7th Street and 7th Avenue Reverse Traffic Lanes

Reverse traffic lanes add capacity to a road and decrease congestion by borrowing capacity from the other (off-peak) direction. Reversing lanes reduces congestion during morning and evening commutes.

What you need to know about how the reversible traffic lane works on 7th Street and 7th Avenue:

  • During morning and afternoon peak traffic hours, the two-way left turn lane on both 7th Street (between approximately McDowell Road and Dunlap Avenue) and 7th Avenue (from approximately McDowell Road to Northern Avenue) operates as a reversible lane.
  • Monday through Friday during morning peak traffic hours, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., the reversible lane is used in the southbound direction and in the afternoon peak hours, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., it is used in the northbound direction.
  • Left turns are prohibited at all arterial and most collector street intersections, but left-turns are allowed at other non-signalized streets and at driveways for access.
  • Overhead and roadside signs are used to indicate the reverse lane hours of operation, direction of operation, and the prohibition of left-turns are posted frequently throughout the corridors.

Reverse lanes have been in place on 7th Avenue and 7th Street since 1979 and 1982, respectively. They were created to address traffic concerns as Phoenix was growing its downtown core. In 1979, the Mayor and Council challenged staff to come up with transportation system management solutions to the growing traffic congestion problems caused largely by the lack of a regional freeway system. Reverse lanes were proposed as a cost effective solution to address the traffic issues, especially since widening 7th Street and 7th Avenue was not practical.

In 1979, the two-way left turn lane on 7th Avenue was converted into a reverse lane from approximately McDowell Road to Northern Avenue and 7th Street was converted to reverse lanes in 1982 between approximately McDowell Road and Dunlap Avenue. In both cases, the reverse lanes added significant capacity while reducing cut through traffic in the neighborhood resulting from the congestion.