PHOENIX – As Arizona continues to build on its reputation as a world-renowned destination for bicyclists, our state has now received approval for its first U.S. bicycle route that will run through Arizona border to border while connecting to a national system of bike routes.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the application submitted by the Arizona Department of Transportation to establish U.S. Bicycle Route 90, a continuous route through Arizona that connects to New Mexico and California. Arizona’s route, along with additional U.S. bicycle routes in other states, was approved at the recent 2015 AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
U.S. Bicycle Route 90 is a 573-mile-long east-west route that runs along existing state highways, local streets and shared-use paths. The route begins along Interstate 10 at the California state line, runs through the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas, and ends along State Route 80 at the New Mexico state line. The Phoenix and Tucson areas each have extensive bikeway systems. U.S Bicycle Route 90 features several miles of off-road paved paths in each metro area, including The Loop in the Tucson area and the Arizona Canal path in the Phoenix area.
U.S. Bicycle Route 90 winds through many of Arizona’s historic, cultural and tourist destinations, such as Bisbee, Tombstone, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and Saguaro National Park. Bicyclists are able to tour the sprawling cities and small towns of the Grand Canyon State with mountains and cacti in view—all diverse attractions that offer something for everyone and can be accessed on two wheels.
“This route directs bicyclists along a combination of comfortable bikeways through a scenic Arizona landscape,” said Michael Sanders, ADOT’s bicycle and pedestrian program coordinator. “Arizona is considered a destination state when it comes to experiencing it by bike. Our state’s ideal weather, new infrastructure and numerous bicycling events continue to lure cyclists from all over the country and around the world to experience riding through Arizona’s scenic backdrops. This new intrastate bike route makes it all that much easier for cyclists to tour our state from one border to the other.”
The ADOT Multimodal Planning Division led the effort for the application process for U.S. Bicycle Route 90, a process that required the input and involvement of stakeholders, local and state agencies, and bicycle advocacy groups. In order for Arizona’s bicycle route to move forward, it required the concurrence of all local entities that it passes through. Maps and turn-by-turn directions were also submitted with the application to AASHTO.
The designation of U.S. Bicycle Route 90 does not involve building new infrastructure, as the route follows existing state highways and local streets and paths.
AASHTO and Adventure Cycling Association are the two main agencies leading the national effort for the U.S. Bicycle Route system. AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering most recently approved 2,141 miles of new U.S. Bicycle Routes in five states: USBR 90 in Arizona, USBR 7 in Vermont, USBR 21 in Georgia, USBR 35, 36 and 50 in Indiana, and USBR 76 in Kansas. The U.S. Bicycle Route System now encompasses 11,053 miles of routes in a total of 23 states and the District of Columbia.
Adventure Cycling Association has developed detailed maps and other information about Arizona’s route and the rest of the route system to support bicyclists as they ride across Arizona and the rest of the states. For more information, visit adventurecycling.org. A map of the U.S. Bicycle Route System can be found here: www.adventurecycling.org/default/assets/File/Media/PressRelease2016/CorridorPlan_15_10%20(1).pdf
For more information on ADOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, visit azbikeped.org.