Ahwatukee Traffic Circle updates

This is an update on the progress of two temporary traffic circles that were put up by the city of Phoenix in the Ahwautkee area. See original story for background.

The circle at Equestrian Trail and Apaloosa Drive will become permanent, and design is underway and a public meeting was held in early October, 2010. See AFN story.

Some good news is indicating the Equestian circle is having the desired effect: “Wilcoxon said that since the temporary roundabout was installed in July 2009, speeding has dropped significantly, from 21.7 percent of vehicles observed by city staff to only 1.7 percent”.

The circle at 36th and Coconino did not enough (or any, according to the news article) support, and so the temporary stuff was removed in September (or maybe October) 2010 and that is that. My own take on this is that since practically no one lives on 36th Street, this circle had no “champion”, and thus it withered.

36th Street, southbound approaching Coconino

I have some concerns in the way it is now striped at the intersection of 36th and Coconino. I am not sure if this is the final striping plan or what.

Striping on 36th Street at Coconino

Southbound; is fairly straightforward:

The bike lane stripes (there are two stripes because the bike lane is set away from the curb) just ends pretty far, maybe 500′ from the intersection. The stripes should be extended most of the way to the intersection and some hash markings placed, see this example from Knox Rd which has a similar layout of bike lane moved away from the curb.

Northbound, however is more complicated:

36th Street Northbound approaching Coconino

Because of the bend in 36th street, a right turn only lane was created — I presume to improve sight lines for traffic emerging from Coconino. This is all well and good but it leaves a bit of a mess for bicyclists who are hoping to use the bike lane.

So, the bike lane ends… the left hand bike lane stripe goes on to become the divider between the through lane, and the newly created right turn only lane.

Legally riding cyclists would or should merge into the through lane, and take the lane (block traffic) until clear of the intersection with Coconino. The through lane is quite clearly narrow; as can be seen in the southbound picture with the garbage truck.

It seems to me that there is enough room to make the through lane wide, by shrinking the right turn only lane which appears to be at least 12 feet wide. In other words move the divider line between the through and right turn lane two feet to the right.

The way it is now is encourages cyclists to ride illegally through the right turn only lane.

3 thoughts on “Ahwatukee Traffic Circle updates”

  1. The temporary circle on 36th Street at Coconino was removed a few weeks back due to lack of support from residents in the neighborhood. The intersection has been returned to the previous condition of a standard 2-way STOP control. I drove it once as a motorist but let me know if we created or left any areas of concern for bicyclists.
    We tried a new bike treatment a this traffic circle location that we would not use again. If you remember rather than end the bike lane prior to the start of the circle we maintained the bike lane on the curb side of the approach bump-outs and had the bike lane entering the circle at the yield line. We even had special pavement markings in the bike lane advising bicyclists to yield to traffic.
    Going forward on all temporary and permanent traffic circles we end the bike lane prior to the approach bump-outs and stripe the travel lane as shared use. An example of the new striping can be found at the temporary circle at 15th Ave and Rose Lane and on the permanent circle being built on 36th Street at Rosemonte. I would be interested in any input cyclists want to provide.

  2. I cycle the traffic circle on Lafayette on my daily commute, and prefer the shared use striping you mention for single lane circles. Single lane circles should be driven one vehicle wide, and a bicycle lane all the way to the yield line confuses the issue and doesn’t give a merge indication or enough space to merge safely and predictably.

    As long as the approaches to the circle are visible, so a cyclist can anticipate traffic entering, that shared use striping works well. The only tangles I have is the occasional super-polite motorist who stops in the middle of the circle and waves me in front of them. That may be more of a “practice makes perfect” issue rather than anything to do with circle design, though.

  3. Kerry,

    I’m very glad to hear that the special treatment bike lane at circles will not be used in the future. I always joined the traffic lane, rather than took the bike lane to the side at 36th and Coconino as I felt the extra lane left the cyclist likely to be un-seen by motorists entering the circle. Motorists are merging with traffic coming from the left, and I feared a cyclist on the right would be ignored or not seen.



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