Coming soon: Old Town Scottsdale Bicycle Master Plan

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Initial steps are being taken to development an Old Town Scottsdale Bicycle Master Plan, after a contract between the city and Maricopa Association of Governments has been inked.

Resolution No. 11742 authorized an agreement between MAG and Scottsdale City Council for the creation of the master plan on April 7.

The plan was born out of a “call for projects” publicized by MAG in May 2019, looking for fiscal year 2019-20 bicycle and pedestrian master plans and first-time updates.

MAG is providing 80% federal funding, with a 20% local match funded by Federal Highway Administration planning funds.

Scottsdale’s transportation staff submitted the Old Town Scottsdale Bicycle Master Plan application on July 12, 2019, which was approved for funding in September 2019.

The project is to be completed through a MAG contract using a consultant from MAG’s approved Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities Design Assistance Program and on-call consultant list.

The cost breakdown is to be:

  • MAG: $138,572.13
  • Scottsdale: $34,643.03

The total project cost is $173,215.16.

According to a city staff report, there will be community involvement in three phases of the project to gather public input.

Senior Transportation Planner Susan Conklu says this master plan is in the beginning stages, and dates of public outreach efforts are not set.

“We may have to try some alternate format in lieu of in-person meetings for the first pair of workshops. Hopefully those can take place in late May or early June,” Ms. Conklu said.

While Scottsdale City Council’s report to approve the agreement with MAG did not contain much information about the goal of the master plan, the application submitted by Ms. Conklu to MAG paints a better picture of what is sought.

Overall, the city seeks a plan for bicycle connectivity into and through the Old Town area, which is described generally as Chaparral Road to the north, Earll Drive to the south, 68th Street to the west and Miller Road to the east.

“Overall, Scottsdale is very bicycle friendly. However, the downtown/Old Town area has gaps and barriers to cycling. This Bicycle Master Plan will address the many gaps into and through the downtown area for bicyclists. The citywide Transportation Master Plan does not have the level of detail or an implementation plan to guide these improvements. This proposed plan will create a plan for the major streets that lack bike lanes, local streets with angled parking and narrow sidewalks, and lack of wayfinding that are barriers to biking into and around Old Town. The existing bikeways are fragmented but are well-traveled.”

-Susan Conklu, senior transportation planner

Ms. Conklu points out there are 118 transit stops inside downtown Scottsdale and within a half mile of the edge of the area.

“People bike a lot for transportation and recreation in the city to areas near Old Town such as the Indian Bend Wash Path, Arizona Canal Path and Crosscut Canal Path --- all within a half-mile. This plan will help integrate more biking into this area that is full of activity centers and destinations.”

Moreover, she points out a Scottsdale Community Health Impact Report, which found that most of the prevalence and hospitalizations for chronic diseases, such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, were just outside of the focus area to the south and southeast. Ms. Conklu says this information was expected since southern Scottsdale neighborhoods have high population density.

“The report encourages the connection and facilitation of walkable environments to link to existing community resources such as schools, healthcare facilities, and healthy food resources to promote active transportation options to the vulnerable road users living within the area,” Ms. Conklu states in the application.

As for safety concerns, Ms. Conklu stated that several arterial streets have bike lanes, while others have no bicycle facilities.

“These corridors have high traffic volumes and speeds as well as numerous driveway crossings where bicycle-vehicle conflicts and collisions can happen,” she said. “Bicyclists either take the lane or use the sidewalk in these areas. New bikeways will also reduce sidewalk riding, where conflicts with pedestrians including seniors and people with disabilities may occur. This plan will address these barriers and provide new improvements for bikeways and wayfinding within the network.”

As far as implementation of the plan, the application to MAG states that with city staff can apply for upcoming funds for construction.

“We also see the smaller projects as opportunities for local Capital Improvement Plan projects in the next five years,” Ms. Conklu stated.

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