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.
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.
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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.