Phoenix’s Sawcut ordinance

Sawcut in asphalt creates maintenance problems; especially within a bike lane. In this example, the cut was created when City of Tempe upgraded curbs for ADA purposes (Spring 2018, Warner Road and Dorsey.

Cutting into a road surface creates maintenance problems. Since the city is ultimately responsible for it, there are a set of rules, permits, and fees imposed on whomever might be doing the digging, typically an adjoining property owner (for, for example a new driveway) or utility companies, or the city itself (see example photo at right).

The aftermath of any cutting or digging in a road is particularly problematical for bicyclists when it results in longitudinal gashes/gaps/cracks… and is particularly problematical when the crack is within a Bike Lane because it can reduce the usable width to the point where traveling within the BL becomes impossible to do safely; and furthermore these dangerous conditions are unlikely to be appreciated or even noticed by motorists.

City of Phoenix Code, Chapter 31, sec. 31-49.1 (added by  ordinance G-6308, eff. July 1, 2017). The old sawcut rules/fees were moved from Sec 31-38

All Phoenix codes are presently published thru

The rules set forth don’t seem to be helpful to bicyclists, e.g. there’s not prohibition on cutting along a BL.




3 thoughts on “Phoenix’s Sawcut ordinance”

  1. YES, we should bring a suit against the city. we deserve a smooth [clean] surface.

  2. I don”t think you followed the key point that bicyclists already pay into the roads, since local roads (that is, generally the ones bicyclists are allowed to use) are funded by state and local taxes that apply to everyone, NOT gas taxes. So rather than “nullifying arguments that bicyclists don”t pay for their fair share, it wrongly validates them. And please don”t forget that wear and tear on the roads is proportional to the fourth power of weight. I.e. a 4000 lb car puts 160,000 times as much wear and tear on a road as a 200 lb bicyclist+bike.

  3. An officer from the Milwaukee Police Department stated that crash reports can only be filed if it involves a motor vehicle, pedestrian or another bicyclist.

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