Transportation Plans Under Review In Chandler SanTan Sun News

Transportation Plans Under Review In Chandler

January 18th, 2019 | by SanTan Sun News
Transportation Plans Under Review In Chandler
Community
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By Jason Stone

Staff Writer

As Chandler comes closer to build-out, city leaders are evaluating transportation services for the first time in almost a decade.

And residents are getting a chance to weigh in.

Rapid developments in transportation technology, the future of driverless cars and the rise of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are forcing the city to update its 8-year-old transportation plan.

“A lot has changed since then,” said Jason Crampton, a senior transportation planner for Chandler. “We are due for an update.”

The City Council recently hired Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., to help update the 2010 Transportation Plan.

In addition to technology improvements in roadway construction, the city will also evaluate bike and pedestrian access across the city as well as public transportation options.

“It’ll look at existing conditions, and we’ll come up with a series of recommendations on what should be done,” Crampton said.

Public transportation is a major component of the new plan. Chandler currently has 11 local bus routes and two express routes to and from downtown Phoenix that make seven trips on weekdays.

Crampton said ridership is high on several of the routes, including Route 112, which connects the north and south sides of the Loop 202 along Arizona Avenue; and Route 156, which goes from Mesa Gateway Airport into Ahwatukee along Chandler Boulevard.

The Chandler Express route into Phoenix (Express 542) has had high enough demand that Valley Metro added an eighth time slot to and from Phoenix starting Oct. 22.

“It will give (Chandler residents) a little more flexibility in their travels,” said Valley Metro communications manager Susan Tierney.

The new routes leave at 7:40 a.m. and return from downtown at 3:25 p.m., which is now the earliest express route back to Chandler. The schedule lists the earliest trip outbound to Phoenix at 5:55 a.m. with the latest at 7:25 a.m. The latest return trip leaves at 5:19 p.m.

Those trips originate and end at the Chandler Park and Ride location at 2100 S. Hamilton St.

For disabled residents, Chandler is looking into extending deals with ride sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber to give another option for paratransit.

Autonomous vehicles are also in the plan with Waymo’s recent expansion into the city.

“The (updated plan) will explore how autonomous vehicles would affect public transportation,” Crampton. “We want to see if the need be lesser or greater.”

Crampton said the whole process should take about a year to complete.

Meanwhile, the city and Valley Metro are hosting a series of public meetings to solicit public comment on two transportation studies, the Chandler transportation master plan update and a separate but related “Arizona Avenue Alternatives Analysis Study.”

The latter study “will evaluate high-capacity transit options to connect transit riders along Arizona Avenue to the rest of the region,” the city said in a release.

The series of hearings is aimed at getting citizen input on ideas, opinions and priorities concerning improvements to Chandler’s transportation system, including the roadway system, transit system, bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

The year-long planning process kicks off with three community meetings: 5:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Desert Breeze Police Substation community room, 251 N. Desert Breeze Blvd.; 3 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Chandler Environmental Education Center Painted Desert Room, 4050 E. Chandler Heights Road; and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Chandler Senior Center multi-purpose room, 202 E. Boston St.

Citizens can share their ideas and opinions and surveys will be distributed asking recipients to identify and prioritize the types of transportation improvements they want for the community. The survey also is available at KeepChandlerMoving.com.

For more information, or to request public meeting accommodations due to a disability, call 480-898-4060 or visit KeepChandlerMoving.com. Information specifically about the Arizona Avenue Alternatives Analysis Study can be found by visiting valleymetro.org/az-ave.

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