Warner Road in the 21st Century

68 Foot (curb-to-curb) arterial (the white hash lines on the left and right represent gutters) — Old (top) vs. new (bottom) — BL was minimum; now is 5 feet plus gutter (6.5′ total)

Beginning in 2016, working from west to east, the entire length of Warner Road in City of Tempe has been resurfaced. The last segment, was just completed in May 2022.SMOOTH!

Warner Road in City of Tempe extends the entire width of the city here; bounded by I-10 on the west, and SR-101 / Price Road on the east; a bit over 5 miles. It is very straight, “5 lane” (2 thru lanes; center/left lane), plus bike lanes arterial road posted speed limit of 45.

I’m not sure how long the bike lane has been striped; probably before I arrived here in the early 1990s; here’s the modern history

sub-standard, and degraded BL Kyrene & Warner before re-build in 2016

2016 Warner fully resurfaced from I-10 to Kyrene this project was BADLY needed, in particular the intersection at Kyrene was sub-standard and dangerous for bicyclists.
2018 Warner fully resurfaced from east of Kyrene to Rural
2020 Added marking for “combined turn lane” where the BL drops
2022 Warner fully resurfaced from Rural to SR101/Price.

Bl was widened to a full 5′ of usable width and green thermoplastic added. (TBD once new asphalt “cures”)

Although there are some irregularities around the freeways, and around ASU research park (more on that later), the nominal plan for the road is as above in the street mix diagram, and as pictured at right. The “old” (top Streetmix, above) plan had minimum-width bike lanes (4 feet of usable width; plus gutter). The “new” (bottom Streetmix, above) plan simply swapped 1 foot out of the right lane, and added it to the bike lane making the usable width a more-comfortable 5 feet. The thermoplastic green patches, as in the picture on Warner west of Rural, will be added to the new section once the asphalt cures, currently has temporary striping.

It’s unlikely this would have much/any impact on safety for cyclists, but it is definitely more “comfortable”. [It should be noted that a combined width of 16 feet is just barely marginal for side-by-side sharing between a nominal bicycle and a large vehicle like Bus / truck — this is a warning to those who want to shoehorn bike lanes everywhere and anywhere, even when there’s not enough space]

Crashes

A quick review of the most recent 13 years of crash data (2009 – 2021) show 39 reported bike-MV crashes along Warner; 5 of them serious (none fatal):

  • Motorist bad left into driveway
  • Bicyclist ride out from driveway, attempting to cross Warner
  • counter-flow sidewalk cyclist in crosswalk
  • Motorist faulted “other”; angle
  • Bike sidewalk counter flow struck by motorist leaving a driveway

I didn’t look individually at all the other 34 incidents; most involve sidewalk / crosswalk / driveway issues. Leave a comment if you’re interested and i can pull details.

For comparison, there were 2044 crashes of all types.

Find more general factoids about traffic collisions in Tempe here.

Vehicle volume data can be found here; the most recent is 2019; between Priest and McClintock is ~ 25K/day (total volume, i.e. both directions added together) with 31K at either “end”, nearest the freeway(s).

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4 thoughts on “Warner Road in the 21st Century”

  1. It is a little hard to see why anyone would be crowing about these changes to Warner Road as an improvement for bicycling. This bike lane is dangerous. The posted speed is 45 mph which means vehicles will be going 55 a couple feet from the cyclist’s left elbow, with no physical separation. The bike way will not be useable at night. You say there is not enough room to “shoehorn” bike lanes every where, but one could easily be shoehorned here. All Tempe would have to do is put in a raised curb where it has painted the white line separating bike lane from the outside traffic lane. Lest that seem too bizarre a thought, it is exactly what Surprise has done on Bullard Avenue between Cactus and Greenway Roads. I realize paint is cheaper than concrete but at least on Bullard, Surprise has done something real about bike safety and whereas here Tempe has not. I have a photo of Bullard but cannot attach it to this comment.

    [edited to add link to google street view of Bullard Ave barrier]

  2. @Gordon — Adding a curb (or some sort of vertical element along the stripe) can only protect against sideswipe/rear end type crashes between bicyclists and overtaking motorists. While this does and can happen, and is scarey, it is as I mentioned in the article, a very infrequent type of crash (zero serious crashes in 13 years).
    The vertical element must, by definition, be discontinued around intersections (and presumably, driveways) — this is where, by far, most crashes occur.
    And the barrier is in itself a significant fall hazard for bicyclists. There are some more related issued discussed here; see “cycle track

    Adding vertical separation on the stripe here — by my count there are dozens of intersections and driveways — would not be recommended.

  3. Cross-section of proposal for ocotillo road in the far Southeast valley, Gilbert.
    Higley to Greenfield.
    News story today had some neighbors in unincorporated areas upset they were going from 55 ft right away to 65. Apparently that refers to from the center line, in other words 130 ft total.
    The proposed striping plan would have 6 ft bike Lanes including gutter, with an extra 3 ft in the two-way center turn lane (at 14 feet)

    https://www.gilbertaz.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/gilbert-s-new-regional-park/ocotillo-bridge

    https://www.gilbertaz.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/42992/637794006145600000

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