Phoenix residents aren't the only ones to take on a diet as a New Year's resolution. Central Avenue near one of the city's busiest intersections is also going on a "road diet."
The City of Phoenix is creating buffered bike lanes along Central between Camelback Road and Bethany Home Road, reducing a lane from each side of traffic to accommodate the bikes but moving the city toward a Complete Streets plan and potential grant funding.
To mark the opening of these buffered bike lanes, some local cyclists led by City of Phoenix Bicycle Coordinator Joseph Perez have organized a bike crawl along Central, hitting some of the favored establishments in the area.
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The crawl will meet this Sunday at Stinkweeds, on the northwest corner of Central and Camelback at noon to decide on a specific route. Sure to be included are Postinos Central, Churn/Windsor, Sun Up Brewery and St. Francis. There's also been mention of riding the Arizona Canal to 16th Street and Glendale for a stop at the Trailhead Bike Café.
Buffered bike lanes are bike lanes than include a marked space between the bike lane and the inside lane of traffic so that bikes and cars are not riding directly next to each other. These types of lanes are common in cycling-centric cities such as Portland or New York but new to the Phoenix area, at least in high traffic areas.
Even with the new bike lanes, Central will support two lanes of traffic in each direction as well as the center turn lane. According to city traffic engineer Kerry Wilcoxon, the new bike lanes were laid in to increase bike and pedestrian traffic at this intersection and to connect local businesses to the light rail and bus transit station at Camelback and Central.