This summer, you might have noticed the restriping of 56th Street from Lafayette to Indian School to add a turn lane and better define the bike lanes running along both sides the street. We owe thanks to the City of Phoenix for proactively addressing some of our safety concerns for the entire 56th Street corridor from Camelback south to Thomas (possibly to Oak) with this simple and cost-effective measure.
The stretch of 56th Street from Lafayette to Indian School is problematic for a number of reasons.
1. When preschool or church is in session at Prince of Peace, there is no left-hand turn lane for southbound traffic pulling into the church. Instead, the cars stack up in the one wide lane of 56th Street and wait for the opportunity to turn left.
2. This blockage of the single lane causes a back-up of cars sometimes to Lafayette or worse yet, motorists pass the waiting cars on the right side, often entering the bike lane and putting both cyclists and pedestrians at risk.
3. Residents trying to exit the neighborhood from Calle Ventura, on the west side of 56th, and head northbound, have to wait for traffic to clear in both directions before they are able exit. The same is true for neighbors trying to exit Calle Camelia and head southbound.
With the simple restriping of the street, the City was able to alleviate a few of these concerns. We were fortunate that 56th Street had the existing width to accommodate two lanes of traffic, a turn lane and bike lanes on both sides of the street.
The addition of a double turn lane beginning at Calle Camelia and extending south to the southern parking lot entrance of Prince of Peace allows residents to more easily and safely exit their neighborhoods. It also creates a space for church traffic to wait, no longer blocking traffic on 56th Street. Through drivers will no longer be stopped by turning Prince of Peace traffic or worse, endanger cyclists in an attempt to go around stopped vehicles.
The single lanes for through traffic on 56th Street were “dieted” or narrowed, which slows traffic. A double white line was added to the outside of both lanes of traffic, creating a true lane for cyclists and pedestrians. To increase the visibility of the bike lanes, green boxes with an image of bicycle were added just south of Lafayette.
City of Phoenix Community Action Officer Ben Carro, also wants to remind drivers along the corridor that the following two offenses are citable with fines ranging upwards from $186, much higher should felony endangerment of a cyclist occur:
Using the center turn lane to pass stopped traffic to get up to the left turn lane at the light.
Driving in the bike lane or road shoulder to pass traffic on the right and enter the right hand lane
While the goal of the SAVES and Connects 56th Street Committee is to have the 56th Street corridor, from Camelback south to Thomas (maybe Oak), redesigned to better accommodate the increased volumes of traffic and address safety concerns for cyclists and pedestrians, we appreciate the City providing short-term fixes to help alleviate some of our most pressing concerns. Now, that most of us have returned to our normal work and school routines, we can experience the benefits of the restriping and hopefully have a little bit more safe and peaceful commute.
If you are interested in receiving future information about our progress on making 56th Street better for our neighborhood, join the SAVES and Connects 56th Street mailing list.
SAVES and Connects 56th Street Group
Residents actively engaged to address Safety, Aesthetics, Volume, Enjoyment, Speed and Connectivity along the 56th Street Corridor in the Arcadia neighborhood.