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The City of Phoenix and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) have embarked on a federally funded project to design and build a planned arterial street connection along Black Mountain Boulevard with access ramps to the SR-51.  A primary design consultant, AZTEC Engineering, has been selected to facilitate the public involvement process, perform preliminary engineering, and the complete the environmental study required as a part of the project.

Over the next year, City staff, ADOT, and the design consultant team will coordinate with the primary stakeholders, which include area residents and Pinnacle High School, to initiate a process for incorporating ideas and concerns so as to design a project that is sensitive to their needs and fits within the context of the surrounding environment.  The project itself aims to improve circulation and access within the Desert Ridge Community by providing a vital connection that will more appropriately distribute traffic.

The planned arterial street, Black Mountain Boulevard is proposed to include up to 3 lanes in each direction, a 24 foot wide landscaped median island, bike lanes and pedestrian pathways on each side of the roadway.  An example of the type of roadway cross section planned for this project currently exists along Deer Valley Road between Black Mountain Boulevard and 40th Street.

Funding is available for the design and construction of access ramps from SR-51 onto Black Mountain Boulevard and an arterial street connection up to Mayo Boulevard.  While planned arterial street alignments exist north of Deer Valley Road, no funding is currently available for additional roadway construction along the Black Mountain Boulevard alignment.  As a part of this project, the City has been stipulated to conduct an alignment study for the future Black Mountain Boulevard up to Cave Creek Road.  An environmental study will be done to include both the design and construction of Black Mountain Boulevard project up to Mayo Boulevard and the alignment study for Black Mountain Boulevard from Deer Valley Road north to Cave Creek Road.

Some key issues related to this project that have already been brought forward include: pedestrian safety, parking at Pinnacle High School, circulation of buses and student drop off, traffic speeds, and noise.  The project will provide a safe and clear transition from freeway conditions to an urban arterial driving environment.  The design consultant will evaluate creative engineering approaches to adjusting traffic speeds as vehicles exit the SR-51 facility to access Black Mountain Boulevard.  In addition, the project strives to incorporate visually appealing structural elements that fit into the overall topography and natural terrain that exists today.

The main project goal is to improve community accessibility by providing a vital connection and congestion relief to a growing area.  Another goal is that engaged area residents will take pride and ownership of this project and will participate from beginning to end design development phases.  At the end of the day, a successful project will meet the needs of the area residents, the visitors to Pinnacle High School, and the traveling public.  At this juncture, the preliminary design process has yet to begin.  So, please get involved and participate in upcoming project information meetings hosted by the City, ADOT, and the design team to gather your input.

If you are unable to attend, feel free to check out the preliminary project websites at: http://phoenix.gov/STREETS/bmb.html or http:// markethaus.com/blackmountainblvd

Shane L. Silsby, P.E.

Street Transportation Department

Planning, Design, & Programming

City of Phoenix