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Phoenix Political Pedal Power (P4)

Is it time for Phoenix to have a Bicycle Advisory ...

I believe the City of Phoenix needs a Bicycling Advisory Committee. There are currently several groups that play a roll in achieving the goal of Phoenix being a safe, fun and desired location for our favorite mode of recreation and transportation. But, first some background.

There is the Bicycle Initiatives Sub-Committee of the Environmental Quality Commission. It is led by Jeremy Stapleton and has two more sitting members. They promote a strategic plan and the meetings, when they do occur, have become the closest we have to an advisory committee. The few regular attendees from the public are listened to.

Joseph Perez is the Transportation Departments Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator and has been full time in this position for about a year now. He reports to Kerry Wilcoxon. They have a budget for five miles of Bike Lanes to be added per year. I will point out that Phoenix is way too large and has too many bicyclists for that level of staffing, despite the good they have accomplished.

Kerry and Joe have conducted two Bicycle Summits to involve the Phoenix cyclists in the process. The summits have been attended by a good number of supporters and enthusiasts. During these Summits data has been collected on projects and problems to be solved. They are also implementing a web process for collecting more such data, quickly and efficiently. I submit that the data collected already is much more than what one traffic engineer, with the above mentioned management support and budget can process in a reasonable time-frame.

Various cycling groups have, on occasion, voiced support or opposition to projects. The most notable was regarding the multi-use bridge over 19th Avenue near Greenway Road. Arizona Bicycle Club has a committee known as Phoenix Political Pedal Power, “P4” for short, that is a voice for that large group of cyclists. P4 members usually are the largest group at Mr. Stapelton's meetings. The Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists is involved in MAG planning and is about to do safety education for MAG. Not One More has lobbied for improvements in State laws. Several people provide the Traffic Skills 101 cycling safety classes under the League of American Bicyclists here in the Valley.

The people involved that I have mentioned, while supportive of cycling in general, are not cohesive when it comes to the continuous effort needed to make judgments for the scope of roads and cyclists in Phoenix. For example, with the problems we had with the Bike Lanes adjacent to Light-Rail, east of 7th Street, when the subject of the northwest extension to Light-Rail came up in the last Bicycle Initiatives meeting, I specifically asked to see engineering drawings before concrete is laid. Kerry agreed to this proposal.

There are two more cases that I have reported to Traffic Engineering, which, while not bicycling specific, have resulted in road conditions that are quite poor for cyclists. Both of these cases were planned and constructed since we have had a full-time coordinator. They are the intersections of 16th Street and South Mountain Avenue and of 24th Street and Old Tower Road (immediately north of I-17 freeway). These, I submit, are the result of not enough staff and/or oversight that an advisory committee could provide.

The reworked road markings now along Washington and Jefferson Streets are the result of a collaboration between City Traffic Engineers and knowledgeable cyclists, most of whom have engineering credentials. This is what I am proposing, but in a pro-active fashion. Reviews of designs by an advisory board before they are literally cast in concrete is the best approach.