October 14, 2020
From the Desk of Kini Knudson, Street Transportation Director
The City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department greatly appreciates the community’s involvement while we considered options for Van Buren Street between 7th Street and 24th Street. Thank you so much for your participation and thoughtful input.
The outreach effort resulted in a decision on the Van Buren Street roadway configuration and led to two future projects, which I will share in a moment. Street Transportation staff used stakeholder input combined with a review of crash data, current and projected traffic volumes, future development activity, and engineering judgment to select the final design. Along with the pursuit of the new projects outlined below, the Street Transportation Department will proceed with the planned mill and overlay (repaving) of Van Buren Street between 7th Street and 24th Street and it will be re-striped similar to the existing configuration – two travel lanes in each direction and a center turn lane.
This paving project will not include enhanced landscaping, pedestrian and street lighting or the addition of bike lanes that were possible through the use of federal funding. The federal funding could only be used if the road was reconfigured to add bicycle lanes. To improve safety and address community concerns about speeding, the existing lanes will be narrowed slightly, and edge lines will be added to the outside lanes. These changes will help guide traffic and deter speeding.
Van Buren Street will be repaved this month. Adjacent property owners will be notified prior to paving.
Many members of the community provided important input on this project – some who would support this decision and some who would not. We recognize the importance of enhancing the Van Buren corridor as well as identifying an east-west bicycle route adjacent to the corridor. So, we are requesting the community’s continued involvement and assistance with two new projects I have initiated based on the discussions about Van Buren Street.
New Project 1: Van Buren Street Enhancement Project
We believe we can satisfy some of the neighborhoods’ priorities by engaging the community in a new project to identify ways to improve and beautify this stretch of Van Buren Street. This may include a combination of active transportation elements such as lighting, landscaping to increase pedestrian shade, safety-related improvements and other community-supported elements. We expect to begin that process in Spring 2021.
New Project 2: Fillmore-Villa Bike Boulevard
We understand an east-west bicycle path is desired in this area. This public engagement effort has opened another opportunity that could be even more favorable. We are in the early stages of evaluating upgrades to the bike boulevard along the Fillmore-Villa alignment between 7th St and 20th St. The bike boulevard was designated with signs and pavement markers in 2013. The upgrades would bring the bike boulevard up to recently developed national standards with new signs, pavement markings and traffic calming. Currently, our Active Transportation team is working on the timeline and process for engaging the community about this concept. We will be sure to engage the community soon when there is more information to share.
Please watch for a paving notice to be distributed in advance of the paving work. As always, we ask you to please stay safe and be especially cautious when our workers are out in the streets improving our community.