Changes Coming To Popular Phoenix Streets

Published: Monday, July 17, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017 - 10:42am

(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Design plans are underway to reduce vehicle lanes on Third Street from Indian School to Roosevelt roads.

Changes are coming to some popular streets in Phoenix and some commuters will see fewer lanes.

Rush-hour drivers often refer to them as “The Sevens” — Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue. They’re designed for commutes, but some drivers avoid them and take Third Street instead. Well, their detours may change after the city downsizes the street from five vehicle lanes to two.

“These types of projects are really a balance between commuters and area residents,” said Mark Melnychenko with the city’s street transportation department.

He is working on design plans for Third Street between Indian School and Roosevelt roads, an area dubbed Third Street Promenade. They include adding buffered bike lanes.

“All of our streets during peak periods of the day have some amount of congestion,” he said. “But if you look at Third Street and others throughout the day, Third Street’s a great example, at certain times of the day you’ll have trouble finding any traffic. So, do we design our streets for just the peak periods or do we design it for the 24 hour-7 day a week user of the street?”

Changes are also being planned for Van Buren between Seventh and 24th streets. The city might add bicycle lanes and reduce vehicle lanes to push commuters to other Washington and Jefferson Streets. It’s a move Melnychenko admits some businesses don’t want, but some potential developers welcome.

“Some of them have come to streets saying, ‘Can we make the connections over to ASU via bicycle corridors and make this street a little bit more of a destination rather than a cut through street?’” he said.

The thinking is, with the help of landscaping and other improvements, Phoenix can create an identity for Van Buren that’s attractive to businesses and neighborhoods.

Final design plans for both Van Buren and Third streets are expected next year.

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