Bikelash Wins in Phoenix

Neighborhood opposition overwhelmed a plan to reduce the number of vehicles lanes on North Central Avenue to make space for a new bike lane, despite evidence of the benefits of the proposed street reconfiguration.

June 22, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Phoenix Bike SHare

Grid Bike Share is Phoenix's regional bike share program. | tishomir / Shutterstock

"After neighborhood residents fiercely objected to a proposal to add bike lanes along a portion of North Central Avenue, Phoenix transportation officials have killed the project," reports Josh Kelety, on a Spring day in Phoenix that reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit.

The project would have reconfigured Central Avenue to add bike lanes and a central turn lane, reducing the number of car lanes from four to three.

"The decision comes roughly a month after Street Transportation Department officials held a virtual community meeting about the project where neighborhood residents denounced the proposal as dangerous, inconvenient, and inefficient," according to Kelety. The complaints of the opposition included the usual barrage: people on bikes are dangerous, the road diet would push car trips to side streets, and bike lanes are "horrible" for children.

According to Street Transportation Department, the street reconfiguration was pursued in accordance with the city's Transportation 2050 plan, which set a target to add 1,000 miles of new bike lanes in the city of Phoenix. "Research has shown that similar lane reduction projects, also known as 'road diets,' can reduce vehicle collisions by as much as 40 percent," explains Kelety. 

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