News and Updates
The City of Peoria Engineering Department, with the assistance of Sprinkle Consulting, Inc., Coffman Studios, and HDR, Inc., created a comprehensive Bicycle Development Plan (Plan) in June 2007 to provide the City with a “blueprint” for the continuing development of its network of on-street bicycle facilities. This was a much needed update to the 1993 Bicycle Route Plan, which focused primarily on the details of bike lanes on collector streets, but not on arterial streets. In the course of preparing the Plan, the consultant team performed an evaluation of bicycling conditions on the City’s roadway network and, where necessary, made recommendations toward improving bicycling conditions on specific segments. Various “Bicycle Friendly” practices and policies in use across Maricopa County, Arizona, and the rest of the country were also reviewed and summarized. The consultant team, drawing upon input from City staff and residents, recommended certain policies and practices appropriate to the goals and objectives articulated by the City Council, General Plan and other documents. Finally, the consultant proposed a three-tiered priority list for bike facility retrofits, with priority toward completing low-cost retrofits first, such as restriping with narrowed travel lanes to create width for bike lanes, before more extensive projects, such as roadway widening and side paths. In addition, the Plan set a goal of a Bicycle Level of Service (LoS) of "C" for all streets. The purpose of the LoS is to measure the comfort level of bike riders on any given street, similar in many ways to the LoS ratings for roadways as they pertain to traffic congestion levels.
When the Plan was presented to the City Council on June 5, 2007, it was warmly received, but the concept of Bicycle LoS sparked many questions and concerns. The City Council expressed support for the Plan, but urged staff to use it only as a starting point for improving bicycling conditions for Peoria’s residents. With this enthusiastic direction, Engineering staff began evaluating ways to implement and expand the Plan, though no funding had yet been identified.
Since that time, the Engineering Department has made notable progress in the implementation of the Plan. Recommended policy changes have been incorporated into the Circulation Element of the General, Plan and other planning documents requiring installation of bike lanes on all arterial and collector streets, where feasible, during any street project, whether performed by the City or a developer. When bike lanes are not feasible or practical, additional roadway width is provided for the curb lane to provide additional room for cyclists sharing the roadway with motor vehicles.
One prominent element of the 2007 Plan was abandoned however. The concept of the Bicycle LoS was difficult to explain to citizens and was both time consuming and costly for staff to monitor regularly. Instead, staff has focused on the universal goal of providing bike lane facilities on all feasible arterial and collector streets at the maximum practical width, usually five to six feet, but up to seven feet in some cases. Some streets, such as Lake Pleasant Parkway, will always be more intimidating to some bicyclists, and the City will strive to provide bike facilities and allow its citizens to ride at their comfort level.
The Bicycle Development Plan originally identified 19 miles of roadway eligible for retrofit of bike lanes, through restriping and other minor shoulder widening projects, but the Engineering Department has increased the number of eligible streets to include more than 70 miles, by reducing minimum travel lane widths in certain applications, such as along two-way left-turn lanes and curb lanes adjacent to bike lanes, by as little as one foot. In these examples, the extra foot or two is more valuable for a cyclist to establish a dedicated bike lane than it is for a motor vehicle. This change in direction has enabled the installation of bike lanes on nearly all Peoria arterial and collector streets through restriping alone. Because of this, the original priority list has become obsolete and has been replaced with a simple formula; when a street is scheduled for surface treatment, it gets bike lanes. This strategy allows the City to retrofit bike lanes at a fraction of the cost.
To build new bike lanes, the Engineering Department coordinates with the Public Works Department, Economic Development Services Department, and Engineering Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Division to ensure bike lanes are installed as part of all projects, where feasible. When bike lanes are already on a roadway, staff evaluates lane widths to determine if motor vehicle lanes should be narrowed to widen existing bike lanes. Since 2010, Peoria has added nearly 36 miles of new bike lanes, six and a half miles installed in 2012, in conjunction with regularly scheduled Street Maintenance, CIP, and development projects. The new bike lanes installed in 2012 include:
New Bikes Lanes for 2012 (in centerline miles)
|Happy Valley Parkway - Lake Pleasant Parkway to Agua Fria River:
|Northern Avenue - 71st Avenue to Loop 101:
|Lone Mountain Road - El Mirage Road to Loop 303:
|Rose Garden Lane - Lake Pleasant Parkway to 107th Avenue:
|Beardsley Road - 99th Avenue to Lake Pleasant Road:
|Beardsley Road - 81st Avenue to 83rd Avenue:
The new bike lanes installed in the 2012 represent an overall 5% increase in centerline bike lane miles on Peoria’s arterial streets in one year. These projects increase the City’s percent of arterial streets with bike lanes from 45.3% in 2011 to 50.8% in 2012. Additional bike lane projects are continually being planned as Engineering continues to coordinate with Public Works, CIP, and Economic Development Services, som of which have been identified below:
Planned New Bike Lanes for 2013 (in centerline miles)
|83rd Avenue - Butler Drive to Mountain View Avenue:
|83rd Avenue - Peoria Avenue to Thunderbird Road:
|Thunderbird Road - 67th Avenue to 83rd Avenue:
|Other streets To Be Determined:
To help citizens find these new bike lanes, paths, and crossings easier, the Community Services and Engineering Departments have integrated the on-street bike lanes and routes and off-street paths and trails for the first time in the October 2011, City of Peoria Trails and Bikeway System Map to provide one seamless bike resource for Peoria's residents. In addition, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) has just published the 2012 Bikeways Map, which can be found in printed version at many City facilities.