Lower Grand Green Lanes

Grand Avenue is undergoing a transformation between Van Buren and Roosevelt with the replacement of a motor vehicle standard travel lane with a bicycle only travel lane and on-street parking in each direction. The average daily traffic volume on Lower Grand has dropped from over 20,000 per day in the 1980’s to 11,500 per day in 2011.

This is beneficial for bicycle travel because it will slow motor vehicle traffic and provide a designated space for people to travel separated from traffic on their bicycle. As good as it is for bicycle use, it’s even better for people traveling on foot. Parked cars provide an excellent buffer from moving traffic that enhance safety from the occasional wayward vehicle and it provides added distance between moving traffic and the human scale of the street.

What’s lesser known is these types of projects have historically been beneficial for motorists as well. Speeds are typically slower (this example in Seattle saw average speed drop from 42 to 33 MPH. Posted speed limit is 30…), reduce the number of collisions, and do not reduce traffic flow when appropriately placed. In fact, replacing a four-lane road with one lane each direction and a center turn lane can actually improve traffic flow because drivers turning left no longer impede traffic flow [that isn’t the case here; Grand was two lanes each direction and a center turn lane. The reason it works on Grand is due to the low traffic volumes.].

As of now I haven’t seen or heard of any improvements to connect the new green lanes with other bicycle routes or the Downtown core. This means once one arrives at Van Buren, the rider is forced to join mixed traffic between 7th and 6th Avenues. Fillmore doesn’t have a signal crossing 7th Avenue, so even if you’re able to find Fillmore off Grand Avenue (hint, it’s accessed via 9th or 10th Avenues), good luck crossing 7th during rush hour. Even though it’s not connected yet, the Grand Avenue green lanes are another piece of the puzzle being built to connect Downtown and its adjacent neighborhoods by active transportation modes.
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***UPDATED THURSDAY MORNING AT 8:33. NEW WORDS ARE IN ITALICS, AND “MOTOR VEHICLE” HAS BEEN REPLACED BY “STANDARD” IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH.

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4 thoughts on “Lower Grand Green Lanes

    • Good point, Ed. Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.org described a road diet on Division as such:

      The project will re-configure the existing four-lane stretch of road between SE 60th and 80th into a five-lane cross section.
      Instead of four standard vehicle lanes, the updated design of Division will include three standard vehicle lanes (one for each direction and a center turn lane) and two bicycle-only lanes.

      As long as we’re consistently referring to bicycles as vehicles (which they are), identifying typical 10-13 foot travel lanes as “standard vehicle lanes” would remain consistent, and identifying bicycle-only lanes would have similar merit as HOV-only or other similarly restricted lanes. Would you agree?

      • Ya, that good, I think.

        It *does* get a little dicey, all this “vehicle” talk; since in AZ bikes aren’t vehicles… rather bicyclists must follow the rules that apply to “drivers of vehicles”. This phrase is frequently wrongly quoted as “drivers of motor vehicles”. It is significant in one particularly important statute 28-704A http://azbikelaw.org/excerpts#704 . Bicyclists must follow the stay to the right rule (28-815A), as applicable, but the general impeding rule (704A) does not apply to bicyclists. This has to be the case, by the way, since otherwise bikes would, in effect, be banned from any road in which they might be going slower than the speed of traffic that has narrow lanes; which is of course most roads other than local/neighborhood type streets.

  1. Pingback: Where are the 1st Street Bike Lanes? | Phoenix Bike Blog

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