Phoenix scraps plan to add bike lanes, cut vehicle lanes on Central Avenue

Jun 25, 2021, 1:30 PM | Updated: Jun 26, 2021, 6:57 am

(City of Phoenix)...

(City of Phoenix)

(City of Phoenix)

PHOENIX – City planners have scrapped a controversial proposal to make more room for bicycles at the expense of vehicle lanes on a prominent stretch of Central Avenue.

The head of the Phoenix Street Transportation Department announced last week that the plan was scuttled in response to public pushback.

“Based upon detailed review of the community input received, the Street Transportation Department is no longer pursuing the proposed lane changes on Central Avenue, between Bethany Home Road and the Arizona Canal,” Director Kini L. E. Knudson wrote in a June 18 memo about the decision.

Under the proposal, 2½ miles of roadway would have gone from two lanes in each direction to one. That would have allowed for the addition of a dedicated center turn lane and bike lanes in each direction.

In addition to making Central Avenue safer for bike riders, the plan was designed to reduce left-turn collisions. However, city officials acknowledged that the changes would have slowed traffic, especially during rush hour, which elicited strong opposition.

Knudson said hundreds of people participated in a livestreamed meeting about the proposal on May 20. He said the city also received thousands of responses to an online survey that closed June 11.

“I am extremely pleased that we did hear from so many members of the community, including residents, commuters, bicyclists, runners, parents of schoolchildren, business owners, shoppers, church members and other stakeholders,” he wrote.

If the plan hadn’t been rejected, the lanes would have been restriped after previously planned paving treatments were completed.

Instead, Central Avenue will be striped with the existing configuration after the treatments, which are scheduled for this fall on the Bethany Home-Northern Avenue section and spring/summer of 2022 for the stretch between Northern and the Arizona Canal.

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Phoenix scraps plan to add bike lanes, cut vehicle lanes on Central Avenue