|The path ends, but the trip does not. The Arizona Canal is up ahead, across that busy street.|
Scottsdale and Tempe have continued to make improvements along the Crosscut Canal, most recently the $1.7 million phase 2 project which included this great two-lane path along the canal, cool lighting, and artwork along the side. As a path it is fast and excellent, and every time I ride it, it seems like I see more people enjoying it. In addition to the path itself, it has some excellent tie-ins or connections with some of the neighborhoods along the way.
|Example of how to connect a canal path with a neighborhood. Excellent!|
There's even an example of a sign of local historic interest, which is canal-related, but shows what could be done.
|Camp Viejo (first home of the Yaquis of Scottsdale, 1924-1942, who worked on this canal)|
But when it comes to presenting information in the form of signs to orient, guide, explain, or connect this path with the cities and everything around it, that's about it. This path is hobbled by its lack of information, and lack of critical connectedness at its end-points and important cross-connecting routes.
For example, and this one really bugs me, the path skirts the east border of the Desert Botanical Garden, yet there's no sign, no entrance posted, no tie-in with one of our great local treasures. Also directly ahead, through those bushes, seen on the satellite view, is some sort of ruin or maze. It could be Hohokam ruins, but you have no orientation or connection to it from here, now.
|The Desert Botanical Garden is around here somewhere. Don't know if you can get in this way, though.|
Down at the south end of the path, it runs into College Avenue. If you found yourself at this spot, you can actually ride to many amazing local destinations. It does, or could, connect up with routes to take you there. Instead, though, the path doesn't even connect with the northbound bike lane (see second photo)!
|This is actually the southerly end of what could be a major bicycle connecting artery in the valley|
|But currently, the artery does not even connect with the northbound bicycle lane (median with spiky plants)|
While stopping here at the border of the park to take these photos, I started a list of destinations you can ride to from here. I chose this list because it came readily to mind, and because these are actually quite straightforward to get to from this spot. Yet, you would have no idea, sitting here, because there's no signage whatsoever to orient you. No indication of what routes connect here, or how far it is to various destinations, or where the nearest bathrooms or drinking water are. Here's a brief list of just a few of the places it would be logical to ride a bicycle to from this spot:
- Phoenix Zoo
- Desert Botanical Garden
- Arizona Historical Society Museum
- Loma del Rio Hohokam Ruins
- Lopiano Mesquite Bosque Habitat
- Nearest Light Rail station (hint: it's close, bike lane all the way)
- Papago Park Hiking, Mountain Biking, etc
- Mill Avenue to Downtown Tempe
- Washington Street to Downtown Phoenix
- WWII Prisoner of War Camp Site
- Gov. Hunt's Pyramid tomb
- Tempe Center for the Arts
- Tempe Town Lake and the new bridge being built across the dam
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
- Pueblo Grande Museum (Hohokam ruins)
- Scottsdale Greenbelt
- Arizona Canal
- Indian School bike lane eastbound
- Future Thomas Road improvements?
- And a few longer rides:
- Scottsdale Oldtown, Civic Plaza, Performing Arts, Library, SMOCA
- Taliesin West
- Mountain biking at South Mountain or Phoenix Mountain Preserve
- Scottsdale Water Mark (giant aluminum horse sculpture)
- Phoenix Public Market
- Phoenix Public Library
- Connect the Crosscut Path with the Arizona Canal at 64th Street (no more "path ends" sign)
- Extend the Indian School Bicycle Path westward from 64th Street to 40th Street
- Bridge the AZ Canal at 64th Street to connect the neighborhood and 64th Street north
I'll finish with a few more photos to illustrate the current situation. Like I said at the start, this is a great path. I've read that more improvements are planned. As a puzzle, there's one common facility present in several of the photos that has been implemented both widely and consistently. I mention it as a model example of a clear, consistent, and widespread systematic element that could serve as a model for other systematic elements that would address some of the concerns raised here, in my guest post that will be on Blooming Rock. Can you see what it is? Get up. Go ride.
|The horses know the secret path to the shady oasis with water and shade|
|One of the nicest, and most hidden, signs in the Valley|
|10 OSG bonus points if you can locate this sign|
|Re-leaf project, another hidden gem: shade, seats, attractive rock features. Didn't even know it was here.|
|Sign announcing the bridge across the Tempe Town Lake Dam. It needs to connect with the Crosscut path.|
|View of where the bridge will be|
|I may be ready for anything, but I couldn't bunny hop up to this bridge across the Crosscut Canal. Usability?|
I can imagine if they did something like this with cars.
There's your bridge, just four-wheel through this mud to get to it.