Imagine being able to put your child on a bike each morning knowing he or she will arrive at school safely. This is a vision that Arcadia parents and others are working hard to make reality. Concerned parents from area schools and residents within the Arcadia Camelback Mountain Neighborhood Association, Arcadia Osborn Neighborhood Association and surrounding area have created the S.A.V.E.S. and Connects 56th Street Group to work as a unified group with the City of Phoenix to make 56th Street safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles. The desire to better 56th Street between Camelback and Thomas Roads will address many of the concerns residents have as it relates to general safety, accessibility, connectivity, aesthetics and increased neighborhood enjoyment of this visually significant corridor.
To better gauge the feelings of other community members and hopefully garner support for needed changes along the corridor, the group created an online survey. This survey was distributed via validated emails by schools serviced by 56th Street: Veritas Archway and Prep, Ingleside Middle School, Hopi Elementary, Arcadia High School and Prince of Peace Preschool. The S.A.V.E.S. and Connects 56th Street Group learned people feel 56th Street needs safety improvements. If improvements were made more people would likely bike, walk and even enjoy 56th Street. Remarkably, of the 610 respondents, 255 (42%) provided written feedback. Here are some of the most repeated issues residents would like addressed:
- ● School Zone needed by VERITAS
- ● Issues with speeding
- ● Problems with increased volume
- ● Need for bike lanes
- ● Need for connected sidewalks all along 56th Street
- ● Canal crossing issues such as cyclists speeding across and pedestrians/runners going unnoticed.
- ● Vegetation growing into bike lanes and blocking lines of sight. (see banner photo above)
- ● Need safe crosswalks along 56th St for VERITAS and AZ Country Club at Earll.
- ● Exiting VERITAS at the south entrance with a mandatory right blocks residents from getting out on Earll
- ● Valencia Lane is being used as a turnaround for drivers leaving VERITAS wishing to go north.
- ● Drivers not yielding to pedestrians at Osborn.
- ● Bike lane abuses for passing, parking and turning.
- ● Needs for traffic enforcement
These and other survey results were presented to the City of Phoenix and they are helping us put some potential changes in motion. The city unanimously supported our request for their sponsorship on a grant proposal to the Maricopa Association of Governments(MAG) Bike and Pedestrian Design committee. If awarded, the grant will pay for design of a complete streets program (look for an article on Complete Streets next week) for the 56th Street Corridor in Arcadia. Once a design plan is created, it will go back to the City to be added to their priority list for completion.
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.