By Colleen Sparks
Wider sidewalks, underground utilities, driveway upgrades and other changes could be coming to Hatcher Road as the city studies streetscape improvements to try to meet residents’ needs.
The city of Phoenix’s Street Transportation Department held a virtual meeting in November to talk about two possible options for upgrading that area to address community members’ priorities. Many projects have been conducted on Hatcher Road and in its surrounding vicinity previously as ways to try to better serve residents and to offer infrastructure that encourages walking, bicycling and other active transportation methods, as well as to increase connectivity through the Complete Streets Program.
“This study is a direct result of the community,” said Brianna Velez, city of Phoenix Assistant Street Transportation director. “The community expressed interest in better connectivity and better safety.”
City officials are in the pre-design study process, where they talk about different ideas for the road to see what is feasible and how they could bring proposals to fruition. The two options presented at the virtual meeting were developed after a survey of the community, meetings with residents and other conversations.
Option A calls for trees to be added and the sidewalk to be widened on the south side of Hatcher Road between 19th and 17th avenues, said Marielle Brown, project manager for this area and city Active Transportation Program manager. Utilities would be moved underground on Hatcher Road between 17th and 7th avenues and driveway aprons would be upgraded to make them more accessible, Brown said. Sidewalk improvements would be made and utilities moved underground between 7th and Central avenues in this option.
The city’s Option B would be similar to Option A with trees planted near a canal, utilities moved underground and sidewalks widened on the north and south sides of Hatcher Road between 19th and 17th avenues, Brown said. In this proposal, sidewalks also would be widened on the north side of Hatcher Road between 17th and 7th avenues. A center turn lane could be added, as well as a bicycle lane buffer, and sidewalks on both sides of Hatcher Road between 7th and Central Avenue would be enhanced. Trees would be planted near the canal in Option B.
Brown said Option B would cost about $3.6 million and Option A would cost $3.1 million. In a survey taken by those watching the virtual meeting, 14 people said they favored Option B while two people said they prefer Option A. Out of respondents, 19 did not answer the question on which option they liked best. There were three people who said they want to see no changes to Hatcher Road in that area.
One resident said the plans looked great and asked if the city would consider adding pedestrian crosswalks between 5th and 6th avenues on Hatcher Road. Brown and Mark Glock, city of Phoenix deputy Street Transportation director, said city officials could investigate that idea. Another resident asked how these upgrades to Hatcher Road would impact local businesses as they would need to give up space for the sidewalk upgrades. Brown said the improvements would not affect businesses’ parking spaces or ingress and egress once the project is done, but that ingress and egress for businesses would be impacted during the construction period.
Another meeting will be held on the possible Hatcher Road work sometime this spring.