Speeding’ bicyclists anger homeowners

SCOTTSDALE – Homeowners and bicyclists are squaring off in a gated community on Scottsdale’s border with Fountain Hills.

Homeowners in Hidden Hills complain that cyclists are using 145th Way, a steep private street at the end of Via Linda, as a training ground where they speed down the long, curving hill en masse and invite accidents.

Cyclists say homeowners are exaggerating problems with a minority of riders and reneging on their subdivision’s 2000 agreement with Scottsdale to allow a non-motorized connection to Fountain Hills.

“If this is not abated, tempers will continue to flare,” homeowners’ association president Sandra Goldenberg recently warned the Scottsdale Transportation Commission.

The debate raises the tricky issue of how private streets mix with public access, particularly in a city that touts its designation as a bicycle-friendly community.

Worried about bike riders invading their neighborhood, members of the Hidden Hills of Scottsdale Community Association petitioned Scottsdale in November to abandon its easement along 145th Way.

The easement runs for eight-tenths of a mile along 145th Way before it ends near a hilltop bordering Fountain Hills.

It’s easy to see why bike riders find this area so inviting.

Via Linda, the road leading up to 145th Way, has designated bike lanes. Signs at the start of 145th Way, near the adjacent Sunrise Trail parking lots, say autos must yield to bikes. The gates of Hidden Hills are spaced apart to allow bikes to proceed, anytime.

Scottsdale retained the easement as part of a deal with the subdivision’s developer that shelved plans to make Via Linda a four-lane public street. Instead, the two sides agreed on the easement that envisions a 145th Way connection to give cyclists, pedestrians and emergency vehicles an alternative to busy Shea Boulevard.

Since the last homes in Hidden Hills were built in late 2005, the street has turned from a sparsely used commuter route into a popular cycling destination.

Homeowners and cyclists alike now accuse each other of dangerous speeding and tailgating, swearing and other rude behavior.

Homeowners say packs of riders grind their way up the street, then use the cul de sac at the top as a gathering spot – and occasional outdoor restroom – before speeding back downhill.

Worried about hitting bikers

Homeowners say they dread backing out of driveways for fear of hitting riders, and worry about liability and property values.

“I’ve really had enough of this,” homeowner Laura Fogleman told the Transportation Commission in January. “It only takes one accident, and the cyclist won’t be at fault, and our association will be sued.”

Cyclists say 145th Way is actually safer than most roads because of its low traffic volumes and because its long hill provides an aerobic workout and strength training.

They say they take less than 15 minutes to ride up and down, often braking to keep near the 20 mph speed limit. The few riders who are rude are disciplined by bike groups, they say.

“I haven’t seen anyone being rude to homeowners unless they feel their safety is in jeopardy,” Stephen Stromberg said while riding 145th Way. “I don’t understand the argument to exclude or ban us . . . Why push us to the main roads where it is more dangerous?”

Keeping off 6-lane, 50 mph Shea

Fountain Hills, for its part, has asked Scottsdale to keep the easement.

“The whole reason we support it is because it would provide an avenue for bikes to get to Fountain Hills without taking their life into their hands on Shea,” town spokeswoman Katie Decker said.

Three lots stand between the easement and Eagle Ridge Drive, the next available roadway, Decker said. Fountain Hills expects development along Eagle Ridge to start in two to five years, at which time the roads could connect.

Because 145th Way is a private street, Scottsdale can’t enforce the speed limit with motorists or cyclists, the city attorney’s office said. Nor can the city pay to install speed bumps on a private street, an idea many Hidden Hills homeowners oppose, anyway.

Scottsdale transportation staffers are researching the legal questions of whether the city even has the power to abandon an easement meant for the general public, bike/pedestrian coordinator Reed Kempton said.

Building an alternate paved route would be difficult given the rugged terrain, he added.

Issue still before commission

The issue is in the Transportation Commission’s hands. Commissioners have been reluctant to surrender the easement but agree a solution to the conflict is needed.

For now, the city plans to revive its outreach to cyclists and warn them to follow the rules of the road and treat neighbors courteously.

Neighbors say a similar effort in 2005 wore off long ago.

Cycling groups say they’ve resolved similar issues with Paradise Valley and the nearby Scottsdale Mountain subdivision, and can try to do the same with Hidden Hills.

Preston Miller, director of Tri-Scottsdale and ride coordinator for Gainey Village Health Club & Spa, said homeowners have some valid concerns. Education is needed on both sides, he said.

“People feel threatened and you think they are vandals, but they (cyclists) are doctors, lawyers, teachers and business people,” Miller said. “This is just education and understanding.”

article here


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Motorists should learn to reverse INTO their drives, then they can drive out! It’s the only safe thing to do!

Comment by Cyclist

Reversing out of your drive, could mean reversing over a child or a pet!
Reversing out of drives is generally dangeous and is a BAD idea.

Comment by Cyclist

OF course, travelling at dangerous speeds is always bad, irrespective of who does it and that includes cyclists. What is a dangerous speed here is hard to say.

Comment by Cyclist

There has come winter 😦
It became cold and cloudy!
Mood very bad 😦
Depression Begins

Comment by DDDepressionnn

it’s a nice site. keep on updating, i love to read much…

Comment by putri-bali

We live at the end of 145th Way. Every Sunday morning we are awaken by the loud talking og the cyclists gathering at the top of the hill. Don’t they realize PEOPLE LIVE HERE????? No they are self centered people that think they are the only ones alive. It they were not so rude and loud then perhaps we homeowners would not be so upset

Comment by Annie

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Comment by интим магазин

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