Transit study pushes bikers, walkers - East Valley Tribune: News

Transit study pushes bikers, walkers

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Posted: Monday, August 13, 2007 12:17 am | Updated: 5:53 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Downtown Scottsdale has enough road capacity to handle future traffic growth and should encourage an area with more bicyclists, walkers and transit users, a city-paid consultant has concluded.

The central/downtown Scottsdale circulation study released last week does not recommend widening major east-west or north-south thoroughfares, despite a proposed 30 percent increase in downtown destination traffic by 2030.

The report does support adding bike lanes and pedestrian signals and crossings throughout the study area, which includes 64th Street on the west, McDonald Drive on the north, Loop 101 to the east, and Thomas Road on the south.

The study was the latest report prepared by HDR Engineering, a consultant hired by the Scottsdale City Council in November 2005 to complete an update of the city’s master transportation plan.

The update, which is costing the city $1.1 million, is also studying traffic circulation in north Scottsdale and the Airpark area, along with transit options such as light rail, modern streetcar and bus rapid transit.

The city’s Transportation Commission plans to discuss the report at 6 p.m. Thursday at Scottsdale City Hall.

Jim McIntyre, a Scottsdale spokesman, said the goal is to present the master transportation plan to the council by the end of the year.

Among the recommendations included in the downtown report are:

• Continue the Indian School Road enhancement project, which would include new turn lanes and bus bays;

• Eliminate any option of widening Camelback or Osborn roads east of Hayden Road;

• Designate 70th Street, Civic Center Plaza, 68th Street and Miller Road as key pedestrian and bicycle links throughout the downtown area;

• Build a pedestrian and bike bridge across the Arizona Canal at Miller and Jackrabbit roads; and

• Implement pedestrian signals and enhanced pedestrian crossings along Scottdsale Road.

One of the main intents of the study was to reach resolution on the future of Chaparral Road, which narrows to one lane in each direction through the Villa Monterey age-restricted town home community.

In May, however, Villa Monterey residents were successful in convincing the City Council to take the option of widening the road — and thus the likely condemnation of more than 50 town homes — off the table.

The report mentioned the possible widening of Thomas Road from Civic Center Boulevard to Pima Road, which would include condemnation of residences, but it made no recommendation, only saying it could be costly.

The report mentions the possibility of “high-capacity transit” in downtown, but notes that such a plan is still being developed and made no recommendation. Earlier this year, the council agreed in principle that city voters would eventually decide whether light rail or modern streetcar would be installed along Scottsdale Road.

HDR, which is also a consultant on the 20-mile light-rail segment through Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, has not released its report on the high-capacity transit options. McIntyre said the Transportation Commission is scheduled to discuss those transit options in October.

Additional study results

Central/Downtown Scottsdale Circulation Study conclusions and recommendations:

• Downtown Scottsdale has sufficient roads to handle forecasted increases in traffic, despite estimated 30 percent increase in traffic by 2030 to downtown destinations

• Place emphasis on making downtown more accessible to bikers, pedestrians and transit users, but makes no recommendation on transit uses such as light rail or modern streetcar

• Do not add traffic lanes to Osborn, Indian School or Camelback roads, east of Hayden Road

• Build a pedestrian and bike bridge across the Arizona Canal at Miller and Jackrabbit roads

• Install pedestrian signals and enhanced pedestrian crossings along Scottsdale Road at Camelback, Indian School and Osborn roads, and Goldwater and Drinkwater boulevards

• Designate 70th Street, Civic Center Plaza, 68th Street and Miller Road as key pedestrian and bicycle links

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