First St., Ash Ave. & Rio Salado Pkwy. Design Concepts

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The city of Tempe and consultants are developing design solutions to explore possible realignment and rebuild of the intersection of First Street / Ash Avenue / Rio Salado Parkway.  The effort would be to allow for westbound travel on Rio Salado Parkway through Ash Avenue to First Street.  Until the early 1980’s, the street allowed for this movement.

The scope of work includes review of traffic signal relocations, sidewalk, bike lane, driveway and street design considerations and possible reconstruction to align the roadway for travel in all directions, much like a traditional intersection. The work may involve some right-of-way purchase and would be coordinated with the Tempe Streetcar project construction to limit construction disruption. 

Preliminary project concept designs were completed with a study conducted in 2009. The project was identified as a need for connections to the neighborhoods and development that is occurring west of the intersection west of downtown Tempe. The project would open up another east/west travel option in and out of the downtown core, which would help alleviate some of the traffic pressure on the limited streets that do connect downtown with areas to the west.

Several design alternatives were presented to the public for feedback during spring 2017, including on line feedback and a public meeting held April 17. In May 2017, the Tempe City Council selected a roundabout design as the preferred alternative. Since then, staff and the design team have been refining the roundabout design.

At the Sept. 7 Tempe City Council Work Study Session, staff will provide an update on the project, including the refined roundabout design, right-of-way impacts and estimated costs. The Tempe City Council welcomes public comment on this project, as well as other agenda items, during the Call to the Audience at the beginning of the meeting.