[Source: City of Phoenix] — The Phoenix Public Transit Department is soliciting public feedback on new budget cuts required because of actions taken to balance the state of Arizona budget. The department will hold community outreach events in each of Phoenix’s eight council districts to get residents’ opinions of possible service reductions. The public can also provide input online through an online survey or by sending an e-mail with the subject line “Budget Cuts Feedback.”
In the budget passed by the legislature in March, a sweep of the Local Transportation Assistance Funds (LTAF) cost the city of Phoenix approximately $11 million over the remainder of this fiscal year and next year, 2010-11. These new reductions are in addition to service changes approved in the city budget adopted in March by the Phoenix City Council. These new reductions could affect all city transit services, including local bus routes and RAPID routes, as well as Dial-a-Ride service.
Options for changes to service include elimination or service reduction of certain bus routes; reduction of Dial-a-Ride service to federally-mandated minimums; and partial reduction or complete elimination of the Phoenix Neighborhood Circulator program, a free transit service that travels through communities, and connects residents to schools, shops and other public services. Public Transit Department staff will be asking for feedback from the public at the following events, and will also be available to answer questions.
- Monday, April 12, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m., Paradise Valley Mall Transit Center, 4623 E. Paradise Village Parkway North
- Monday, April 12, 4 – 6 p.m., Hope VI CTEC, 1150 S. Seventh Ave.
- Monday, April 12, 5:30 – 7 p.m., Paradise Valley Community Center, 17402 N. 40th St.
- Tuesday, April 13, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Cowden Center – John C. Lincoln Hospital, 9202 N. Second St.
- Tuesday, April 13, 6 – 8 p.m., Desert Sky Mall (meeting room near Cinema Latina), 761 W. Thomas Road
- Wednesday, April 14, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m., Central Station, Central Avenue and Van Buren Street
[Source: April Atwood, ASU State Press] — The city of Tempe has experienced the highest increase in the Valley in land value surrounding the light rail route, according to a study conducted by ASU doctoral student Katherine Kittrell released Friday. Mixed-use buildings that incorporate residential, retail, and office space are the type of transit-oriented developments that led to increased land value, she said. “The research concludes that one of the best ways to get people to incorporate a different lifestyle is to get them to live in transit-oriented developments,” she said, referring to buildings that offer convenience for public-transit riders.
Land value appreciation was the highest along Apache Boulevard in Tempe, as well as in downtown Phoenix, she said. However, many light rail stations near downtown Phoenix did not show increases in value, while the value around every station in Tempe has grown. The study also compared the light rail stations to other desirable intersections not along the light rail route. [Note: Read the full article at Study: Tempe land values increasing near light rail.]
[Source: Todd R. Weiss, Computerworld] — Almost a year after deploying new computerized fare collection boxes in about 800 regional transit buses around Phoenix, the city’s Public Transit Department is still working to eliminate lingering software bugs that plague the system. Jeff Dolfini, the city’s deputy transit director, said the problems began last December when the new system went live. The problems centered around several software issues, including one module that controls a sensor that “reads” paper money to be sure it is authentic and to determine its value.
The machines were rejecting a large number of paper bills, leading to delays and uncollected fares. Other software problems were making it difficult for the fareboxes to issue day passes for bus riders, as well as related transactions, Dolfini said. [Note: To read the full article, click here. For related Arizona Republic article, click here.]
[Source: Nate Berg, Planetizen] — In this piece from Citiwire, Jonathan D. Miller argues that infrastructure and the economy are not islands. Improving the nation’s infrastructure, he says, will improve the economy.
“In fact, a retooled national infrastructure will be an essential part of the solution to maintaining our economic clout and future prosperity, while providing the needed stimulus of a near-term jobs engine.”
“The challenges are huge: Our once-vaunted interstate system is overwhelmed by traffic around major gateway cities and along truck corridors. Our metro regions lack public transit systems robust enough to tame oil consumption and sustain future growth. The nation has literally zero high-speed rail lines and may need four or more major new airports. Major East and West coastal ports have turned into huge bottlenecks and our national freight shipping network needs radical upgrading. Chronic traffic jams, lost time, higher driving, and logistics costs can only get worse as the U.S. population expands by an expected 100 million people between now and 2040.”
[Source: “A Region on the Brink: the Southern Intermountain West,” Brian Krier, Next American City] — The Southern Intermountain West encompasses Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, a massive region facing a considerable population boom and a rapidly evolving economy, neither of which are expected to slow down in the next few decades. According to the report, the Mountain megas’ population and job base could very well double by 2040, a rate that will drastically outpace the rest of the country. The report concludes that growth in the region will have “tremendous implications for the built environment and regional construction activity,” estimating that the current housing stock will need to be nearly doubled and non-residential space would need to increased by a total of 9.4 billion square feet. Future expenditures for this alone would push well into the trillions of dollars.
Geography will also continue to play a key role in the development of the region. Because the federal government remains the region’s principal landowner, the policies that govern these areas have significant impact on what is leftover. With much of the densely populated areas tucked neatly inside mountain ranges or sprung up from deserts, a number of quality of life issues have sprung up that need addressing: access to public transportation, reducing automobile dependence, and improving urban spaces. All of these concerns, of course, pale in comparison to the most critical issue facing the West: water management. As development continues throughout the West, water access and management may very well determine whether this current boom can be sustained.
In order to face these issues head-on, the report calls for a “new federal-state-mega partnership that will allow the region’s pivotal megapolitan areas to surmount their common challenges and assert their leadership in the nation and the world.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[Source: KPHO Television] — New DASH bus routes launched Monday morning in downtown Phoenix. Marie Chapple with Phoenix Public Transit says the DASH downtown loop will now take them to the dining places and sports venues, including ASU. “People used to going from the state Capitol to downtown Phoenix or into the city buildings will still be able to do that, they just won’t have to go as far as they used to,” Chapple said. Basically, it’s from the state Capitol to the city and county buildings and into Central Station.”
Chapple said the downtown DASH loop used to run mostly at night and nobody was riding it. The routes are now targeted to the daytime dwellers of downtown Phoenix. “It’s a north-south loop and we think it’s going to work a lot better for who’s here during the day,” she said.
Mayor Phil Gordon said he will seek more money to keep the buses running past 8 p.m., and he may start thinking “outside the box.” “[We should] look at bringing in some private vendors, particularly to tie together the Garfield, Roosevelt, the historic neighborhoods where there are a lot of restaurants, bars, and boutiques to the core downtown,” Gordon said.
By early 2009, another 800 ASU students will be moving into downtown dorms. The DASH buses are also sporting a new look. Gone is the copper color. The new buses are decked out in blue and green.
[Source: EV Living] — Downtown Phoenix is growing and the long-time downtown circulator DASH is changing with it. The City of Phoenix Public Transit Department is proposing a partial change to the DASH route and its frequency of service. The new DASH routing will link it directly to light rail, scheduled to start in December 2008, and local and commuter buses that bring workers and students into the area. According to city officials, all changes will be done within the current budget. Also, the nine DASH buses are scheduled for a new paint job.
The public is invited to any of the following open houses to review the proposed changes:
February 26, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Central Station, Central Ave. and Van Buren.
March 19, 2 to 4 p.m., Phoenix Convention Center, 2nd St. and Adams.
April 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Phoenix City Hall, Washington and 3rd Ave.
A public hearing on the changes will be held before the Citizens Transit Commission on April 3 at 302 N. Central Ave. before a report goes to Phoenix City Council. For more information, click here or call 602-262-7242.