In an active project, the City of Phoenix is expanding its two-way protected bike lane project, the Third and Fifth Avenue project, north between McDowell and Thomas Road, implementing more of its newly constructed two-way protected bike lanes.

The Third and Fifth Avenue project dates back nearly a half-decade as the city of Phoenix looks to connect neighborhoods to the downtown area via two-way protected bike lanes. In doing so the city is looking to use its current roadways in a way where cyclists can travel safely.

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Heather Murphy, a Public Information Officer for Phoenix’s Street Transportation Department said in an interview, “The Third and Fifth Avenue project came through a neighborhood project. We wanted to make changes to the one way streets that we found a lot of people were confused by. We wanted to find a good north-south pathway that would take people safely from the downtown core out to the other parts of the city.”

The project began with a planning phase to generate input and feedback from the community for the future construction and implementation of the bike lanes.

“It was a neighborhood driven program that goes back five, or six years ago starting with a process called a design charrette to brainstorm what this whole area, and how people move around it, could look like.” Murphy continued, “We had extensive community involvement that culminated in the plan and ultimate construction of the Third and Fifth Avenue project which introduced the city’s first two-way protected bike lanes.”

The current existing lanes on Fifth Ave. only run south respectively causing confusion among cyclists when riding in the area. The new protected two-way lanes look to solve that issue.

With the safety of the cyclists in mind other concerns have been raised by residents about the increase of traffic that these lanes might cause if added to the roadway.

Rodger Young, a downtown Phoenix resident voiced concerns that increasing congestion in the neighborhood will not make the roadways safer.

“We’re putting a lot of multi-housing units into a neighborhood that has very narrow streets which has been putting more traffic onto those streets. I understand the need for housing but I don’t know how you widen the streets without major improvement and make it safe.”

Despite these concerns, Murphy said that the feedback received by the city on where the lanes already exist has been generally positive.

“Even on the hottest days all you need to do is grab a cup of coffee and go to the corner of Roosevelt and Third Avenue and watch people accessing that two-way protected bike lane and enjoying it up to where it currently ends at McDowell.”

The perspective of extending these lanes has residents excited as many see it as an improvement over the current one-way lanes that exist in their neighborhoods.

Dianne Barker, a resident and cyclist, said, “I like it. There is sometimes a tendency where I will go the wrong way on the bike lanes because they are confusing. That (two-way bike lanes) would be something that I will definitely use.”

According to the city’s website the Third and Fifth Avenue project construction between McDowell and Thomas Road is anticipated to be completed and have bike lanes open in the Winter of 2024.