Getting There: Bicycling Bermuda Triangles

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with route ideas for getting from Tempe to downtown Phoenix. Clearly there’s a wide variety of ways to get from here to there, with varying degrees of adventure and distance involved. On a recent trip in early February, I have noted that it’s possible to travel west along Washington to 24th Street before construction starts to make things a bit crazy (rough road, no bike lane, no shoulder). I can’t wait until the whole thing’s finished! In the meantime, you’ve come up with some good alternative ideas.

Your responses got me wondering about something else: as I ride around, I often take mental note of particular areas that are challenging or annoying to navigate by bicycle, which I’ll refer to as Bicycling Bermuda Triangles (BBTs). One of my criteria for a nice bike route is that it should not require riding on sidewalks at all, so for me one BBT is reaching the Tempe Public Library (southwestern corner of Rural and Southern): I can take College Ave. most of the way there, and then turn left on Malibu Dr. (just south of Southern), but that spits me back out on Rural or Southern before I reach the library, so I end up on the sidewalk for at least a short stretch because traffic travels too quickly on both Rural and Southern for me to feel safe on the road by myself at night. I’ve often wondered if there’s a sneaky back entrance among the houses behind the Tempe Library complex, but if there is I’ve never found it.

Another spot is the corner of Rural and Broadway, where it’s possible to get almost to the intersection on the frontage road on the north side of Broadway, but then at the last moment things get dangerous due to a bus stop and a parking lot exit where drivers generally don’t watch for bicycles traveling against traffic (and I can’t say I blame them).

So my question for you is, have you encountered other BBTs of your own? How have you learned to deal with them? Are you happy just “making do” with what’s there, or can you envision some kind of reasonable potential change to make things better? (I must admit that I have dreams of bike lanes along Broadway, Rural, and Southern, or at least dreams of slower speed limits so I’m not worried about being killed by cars)