Bike in Tempe promotes bicycle riding with new, safe routes

TEMPE – Bike riders in Tempe are looking for ways to safely move around town.

“It’s hard for me to get to south Tempe and to get to east and west in Tempe on surface roads,” said Preston Swan, who is a board member for the Tempe Bicycle Action Group. “These bike boulevards are going to be a godsend for getting around my town.”

Bike in Tempe, also known as BIKEiT, was adopted into the transportation master plan for the city of Tempe in 2014. The city is creating nine bike boulevards, allowing riders to go from Tempe to Scottsdale, Mesa, Phoenix and Chandler. Each of the planned nine routes has its own bicycle-related name along with signs to guide the bicyclists.

However, bike boulevards are not the same as bike lanes. The boulevards are on smaller streets, said Eric Iwersen, Tempe’s principal transportation planner.

“Bike boulevards are really meant to connect on streets that are not those major streets,” he said. “They’re local streets, like neighborhood streets and are pathway systems, so they’re really low traffic volume streets.”

Not all residents of those neighborhoods are happy with the bike boulevards and the city is still looking for community input into the final designated routes.

Joseph Perez, a bicycle coordinator for the city of Phoenix, hopes this effort will help encourage more people to ride. “People are riding more because they understand that it’s better for their health and it’s better for the local economy.”

Swan thinks that Tempe is doing it’s best to help bicyclists.

“I think Tempe is a good example for an up and coming area for bikes. The city is doing a lot more to promote bike projects,” he said.