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April 26, 2016

Chandler Keeping Roadways Connected and Safe

By Councilmember Rick Heumann

This past year, I continued following the new construction plan for the South Mountain Freeway section of Loop 202. I, along with Councilmember Kevin Hartke, advocated for the incorporation of a safe route for bicyclists and pedestrians in partnership with other cities and local organizations. This multi-use path will be built as part of the freeway project to create a regional bike and pedestrian facility that will enhance existing amenities.
 
Chandler knows the importance of well-designed streets, roads and bike/pedestrian paths. Staff follows the 2010 City of Chandler Transportation Master Plan to fulfill the goal of providing a fully connected city by improving roads and bike lanes. Collaboration with cyclists and neighboring communities plays an important role in ensuring Chandler stays properly connected to the regional bike route system. Transportation plans need to incorporate safety for our residents whether they drive a vehicle, ride a bike or walk.
 
This past year, installation of five new bike lanes was completed. Staff is currently working on projects that will improve northbound and southbound routes and complete missing segments of bike lanes along sections of Ray, Price and Frye roads. In the near future, bike lanes planned along Kyrene and McClintock Roads will connect to bike lanes leading into Tempe.
 
Commuter bicyclists wanting direct connections to major employers and retail centers are able to use bike lanes located along arterial streets. The Paseo Trail and Western Canal provide multi-use paths for those looking for a recreational cycling experience. Bike/pedestrian crossing signals are located at several arterial street crossings. 
 
As Chandler continues its efforts to grow and sustain its bike-friendly status, it’s important that we all do our part to ensure safe travels for everyone. One accident is one too many! I’ve had friends hit by distracted drivers, and Chandler recently lost a runner and cyclist. It’s important to use common sense and follow all traffic laws when using roadways and multi-use paths. Some basic rules to follow include: 
 
•    not using cell phones
•    not driving aggressively
•    stopping at crosswalks
•    not jay walking
•    keeping a safe distance from cyclists and other motorists
•    and, most importantly, keeping your eyes on the road 
 
Regardless of the type of transportation used, being aware of your surroundings will increase safety and decrease injuries and fatalities.
 
“A key safety component to cycling or running in the roadway is to be highly visible. It is good practice to use lights and high visibility reflective clothing especially when worn on parts of the body that move,” said Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan. “We encourage residents to take these basic precautions and help us avoid tragedies from occurring.”
 
I’m an avid cyclist, and I strongly believe in wearing appropriate clothing and safety gear. “Do whatever you can to be seen,” says Dr. Dale Steiner, a local cyclist. “Whether someone is riding during the day or at night, it’s important to wear ankle reflectors and place flashing lights on clothing and bikes.”  
 
Be safe out there! To learn more about sharing the roadways, visit azbikeped.org. For more information on the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, or to learn about future transportation opportunities, visit chandleraz.gov/transportation.