Does Ray Road have a bike lane?

Ray Road near 33rd Street, Phoenix.

Spoiler alert: No. Ray Road, in Phoenix, does not now, nor has it ever had a bike lane. As I wrote in 2003 and again in 2010 Is this a Bike Lane? the answer is a flat ‘No’. Bike lanes must be marked to be a bike lane. (this also applies to portions of Chandler Blvd under discussion).

This 2020 re-hash is prompted by the City of Phoenix’s installation of BMUFL (Bikes May Use Full Lane) signs in very late 2019 along portions of Ray Road and Chandler Blvd; everything else is as it has been for over 20 years; narrow lanes with an edge line, along with Bike Route signage.

Then, as now, I disagree with the City’s use of edge lines. I don’t think the new signs make the situation any more confusing — in other words, those who are confused remain confused. In fact the signs seem to have thrown them into full-blown cognitive dissonance.

Although I wouldn’t expect lay people to know about things like the MUTCD (the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices), AASHTO (American Association of State Highway Officials) manuals, and what the ARS (Arizona Revised Statutes, i.e. state law) says about how bicyclists legally use roads including those with narrow lanes... I would expect someone who was presented as an implied as being an expert in the news article — “retired accident investigator Mike Cummins” quoted as saying “Quite honestly, I’ve always thought it was a bike lane,” to know more about such things.

 

Edge line on Chandler Blvd near 24th St.

What the city has done: decades ago (as a guess sometime in the 1980’s) when the road was designed, it was designed specifically to accommodate two general purpose through lanes; and only two lanes. These lanes are what’s known in the biz as “shared lanes”, as in they are shared amongst all types of traffic including slower moving traffic, which might include bicyclists. Slower moving traffic must use the right lane and faster traffic changes lane and passes.

Someone at the city got the idea some time ago, also decades ago, at least as far back as the early 1990’s when I arrived here to shrink the two nominal width lanes to very narrow; and add an edge line creating a small shoulder out of the left-over space at the right. They seem indifferent to the fact that this creates what appears to be a bike lane, but isn’t.

D11-1 Bike Route

Green and white “Bike Route” signs add to the idea — among the unschooled — that these are bike lanes. This is despite the fact that actual Bike Lane signs being black and white, not green, and actually saying BIKE LANE instead of bike route.

 

R3-17 Bike Lane

(Black and white signs are regulatory; green signs are informational, and bike route signs are nothing more than wayfinding aids)

The notion that bicyclists are better off “away from” traffic , like on a narrow shoulder is tough to shake; however you should consider that the only two adults that have been killed while bicycling in the entire history of Ahwautkee (30+ years) were both struck while riding on shoulders; Don Anselmo (2004) and Highly Falkner (2014); both along Pecos Road — which is incidentally now gone, replaced by the new and last segment of the Loop 202 freeway. A third bicyclist, a juvenile, was killed in 2007 when police say he rode out at a stop sign onto Liberty Lane.

r4-11 with Change Lanes To Pass placard

By the way, the city chose to use the unadorned BMUFL sign, I would have preferred they use the additional “Change Lanes to Pass” placard — this reinforces the message that vehicle drivers need to change into the next lane, at least partially, in order to pass safely and legally (with a minimum of three feet).

 

 

We know that there are dangerous drivers roaming around all over the place including Ahwatukee — we see the wreckage littering streets: walls knocked down, signal poles destroyed, bus stops mangled — they even occasionally do something unbelievably, grossly negligent; like the drivers that killed not one but two joggers on the sidewalk in Ahwatukee; one in 2011 and another in 2017

What shouldn’t be done

Strangely, right around the corner from here; Mountain Parkway between Ray Road and Chandler Blvd, the city just recently added a BL; in other words, they squeezed in a BL… in my view this isn’t good either. There just isn’t enough room. Why Mountain Parkway got new BLs and the parts of Ray that seem to identically sized (I don’t have drawings but it seems to be 26′ curb-to-curb in each direction) did not isn’t clear — though it may be a volume thing. It appears Ray has relatively high volume and Mountain Parkway i quite low volume. Both are posted 40mph; as are all the multilane arterials here with bends in them (45mph for the straight ones).

One thought on “Does Ray Road have a bike lane?”

  1. oh, there’s more, mentioned in this fb group; in a separate project just west of here (still Ahwatukee/Phoenix), they’ve added “State Law: 3 foot minimum” signs, which AFAIK are not yet approved (but expected to be).
    So standing at the corner of Chandler Blvd & Desert Foothills parkway (DFP) we have a complet mish-mash:
    First of all, these are all two-lane (each way) roads; and all have raised medians:
    1) West on Chandler are REAL BLs… not much else to say about them
    2) East on Chandler are the dreaded edge lines; which will be getting BMUFL signs.
    3) North on DFP have nice narrow lanes and no edge lines. The Speed limit is 35mph. For whatever reason they recently the 3-foot signs. This would be a PERFECT place to put BMUFL w/change lanes to pass signs (and sharrows too if they wanted to spend extra money).
    4) South on DFP is also nice narrow lanes, same geometry as north, i.e. no edge line. The speed limit is 40mph; and also would do well with BMUFL signs, not sure if they get the 3-foot signs or not, but there’s no plan to put the BMUFL there.
    https://goo.gl/maps/y4y24qhk4LrFxkUs5

    oh yeah and besides the bike route signs that nobody seems to understand the ALSO have these goddam and non-standard “Share the Road” signs all over the area
    https://goo.gl/maps/KP3XCzT5Vdij9AH39

    My most recent go-round with city staff was in 2016; here was my initial request:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rq5nmVSydJ3OcUOnziNZy1ehEK2BUzIH
    And here was the response, which the engineer asserts is an “Engineering Study”, and claims edge lines cause enormous crash/injury reductions for motorists (left out: these factoids refer to rural studies), though it contains little info about the areas in question (like speed data, or crash data, or anything about bicyclists):
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1_edEB_C9KxPPVxDaxAt6egl-MtNYLZTV

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