When you think about how much area in the city we have to cover, it's not really that that much. What? What is our coverage?

Josh:

Okay, he's got a package there for a metrics and we stumped him on the metrics.

Roundabout Sam:

He's never gonna miss this question.

Mike:

Tomorrow he's gonna be like damn it team. All right, if we're gonna play, stop. How many miles of road?

Roundabout Sam:

I mean, you don't know, so I could probably make up.

Mike:

I think it's about 5,000 Lane miles of roadway five actually you were talking to someone locally who is trying to ride every he's yeah, yeah we were trying to get him on the podcast Michael McKesson.

Josh:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm trying to write every street in Tucson. He has. I think he has he finished it.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, I saw on Twitter. I think he's finished it.

Josh:

Oh, that's super cool.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, we got to get him on yeah, for sure, he lives in Dunbar spring. We should have had him on cool.

Josh:

We should have had him on with Sam, I know.

Mike:

I would have been a debate. For our listeners who do not know what a monsoon is. We have wait. We haven't finished the power story. Yeah, we got a.

Josh:

Okay, well, just take us down, because yeah, we didn't get to like what happens yet.

Roundabout Sam:

So, yeah, yeah, so you call it in it gets sent over to our maintenance division and then we will dispatch that to either a crew or Our rapid response team. So if it's 10 or less potholes, that'll go to our rapid response team and they'll probably fill it within 24 to 48 hours you kidding with that?

Roundabout Sam:

fast, pretty fast, especially if I call it in. They get done. But no, realistically, within that week's time frame will probably fill that, that onesy-tosy. Now, if it's a lot of potholes, then we will. We will deploy it to one of our area crews and they'll schedule that to come in Because I want to make sure they have enough asphalt.

Josh:

I actually went out with the crew and filled potholes one time really, yeah, let's get this walk walking someone else's shoes, right exactly, I'm a big fan of that.

Mike:

Yeah, so what, since you've been director, what are the potholes? I mean, do you have like a Pot hole per square mile, like per mile, like is it? Is it improved?

Josh:

what are you they? Someone else is getting fired if they don't have a pot hole metric here.

Mike:

Because I don't and I'm not just saying this because you're here, is sitting with us. I don't think I see as many potholes as I used to. Yeah, maybe pre-covid just since 2022.

Roundabout Sam:

I think, since it's basically, I think yeah since since April, we have, we feel, a lot of Potholes. No so. So there's actually a few reasons for that. One is we have some new equipment. So that's what I wanted to go out with. Our crew is, see, we have this thing called a multi-patch and what it is is we can. We can spray down the oil, drop the asphalt and fill a bunch of potholes really quickly. It's not like the old days where you had, like a big old dump truck full of all shuttles and yeah.

Roundabout Sam:

So so that's part of it. We have new equipment. The other part of it is we've been spending a lot of time and money in resurfacing our roads Back in and again, maybe I'm the lucky penny may 22 we had a. We had a proposition 411 pass by a vote of 73 to 20. It's the greatest margin that of a city initiative has ever passed. Yeah, and it was for a half cent sales tax for ten years to resurface every neighborhood street in the city limits.

Mike:

Wow.

Roundabout Sam:

And it passed overwhelmingly that and what that and I told our team this is that the city demonstrated they have trust that we're gonna do. We said we're gonna do and so we've started to do that work and that is drastically cutting down the potholes.

Josh:

So you, you're, you're a year into the ten-year plan. Yep, how, what percentage are you done at this point?

Roundabout Sam:

Percentage. Are we done? We just started. We're I don't know what percentage, but we were probably on our fourth or fifth neighborhood right now okay. Um, harold Bell right neighborhood was one we just wrapped up not too long ago. We've got a lot of neighborhoods to get done over that ten-year period. So I think right this year, right now, we've got about 60 million dollars worth of work. That's in either in design, out to construction or out to bid right now.

Mike:

Wow, I Love to be a fly on the wall. I just see like you guys is take over the world maps.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, we're just like all right, we're gonna start paving here, paving here, and then I can send you a link to a map you can check it out. Yeah, so we have. So part of the the process with 411 is we have a, an oversight committee Okay, made up of community members that are responsible for making sure we do what we said we're gonna do with the money, and so they actually were the ones that decided, with our recommendation, on which neighborhoods got done first.

Josh:

The priority, the priority exactly, and so we have all the neighborhoods of the people on the oversight committee. Well, you know what?

Roundabout Sam:

back to that equity conversation. Is that actually played a role in the neighborhoods that we is?

Josh:

one of the.

Roundabout Sam:

Variables. And then we also looked at the lowest rating roads, and so we use what's called OCI overall condition index. It's a zero to a hundred scale, zero being worse, hundred being like brand new pavement and we're trying to get the really lowest OCI roads in the neighborhood get the worst roads Exactly so over.

Roundabout Sam:

We have the four years already programmed and I could send you that map. It's pretty impressive four years out. Four years out it's a seven hundred and forty million dollar program over ten years. 590 of it is for pavement only. The other remaining is for traffic safety, and so that's where we're also being able to do some of those safety things I talked about earlier out of that pot.

Mike:

Yeah, one of those safety things is a YouTube, the blue light, yeah the blue light.

Josh:

What's the blue light?

Mike:

It's. Do you remember Kmart? We talked about Kmart blue light special.

Josh:

I know what that is, yeah different blue light.

Mike:

But yeah, Sam, what's the? What's the blue light?

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, so we spent a lot of time on the blue light conversation, so again getting together with TPD trying to figure out what are some things we can do to improve safety. One of the most dangerous movements at a trap signalized traffic intersections trap yeah, signalized intersection is the left-hand movement, and so you all remember when we had the red light running cameras.

Josh:

We don't have them anymore. Yeah, so did our. Did our incidents increase Absolutely?

Roundabout Sam:

Wow In fact, when that and that was voter approved, voters said we don't want red light running cameras. So when that was approved we had to shut the cameras off, but we kept recording, we kept data.

Josh:

Just not, yeah, you're just like giving for a period of time now.

Roundabout Sam:

They're completely shuttered. They don't people freak out and I see the cameras or they don't do. They're dead now. Yeah but for a period of time. After we shut the cameras off, red light running increased like 400% really.

Josh:

It's crazy, something insane like that.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, and so the left turns are a huge concern, and so one of the things is that the enforcement piece it's very difficult to them for police to enforce those left turns. It's it's not only difficult but unsafe for them. And so one of the strategies and this has been done in other communities is you put a blue light on that traffic signal, on that, so when that left turn arrow turns red, that light turns blue, and so the police officer can stage across the intersection safely. Safely, he can't see, or she can't see, that the arrow is red, but they can see that the light is blue and if a vehicle enters the intersection, they know that they ran the red light and they could pull them over.

Josh:

And I imagine the blue light also would be a deterrent For people to run the light, because blue is like the light that you see from blueberries and cherries cops.

Mike:

Yeah, red and blues.

Josh:

Yeah, so so I'd imagine if I saw blue, like who the hell's them?

Roundabout Sam:

Yes, and that is the other piece of it too. I mean, obviously the enforcement is very effective, yeah, but Rather, what we'd rather people do is just not run the light, yeah, so hopefully that that blue light deterrent will be at a turn will be awareness. It's at the intersection of Grant and Kraycroft. It's a pilot project, nice, so we're still studying it to figure out if it's gonna reduce left turn Red light running.

Josh:

Sam, I'm a strategy guy and you gave me a few metrics but we didn't dive into it. You said you're, we're at a hundred serious what was the term? Fatalities or serious incidents this year?

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah well last year last year as so, as of today, we have 86 Traffic-related fatalities. Well, in the city, that breaks down to 34 vehicle, 19 motorcycle, 27 Pedestrians and six cyclists six cyclists.

Josh:

Okay, and are those?

Roundabout Sam:

all fatalities. Those are all fatalities and over the last five or six years We've averaged about five to seven Cycling related fatalities. Pedestrians are down this year. I'm happy to report that, so we're down about half of that super, but then what's up? The vehicular fatalities, and and you have a hypothesis on the root cause there, I do. I think it's speed, I think that's that's one thing that we're seeing is that people just driving at really high rates of speeds, they're driving faster, driving faster.

Josh:

Yeah, what would cause that? I mean, is that a COVID thing?

Roundabout Sam:

That's what Chad and I hypothesize that when after COVID everybody came back out driving and just lost their minds. And they're just driving.

Josh:

Safely, we know. Is this like national? Is this a trend? This is a national trend.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, we're seeing a higher speeds, Yep yep, so we're at 86 right now, with a little less than two months left. I hope we don't, we don't see a number over 99.

Josh:

I hope we don't either, but it would suggest that you're on track to beat your last year number.

Roundabout Sam:

That's what it looks like, but we're, you know, fingers crossed that'll come down. It's encouraging to see that pedestrian fatalities are down. That. That one really is difficult. That's our most vulnerable user on the roadway system.

Josh:

So so what are you doing? What are you doing to bring that number down?

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, we're, I mean we're doing. We're doing lots of things. So you know we're from potholes to fatalities.

Josh:

Yeah, I'm sorry. No, that's okay, that's okay. This is supposed to be a friendly environment. That's all right.

Roundabout Sam:

It. You know a lot of conversations I have. It quickly goes. So what are we doing to make our roads safer? Yeah, so you know, earlier I mentioned that we've got a funding source called her. Interestingly, I cannot use her dollars for traffic safety education. It's actually disallowed.

Roundabout Sam:

So what can we change that? Yeah, we need our legislators to change that. We need to find more resources for traffic safety. The office, the governor's office, on highway safety, offers grants that we're gonna work with TPD to try to get some of that money down here. But the other thing is that through our budgeting process, two years in a row now, I've been successful in securing general fund dollars and these are the general monies that come into the city, pretty flexible.

Roundabout Sam:

And so the city manager and the mayor and council recognize the need for traffic safety Education and so we've allocated a hundred and fifty thousand dollars these last two years. Right, and that's. We're using that to work with TPD To develop some traffic safety campaigns. You've probably seen on the back of buses or a bus stops that we've got a campaign on slowdown. Yep, we've got campaigns on make sure that you're visible, make be seen. Can't remember the acronym, but so we're. Those are the education components we're doing and then, as we are designing new roads, we are trying to incorporate those, you know, those safety elements into our project into the design into the design.

Roundabout Sam:

We're making our sidewalks wider, we're moving our sidewalks away from the road. We are designing for speeds that make sense and providing safe options for cyclists as we can. You know that I think the tough part is the retrofit of the roadway. How do you make a road safer?

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah the other thing that we're doing is we've got partners at the Pima Association of Governments. It's our metropolitan planning organization. They do what's called a road safety assessment and so they actually come out with traffic engineering professionals and they will. If we've got a problem spot, they'll come out and we'll take a look at it and they'll come up with short, medium and long term Recommendations to make the road safer. We just recently did it on Mary Ann Cleveland Way.

Roundabout Sam:

I know there was a pretty serious fatality out there not too long ago. We did it at golf links in Pantano. And then we get those recommendations and the ones we can implement quickly we will. The ones that we don't have funding for, then we go find the funding, we use those propositions, the money from those propositions, or then I can use that hearth money To make those improvements. And so those are just a few things we're trying to do to make things safer. But at the end of the day it really takes all of us to just be aware. You know, put your phone down, drive slower. You know, look out for one another.

Josh:

Yeah, I mean it's, it's obviously you guys are taking this really seriously, and I was joking with you earlier. Where I'm from, there's a, I guess, a traffic concept we call it the Michigan left when you don't actually turn left at the light. You go to, you go through the intersection and then there's a U turn and you come back. That way.

Roundabout Sam:

There's a couple things like that in Tucson Are. You are?

Josh:

are you considering more of that?

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, we are actually so Grant Road corridor is Instituting. We call them in direct lefts, but they're also called Michigan left turn. So earlier I mentioned how unsafe that left turn Phases yeah, at a signalized intersection, and so by moving that left turn away from the the main intersection Makes it a lot safer, but it also makes it more efficient for traffic flow. Left turns are completely inefficient. Yep, the the thing about indirect left turns is they work really good when they're done in series. So we've completed portions of Grant Road. We're actually out to bid right now for Grant Road from swan to alvernon and there's going to be two more Indirect left turns there, and then we're working on the design on grant five and six, which is like the Grant Campbell area, and so basically from Oracle all the way to swan, the entire Grant Road will be complete and we'll we'll utilize that Michigan left turn.

Josh:

What about? So? I lived in England for a couple years and it's all roundabouts and I love it. I love it.

Roundabout Sam:

I might be my nickname.

Josh:

There you go, it's done, boom, roundabouts.

Roundabout Sam:

Sam, that's gonna live on you're gonna feel bad.

Josh:

You came up with that you named yourself just In England. They're amazing. In the States, no matter where I've been, we don't know how to use them.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, and that's it.

Mike:

Oh, no, comes to mind.

Josh:

Yes, it don't know as you drive, yeah, so the folks don't know how to use them, and so it actually is. Definitely not as efficient as it is in England, but is that in your? It is?

Roundabout Sam:

yeah, we've got a roundabout plan for 36th and Campbell. It's a it's more of a neighborhood Intersection and right now I think it's a four-way stop but it's a real weird intersection that does experience some high speeds.

Roundabout Sam:

There's a lot of pedestrians there. We've got the confluence of about four different projects all right there, a lot of them walkability projects, bike boulevards, sidewalks and we were able to get some funding from prop 411 to put a roundabout there. We have a bit of an uphill climb here because, just like you said, the neighbors are like what?

Roundabout Sam:

this is crazy yeah we're not gonna be, and actually what they keep pointing to is the one at to some marketplace by the Costco and a Walmart, which is a really bad example of around, it is for sure. Yep, and so we've brought in experts from national experts are around about so work on that design. We're out doing our public outreach right now. I am hell bent on getting that round about it because I really believe not only are they're really cool, they are more efficient to move traffic, yep, and they are safer.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah, the conflict points are not the same. You don't have head-on crashes. And that's the one downside around about and you can manage this through design is it can't be challenging for pedestrians and bicyclists Yep, but again, if you do a really good design, you get the right people on board, it can be really effective tool. That's cool yeah super cool.

Josh:

Very nice, have we, have, we. Have we driven Sam crazy enough, you think?

Mike:

Yeah.

Josh:

Sam, do you have any? Well, first of all, thank you so much for coming out. I should say roundabout. Thank you so much for coming out. Round about, sam. You got any final words you want to leave our listeners with?

Roundabout Sam:

Man. Be safe, be safe, yeah, take care of one another. You know I I Often, you know I do get a lot of complaints. I'll joke and aside. We get complaints about a myriad of things and I think that Our city and our department has a responsibility. We respond to those complaints and we maintain the right of way and we've got to provide that safe environment. But there's also a level of responsibility of the users as well.

Roundabout Sam:

Yeah so I think that we all can just, you know, drive a little slower, look out for one another and make sure we all get home safe.

Josh:

So take some accountability. People Absolutely yeah well.

Roundabout Sam:

Sam round about Sam.

Mike:

Thank you so much for coming out.

Roundabout Sam:

Sam.

Josh:

We really appreciate you, man. Yeah, thank you Not too bad. Yeah, thanks for coming out, man. One of the interesting things about the podcast is that you can get a lot of people to come out and talk about it.

Father's Illegal Activities, City Transportation
Designing Roads and Serving the Community
Transportation Funding, Road Projects, Traffic Data
Cycling Community Engagement and Infrastructure Plans
Addressing Safety and Equity in Transportation
Bratwurst Kick and Tour to Tucson
Discussion on Cycling Event and Training
Reporting Potholes and Road Resurfacing
Reduce Traffic Fatalities With Safety Measures
Responsibility for Complaints and Safety