Monday, November 8, 2010

A Complete Photo Guide to the Upcoming ACDC 7th Avenue Underpass Project

One more tunnel to get carried away on an unimpeded bicycle ride on a day with perfect weather...

BEFORE (current view) (btw it's a nice crossing, with good visibility and typically moderate traffic)

AFTER (artist's rendering from the poster)
(Welcome to Cell Phone Guy Tunnel. He looks embedded in the cement wall.)

To orient you, tunnel-wise, behind you to the east from this spot, you will find several tunnels along the path to carry you under the cross streets on a bike ride, until you get to 32nd Street, where they run out, and you frogger across the streets from there until you get to the new underpass at Goldwater Blvd, but then it's back to frogger mode for a long time. From here on west, on the other hand, I believe it's tunnels all the way to Rio Vista Park (see yesterday's post).

Once this is in place, I have to hope that 32nd Street, 40th, Camelback, and 44th Street follow soon after. 32nd and 44th are certainly busier crossings than this one. 32nd is somewhat manageable because the traffic seems to come more in waves, and if hard-pressed, you can cross at the nearby signal. At 44th, though, the canal crosses the six lane road a long way from a signal, and if you don't get creative, you can wait five or more minutes during peak traffic times to get across. A tunnel there would add to the usability of the canal as a non-motorized transport route, certainly. Now that they have added an equestrian signal at the canal crossing at the intersection of Camelback and Scottsdale Roads (got to get some pictures of that), along with the tunnel under Goldwater, a few more tunnels would be needed so that equestrians could actually continue riding westward. 

Now that I wrote that, I think that it should be some kind of standard for the Sun Circle Trail: once an equestrian can ride along the canal from the restrooms at Hayden Road in  Scottsdale out to Rio Vista Park in Peoria without having to cross busy roads, that trail will officially achieve the status of Awesome Alternative Non-Motorized Route.

I'm thinking that Way Back When, before Phoenix exploded with Human Infestation and the cement and cars we bring with us, when horses actually tied up in Scottsdale, and there were dirt roads around, equestrians probably did ride that route. So it is probably actually a case of "once equestrians can AGAIN ride that route".

The canal paths are a fantastic resource. The tunnels really help to realize their potential as non-motorized transport routes. Linked up with Pima corridor paths in the east, some central north-south routes, and New River/Agua Fria/West Valley paths out west, along with Rio Salado and points south, we're very close to an incredible, ride anywhere you want path system. I am starting to think of them as the bicycle arterials, with bike lanes and the non-arterial streets as their feeders. Combined with the Light Rail, which can be used for journeys where its route is in the middle, and throw in some bicycle boulevards around and through the downtown area, and you can get anywhere you want.

Some of the distances involved can seem imposing. But once you get out there and just spin on your machine, you can cover more ground than you think. When you don't have to frogger an intersection with heavy traffic every few blocks, that is.

Come to think of it, it's good to carry a smart phone on these rides though, to find out where nearby facilities for food, water, shade, coffee, bicycle repair, and restrooms are. For example, Trailhead Bike Cafe is a short ride from here, providing all of those necessary services under one roof, kind of a one-stop service station for people using the canal as a non-motorized transport corridor, or as an express route to any one of several excellent nearby mountain bike trails. A "BICYCLE SERVICE STATION FOOD/WATER/COFFEE, ONE MILE AHEAD" sign to the cafe, along with a logical, flowing connection to same (in contrast to the current street crossing/sidewalk coasting / parking lot illogical utterly non-trailhead negotiation you have to do to get over there from the canal path currently), would be one more welcome amenity along here. Maybe made by the guy with the cell phone in the artist's rendering. You know, to acknowledge that us tunnel-dwellers need to refuel while we spin out the miles. Get up. Go ride.


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