Know a Place That Needs a Bike Rack? TBAG Can Help!

Tempe Bicycle Action Group’s new Bike Racks program has been a hit with businesses.  We approached Cornish Pasty in Tempe, Tops Liquors (home of Taste of Tops), Cartel Coffee Labs, and Handlebar, and no one said they didn’t want a bike rack.  The deal is that we get well made but inexpensive racks at our cost, and deliver and install them for next to nothing.

After the initial success of this project, we’re ready to move on to Phase II:  Install Racks Everywhere.  We need your help.  Do you have a favorite business that just does not have a good bike rack, or needs more racks?  TBAG can help.  Talk to the owner and ask him or her to let us help them get a rack installed.  Set up a meeting and scrottie@biketempe.org will get you someone else in TBAG to go to the meeting with you so you aren’t alone.

We also need people to go to these (and other locations) to offer our services:

  • Filmbar in Phoenix
  • Solo Cafe
  • Long Wongs on Apache
  • Oreganos on Mill
  • Sprouts
  • Flavor on Mill
  • The Vine
  • Crescent Ballroom

http://azcrap.org/racks_pamphlet.pdf has program details.  You can print that out and show it to business owners.  Want to help with Phase II?  Email me.

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Tempe Ghost Bike Re-location

Over the past year, Tempe Bicycle Action Group has worked with the City of Tempe council and staff on properly retiring the two ghost bikes that we placed in Tempe over 3 years ago. The city officials and staff at all levels went above and beyond to handle a tough situation with dignity and respect, give plenty of notice and time to work with the families, friends, and the local bike community, and also offered their time and equipment to re-locate the bikes.

The ghost bike at University and Ash has been re-located to the Bike Saviours bike co-op where it was built. Bike Saviours is working with the family of the man killed, Chris Volpe, on ideas for a more permanent memorial and continued public education.

The ghost bike at Alameda and McClintock was re-located in cooperation with the family of the man who was killed, Jay Fretz. The family has chosen to keep the bike themselves as a private memorial.

Aside from it’s purpose as a memorial, a ghost bike’s greatest impact is immediate bicycle awareness when a tragedy happens. The goal is to remind people to watch for bikes and respect their presence as traffic. As time goes on, the ghost bike can also benefit real change and create positive dialog about bike facilities and bike safety, including the possibility of signage or engineering changes in general, but also where the accidents happened.

Last year, the city of Tempe adopted it’s first policy for the management of any roadside memorials. In doing so they “acknowledge a desire to allow temporary memorials within the street right-of-way and adjacent to city owned land”. This is a positive step since roadside memorials were not allowed before. TBAG will continue to work with the city on the specifics of this policy when it concerns future ghost bikes, due to the fact that a ghost bike’s purpose is educational and awareness in addition to being a memorial.

We will never forget Chris Volpe or Jay Fretz as we continue to advocate and educate for bicycle improvements in Tempe and the region.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact ryan@biketempe.org

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Speak up! Your voice will be heard!

ScrottiePassionate about bikes? Let your local and state government know.

Whether you ride for the sake of health, transportation, or to support a deeper belief in a sustainable lifestyle it’s likely that you, as a cyclist, don’t favor the prospect of getting hit by a car, riding over cracked and bumpy pavement, or finding yourself in a bike UN-friendly neighborhood. Let your local leaders know!

As a cyclist your voice will be heard. TBAG Board Member and advocacy leader Scrottie recently went to Tucson to speak in a Arizona Department of Transportation meeting and the amazing thing is – they respected and heard his comments. For a complete account of Scrottie’s travels, view his blog post: http://www.biketempe.org/adot-loves-you/ 

Want to stay on top of bike issues and opportunities to become involved? Update your contact information with biketempe.org to receive advocacy alerts in the future:

http://www.biketempe.org/join-us/update-your-tbag-contact-info/ and get registered for advocacy alerts.

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Bikes in the building! Support bikes in Tempe Wed. April 24

bike-laneTempe is giving you another chance to tell them you want to keep seeing bikes on the streets.

Grab your friends and head to the Tempe General Plan Citizen’s Workshop Wednesday April 24 from 6-7 p.m. at the Tempe Library on Southern and Rural.

This working group needs community input – so be sure to drop by and tell them that the city of Tempe needs to continue funding bike infrastructure to support you, me and all the other two-wheeled gearheads out there!

Love bikes and want to join, but not sure what to talk about? Here are some starting points:

  • Complete Tempe’s streets
  • Expanding the bike network – both dedicated lanes and bike-friendly streets
  • Create more bike boulevard systems

Join in and let your friends know you’re going to be there at the TBAG Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/570553759643281/#


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ADOT Loves You!

I got up at 6am so I could make it to the Pascua Yaqui Justice Center, south west of Tucson, at 9.  Two hours at 75mph on the old Nighthawk at that hour of the morning was a lot.  I showed up tired, wind blown, a bit shaky, and my stomach upset from having fed naught but coffee, but with four minutes to spare before people started settling in.

Two meetings were being held:  a general meeting, and a meeting for the 5 Year Plan.  I filled out a yellow card to speak during the 5 Year Plan portion of the meeting then staked out a seat in the front row.  In the front of the small auditorium, about 8 or 10 people sat behind tables.  Their names and positions (board member, directory, and so forth) were old style wooden widgets like people used to all have on their desks.  They talked among themselves, thanking their hosts, the Pascua Yaqui tribe, for their hospitality and thanked them for the accommodations.

The comment portion of the 5 Year Plan meeting happened second.  I had made some notes the night before of what I wanted to say, but I rewrote them while I waited to be called.  There were no shortage of speakers.  Owners of construction companies stood up and spoke in their three piece suits.  A board member from the Nogales Tourist Association spoke.  A mayor from a local small city spoke; then it was the director of a regional airport, a representative of Southwest Gas, someone from an association of local businesses, PAG (Pima Association of Governments, the regional organization that handles efforts such as public transit that span cities) had their interium director there.  A Mexican consulate spoke about the importance of ground transportation between the US and Mexico, and about how our manufacturing is now so intertwined that goods cross the boarder multiple times before being assembled into a finished project.  There were others.

Some people asked for help with specific dangerous intersections that have had a lot of accidents.  Many, such as the mayor and construction companies, had no particular agenda except to re-affirm their ongoing working relationship with ADOT, and were essentially saying “hello, good to see you”.

I was called, so I stood up, walked over, said good morning to the board and chairman, introduce myself as Scott Walters, with Tempe Bicycle Action Group, and said, approximately:  We work closely with the City of Tempe and with the Maricopa Association of Governments, for example conducting the Tempe Bike Count and helping with Bike to Work Day.  Last year in the Bike Count, we counted 28 locations, for 4 hours, and tallied near 7,000 cyclists.  I’m here to ask for alternatives to highways, such as light rail and bike paths.  Young professionals increasingly want to live near city centers, not in suburbs, and to spend their money on entertainment, not on car ownership.  Safety is the number one reason people don’t ride bikes.  Often roads have 45mph limits with no other way through.  Many people ride anyway, and often the wrong way, or on the sidewalk, which are more dangerous for cyclists.  By DOTs statistics, there was a drop from 37,000 to 32,000 road fatalities from 2008 to 2011, but pedestrian and cyclist deaths rose from 12% to 16% of those fatalities.  Please include bicycles and pedestrians in the 5 Year Plan.  Thank you for your time and attention.

And then I sat down again, and other people continued to speak.  In all, these three minute addresses to the board amounted to an hour.

After the public comments period, the 5 Year Plan meeting was had.  It was a meeting conducted entirely for the benefit of the observing public.  None of the ADOT staff or board present made any motions or reported anything new to each other, but there was still some formality, with the chief engineer re-presenting the three alternative plans (A, B, and C) and giving background on them.

ADOT is facing a budget reduction from 2.6 billion to 1.9 billion.  As part of dealing with that, the engineering staff was asked to prepare three different plans, one maximizing new development, one maximizing maintenance, and another serving as a compromise.  The road projects considered are various highway corridors and connections, highway on ramps, bridge work, and so forth.

1.9 billion sounds like a lot of money, but ADOT, like state transportation departments across the country, has worked year after year to expand the road network, and in doing so has created a serious maintenance obligation.  Being able to do new development in the next five years amounts to neglecting maintenance in the hopes that there is a surplus later to catch it up.

The meeting started with a presentation as a sort of report by the chief engineer, with pretty graphs of funds allocation, maps of projects, and background on the projects.  The two projects being carried forward are ones that primarily have money coming from external sources.  Then the board talked about things amongst themselves for the benefit of the audience.

Arizona is a rare state that does not fund road projects with gas taxes.  Reportedly, each cent of gas tax would give them another 30 million dollars a year.  I strongly suspect that you could make some friends in ADOT if you become a major advocate for the gas tax.

Here are some quotes from the 5 Year Plan meeting:

We really do want comments – we’d like you to encourage your friends to file formal comments  – Scott, the lead traffic engineer

Thank you all for being respectful concerning the budget shortfall when making comments.

In the past, 76% [of the budget] was spent on expansion.

Approximately 600 comments were filed.  300 of them spoke in support of alternate transportation.  300 spoke in support of Plan A, B, or C.

Your input is very import to us and does affect how transportation funds are spent. – Chairman Victor Flores.  [This was spoken very earnestly, almost as a plea, as if the audience possessed a voice of reason that would spare him from a consuming madness.]

A lot of these organizations want to be at the table but in my opinion, they need to take the lead.  We’re viewed skeptically. – Council Member Joe La Rue [I knew it!]

ADOT cannot make these decisions alone.  Economic development is a wise place to put money. – Board Member John S Halikowski

Individual contribution [to roadways] comes to about $288 a year. – Board Member Joe La Rue.

People who spoke here today – you’ve got to get fired up! – Joe La Rue

That’s it for the direct quotes.

I think I learned a lot about how politics works today, and the stereotype is wrong.  The more people I meet working in the city, state, and in organizations like MAG, the more I realize that these guys are trying really, really hard to do a good job, and they want help and friends as badly as we do.

Then, a reporter from KVOA snuck up to the front row and asked for an interview, so, hey, maybe I’m on TV in Tucson.

I’d like to make the Flagstaff meeting on May 10 as well.  It seems fitting that I would go to Tucson to talk about Tempe and then go to Flagstaff to talk about Tucson.  I want to stand up for my three minutes and tell the ADOT board and engineers about how my friends and I rode our bikes all over southern Arizona over and over again, and then went to France to do a long distance ride with people from all over the country.  I want to thank them for re-paving Mission road, and tell them how, prior to that, we had decided that it was maintained by the Beirut Road Department, and they would teaspoon asphalt into the craters every day after using it for shelling practice.  Arizona is also full of wonderful roads with great shoulders.  It seems fitting that since I got to know them a lot better, they should get to know some of their friends from TBAG a lot better.  TBAG, and people on bikes in Arizona aren’t just me, though.  If you’d like to join me in thanking the people working for us and make some friends, please go to http://www.biketempe.org/join-us/update-your-tbag-contact-info/ and get registered for advocacy alerts.

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Celebrate bike month in the valley of the sun



What better time to grab some handlebars and get a stiff seat beneath your butt? Before it gets into triple digits, get on your bike(s) and get out there! This month, local transit provider Valley Metro is making it easy to get close and friendly with the local bike community by hosting a bike month campaign.

For event and campaign details, visit valleymetro.com and navigate to the April Bike Month page, or click here.
Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Sunday April 14 – Bike to the Ballpark – Join Mayor Greg Stanton, Valley Metro, and the Arizona Diamondbacks for a free 3.5 mile escorted bike ride, and a D-Backs game that supports Valley Metro’s bike programs.
  • Wednesday April 17 – Bike to work and School Day – Look for commuter and school rides in your local area. Events will take place Valley-wide. Click here for a list of Bike to Work & School Day rides. Click here for a list of Bike to Work & School Day deals.

You can also win prizes for doing something you already love; biking!

Ride your bike for work or play or attend a biking event during Valley Bike Month and win great prizes, including a bike from LaDep Custom Cruisers!

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Show Support for Bike Projects

The City of Tempe and the Maricopa Association of Governments aren’t just big scary governmental organizations.  They’re made of real people, and a lot of them are really cool people, and a lot of them ride bikes.  They want the same things we do, and we can help them by showing up to meetings and politely, briefly voicing support.  Really, all you have to say is, “This is great!  Please do this.”

Tempe has a lot of projects going on to add and improve bike infrastructure.  MAG is getting ready to do a bike count of their own, city wide, and they’re also asking for feedback on their designs for how to make cities bike/ped friendly.

These are the meetings TBAG plans to have an attendance at.  If you go, you won’t be alone.  Besides TBAG, Phoenix Spokes People (formerly DBAG/PBAG) will be there.

April 11 – MAG (Maricopa Association of Governments) – Designing Transit Accessible Communities Study Feedback
“The Maricopa Association of Governments is requesting your input on the Designing Transit Accessible Communities Study. The intent of the study is to encourage planning practices that improve bicycling and pedestrian access from neighborhoods to transit service”
Meetings like this where you can go and give positive feedback (and say thank you for doing this, this is exactly what we want) are great.

April 12 – ADOT general plan meeting in Tucson
Encourage ADOT to use funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects, not just more traffic lanes.  The City of Tempe and MAG are forward thinking and support bicycle projects, but ADOT controls how most transportation money is spent, and they aren’t hearing from cyclists, only motorists.  We need cyclists to stand up and say simple, obvious (to us) things such as “I ride my bike to work.  Bike lanes are transportation for me.”

Jun 18 – MAG Bike & Ped Committee — MAG Bike Count Meeting
Their bike/ped count consultants are presenting count tech recommendations and locations.  Unlike our Bike Count, they’re spreading their resources across the metro area.  This is mostly of interest to the people who organize the bike count and do stats for it.
302 N 1st St Suite 300, Phoenix, 2nd floor, 1:30pm

MAG: Designing Transit Accessible Communities Study – Public Input

April 11 at 1:00pm in MST
Ironwood Room, 2nd Floor Maricopa Association of Governments 302 N 1st Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85003

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Livable Cities Coalition Report

The Livable Cities Coalition meetings are easy to go to.  They’re full of like minded individuals working on really cool things, and working together.

Last month, the lady who worked for Governor Napolitano and Governor Brewer to head up the head up the light rail project from that side talked about a non-profit she founded to finance development along the rail line unwritten with grant money.  Many of the developments along the rail line are financed by her organization.

This month, one of the members of a committee with grant money from the Pew Charitable Trust/Robert Wood Johnson Health Impact Assessment Grant talked about how she got grants to do “health impact assessments”.  Health impact assessments quantify cost impacts on health made transportation decisions.  For example, public transportation and cycling infrastructure have a strong positive impact on public health by promoting walking and recumbent riding.  Cities looking at costs of things can consider public health costs related to transportation decisions.  This work provides them with that data.  I talked to her about possibly including some of this data in our Bike Count Report for 2013’s Bike Count.

Tucson (if I got this straight, there was a lot of talk about Flagstaff, too) is doing BRT (Bus Rapid Transit).  They drove a new hybrid bus around to neighborhoods, set up shop there, had people come and check it out, and had them fill out an online survey from terminals set up in the bus.  They got 11,000 survey responses, overwhelmingly positive, in favor of the BRT.   Public transit options reduce traffic congestion and help car-free cyclists with many of the times they would otherwise need to use a car.

Doug Hirano, the Executive Director of Asian Pacific Communities in Action talked about his organization and its goal of empowering and serving the Asian and Pacific communities in the Phoenix metro area.  They’re providing health services, translation services, and are looking into outdoor gym equipment, which reportedly has wide adoption in several Asian countries (including Australia, I think).  I talked to him about the impact Bicycle Saviours has in Tempe.

The presentations are fantastic, but the table talk is also excellent.  AZPIRG’s outreach coordinator made it to the meeting again and we talked about ADOT meetings coming up and the topics being discussed at them.  MAG is trying to extend the rail lines, and there’s some debate between street cars versus running the light rail trains on roads shared with cars in places where roads cannot be widened to accommodate the train.  Gene from Phoenix Spokes People (formerly DBAG, formerly PBAG) was there both times I was.  They’re doing a good job of making it to meetings and sharing the cyclist’s perspective with policy makers.

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Tempe Bike Count 2013 Needs Volunteers!

The 3rd annual Tempe Bike Count takes place in just three weeks, on March 26-28.  Training meetings are in just two weeks.  Each of 50 intersections has an AM shift and a PM shift.  76 of those 100 shifts are still available.  You can sign up for just one 2 hour shift, or more shifts on more days if you want.

If you think you can make it, please sign up now to reserve your intersection, and so that I know that we’re going to have enough people, but do let me (scrottie@biketempe.org) know if you have to cancel or switch days.

RSVPs for training dates are used to figure out how much pizza to order.  Local comedian Tim Tagtmeyer will introduce the Bike Count and all of the ways to get confused that you never even thought of.


The count will take place over three days. Each volunteer counts during commuting hours, with morning (7:00am to 9:00am) or afternoon (4:00pm to 6:00pm) shifts (or both).

  • Tuesday, March 26th
  • Wednesday, March 27th
  • Thursday, March 28th

For full details on the Tempe Bike Count and to sign up please go to: http://www.biketempe.org/events/bike-count/


Traffic Engineering responds well to serious safety problems.  People ride bikes even where safe infrastructure doesn’t exist.  Often, the only way through is on roads like Southern, McClintock, or Rural, where bicycles were not taken into consideration.  The Bike Count lets us show the city where cyclists overwhelmingly feel they have to ride on the sidewalk, something that the city knows is not safe.  It also shows the City of Tempe how many bicycles do come out where safe facilities do exist, which helps them with their goals of smug reduction and congestion reduction.  The raw data has been requested by environmental engineering firms, traffic engineering grad students, and others.  The Bike Count is a fantastic way to encourage making Tempe bicycle friendly, and to quantify progress.  It helps the city help us!


We’re throwing an appreciation party at Boulders on Broadway for our volunteers!  Come turn in your count sheets, have a beer, and tell tales of the craziness you saw out there on the streets of Tempe.

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Tempe bike community needs you!


UPDATED: email your city council

Support proposed local bike infrastructure such as green bike lanes and traffic slowing medians by emailing the Tempe City Council at councilcommunicator@tempe.gov

Businesses hoping to dissuade the council from going forward with some of these changes have been meeting with your city leaders. Make sure their voices aren’t the only ones heard.

Online public comment on the city’s forum has closed, but you still have time to contact your city leaders directly by emailing councilcommunicator@tempe.gov.

Want to post your support but don’t know what to say? Here’s a few lines you can simply copy and paste;

  • Thank you for adding green bike lanes to Tempe, they are greatly needed!

  • Please continue to go forward with all median plans. They will help keep traffic from colliding with cyclists on the roadways.

  • Please install a stoplight at Roosevelt and Farmer, this will help cars, bikes and pedestrians safely cross, rather than forcing us to play frogger in traffic.

(From previous TBAG post)

The city of Tempe is introducing plans that help you and your fellow two-wheeled friends to more easily and safely commute through Tempe. These plans could have a great impact not only on the safety of the roadways, but also in the beautification of our city… that is, if the city continues to hear from YOU!

Bike lane modifications, medians and other proposed changes are being fought by some who may not understand what it’s like to cycle in traffic with little to no bike infrastructure. Don’t let the proposed plans fall by the wayside. Join in on meetings, email your city leaders and let Tempe know that the growing bike community demands safer, bike-friendly streets.

Thanks to those of you who joined the University/Hardy Drive Screetscape Project open house, the Broadway Road Screetscape meeting and every one who has been submitting comments and statements on behalf of bike Tempe cyclists.

Be seen. Be heard. Be a bike champion in Tempe!

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