The city of Phoenix has decided not pursue proposed lane changes on Central Avenue between Bethany Home Road and the Arizona Canal after many residents expressed concerns about the idea.
In an email to residents, city Street Transportation director Kini Knudson said the city decided not to make the changes, which would have included reducing the motor vehicle travel lanes from two in each direction to one. The proposal also had called for adding a center turn lane, as well as buffered bicycle lanes in each direction.
Knudson said hundreds of residents attended a live virtual meeting on the topic in May, watched a recording of it and called the project hotline or emailed the project team. Thousands of residents answered an online survey on the proposal. “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,” Knudson said. The city will proceed with its planned pavement treatments on Central Avenue and restripe that road keeping the existing lane configuration.
Neighbors had said they were afraid the proposed lane reconfigurations and bicycle lanes would cause safety issues and more traffic congestion. Many of them said they were worried the new design would prompt more vehicles to cut through their neighborhoods to get off Central Avenue and it could cause safety problems for children riding bicycles to schools in the area. A few residents at the public meeting said they ride their bicycles often and liked the idea of bike lanes.
Knudson said there are several projects in the city to add or enhance bicycle infrastructure underway that have received enthusiastic support from residents. The Street Transportation Department will keep maximizing active transportation and bicycle infrastructure opportunities around Phoenix, he added.