South Mountain Freeway Shared Use Path

— Path OPENED 10/30/2020 —

The South Mountain Freeway, the last and final portion of loop SR202, was constructed atop what was Pecos Road, in the Ahwatukee area of the city of Phoenix.

Although some form of path was seemingly promised as long ago as 2010, that was all seemingly forgotten by 2015 when preparations for the construction of the freeway were reaching final planning stages.

A group of local cyclists banded together, most notably the Pecos Action Group led by Joe Struttman, was well as Bob Beane of the Coalition, along with other stakeholders including elected officials from both the city and state to cause a shared use path to be built; and not just any path but a 20 foot wide asphalt path suitable for higher-speed cycling. Curves, bends, and dips were eliminated, which also has the side-effect of making the path all-weather; it will not flood in low spots during normal storms. Commitments were made finally in 2017 that this path would actually be constructed:

Shared Use Path running along the southern side of the 202- The final design will be completed shortly with direction to make it compatible with high speed bicycle use. This facility will be the first of its kind in the nation and is expected to bring cycling enthusiast from all around the state to our community. This started as an idea and has now transformed into what could be the first cycling park of this kind in the nation thanks to the collaboration of this group.

The path is approximately six miles long, spanning from 40th Street to 17th Avenue. Access the path from any of the following: 40th St, 32nd St, 24th St. Desert Foothills Parkway, or 17th Avenue. The path is runs along the south side of the freeway; to the south of the path lies the Gila River Indian Community; and offers great views of the Estrella Mountains to the west

The freeway connects the communities of Ahwatukee (and the east Valley) to Laveen (and the west Valley). Unfortunately, there are no feasible routes for bicyclists to commute between the two; it’s an effective dead end at 17th Avenue. The Coalition requested ADOT to evaluate a small section (between 17th Ave and Vee Quiva Way) in 2016, years before the freeway was opened. They inexplicably never conducted this evaluation; after over three years of waiting, in 2020 ADOT finally issued a written determination that does not follow their own policy and is arbitrary. We await an actual evaluation and decision based on facts and in keeping with their own policy. Until then, ADOT will continue to deny bicyclists the advantages and economic opportunities that access to this multi-billion dollar project — funded primarily from sales taxes — provides the motoring public.


See news item: Remaining SM Freeway pieces opening Oct.19

…Both the interchange and the multi-use path have a long history that took a long time to iron out as the former was an off-again on-again component and the multi-use path the result of persistent lobbying by the high-speed bicycling enthusiasts.

For years, bicyclists across the Valley flocked to Pecos Road, which was considered a premiere training facility where they could cruise up and down hills while reaching speeds of up to 40 mph for stretches between traffic lights.

But it was a far from perfect place for cycling, given that motorists reached hit higher speeds. Two cyclists were killed in 2004 and 2014.

Cycling community leader Joe Struttmann saw the imminent disappearance of Pecos Road to make way for the freeway as a perfect opportunity to build a safe path for cyclists that would be the first of its kind in the country – and far safer than Pecos Road…

One Response to “South Mountain Freeway Shared Use Path”
  1. Ed says:

    The article referenced above is also available at the issuu version of The Santan Sun News:

    Another short story appeared in Foothills living Dec 2020 issue:

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