Apache Trail designated part of USBR 90

RouteSystem-USBRS-wideIn April of 2015, the city council and mayor formally adopted a resolution stating its support for the development of USBR 90 (US Bicycle Route) through the City of Apache Junction. (full text of resolution below). This included a badly-need resurfacing of Apache Trail, the main thoroughfare through town, and included the addition of designated bicycle lanes, completed in May of 2015. 

 

 


Focal Point Enhancement Project Newsletter, June 2015. Reprinted with permission:
Welcome to Downtown AJ…here’s what’s happening!

Apache Junction; Apache Trail before 2015
Apache Junction; Apache Trail before 2015

“Try to drive that stretch holding a hot cup of coffee!” That’s nothing. Try riding that road on your motorcycle. You’ll think you’re on a bucking bronco. That’s the essence of an actual conversation I overheard between two men several months ago. And, unfortunately, they were referring to the main commercial corridor that runs through our downtown and provides access to the majority of businesses found in Apache Junction… yes, Apache Trail.

Roadways have a finite life span and need continual maintenance and occasional reconstruction to keep them in a drivable condition. It’s typically “gas tax” dollars that get reinvested into these maintenance projects and drivers and vehicles happily moving along. Unfortunately, as the Apache Trail began to see signs of aging and wear, something else started to break down…the global economy! The recession took a hard hit on everyone. People began spending less, budgets were being cut everywhere, and in the case of the State of Arizona, funds were being swept to cover essential services. This was the case for those “gas tax” dollars. The actual name for this tax is Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF). At one point, and even until today, a portion of HURF dollars that the State had allocated to cities for road maintenance and repair was swept – swept out of the local cities’ coffers and into funds to cover state police services. For Apache Junction, this meant going from $7.3 million plummeting to only $3.8 million to maintain and repair all the miles and miles of streets throughout the city.

The longer nothing was done, the worse the condition and the more expensive it would become to fix. Based on its current condition, engineering estimates quoted the price to fix the Apache Trail would be $3 million dollars. If they were to wait just five years, 2020, that cost would skyrocket to $12 million dollars. Wasting time meant wasting money. It became clear to the city council that something had to be done. Tough decisions had to be made.

So, after much research, discussion and consideration, the city council voted (5-2) to pass a temporary ten-year sales tax. The tax was two-tenths of 1% and would be dedicated to paying for road improvement projects with Apache Trail as the priority project. To put the tax increase into perspective, for a $10 purchase made in the city, the tax charged would go from $0.89 cents to $0.91 cents.

Apache Junction; Apache Trail repavement project spring 2015. Now part of the USBR system
Apache Junction; Apache Trail repavement project spring 2015. Now part of the USBR system

After the vote, the Public Works staff worked to complete the de-sign and construction bidding. By April 2015, the city council approved the contracts that allowed the curbing and paving work to begin. Through the latter part of April and through the month of May, the construction was underway.

While road construction is never convenient and despite the temporary lane closures, business access remained open at all times. The final touches were completed the last few days of May which included striping and the addition of a new bike lane!

We thank the community for their patience and support during this project. Now, if I could only find those two guys who were having that conversation and challenge them to, “Try the Trail now… you might just think you’re floating on air!”

For additional information on the downtown projects, contact Janine Solley, Economic Development Administrator, at 480 474-5076 or jsolley@ajcity.net

 


Full Text of AJ Resolution No. 15-21

RESOLUTION NO. 15-21

A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF APACHE JUNCTION, MARICOPA AND PINAL COUNTIES, ARIZONA, STATING ITS SUPPORT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF U.S. BICYCLE ROUTE 90 THROUGH THE CITY OF APACHE JUNCTION.

WHEREAS, bicycle tourism is a growing industry in North America, presently contributing approximately $47 billion dollars a year nationally to the economies of communities that provide facilities for such tourists; and

WHEREAS, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (“AASHTO”) has designated a corridor that crosses Arizona and connect the Arizona/New Mexico Border north of Douglas, AZ to the Arizona/California border near Ehrenburg, AZ and Blythe, CA to be developed as United States Bike Route 90 (“USBR 90”); and

WHEREAS, the Arizona Department of Transportation is supportive of AASHTO designated bicycle routes through Arizona, subject to ongoing collaboration with affected jurisdictions to designate specific facilities the routes will traverse; and

WHEREAS, the proposed USBR 90 traverses through the City of Apache Junction and a map (set forth in Exhibit A) depicting the preferred route is herein incorporated into this resolution by reference and is expected to provide a benefit to local residents and businesses; and

WHEREAS, the City of Apache Junction has duly considered the proposed USBR 90 route and found it to be a suitable route through the Arizona corridor and desires that the route be formally designated so that it can be appropriately mapped and potentially signed, thereby promoting bicycle tourism in the Apache Junction area.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF APACHE JUNCTION, ARIZONA, THAT:

1) It hereby expresses its approval and support for the development of USBR 90 through the City of Apache Junction as depicted on the attached map (Exhibit A) and requests that the appropriate government officials take action to officially designate the route accordingly as soon as possible.

2) The City of Apache Junction may choose to post and maintain signs for the bicycle route once the designation has been made.

PASSED AND ADOPTED BY THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF APACHE JUNCTION, ARIZONA THIS 2nd DAY OF April 2015. SIGNED AND ATTESTED TO THIS 2nd DAY OF April, 2015.

JOHN S. INSALACO Mayor

ATTEST: KATHLEEN CONNELLY City Clerk

APPROVED AS TO FORM: JOEL STERN City Attorney

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4 Comments

  1. City of Tempe:
    “The City Council hereby approves the portion of United States Bike
    Route 90 through Tempe comprising of Rio Salado Parkway to Mill Avenue
    to Curry Road to College Avenue.”

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  2. Here’s the official USBR 90 announcement:

    Arizona gets approval for U.S. Bicycle Route 90
    Route part of national system; runs through Arizona border to border
    October 08, 2015
    PHOENIX – As Arizona continues to build on its reputation as a world-renowned destination for bicyclists, our state has now received approval for its first U.S. bicycle route that will run through Arizona border to border while connecting to a national system of bike routes.

    The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the application submitted by the Arizona Department of Transportation to establish U.S. Bicycle Route 90, a continuous route through Arizona that connects to New Mexico and California. Arizona’s route, along with additional U.S. bicycle routes in other states, was approved at the recent 2015 AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

    U.S. Bicycle Route 90 is a 573-mile-long east-west route that runs along existing state highways, local streets and shared-use paths. The route begins along Interstate 10 at the California state line, runs through the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas, and ends along State Route 80 at the New Mexico state line. The Phoenix and Tucson areas each have extensive bikeway systems. U.S Bicycle Route 90 features several miles of off-road paved paths in each metro area, including The Loop in the Tucson area and the Arizona Canal path in the Phoenix area.

    AZ Highway 82U.S. Bicycle Route 90 winds through many of Arizona’s historic, cultural and tourist destinations, such as Bisbee, Tombstone, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and Saguaro National Park. Bicyclists are able to tour the sprawling cities and small towns of the Grand Canyon State with mountains and cacti in view—all diverse attractions that offer something for everyone and can be accessed on two wheels.

    “This route directs bicyclists along a combination of comfortable bikeways through a scenic Arizona landscape,” said Michael Sanders, ADOT’s bicycle and pedestrian program coordinator. “Arizona is considered a destination state when it comes to experiencing it by bike. Our state’s ideal weather, new infrastructure and numerous bicycling events continue to lure cyclists from all over the country and around the world to experience riding through Arizona’s scenic backdrops. This new intrastate bike route makes it all that much easier for cyclists to tour our state from one border to the other.”

    The ADOT Multimodal Planning Division led the effort for the application process for U.S. Bicycle Route 90, a process that required the input and involvement of stakeholders, local and state agencies, and bicycle advocacy groups. In order for Arizona’s bicycle route to move forward, it required the concurrence of all local entities that it passes through. Maps and turn-by-turn directions were also submitted with the application to AASHTO.

    The designation of U.S. Bicycle Route 90 does not involve building new infrastructure, as the route follows existing state highways and local streets and paths.

    AASHTO and Adventure Cycling Association are the two main agencies leading the national effort for the U.S. Bicycle Route system. AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering most recently approved 2,141 miles of new U.S. Bicycle Routes in five states: USBR 90 in Arizona, USBR 7 in Vermont, USBR 21 in Georgia, USBR 35, 36 and 50 in Indiana, and USBR 76 in Kansas. The U.S. Bicycle Route System now encompasses 11,053 miles of routes in a total of 23 states and the District of Columbia.

    Adventure Cycling Association has developed detailed maps and other information about Arizona’s route and the rest of the route system to support bicyclists as they ride across Arizona and the rest of the states. For more information, visit adventurecycling.org. A map of the U.S. Bicycle Route System can be found here: http://www.adventurecycling.org/default/assets/File/Media/PressRelease2016/CorridorPlan_15_10%20(1).pdf

    For more information on ADOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, visit http://azbikeped.org.
    http://www.azdot.gov/media/News/news-release/2015/10/08/arizona-gets-approval-for-u.s.-bicycle-route-90

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  3. Some more press on USBR 90, including quotes from our own Eric Post:

    “It’s like a breath of fresh air. We need that connectivity throughout Arizona it looks like that route is going to do it,” said Eric Post, the president of the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association.

    http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/30254937/cyclists-can-now-use-a-designated-route-to-ride-throughout-arizona
    also see:
    http://www.kpho.com/story/30225388/arizona-approved-for-first-border-to-border-interstate-for-bicycles

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  4. Adventure Cycling Association (ACA), Routes and Mapping Director, Carla Majernik, her assistant, Jennifer Milyko, and Ginny Sullivan, Director of Travel Initiatives has been asked by Mike Kies, Assistant Director for Multimodal Planning, ADOT (http://www.azdot.gov/about/inside-adot/ExecutiveLeadership), what it would take for ACA to get US Bicycle Route 90 on their maps, if not aligned with their Southern Tier “ST” (as we were led to believe in November 2014 – see inserted message from Jennifer Milyko, “We anticipate that the ST route would align with USBR 90”), then at least as a “Southern Tier alternate” route (see inserted message from me to Mr. Kies on other ACA “alternate routes”).

    Ms. Majernik’s response was that they need to hear that bicyclists are using the US Bicycle Route 90! – “Do you have any evidence that cyclists are already using this routing? Anything that you can mention to support this is helpful for us to hear. My staff discusses these proposals. We also survey our membership for new route ideas.”

    So I am reaching out to you for help. The critical part is the Phoenix to the New Mexico border because that is where eastbound Southern Tier and USBR 90 diverge.

    We need to hear from bicyclists that are using USBR 90 especially from Phoenix to the New Mexico border – any other evidence, testimonials, blogs, photos.

    Examples include:

    · Not Your Mom Tours (NYM Tours) at http://www.azbikeclub.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=53364&module_id=75400
    · Arizona Brevet & Randonnee at http://www.azbrevet.com/routes.html and
    · Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers http://www.bubbaspamperedpedalers.com/coast-2-coast).

    Can you help?

    Give me some referrals?

    Pass this on to others?

    Thanks much,

    Michael N. Sanders
    Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator
    206 S. 17th Ave., Mail Drop 310B
    Phoenix, AZ 85007
    602.712.8141
    azdot.gov
    azbikeped.org

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