[Source: Sean Holstege, Arizona Republic, March 30, 2009] — Maybe you’ve heard of Tax Freedom Day, theoretically the date when Americans have worked enough to pay off their tax burden for the year. Researchers have now come up with Transportation Freedom Day, the date when an average household has paid off its annual costs of getting around in a particular city. For metro Phoenix, that day fell on March 23, but it’s different for each city in the region and across the country. Tempe residents cleared the typical cost of car payments, insurance, gas, repairs, and transit use on March 18. Residents in New River will keep paying until April 9.
Phoenix is in the middle of the pack for U.S. metro areas. Cheapest are San Francisco, with a March 1 freedom day, and New York (March 7). Tucson (March 30) is near the bottom.
The findings are based on research from the Center for Neighborhood Technology, an Illinois think tank that advocates sustainable urban development. Generally, cities with the most density, shortest commutes and most transit options fared best. People in far-flung suburbs generally fare the worst. [Note: To read the full article and online comments, click here.]
[Source: Lifehacker] — Optimal Home Location is a Google Maps/Zillow mashup tool that helps you calculate the central location between all your commuting destinations. After plugging in the six most frequent places you and your family commute to: work, school, other family members, etc., Optimal Home Location will crunch the numbers. The map it returns will show you the best place for you to live in order to minimize your commute times.
The service is really handy, although not without its quirks. It cannot take into account anything beyond physical distances for instance, leaving you decide if the area is a safe neighborhood and whether or not it’s cost effective to live there… On top of showing you the optimal location, it also allows you to compare commute times from various addresses you are already have in mind and show the location of local features like schools and libraries to help you pick an ideal locale.
[Source: Tim Vetscherm, ABC 15 News] — Three new speed cameras have been added to the I-10 corridor through downtown Phoenix. The cameras are part of 100 systems that will be added to Valley freeways and highways in the coming months. Sixty cameras will be of stationary variety and 40 will be mobile speed units, according to Department of Public Safety officials. The newest additions are along both eastbound and westbound I-10 at 15th Avenue and eastbound I-10 at 16th Street.
A Department of Public Safety spokesperson said the camera locations in the Phoenix Metro area will be based upon serious injury and fatal collision data. “Our goal is to slow speeds down in those areas we can show have a high area of collisions that are speed related,” said Lt. James Warriner with DPS.
The Arizona State Legislature delegated close to $20 million to the vendor for implementation of the program, $4 million to the State Supreme Court Administrative Office of the Courts, and $2.173 million to DPS to administer the program. For a list of locations of the Valley’s new speed cameras, click here.
[Source: Casey Newton, Arizona Republic] — For almost 30 years, commuters have relied on Phoenix’s reversible lanes to ease their morning and afternoon drives. That could change this week, when the Phoenix City Council meets to consider eliminating them. The council will hear the issue Tuesday, more than a year after receiving complaints from people who live and own businesses along Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue. The lanes operate on weekdays during peak travel times, from McDowell Road to Northern Avenue on Seventh Avenue and from McDowell to Dunlap Avenue on Seventh Street. In the morning, the center lane is used by motorists traveling south. In the afternoon, the lane reverses for use by motorists traveling north.
Phoenix’s streets staff said the lanes improve commute times, reduce air pollution, and discourage fed-up motorists from cutting through neighborhoods in search of faster routes. If the lanes are eliminated, morning commutes to downtown Phoenix are expected to nearly double: from 15 minutes to 29 minutes on Seventh Avenue, and 25 minutes to 44 minutes on Seventh Street.
But residents and business owners blast the lanes as a dangerous anachronism installed before Phoenix had Arizona 51 or Interstate 17. They say the lanes hurt business and diminish the quality of life between Camelback Road and downtown Phoenix. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
To voice your opinion:
- What: The City Council meeting at which members will discuss eliminating reversible lanes
- When: 2 p.m. Tuesday, October 7
- Where: City Council Chambers, 200 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix