BY LINDA BENTLEY | APRIL 30, 2014
Transportation Framework Study reveals alternative concepts
Activity node sections provided three options, all of which included only one lane for vehicular traffic in each direction
Photo by Linda Bentley
CAVE CREEK – The Cave Creek/Carefree Transportation Framework Study team held an open house-style meeting at Cave Creek town hall on Tuesday evening to reveal the various options the two towns might wish to consider for potential pedestrian, bicycle, equestrian, roadway and other improvements.
The study was made possible through a grant and, while there is no funding currently identified for making these types of improvements, it is a planning-level document that can assist the two towns in laying a foundation to secure potential future local, regional and federal funding.
The study engaged over 1,300 town residents, business owners, recreational users and special event visitors to Cave Creek and Carefree to determine transportation issues, needs and priorities.
The study team received over 300 responses to an online survey for Cave Creek and Carefree residents and business owners, while 200 recreational and competitive on-road and off-road cyclists responded to a separate survey.
In-person surveys of more than 700 attendees were conducted at four large community events: Taste of Cave Creek, Thunderbird Artists, Wild West Days and the Carefree Christmas Festival.
The study team held community workshops with local business owners, community organizations, special event organizers and recreational users, along with interviews with town staff and representatives with community organizations.
Priorities identified by both towns included safe pedestrian connections as well as safety for cyclists.
Although the Cave Creek and Carefree area, because of its natural beauty and challenging terrain has been a Mecca for avid cyclists, cyclists say they do not feel safe riding here due to lack of dedicated bike lanes, limited shoulders and poor pavement quality.
Cyclists also complained local merchants and drivers are not bike-friendly.
While business owners said bicyclists do not spend money in town, nearly all the cyclists said they come back to the area without their bikes to dine and shop.
The cyclists said their highest priority is to have dedicated bike lanes or paths.
Activity node sections provided three options, all of which included only one lane for vehicular traffic in each direction.
One included a travel lane, a bike lane and a landscape buffer between the bike lane and pedestrian sidewalk/path on each side of the landscaped median.
The second option eliminated the landscape buffer between the sidewalk and bike lane on each side, adding parallel parking instead.
The third option mirrored the first except it eliminated the median and provided for a two-way continuous left turn lane.
Community members who responded to the surveys indicated they did not believe major roadway improvements, such as widening or extending streets, are needed and prefer the towns focus on maintaining existing streets and keeping existing landscaping maintained.
Public transit was not a priority for either town, although many local businesses would like to see a seasonal local shuttle. No one seemed to be interested in paying for one.
Some visitors also indicated they would like to see a free shuttle from a centralized parking location during special events.
Those who didn’t attend the meeting may view the concepts presented on the study’s website: http://CaveCreekCarefree.azmag.gov