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Pedal Power vs Traffic Flow

November 21, 2016

The Nov 19 Arizona Republic headline “Pedal Power vs Traffic Flow” makes a point that is long overdue and motivates one to ask what is the purpose of transportation planning? Closing traffic lanes to accommodate bicycles is currently politically popular but extremely inefficient. In Phoenix, this was done on my nearby street, 15th Ave, and now traffic is backed up for blocks at rush hour. Prior to this change I had enjoyed driving on 15th Ave for over 37 years but recently I have given up and I now drive over to 7th Ave or 19th Ave to avoid the congestion. Naturally, this increases the traffic on 7th and 19th. Sometimes I must drive several blocks in the opposite direction of my intended destination. This contributes to delay in my travels and to pollution and congestion. It is also costly for other drivers. For what purpose? Is it so that a very small number of people on bicycles can ride in the street rather than on the sidewalk? I believe that these small benefits to bicyclists pale in comparison to the enormous costs to motorists.

As a member of the Phoenix Citizens Transportation Commission I have expressed the opinion that I understand the need for give and take in these plans and that, if there are enough bicycle riders to warrant these changes, I will adjust my driving patterns. But, as an occasional bicycle rider myself, it is apparent that the number of bicycles is very low. In fact, Phoenix does not even collect bicycle ridership information on a regular basis.

Let’s bring some sanity back to our transportation planning.

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