[updates, see warner-resurfacing for changes made in late 2016]
This article is to document the problems with the designated bike lane on Warner Road specifically at the intersection with Kyrene in the City of Tempe. Remember, there’s literally no excuse for bad bike lanes; if you can’t build them properly, then don’t build them.
For Warner Road more generally, see should-warner-road-bike-lane-have-a-combined-turn-lane. Warner Road is a major east-west arterial street with two through lanes in each direction, a center turn lane, and designated bike lanes. It is posted 45mph; there is very little speed enforcement, in fact I’ve never seen any speed enforcement. The bike lane frequently is dropped at major intersections, including the eastbound bike lane at this intersection.
The below text was submitted to Tempe311 on 1/6/2015 as a Streets/pothole issue (that’s the closest category I can see) It is case ID 292707:
This is a Streets Engineering (mostly) issue. I would strongly encourage you to view http://azbikelaw.org/warner-and-kyrene/ as I can’t figure out how to attach photos to the 311 request.
To begin with, I should point out that Warner Road at Kyrene is WIDER than normal (compared to, say Warner’s intersections at Hardy, Rural, or McClintock — the other major nearby cross-streets). It is unclear why, but this coupled with bad / improper / substandard engineering (and a maintenance issue) has made things WORSE for cyclists; every one of the four possibilities has problems, which I’ll list from the most serious to least:
Problem #1) Eastbound, east of Kyrene: beginning around 300′ east of the intersection, the bike lane is severely substandard width of only about 2 feet. This has to do with a poor design of right-turn pocket. It is exacerbated by a bad asphalt job that left the asphalt as much as 2″ higher than the flat concrete gutter. This was further made worse by an attempt to correct the height disparity in Aug 2014 by grinding which has left what you see in the picture at right. Here is a longer-view pic of the problem.
- Problem #2) Westbound, west of Kyrene: beginning at the intersection, and continuing for ~ 300′ the bike lane is substandard width. I am routinely harassed when riding in the right-hand lane though this area.
- Problem # 3) Eastbound, west of Kyrene: there is a “pinch point” in the bike lane (in other words, it’s substandard width but only for a short distance) ~ 300′ west of the intersection.
- Problem #4) Westbound, east of Kyrene: the bike lane ends about 400′ before the intersection. Although I would normally recommend re-striping as a combined turn lane; that would be highly inappropriate because of problem #2. This road is posted 45mph, the City of Tempe’s design forces bicyclists to merge with very high speed traffic (or many cyclists choose to illegally continue straight through the right turn only lane). Road design should support both legal and safe use by all road users.
The substandard-widths are so obvious, they can be readily seen from google maps satellite images — note that the bike lane markings logo is 40″ wide. Minimal bike lane requires 48″ of clear, consistent, usable surface (see e.g. AASHTO).
If any of these facilities are, in fact, not bike lane stripes but are rather, edge lines — please provide a warrant for their use (or remove them). Edge lines are unwarranted per MUTCD 3B.07 on city streets unless indicated by and engineering study. If an engineering study has been performed there please let me know where I can get a copy.
Also related to the engineering challenges, is Warner Road apparently changes alignment at Kyrene; it is, for example further north on the east side of the intersection, and further south on the west. I don’t know why this is but it shouldn’t be an excuse to create poor dedicated bicycle facilities.
I can also point out that the bad/sloppy asphalt job along with bad conditions at the junction of the asphalt and gutter seam persists for most of the entire mile on Warner between Kyrene and Rural. For example see pic of Warner at Dateland Dr: Sloppy asphalt / grinding / deterioration of asphalt at gutter seam.
Just some updates August 2016
(This update relates to what was referred to as Problem #1, above. There’s been no changes with the other 3 issues)… I have been complaining, er, bring these deficiencies and defects to the attention of the City of Tempe for some years now. Most recently, in Dec 2016, I was told “Warner Rd is planned for pavement resurfacing and could start as early as Fall 2016. Traffic Engineering will redesign the striping to fix known issues/concerns (especially at Warner & Kyrene) that have been identified. Thanks for sending this and it will be part of the redesign of the street”
Unsurprisingly, the condition of the asphalt in the designated bike lane on Warner Rd, Tempe, continues to deteriorate; as always, the worst is eastbound east of Kyrene. The deterioration may have been accelerated due to the (ill-advised, in my opinion, for what it’s worth) grinding done ~ August 2014.
Comment on the three cyclists, that was an un-staged photo; those guys just so happened to show up while I was taking pictures. It’s obvious, understandable, and correct that they would not ride within the BL. What’s maybe less obvious is why they shouldn’t ride where they are riding; trying to straddle the two lanes. Everything works fine most of the time, if you’re lucky, overtaking vehicles squeeze left and whizz by unimpeded. If you’re unlucky, you get a close pass; or worse.
It’s also presumptively illegal — all drivers (and bicyclists) must drive (ride) ” as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane” §28-729. Would you get ticketed? Almost certainly not; but in the event of a collision, and this position exacerbates a sideswipe possibility, you can expect an insurance company to bring it up.
November 2016 / mill & overlay
In a surprise (to me), the city of Tempe is resurfacing (“mill & overlay”, a.k.a. “mill and fill”) Warner from I-10 to Dateland drive… this material was moved here.