City of Tempe applies for funds for bike/ped bridge over I-10 at Alameda

The city of Tempe transportation planning staff is in the process of applying for Federal money to build a bridge over I-10 at Alameda for non-motorized users. This would complete a much needed bike-friendly east-west route across Tempe and into Phoenix! Stay tuned for additional information, and click here to see a copy of the letter of support that TBAG wrote in the hope that it will help the city’s bid for funds.

Thank you to a bike-friendly city transportation staff! This will be a great improvement to the network of bike routes.

11 thoughts on “City of Tempe applies for funds for bike/ped bridge over I-10 at Alameda

  1. Hmm, this is interesting but the placement of sky harbor makes this somewhat useless for me in my ongoing attempt to begin biking to work. Now if only Phoenix would build a pedestrian tunnel starting at 40th and University, under the airport and the riverbed, and popping out at 40th and Air Lane then I’d be all set!

    And while they’re at it, how about a fully paved path along both sides of the riverbed with easy access from all arterial streets that dead end at the river.

  2. Hopefully the design will not have the sharp-U turn and two blind corners like the country club bridge over I-60. I find riding over it at 5-8mph to be dangerous with kids on skateboards and fast wrong side of path cyclists. Even with slow speed and announcing presence at blind corners I’ve had more close calls on this bridge than on any street. That bridge was not designed with cyclists in mind.

  3. Tom: Hopefully the continuing work on the Grand Canal will help with that, at least to some extent. But I’d have to check with more sources of information to see how well your wish list is being addressed.

    Al: Part of the application process asks how the City will go about getting input from potential bridge users. My hope is that TBAG will be in the loop enough to make sure your described concerns are kept in mind. I’m not entirely sure of what the design/site restrictions for the Alameda crossing will end up being, though.

  4. hello all: a few responses from my perspective as primary bike/ped staff at the city of Tempe…
    We do continue to pursue funding and build the pathways along the Rio Salado. We are now under construction of another half mile of path from Hardy to Priest on the southbank. I have submitted federal grants and have been somewhat successful in getting funding to continue our Rio Salado paths all the way to the 143, which is where Tempe’s limits end (on the southbank; they end at Priest on the north bank). We need more than 10 million to get under Priest and build the little more than 1 mile to get to the 143, hohokam freeway. We have also been coordinating with Sky Harbor and the city of Phoenix to finish design concepts to continue the Rio Salado paths all the way into downtown Phoenix. These designs are complete and Phoenix is also putting together funding. We do have the goal of connecting the two cities. Formal design will start in 2010. Connections to Sky Harbor, however, are more tricky. Post 9/11 environment makes ingress/egress points more restrictive so a bike/ped entrance is not allowed at this point. And the freeways connecting to Sky Harbor disallow bikes. We are working to have bus and rail access for bikes.

    Regarding designs of the ramps: The Country Club Way bridge was built to exceed all design requirements of Americans with Disabilities Act and the American Association of State and Highway Officials (AASHTO) bike and ped design guidelines. these two sets of guides are nationally recognized, and in my opininon are rather conservative in that they usually make us design things with more concrete, wider turn radii, and lesser slope. They are actually designed for higher speed and greater latitude for errors. Older bridges in the valley have much tighter curves/slopes etc… All that being said, we also were trying to limit the impact to the two parks that we were linking to and there was very vocal and large numbers of neighbors who did not want the project. We will, of course, involve users in the design considerations of the Alameda Bridge, but all the factors, including space constraints, will also partially dictate what the final product looks like and rides like. We will involve a project artist as well to help make it uniquely Tempe. I know we don’t build perfect facilities but we are trying to make linkages in what are today absolute obstacles.

    We do not have funding yet for this project and we have our work cut out for us as a city. Even at the city I do not have full support politically or even on staff. So it’s an uphill battle to put together the package. I believe this Alameda bridge is important.
    I hope some of this info helps shed some light on how things happen….
    Keep riding and THANKS SO MUCH for this website!

  5. Thanks for the elaboration, Eric.

    I’ve only occasionally ridden across the Country Club overpass (I usually use the College Ave one), but have ridden across the older Oak Street overpass in Phoenix quite a bit, and can say that the Tempe overpasses are definitely a huge step up from the older options. At this point, I’d be happy to have *any* overpass option across the I-10 (and how about the 101, while I’m asking for big favors?).

  6. Eric-

    I am a neighbor who was invited went to several planning meetings at the school by the park and expressed my concerns/desires both thru surveys and voice. Seems most of my inputs were ignored giving favor to my unfortunate neighbors who didn’t want the bridge at all. As a pedestrian the bridge is great – as a cyclist it can be annoying. I now always use Price for southbound and often McClintock or Rural for northbound. I can’t trust the other users to stay on the right side of the path, especially at the corners, where swinging wide or cutting tight over the center line is very common.
    It is not (at least easily) possible for two cyclist to pass each other at the U-turn. There is also no right of way established/posted for the up vs. down cyclist. (up cyclist should get right of way, peds should get right of way) As a cautious cyclist I alway stop or signal my intents to avoid collision, but that can get tedious as I need to accommodate some irresponsible users – and one can not tell if a user is irresponsible until it is too late.
    Putting a cyclist transport corridor thru a playground also sets it up for these problems. For the record I treat all others users, but particularly pedestrians and children, with a higher level of care than I would expect to be treated by others. The problem is not the other users who can’t and should not be expected to follow a rigid set of rules, it is the mixed use design with limited space to share at pinch points.
    This is not personal – I very much understand the limitations you must work with and acknowledge the hard work that goes into these projects and that improvements have been made over time.


  7. Al –
    thanks for the comments and it’s always great to know there are community members out there that stay involved in the process and actually use our facilities! All of your thoughts pretty much capture the compromises that come with a public process to design a public facility. The Country Club Way bridge is not perfect for a serious bike commuter, but it does make a new connection that may work for some. My goal is to create the best bike city in the country…… which to me is the greatest number of people on bikes. Keep riding! Thanks for the comments

  8. I wish we had the SR 101 bridge at Babola
    Moved up.

    Let’s do things half ass.Rather than face the music that we shafted them when we built the hellzones.
    build a bridge over the I10 and western.

    The reason as mentioned above the Western go overs the SR 101.

    So by building a bridge you create a bicycle network.already in place.

    Will this bridge help people ? Yes

    However we know completing other networks will allow for more acess to more riders.

  9. I will say it again, in my opinion getting a Bicycle Friendly Community designation is not even half an accomplishment. Educating drivers, peds and bicyclists is more important and I don’t see any of this happening. Of 20 bicyclists I see out while driving, one, maybe two might have a light, and the majority are on the wrong side of the road on the sidewalk. I have even seen serious spandex clad cyclists on the wrong side of the road on the sidewalk. This is only going to become more prevalent as gas gouged citizens take to the streets in their bikes as we can already see happening based on news reports and also on firsthand experiences I’ve encountered. I am happy more people are bicycling but we are going to see more accidents/injuries if we don’t educate this new group of cyclists.

    I have crossed the College Ave and Country Club Way bridges many times and I have never had an issue, but yes, from a cyclists perspective it is not an ideal design, but as someone else said I am just happy to have a car free freeway overpass rather than not have one.

  10. America has a fascinating history with second-class citizens. I’m just wondering how high gas has to go to create enough cyclists for the rest to stop not merely discriminating against us, but actively hunting and slaughtering us.

    I mean, can you imagine the uproar if SUVs were restricted to infrequent too-narrow curb lanes in constant disrepair that not only vanish as soon as the road narrows but also at other random times for no reason at all? Or if they were not only banished from the largest, most direct routes but if those same routes — as in this case — presented near-impenetrable barriers to passage? If they had to get out and push the car over the bridge because driving it was too hazardous?

    If you want to get a good approximation for what it must have been like to live in an era when you were forced to drink from the “colored” fountain, just hop on a bike. Of course, you can ditch the bike a lot easier than you can bleach your skin — but does that excuse our treatment at the hands of society?

    Sure, sure. “It’s always been like this.” And “It’s for your own good.” And “We can’t afford to change.” And “You can’t demand special treatment for your deviant ways.” Yes, of course. Silly me.



  11. Right on Ben G.

    My life is less important than a motorist’s 30s of time.

    We know this because because they won’t be going to jail.

    59 in Utah sucks
    Just wide enough so you can’t take the lane doing 6 mph,
    Yet every one with a truck will sqeeze by you with oncomming traffic.

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