During the final of two public meetings regarding a bicycle and pedestrian crossing of Seventh Street between Washington and Van Buren streets, Olsson Associates engineering and design firm presented the latest from a study of the area.
Vice Mayor Michael Johnson has been looking at the area and brought the issue up with the City Council. The city applied for a grant from the Maricopa Association of Governments, which funded the study, said Sean Wozny from Olsson Associates.
At the moment, there is no funding to implement any project in the area, Wozny said.
The goal of the study is to look at the safety implication of the area. “What is the safest way to cross the street?” Wozny asked. The project would create a gateway connecting the Children’s Museum of Phoenix to the Arizona Science Center and Heritage Square.
According to a study of the area by Natalie Carrick, a traffic consultant with the Michael Baker Corporation, there were 10 accidents in the area between 2008 and 2010.
There are about six times throughout the day between 10 a.m. and about 1:15 p.m. that there are 30 seconds to cross eight or nine lanes.
“That sweet spot for moms with strollers is going to be between that 10:25 and that 12:00 time,” said Patrick Weeks, a representative from the Arizona Science Center.
Tom Walsh, executive director of Rosson House, said at Heritage Square they always tell people to cross the street at Washington Street instead of Monroe Street.
At the first meeting, three options were presented: a bridge connecting the two sidewalks, an underpass crossing and a mid-block crossing.
People at the first meeting ruled out the underpass idea and did not like certain aspects of the bridge idea.
Wozny presented a different design for the bridge at Thursday’s meeting. The plan includes elevators and a spiral staircase to reach the bridge in order to minimize the amount it would block the historical buildings in the area.
Olsson Associates also presented a plan for a mid-block crossing, which would cost less than a bridge. The plan is a staggered crossing, 500 feet from each stop light.
The mid-block crossing would increase the time pedestrians would have to cross the street.
Weeks, however, said the mid-block crossing “would be completely unacceptable” for safety reasons.
Nancy Stice from the Children’s Museum of Phoenix agreed that a mid-block crossing is not a good option for the location.
“The bridge is the safest option,” Stice said.
The elevator for a bridge would be about 36-40 feet tall, leaving 18 feet between the street and the bridge.
The next step for the project is to compile the information from the study and the community input from the public meetings and pass it along to the Phoenix City Council for the discussion of funding options.
Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org