Bike Lane installed on 51st Street

The city of Phoenix has recently installed a bike lane on 51st Street in Phoenix (Ahwatukee), between Warner and Elliot roads [area map]. It is approximately one mile in length. The stretch has appeared (incorrectly) as a bike lane on the MAG Regional Bike Map for years and years.

The road is and was configured as one through lane in each direction, and a center two-way turn lane. The posted speed limit is 35mph. Formerly, an annoying fog line demarcated an approximately two-foot shoulder, causing confusion about where cyclists should ride. The location of the old fog line can still be seen peeking through in the photo at left. The elimination of the fog line, the source of confusion, IS A DEFINITE PLUS.

Unfortunately, there is a gap in the bike lane (southbound only) at Mesquitewood Ct. The bike lane simply stops about 300 feet before, and the space becomes split into two very narrow (~ 8 foot) lanes; a through lane on the left, and a right turn only lane on the right. This right turn lane was always there, and appears to be because of poor sight lines for those pulling out of Mesquitewood, or some driveways that back out right onto 51st street.

Besides the gap, it’s not really clear why this bike facility was constructed. It seems like it would have functioned just fine without the stripe (the bike lane stripe). Also, there is poor connectivity to other bike facilities — there are bike lanes on the Warner – Elliot loop, but these are about a half-mile away at either end. In other words, it is a 1 mile orphan.

Some aerial shots of the old (pre-Nov 2008) configuration — here and here

I’m tagging this article #fakebikelane because it used to be be a fake bike lane, but happily, the edge line is now gone; See City of Phoenix? It can be done. Remove the edge lines.

Older stories about phoney bike lanes: Critical Width and Does Ray Road have a Bikelane?