Construction begins on bike boulevard connecting Phoenix to Tempe

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Construction of a bike boulevard connecting Phoenix to Tempe is under way. The project has been in the works since October 2010. (Chloe Brooks/DD)

Construction has begun on a 4.6 mile bike boulevard to connect downtown Phoenix to Tempe, which is planned to pass within several blocks of the Downtown campus when completed this summer, officials said.

The new boulevard will begin at Fifth Avenue and Fillmore Street and primarily stay on Fillmore and Roosevelt streets to the existing Grand Canal Trail at 33rd Street, which will lead riders into Tempe.

“This is the first project in the city of Phoenix designed for bicycles to go from point A to point B,” said Jeremy Stapleton, the city of Phoenix’s Bicycle Initiatives Subcommittee chairman. “I’m hoping it will make our city quite friendly towards bikes.”

Stapleton said he believes a relationship between Phoenix and Tempe must be established to keep the bike boulevard intact.

City of Phoenix bicycle coordinator Joseph Perez said he and a few others have been working on the proposal for nearly two years. Perez, a bicycle advocate and co-owner of The Bicycle Cellar in Tempe, worked with Stapleton and Kerry Wilcoxon, city of Phoenix traffic engineer.

The trail will begin on Fifth Avenue and Fillmore Street and extend to the Grand Canal Trail at 33rd Street. (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Wilcoxon said plans began at a public meeting in October 2010 where the downtown community supported the proposal.

“When we held that meeting, the community supported it,” Wilcoxon said. “We took the idea to management and approved it soon after that meeting.”

Both Perez and Wilcoxon said they were relieved to get the boulevard approved after working for around 18 months. The boulevard is part of a larger scheme developed by Perez and Wilcoxon to unite Phoenix with not just Tempe, but Peoria as well.

“We’re also working on a bike and pedestrian bridge connecting the Arizona Canal on Dunlap to Peoria,” said Wilcoxon. “The next aspect of the scheme is to extend the route to the 15th Avenue Bridge and the final leg will be on the Grand Canal from 33rd Street to Tempe.”

Perez and Wilcoxon said their plans to extend the bike route toward Peoria should be completed sometime in 2013.

Contact the reporter at slmaldon@asu.edu

Clarification: April 18, 2012

An earlier version of this article identified Joseph Perez as a Tempe traffic engineer and owner of The Bicycle Cellar in Tempe. Perez is the city of Phoenix bicycle coordinator and co-owner of The Bicycle Cellar.

Comments

  1. I think more bike lanes is a good development, but it seems to me that the downtowns of Phoenix and Tempe are already connected via the bike lanes on Washington Street. Is this designed to be an alternative with less car traffic? I think what’s really needed are underpasses or HAWKS where the Grand Canal crosses arterial streets — just like the Arizona Canal has several miles to the north.

  2. William Miceli says:

    Absolutley right – Washington works great and there’s not really a lot of traffic – HAWKs would be welcome on the canals.. What would be wonderful is if they would open the canal through the airport and past 44th street so one could take the canals all the way to Tempe lake.

  3. Matt says:

    What are HAWKS?

  4. Anonymous Phoenician says:

    Will this be a SHADED BIKE BOULEVARD?

  5. scott says:

    Wow. That is a scary route. No services whatsoever on the streets, and the canal is totally desolate and removed from any development. Cool if you are trying to stay away from traffic. Opportunistic if you are a mugger. I am a man and I would be scared riding that route at night, I would never expect a woman to do so.
    If you do take it, whatever you do, don’t go the wrong way on the canal. Get around 28th street or so and the canal turns really scary, really fast. The worst neighborhoods I have ever seen in Phoenix, and I lived in Garfield.
    I agree with David, put the route on Washington. With the light rail, it already supports alternative transportation, and there are street lights, other people and lots of stores and public places to stop if you need a rest, water, or any other services.

  6. Matt, HAWKs are special traffic signals designed for pedestrians and bicyclists to use in crossing busy arterial streets. Phoenix has put a few in select locations around town, and Tempe has a few along the Western Canal bike path. More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAWK_beacon