University Drive textured Bike Lane

The project area is University Drive between about Priest and Farmer. There are other parts of it I like very much, e.g. the new raised medians. These should make the road safer for all users. The speed limit is still posted at 40mph, I would encourage the city to lower the limit to 35mph, which would make the road even safer for everyone.

In a nutshell, the problem is the City placed 2′ of texturing in a 6′ bike lane, leaving only 2.5′ of usable surface (the gutter pan is the remaining 1.5′). I have a photo gallery (or most of same pics on a public facebook album) of some of the issues revolving around the texture in the bike lane.

Besides being too narrow (the usable surface), I worry about maintenance problems as time goes on with the stamped asphalt deteriorating. See e.g. the massive deterioration on the Warner Road bike lane at Kyrene, or for that matter the Mcclintock Road fake bike lane — these examples are both in City of Tempe, why not fix the existing broken bicycle infrastructure first?

So, I haven’t really been following this, but on Jan 15th Tempe City councilman Kolby Granville posted a pic on his facebook if the finished project; the discussion centered on the textured bike lane. I’ve got to give him credit for listening to concerns and getting questions answered via City of Tempe (presumably, Streets Dept) Staff, e.g.: first alarm bells were this: “Staff considers the stamped concrete part of the bike lane and not a narrowing of the bike lane” and this longer response a little later:

Kolby Granville I know this is not the answer many of you are looking for, but I do want you to know that I read all these comments, forward many to staff, and continue to try and work to improve the way we do this. Here is the response from staff…. I might also add, I disagree with some of this, for example, I think the brick areas should no longer be considered part of the bike lane width. I also think the area along the curb that is concrete, and basically unridable, should not be considered part of the bike lane width. That said, I think this is is a good experiment me are doing, and will (and already has) taught the city valuable lessons for ways to do things better moving forward. ~Kolby
STAFF RESPONSE: 1. “This portion of University Drive had bike lanes added in 1993, previously there were none.
2. The bike lanes prior to this project were 4 – 4 ½ feet wide.
3. We had several large public meetings for this project in 2012 and 2013 with more than 50 attendees at each.
4. Notification for the public meetings was provided by door hanger to all residents and business owners along the street and one half mile north and south of the street. Additionally the city notified organizations like Tempe Bicycle Action Group and ASU to get feedback.
5. We accepted online comments for the duration of the project design and we had several smaller meetings with property owners and businesses along the corridor.
6. The project was presented to the City Council twice and had significant public comment through that process as well.
7. We received strong feedback to explore buffered bike lanes, protected bike lanes, widened bike lanes; generally there was support to make the bike lanes a more visible and important part of our street project.
8. We have heard from much of the community that bike lanes need to accommodate all ages, skill levels and types of riders. So we are not focused solely on a beach cruiser mountain bike, but also on athlete cyclists and fixed gear riders etc..
9. There has been a particular push from the community for bike lanes that feel more comfortable for unskilled and young cyclists, so as to inspire new riders.
10. The new configuration of bike lanes is 6 feet wide comprised of a two foot bike buffer stamped asphalt(bricks), an 18” concrete gutter pan and a 2 ½ foot untreated asphalt segment. All elements of this 6 foot lane are meant to be traversable for all types of cyclists. The car lanes on University Dr were narrowed to an allowable width to make room for this treatment.
11. The new configuration is meant to give higher visibility for the bike lane, through visual and textural treatments. This also includes portions of the lane that are treated with green reflective thermoplastic.
The wider bike lanes should make it easier than before to have passing opportunity for cyclists, but I would think that a passing cyclist would still need to go into the car lane and would of definitely needed to do so with the previous narrower bike lane design.
12. We are engaged in implementation of protected bike lanes, buffered bike lanes and higher visibility bike lanes on several projects in Tempe right now. We feel that the innovations we are working on now will lead to some more consistent design treatments city wide that have broad acceptance. We welcome the feedback, like yours, as we determine what is going to work best in the long term.”

There isn’t much there that I would agree with but I’m not going to try and address it.

There is a long thread on Cyclists are Drivers f.b. group discussing the project (you need to join the group to see it).

Vehicular Assault

Arizona has no such crime, nor do we have a vehicular homicide statue. You’ve either assaulted someone or not; if you use a vehicle in an assault, you will be charged with aggravated assault, a serious felony. These cases far more commonly involve impaired drivers — an impaired driver who causes a crash w/injury are routinely charged with aggravated assault; e.g. the driver in the pedicab incident (sentenced to 4 years in prison). However from time to time, there are drivers who are just plain angry over something or other.

There’s a mis-conception that assault, §13-1203 requires causing actual physical  injury; but that is not the case, merely “Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury” creates the crime of assault. And aggravated assault  §13-1204 is just an assault committed with some listed factor; in cases involving a motor vehicle: “If the person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument”, or if the victim is seriously injured regardless of how.

Also, in case you were wondering:

28-3304. Mandatory revocation of license; definition
A. In addition to the grounds for mandatory revocation provided.. the department shall immediately revoke the license of a driver…
1. A homicide or aggravated assault resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle. [effectively this causes a 3 year revocation per 28-3315E1]

Here are the curious cases of Theresa Depiero and Holly Solomon Continue reading Vehicular Assault

Today’s car-crime wrapup

remember, these are only the most-sensational ones; there were undoubtedly dozens of hit and runs, and various other assorted DUIs, serious injuries, and deaths.

In Avondale (Phoenix metro area, “west valley”)

Police: Meth fueled high-speed chase with children in car / A routine traffic stop in the West Valley took a violent turn on Wednesday night after police said a man shoved a woman out of a car and led officers on a high-speed chase down 75th Avenue with the woman’s children in the car, according to court records. Avondale police initially tried to stop the car 35-year-old Stewart Galligan…

Meanwhile in Scottsdale

Video shows suspect ramming Scottsdale police / The driver of an SUV whom police shot Thursday in a Safeway parking lot near Hayden and Chaparral roads twice tried to ram his way out of a trap, based on surveillance video released Friday by the Scottsdale Police Department…. The surveillance video shows at least a half-dozen police vehicles converging on the SUV. Officers exit their vehicles and quickly approach the SUV, which the driver puts in reverse and slams into a police vehicle. Several seconds pass before the SUV pulls forward slightly. The driver then puts the SUV in reverse, and again rams a police vehicle…


Wrong Way driver from May freeway fatalities pleads not guilty

third-wrongwaywreckWrong-way driver Patricia Murphy who caused crash with two fatalities on loop 202 in May 18, 2014 has plead not guilty to all charges including two counts of 2nd degree murder. Police say in June that Murphy “had a blood-alcohol content of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit. A urine test showed Murphy also tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepine” Continue reading Wrong Way driver from May freeway fatalities pleads not guilty

Mesa woman killed in bike lane

unconfirmed/never made the newspapers / news reports, or at least not that I can find by googling!?? What’s become of our traditional news media? Did Mesa police keep this info to themselves?

according to sources on 12/14/2014 Helen Brandes-Weeks 66/F was killed by an apparently inattentive driver who struck her from behind in the bike lane on Ellsworth northbound between Elliot and Guadalupe… near Harvest Community Church [google maps]

Sales tax for roads coming up short

(Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
(Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)

The 0.5% sales tax that funds transportation projects in Maricopa county since 1985 is on track to come up a few billion dollars short by the time it expires in 2025.  The funds are used to pay for all manner of projects including local street improvements, bus pullouts (to make car travel faster), transit including bus and light rail; by most of all and by far the most dollars are spent building highways. From a sales tax. There are those who fancy that motorists are “paying their own way”, through from example fuel taxes and VLT (vehicle license tax) but that’s just not so. These funds have been shrinking for a variety of reasons not the least of which is the major component, fuel tax, has not increased in over over twenty years.

Continue reading Sales tax for roads coming up short

Bike Lanes are preferential use lanes

this will be a catch-all for issues relating to legal requirement to use bike lanes (BLs). This was moved from the article explaining When must I ride my bicycle on the shoulder?, because it was muddying that issue unnecessarily; after all BLs are not shoulders and shoulders are not BLs. For all the details about shoulders, see that article; the short answer is their use is almost never required, that conclusion stems from the fact that shoulders are not part of the roadway. Continue reading Bike Lanes are preferential use lanes

Cycling, traffic safety, traffic justice, and legal topics; energy, transit and transportion economics