Ahwatukee gets a new road

[UPDATE; this is the original material, circa 2009] Since Ahwatukee, part of the city of Phoenix, has been built-out now for years, I don’t get to say this much. Ahwatukee is getting a new road. It connects 40th and Pecos to the Wild Horse Pass (new) Hotel-Casino / Resort  / Rawhide on the Gila River Indian Reservation. The road opened to traffic to coincide with the grand opening of the new hotel/casino, Oct 30, 2009.

Views of Estrella Mountains to the west
Views of Estrella Mountains westbound on Willis Rd

For cyclists going “around the mountain”, this means it will no longer be necessary to cross over I-10 to get to Maricopa Road, usually via S 56th Street, and then cross back over to pick up Maricopa Road. Here is a map of the general vicinity (the new road is not shown yet).

For us less-ambitious Ahwatukee area cyclists, it provides a pleasant connection to some enjoyable scenery; particularly the area around the resort (NOT the new hotel-casino which is boring, and out by the I-10) which is beautiful natural desert surrounding a lush golf course all with sweeping vistas of the Estrella Mountains. The area around the new road itself is still just raw dirt, as this land was most recently (years?) agricultural.

The road is actually in 3 segments, a  short piece extending 40th St, a one mile (exactly!) stretch called Willis Road,  and finally a short stub of 48th Street connects to the casino and whatnot. The road is built to (strangely?) high traffic standards, with two wide-ish (12′ foot) lanes in each direction plus a bike lane. There is a fully divided median w/curbs, and curbs on both outsides.

Bike No Longer Allowed in Wild Horse Pass Resort, circa 2013

Shameful. These are apparently private streets, not much else to say. Don’t go there. Don’t patronize the resort, restaurants, golf, etc.

This is/was a very pleasant ride with light traffic and low speeds thru the golf course.

All entrances to the resort are blocked with a copy of this sign; Kolb and W.H.P. Blvd48th St and WHP Blvd, and W North Loop entrance (closest to golf club).

40th Street Interchange with Loop 202 (#SMF)

40th Street; interchange with SMF is just ahead (compare to old pic below ; this used to be a surface intersection with Pecos Road. Pecos Road has been replaced by the new freeway.

Loop 202, the South Mountain Freeway, interchange with 40th Street opened in early September 2019. (The rest of the freeway connecting to I-10 west of Phoenix is supposed to open something like end of year).

This area contains standard Bike Lanes of a reasonable width. The striping appears complete, but the bike symbols, or green patches, weren’t yet installed. The signals were all up and running but not sure about timing (or demand sensors? or whatever).

There are right turn only lanes everywhere a right turn is possible; meaning right-hooks aren’t really a problem, but also meaning there’s a mixing zone ahead of each right.

Mountain Parkway btw Ray and Chandler Blvd

I’ll include this here since it’s contiguous with 40th Street and was new as of August 2019, just ahead of the opening of the 40th St interchange;

Unlike the section just south of here, 40th Street from Chandler Blvd to and beyond the new freeway interchange, this new section of BL is a bit of a shoehorn.

See longer form explanation, dimensions, etc at the article on shoehorning. (scan down for “some other actual measurements”).

Connectivity

So the bike lane – connectivity picture now (in 2019) looks quite different than when this article was written in 2009…

There are now Bike Lanes spanning from Ranch Circle North to the north, then Mountain Parkway, and all the way along 40th Street into the Gila River Indian Community (and continues through, then across Willis, then 48th street)

Now irrelevant

the struck-through material below written in 2009 has been made irrelevant since completion of the freeway interchange at 40th Street:

Concerns about the Pecos and 40th intersection

40thandpecos
40th St. southbound, just before intersection with Pecos Rd. Oct 28, 2009.

40th Street in Phoenix has full (real) bike lanes between Chandler Blvd and where it presently ends, at Pecos Road. This will be a nice addition connectivity wise. One concern I have is that southbound on 40th approaching the intersection with Pecos the bike lane is to the right of a straight/right combo lane. The predominant traffic flow will be right-turn — thus a straight-thru cyclist in the bike lane will be to the right of predominantly right-turning traffic — this is a recipe for right-hooks.

Another concern is signal timing. I was pleasantly surprised that my bicycle triggered the demand light northbound on 40th street (by stopping in the right hand lane, and not the bike lane… there do not appear to be sensors under the bike lane). However, the green cycle seems waaaay too short — 3 seconds, if that’s possible? — and Pecos is a wiiide road. It’s hard to say for sure, due to other traffic showing up what the whole timing scheme is. I was under the possibly mistaken impression that 5 seconds was some sort of bare minimum. There are several dilemmas involving signal timing and cyclists (Forester discusses them at great detail here), so…

I don’t usually say this — and there is no obligation to do so — but cyclists should consider dismounting and pushing the pedestrian button, thus insuring a full cycle time. The level of dangerous driving there is off the scale. Dangerous drivers have killed 5 people along Pecos Road, including one cyclist (see Pecos Death Trap?), not to mention a bunch of injuries. We’ve had drunk drivers, wrong-way drivers, drivers who inexplicably crossed the median and smash head-on into dump trucks, drivers making bad lefts, along with the usual “inattentive” drivers like the one who killed Don Anselmo.

Lack of connectivity

By the way, for those keeping count, there are no bike lanes on Pecos road (though the paved shoulders are generally okay), and there are no connecting bike lanes on 40th Street north of Chandler Blvd., the lane just unceremoniously ends. The contiguous roadway officially changes names at Chandler Blvd, south it is 40th Street, north it is S. Mountain Parkway. This is one piece of crappy planning, as there is a bike lane just 1000′ north at Ranch Circle South.

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4 thoughts on “Ahwatukee gets a new road”

  1. Thanks for posting, Ed.

    Regarding that “recipe for right-hooks, note that MUTCD (Section 9C.04 Markings For Bicycle Lanes) states: “Support: A bicyclist continuing straight through an intersection from the right of a right turn lane would be inconsistent with normal traffic behavior and would violate the expectations of right-turning motorists (and) Guidance: When the right through lane is dropped to become a right turn only lane, the bicycle lane markings should stop at least 100 feet before the beginning of the right turn lane. Through bicycle lane markings should resume to the left of the right turn only lane. An optional through-right turn lane next to a right turn only lane should not be used where there is a through bicycle lane. If a capacity analysis indicates the need for an optional through-right turn lane, the bicycle lane should be discontinued at the intersection approach” (
    http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2003r1r2/part9/part9c.htm#section9C04 )
    On the positive side, on the other side of the intersection, I was cycling from northbound 40th to westbound Pecos and tripped the left turn signal.

  2. I would not assume that the stripe to the right of the rigth turn/through lane constitutes a bicycle lane. There would also be a BLACK Bike Lane sign posted in the vicinity is this were a bike lane. Also, I believe standard practice is to end the bike lane 50 feet before the intersection if there is not enough room for a right turn only lane.
    Currently I show the bike lane ending at Cottonwood Lane.

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