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).