The City of Mesa, Arizona has big plans when it comes to alternative transportation. While the city has been building biking infrastructure for over 40 years, since 2012 it has grown its network of lanes and shared use pathways by 450%.
Now with a total network of over 570 miles, the city is aggressively moving forward with plans to achieve an even higher mode share for bikes and win platinum level bicycle friendly status by 2022.
Shared Use Pathway Network
A significant part of Mesa’s plan to get more people out of their cars and using alternative, or active, transportation is its network of shared use pathways. Designed to accommodate joggers, walkers, roller bladers and wheelchair users in addition to bicycles, these pathways are increasingly linking different parts of the city and are well removed from car traffic.
To increase use, the design of these pathways incorporate rest areas at regular intervals and lighting for security and visibility. For two recently constructed shared use pathways, the Porter Park Pathway and phase 1 of the Southeast Mesa Shared Use Pathway, the City of Mesa opted for First Light’s IPL series architectural solar area light.
The Mesa Gateway Shared Use Path is now open! 🚲👟 Thanks to the City of Mesa Bicycle & Pedestrian Program, you can enjoy two new miles of multi-use paths for runners, walkers and riders from Baseline ➡️ Elliot Road. Plan your ride 👉 http://fal.cn/4p3K
Posted by City of Mesa, Arizona Government on Friday, March 9, 2018
Why First Light Solar Lighting for Shared Use Pathways
While lighting for pathways promotes a feeling of safety and can increase use, many municipalities often forgo lighting due to cost. This leaves many shared use pathways mostly unused after dusk.
But with Mesa having ambitious active transportation goals, adding lighting was key to significantly increase the use of its alternative transportation infrastructure. Self-contained solar lighting gave the opportunity to provide light more cost-effectively meaning that funding could be stretched as far as possible to create more miles of pathways. For the 2.5 miles currently illuminated by First Light luminaires, it has saved the city over $150,000.
First Light’s commercial-grade solar lights offers significantly lower install costs by avoiding the need to dig trenches for wires and create a connection to the electrical grid. The self-contained design looks just like a regular light with no external solar modules or battery boxes which minimizes visual clutter and augments the design of the trails.
The high-quality, robust construction minimizes maintenance needs and self-learning capabilities maximize reliability.
Looking Towards the Future
The city was able to complete the one mile long Porter Park Pathway project that runs through a growing neighborhood and provides a safe route for students to two schools within the $1.8 million budget. Likewise, the first phase of the Southeast Mesa Shared Use Trail was completed in 2016 in an area slated for significant future development.
By creating these pathways now, moving forward on creating more connections and providing lighting, their use will only increase. The city plans to finish many more miles of shared use pathways in the next few years, complete with more IPL architectural solar lights, ensuring it’s well on its way to reaching its alternative transportation goals.