Friday, May 1, 2015

Aviation Bikeway parklets

Just north of the high-speed road that connects downtown Tucson with Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is a separate path that does the same thing for bicyclists (and pedestrians, and skateboarders, and...). Starting from the west end, you can pick up the path just east of the 4th Avenue railroad underpass and south of the Hotel Coronado. A bit farther east are the Iron Horse park(lets). You'll cross the Rattlesnake (Diamondback) Bridge and the Basket Bridge (here's an article with a great series of photos in the November 15, 2007 article Basket Bridge to be dedicated Friday).

Just after the Basket Bridge, you'll cross the end of Park Avenue and be at the first pocket park. It has a drinking fountain, benches, a bike rack, and shade (although there's no shade for the few colder months that the trees don't have their leaves):



Next stop is at Highland Avenue. There are bike racks, benches and shade, but the water fountain was either shut off or broken when I rode by on January 24th:


A bit farther east is the pocket park under Kino Parkway at 18th Street and Vine Avenue, with a drinking fountain, benches, a bike rack, and often a lot of shade from the overpass. A quiet homeless man is often here with his grocery cart; I took the photo from a distance so I didn't disturb him:


The shadiest spot along the bikeway — maybe not counting Eastmoor Park — is at Wilson Avenue. It also has a drinking fountain, bike racks and benches:


The next stop isn't a pocket park; it's a bigger park, Eastmoor Park, at the south end of Bristol Avenue. It has picnic tables, a water fountain, a bike rack, shade (thought not at the tables), and some mosaic murals next to the bikeway. There are photos on the Tucson Murals Project in the blog entry BBQ at Bristol and Bikeway.

Another few minutes' ride brings you to the parklet on the west side of Country Club — with benches, water, and bike racks... but not much shade:


The farthest east I rode along Aviation Bikeway was the parklet at 34th Street. Again: a drinking fountain, bike racks, benches and shade:


The Veterans Memorial Plaza is close by. Farther east, there may be one or two other pocket parks, but I don't remember seeing them on earlier trips. A big city park you'll pass east of Swan is Freedom Park; it has water and rest rooms.

Location: From the 4th Avenue underpass past Davis-Monthan AFB, mostly north of Barraza-Aviation Parkway and Golf Links Road.

Hours: 24 hours, though mostly deserted at night (with lots of gang graffiti that the city keeps painting over)

Parking: Try along 10th Street, several blocks east of 4th Avenue, for free car parking. You can also park a car at the south end of Park Avenue, south of Broadway... but you'll miss Iron Horse Park, as well the Snake and Basket Bridges, unless you backtrack.

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