(for those who don’t know, I attend the monthly Tempe Transportation Commission Multi-Modal Transportation Planning & Project Review Committee meetings)

There was a lot to discuss at this month’s Transit Committee meeting. Some highlights, in order from least to most exciting:

1. Traffic calming projects: Mitchell Park East-West is headed for construction. Maple-Ash is headed for another neighborhood meeting to discuss some potential closure points (suggested about a year ago; dropped from plan; resurrected again). Here’s Tempe’s report on those projects. College Ave is also heading towards construction–we had some discussion about reviewing the striping of the intersection at College and Southern; I’ll try to keep everyone posted on the status of that project.

Photo of Tempe's Bike Month Poster
2. Bike Month: It’s coming up soon! Tempe has just released their Bike Month flyer, which lists a slew of events for the month–pick up a copy at the Transportation Center or look for it around town. Check Tempe’s Bike Month website for details on all events. Two highlights include Bikeapalooza, a biking festival where TBAG will lead a community bike ride, and Bike to Work and School Day, where TBAG’s bicycle commuters will lead rides from each of the 4 other breakfast sites towards the Tempe Transportation Center and beyond to Phoenix and Scottsdale. Stay tuned for more information about TBAG’s involvement in those events and how you can help/participate.

3. **Broadway Road Restructuring Project**: For those who have asked about this for YEARS…Tempe has funding to modify Broadway between Rural Ave and Mill Ave with bike/pedestrian enhancements.

Here are 2 upcoming dates: On Saturday, March 14, from 9-12, there will be a walk-through along Broadway as part of the early planning phase. On Wednesday, March 18, at 6 pm, there will be a meeting in the Community Room at the Transit Center to review several concepts for the modification (i.e. several ideas for how to change things). Right now, Broadway is 3 lanes eastbound, 2 lanes westbound, with a center turn lane. Two potential concepts to reduce lanes and free up space for bicycles/pedestrians: remove 1 eastbound lane, or remove the center turn lane. One complication, however, will be handling the frontage road on the north side of Broadway.

14 Responses to “Transit Commitee Report”
  1. BB says:

    Thanks for the update.

  2. Myko says:

    I must say that when they had the temporary roundabouts down college a while back, they were horrible, it caused cars to veer into my riding area and almost sent me into cars that were waiting coming from the opposite ways.

  3. Rebecca Clark says:

    You will be relieved to find out that the worst of those traffic circles were taken out of the final plan–you weren’t the only one with that problem. :-)

  4. Myko says:

    That is good to hear. They would have been better if they were not so big, or if there was not any bike lanes to begin with. I remember riding around Seattle neighborhoods when I visit friends that are super small barely two lane roads with roundabouts but there wasn’t any real lanes to begin with so it worked. lol. You should know those well. :)

  5. BB says:

    I think the reason why they didn’t work was because cyclists were not taking the lane prior to coming to the roundabout. (Bike lane markings were horrible) Now we get to stop completely oh joy.

  6. Alex says:

    I really liked having the left turn lane at Alameda as it was prior to the demo period. Hopefully it will stay as it is (and was prior to the demo) with a traffic light.

  7. Tom says:

    Alex. The traffic circles were pretty much removed. I believe Alameda will remain as is with the left turn lane. There is an updated concept map here: http://www.tempe.gov/tim/Traffic/CollegeAve.htm

  8. Alex says:

    Tom-
    Thanks I saw the map previously and had zoomed into the areas of interest. It wasn’t totally clear exactly the final configuration. Glad to hear the LTL will remain.

  9. Ben Goren says:

    If you’ve got nothing else already planned for tomorrow morning, do please come to the walk — just sign in in the parking lot of that church on the northeast corner of College and Broadway and then walk clockwise around Broadway, to Rural, then Mill, then back. Bring your camera.

    We have the chance here to set a new standard for how bicycles are treated in this city, and the potential impact could be huge. This is not a project to be complacent or silent about.

    Cheers,

    b&

  10. Myko says:

    thanks i will do my best to make it!

  11. Rebecca Clark says:

    Alex: Unfortunately, in fact, those left-turn lanes are going to disappear. However, the bike lanes on the north side of the intersection at Alameda will be widened as a result (and will be actual bike lanes instead of narrow gutter strips). The stop light will also be changed to a four-way stop.

    My thought on the matter is this: bicyclists and cars will now be forced to take the lane in order to make left turns at that intersection. Although this may be a difficult maneuver to master, all traffic will be slowed through that intersection, which makes overall conditions safer for everyone. The goal of the project is to calm traffic, after all, not to make maneuvering more efficient…

    It’s probably not the best solution for that intersection, from a bicyclist’s standpoint (I’d still prefer to see a traffic circle there, personally), but I don’t think it will make the intersection *worse*…

  12. Rebecca Clark says:

    BB – I’m inclined to agree, that the traffic circles *could* have worked better if cyclists and motorists were better-educated about how to use/share them.

    The tricky thing about the College Ave traffic calming project is that it is an effort to get road users to *subconsciously* change their behavior in response to their perceptions of the road conditions. When the test measures were implemented, there was a delay between the installation of the physical components (the reflective “candlesticks” and orange plastic barrels) and the re-striping of the intersections.

    Tempe also learned a thing or two about some of those intersections when the test measures went in–namely, that some of the intersections had more tricky conditions (i.e. irregular widths) than they originally thought.

    The funny thing is, as someone pointed out to me during one of the Transit Committee meetings, pretty much *anything* that is done along College will be an improvement. The best change will be more greenery (and potential shade!) and less pavement.

    College is already a pretty good street to ride on, as evidenced by its heavy usage. The City of Tempe has gotten a TON of feedback (of *all* sorts) on the project, and will try to do the very best it can, given the innumerable factors that have to be balanced out (needs of neighbors, needs of bicyclists, needs of motorists, physical limitations of roadway).

    At least it’s one place where bicyclists are getting some positive attention, and where traffic is being slowed instead of being hustled through town. Let’s keep seeing that happen!

  13. Rebecca Clark says:

    Ben Goren (and Myko if you make it): I hope all goes well with the walk-through. I’d be interested to hear about it–you can e-mail me (my first name at biketempe dot org) or leave a comment. I’ll see if I can turn that into a blog post.

  14. Alex says:

    The problem is many cyclist will not take the lane – that was my observation when the trial was in place. SB traffic on college would back up at Alameda during rush hour a line of 6 or more cars. I’d take the lane waiting my turn and other cyclists would ride up on the right and cut in front of traffic waiting their turn. This even further delayed thruput of the intersection.

    A solution could be to post law enforcement at the intersection, but a better use instead of targeting cyclists would have been to be there before the traffic calming measures and enforce the speed limit. They only reason there is cut thru traffic is because drivers can get away with speeding. It is not a short cut if one travels at 25mph.

    Traffic calming shouldn’t slow law abiding cyclists – otherwise they will chose a better route

  15.  
Leave a Reply