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  #61  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2007, 2:27 PM
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Not a very exciting article, but they do mention ridership projections...
Quote:
End-of-the-line construction on light-rail is begun in Mesa
Lars Jacoby
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 3, 2007 12:00 AM
MESA - Light rail is still nearly two years away, but evidence of its impending arrival is everywhere in Mesa.

A groundbreaking for the end-of-the-line station at Main Street and Sycamore was held a week ago.

Utility relocation is underway, and city, rail and business officials hope the inconvenience that construction will bring is worth the wait.

The project, which extends one mile into Mesa, almost didn't happen.

Mike James, Mesa's deputy transportation director, said the rail originally was set to end at McClintock Drive in Tempe, but Mesa pushed to bring it farther east. The line starts in downtown Phoenix.

"Mesa saw if we commit to being a part of the project and make it a three-city project, that's a benefit to the whole region," James said. "By adding that one mile for us, it's just a huge win-win situation for us."

Ridership is expected to average 26,000 people a day, and James anticipates a lot of car-reliant people, or "choice riders," and people new to public transportation will follow once light rail opens.

"My feeling is we're going to have a lot more drive-access riders, people who park and ride, than the originally modeling predicted. That's been the case in Salt Lake City and Denver," James said.

Not everyone is sold.

"It's not anything I think I'll ride. I think they should have put that money into buses that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said bus rider Jokemia Wilson, 25, of Mesa.

But James says bus route expansion is one of the benefits of voter-approved Proposition 400, that included the light-rail funding.

"Super grid" bus routes are planned to connect Mesa's Sycamore Transit Center with other cities, and some routes will gain Sunday service. The city expects to see economic development follow the route.

"If you look at the development along light-rail stations in Phoenix and Tempe, you're going to see a lot more employment opportunities along that corridor," James said.

Meanwhile, Mesa and Valley Metro are working to keep the businesses in construction zones informed and to help them survive the work.

Erin Seibel, a Valley Metro community relations coordinator, said she has visited area businesses since July 2005 to ensure that everyone is in the know.

Seibel said utility work goes through May, and track installation will be completed by November. Opening of the line is expected in December 2008.
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  #62  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2007, 8:03 AM
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The Tempe Transportation Center is under construction at the base of A Mountain, just west of College St. Here are some renderings. The project will be a green building and will be the center of transit in Tempe once the LRT is opened.







These renderings and others, as well as a project description, are available at http://www.tempe.gov/greenbuildings/...ct_Description
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  #63  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2007, 4:28 PM
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/\ That is great that they are moving the transit center north to the base of A mountain, right next to the light rail station.... for a couple reasons.

First, having a hub of bus/LRT combined is smart and efficient and may promote a bit of ridership.

Second, taking all of those buses and their loading zones off of College is great. Maybe now the portion of College nearest to University will connect better to the portion of College near The Towers for pedestrians, especially if some infil is put in on the empty/underused lots in the middle.
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  #64  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 4:00 PM
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The only problem I have with that location is: Does this mean that this is the closest stop to Sun Devil Stadium? Will everyone get off there and walk the several hundred yards to the SW entrance of the stadium? I had envisioned that there would be a stop directly in front of the stadium which would allow people to offload and to in either the SW or SE entrances.
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  #65  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 5:16 PM
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^ Yes, this will be the closest station to Sun Devil Stadium. It will be approximately 300 yards from the entrance to the stadium. That's just over 1/8-mile. I don't think that's too far to walk. If you park in Lot 59 to go to the game you'll probably end up walking farther. It probably made more sense to locate it in an area that's now a surface lot instead of dealing with the issues of trying to fit a major transit hub at the main entrance to a stadium.
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  #66  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 5:44 PM
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yeah, I'd say most people have to walk farther than this as it is now.
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  #67  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 5:57 PM
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I'd love to only have to walk that far, growing up my family had ASU football season tickets and we'd park in that lot SE of the Mormon church, that was probably a mile (or more) away.
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  #68  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 6:05 PM
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I don't have any problem with the distance from the station. It will certainly be closer than you can park. I was just envisioning the stop being right in front to split the crowds between the two exits, and simply because it would be cool to see the train stopped right in front of the ticket plaza with hundreds of people getting off to see the Devils.
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  #69  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 3:10 PM
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Quote:
City opts to let residents vote on light rail
Lesley Wright
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 7, 2007 12:00 AM
SCOTTSDALE - Scottsdale residents will have their say at the voting booth before the City Council decides whether to build a light-rail line on Scottsdale Road.

The Scottsdale City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to follow through on petitions demanding an advisory ballot measure to take the pulse of the community regarding light rail.

The council will vote on the wording of the resolution, which Councilman Jim Lane described as a "promise," at a future meeting.

After a heated debate on the issue, the council agreed that it would wait until a new master transportation plan comes out in the spring before sending anything to the ballot box.

The petitions asked for the election to take place before "any plan, funding or construction of any rail transit system on any portion of Scottsdale Road" goes to a council vote.

Bob Vairo, president of the Coalition of Pinnacle Peak, and community activist Mike Merrill presented the petitions on Jan. 16 and asked the council to consider them together.

City Manager Jan Dolan has said that she does not expect the consultants drafting the master plan to recommend light-rail on Scottsdale Road.

Councilman Ron McCullagh voted against the move, saying that it was unnecessary.

The council will also consider a proposal that was defeated in December to look for alternate routes for light-rail lines.
My prediction - City leaders and rail proponents will fail (for lack of trying) to make a strong enough case for LRT on Scottsdale Road and will be overpowered by the voices of NIMBYs in the area, Scottsdale will say no to LRT or streetcars and, 5-10 years from now, when the Phoenix/Tempe/Mesa LRT is successfullly moving riders and spurring devlopment (fingers crossed), Scottsdale will want in.

Last edited by Sekkle; Feb 7, 2007 at 3:15 PM.
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  #70  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 3:28 PM
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Also from the Republic today...
Quote:
Toll lanes suggested for Valley freeways
Mary Jo Pitzl
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 7, 2007 12:00 AM
Tired of watching traffic zip by you in the carpool lane? You could be there, driving solo in the rush-hour traffic, for a fee.

A state lawmaker wants to turn the carpool lanes on Interstate 17 through Phoenix, and potentially other Arizona highways, into high-occupancy toll lanes that would allow drivers to pay to slash time from their morning and evening commutes.

The lanes would remain free to carpools, and the tolls would be collected electronically.

The proposal could change the philosophy of high-occupancy-vehicle lanes from exclusively encouraging carpooling to providing a faster way for solo drivers to get where they're going.

The concept is called HOT lanes, for high-occupancy toll, an idea that has gained ground in congested areas in California and is being promoted by the federal government.

Ron Gould, chairman of the state Senate Transportation Committee, said he thinks the idea is worth exploring in Arizona, where urban drivers spend dozens of hours each year caught in rush-hour traffic. U.S. census data indicate that Phoenix-area drivers spend about 26 hours in congestion each year at a cost of $431 per person, a state Senate analyst said.

"We have road needs, and this is an inexpensive way to pay for it," said Gould, a Lake Havasu City Republican.

His proposal, Senate Bill 1585, would have state highway officials seek bids by November 2012 from private companies to convert I-17's carpool lanes into HOT lanes.

The lanes stretch from Loop 101 in north Phoenix to just north of Interstate 10 near downtown.

The Arizona Department of Transportation also would have the option of seeking bids to transform other carpool lanes.

The proposal hit some speed bumps during its first airing in Gould's committee, and a vote was postponed until after committee members receive a more detailed briefing next week. One concern was whether fees should be collected on any highways in Arizona.

"HOT lane sounds a little sexy," said a skeptical Sen. Robert Blendu, R-Litchfield Park, who objected to having to pay twice for roads already financed by taxpayer money. "It's a pay lane, isn't it?"

Indeed it is, but Gould said it also is a way to move more cars without draining the state budget.
Other toll proposals
It's the second time in a week that the concept of tolls has been raised at the Capitol. And Tuesday's discussion came one day after President Bush proposed a national "congestion initiative."

Among other things, it would award $130 million in grants to help cities and states build electronic toll systems that would charge drivers fees for traveling in and out of big cities during peak traffic times.

In Arizona last week, Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler, introduced a bill to create public highway authorities, essentially public-private collaborations that would build new roads and pay for them with tolls.

Unlike Gould's proposal, Tibshraeny's plan would collect tolls only for the construction of new roads and highways.
Cost-effective approach
Gould pointed to a study ADOT had done of Arizona 51, the Piestewa Freeway, that concluded that HOT lanes are the most cost-effective way to increase capacity. But ADOT officials, who are neutral on the proposal, said there are some problems with using I-17 as a HOT lane.

"As you know, there's not a whole lot of room on I-17 anymore," said Kevin Biesty, ADOT's lobbyist. It's so cramped there may not be room for the transponders and other equipment used to collect tolls electronically.

Also, the I-17 carpool lane doesn't connect to I-10.

Motorists using that lane have to cross over multiple lanes of traffic to switch onto I-10 westbound to Los Angeles or eastbound through central Phoenix.

Gould said he picked that congested corridor simply because he drives it daily and he is aware of its problems. But he said he is considering changing his bill to make Arizona 51 the subject of the trial program, rather than I-17.

And, he acknowledged, the carpool lane is not always clear sailing.

"At times it's free-flowing and at times it's pretty full," he said.
A matter of timing
Highway officials studied HOT lanes earlier this decade and concluded the time was not right to make the switch from carpools to pay-per-drive.

"We have to make sure they (HOV lanes) don't get so congested that the traveler time savings of being in the lane don't go away," said Eric Anderson, transportation manager for the Maricopa Association of Governments, which does Valley freeway planning.

HOT lanes also change the basic idea on which carpool lanes were built, which was to get people to double up in cars in the name of reducing congestion and air pollution.

Studies have shown that the more congested a road, the more enticing the carpool lane becomes.

That means it takes congestion to create a carpool.

But Gould said he'd rather give motorists the option of paying for a faster commute than waiting until a road gets so crowded that motorists feel forced into a carpool.

And, as Sen. Pamela Gorman, R-Anthem, noted, many people flout the carpool-lane rules and drive solo already.

Gould said he is betting those motorists would rather pay a fee to use the lane legally than the fine that comes with a carpool violation.

The bill will be heard next Tuesday before the Transportation Committee. Gould also has invited representatives of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, to make a presentation on toll roads and HOT lanes.
In general, I think this is a bad idea. I won't get into the whole "regressive tax / unfair advantage for the wealthy over the poor" thing, but in general, the idea of HOT lanes is basically saying "instead of looking at alternatives, let's do what we can to make it easier for people to keep driving their cars by themselves."
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  #71  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:03 PM
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I love the idea of a toll lane instead of a carpool lane. I don't think I've ever met a single person in my life who legitimately "carpools". Its just sillyness. How many people live in one area, and have a drive to work on a highway to the same area and also happen to know each other? Not very many. Carpool lanes are always filled with Moms "carpooling" with their kids, or people like me who just grab a friend to go with them so they can use the carpool lane (or people like Larry David who pick up hookers to use the lane). The carpool lane is a waste of space, and I think the paid lane will work much better.

As far as it not being "fair", well the fairs not in town as my Dad always used to say.
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  #72  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:07 PM
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How would this lane work? If it's free for carpools but you have to pay if you're solo, how would the transponders know not to charge you if you are generally a solo user but on some occasions have a passenger? Would you play a flat monthly rate so it wouldn't matter, or would you pay a "per-use" fee, which would mean that you would likely get charged at times when you shouldn't be charged if you had a passenger?
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  #73  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:18 PM
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^ The ones I've seen on the 91 Freeway in Southern California charge on a per-use basis. There is an added lane about halfway through where you can pull to the side if you have a carpool and you won't be charged. A camera takes your picture to verify that you have 2+ people in the car.
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  #74  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:37 PM
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The first time I saw the toll lanes in So California I thought they were a pretty good idea. But I also thought how much it sucked for people to be stuck in the general purpose lanes for hours and for people to have to live so far from their work that they had to pay so much to get out of the traffic and into the toll lanes.

Also, I saw a huge wreck on that freeway, "it was the the worst accident I'd ever seen" involving those toll lanes in So California... traffic all of the sudden came to a stop and several cars behind me had to slam on their brakes. To avoid ramming the back of our stopped cars and guy swerved through the VPs into the toll lanes, which caused a toll lane driver to swerve and hit the concrete barrier head on, which caused other to swerve back into the gen purpose lanes and hit even more people there. It was crazy and I saw it all in my rear view mirror.
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  #75  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 3:17 PM
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Holy s#!t!
Quote:
State proposes additional 10 lanes for highway
GARIN GROFF, TRIBUNE
Transportation officials are looking to nearly double the width of Interstate 10 — boosting part of the highway to a staggering 24 lanes.

The wider I-10 would begin in Tempe, where U.S. 60 dumps drivers from the East Valley onto the interstate toward Phoenix. The extra lanes would continue to east Phoenix and could one day extend as far as Interstate 17.

The freeway’s size would be unlike anything in Arizona and would take time to get used to, transportation planners said. Even local officials struggled to grasp the freeway’s size when they first saw a diagram showing all the lanes.

“I’m thinking: 24 lanes, that’s not too bad — 12 on each side,” Tempe Vice Mayor Hut Hutson said. “All of a sudden it dawned on me — 12 on a side! I couldn’t believe it.”

The new design essentially adds another freeway on the outside of the existing highway. A barrier would separate the inner freeway from a new parallel road.

Other major metro areas have similar configurations, but the length of this segment could become the longest freeway section of this width, said Eric Anderson, the transportation planner for the Maricopa Association of Governments.

“No doubt it will be one of the widest freeways in the country,” Anderson said. “And maybe the widest.”

The first segment of the 24-lane freeway would run from U.S. 60 to about 40th Street, cost about $550 million and take three years to build. The association has the funds to start construction in 2011 or 2012. The work would include a new, more efficient interchange with state Route 143.

Planners are looking to widen I-10 from I-17 to the Loop 202 Santan Freeway, which could raise the project’s price to $1.3 billion. Officials don’t yet have the money for that much expansion, but Anderson said it’s being studied to prepare for traffic demands decades from now.

The widening that is funded would dramatically improve the freeway, easing one of the Valley’s most congested areas, Anderson said.

The wider I-10 would include a second HOV lane to run along the five or six lanes in place on most of I-10.

Other new lanes would be part of the parallel road, called a collector-distributor road. A concrete barrier would separate the outside road because freeways become bogged down once they get wider than about six lanes per direction, Anderson said.

Weaving is the major problem as drivers cross multiple lanes to reach an exit. The barrier between the two roads would only open up every several miles, which cuts weaving and makes the freeway more efficient than if it had the same number of lanes without a barrier, Anderson said.

Arizona Department of Transportation would likely expand the freeway to 24 lanes all at one time, Anderson said. Parts of the freeway in Tempe have 12 lanes, though at least one segment has 14 near the U.S. 60 interchange.

The Tempe segment of I-10 is a priority because of congestion and the amount of urban growth south and east of the interchange with U.S. 60. Also, traffic at the Broadway curve is projected to reach 450,000 vehicles a day in 20 years. That’s up from 294,000 a day now, a virtual tie with Arizona’s busiest freeway. The top spot is I-10 at state Route 51, where 303,000 vehicles pass a day.

Initial studies show it will take $200 million to $300 million to buy land for the wider freeway and relocate numerous businesses. It doesn’t appear the wider freeway would disturb cemeteries at the Broadway curve in Tempe or substantially carve into the buttes there, Tempe officials said.

Tempe is eager to see some of those lanes. But not all of them.

The city was supposed to get extra lanes on U.S. 60 and I-10 heading toward Phoenix starting this year, Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said. That was part of a deal Tempe struck with the ADOT seven years ago, when ADOT was widening U.S. 60, the mayor said.

ADOT wanted to widen U.S. 60 further, but Tempe objected because there wasn’t enough money to add lanes to I-10 at the same time. Without more lanes on I-10, the city argued, a bottleneck would just turn U.S. 60 into a parking lot during the morning rush hour.

But the original widening plan for I-10 was delayed as ADOT got requests from other communities to make the freeway even wider, Hallman said, breaking a deal to make I-10 a priority around U.S. 60.

“That promise has never been kept,” Hallman said.

ADOT has let too many other communities request improvements to I-10 and expanded the project to a nearly impossible scope, Hallman said. That resulted in the massive 24-lane proposal, Hallman said, instead of a more modest improvement that Tempe had expected sooner.

“Now we have a bigger parking lot, as was feared by Tempe residents, and lots of excuses.”

ADOT acknowledges the scope of the project expanded.

“When the U.S. 60 agreement was reached, it was thought the I-10 improvement study would be done or close to completion at this time and we’d be zeroing in on improvements at the U.S. 60 interchange,” ADOT spokesman Doug Nintzel said. “But the process has become much more complex.”

ADOT and MAG are looking to widen more of the freeway than originally thought and planning for needs 20 years from now, Nintzel said. Planners added a commuter rail study between Phoenix and Tucson. The route would run parallel to I-10 and could reduce the burden on the highway.

Hallman and Hutson support rail service and want to see how much it could change freeway use.

“That would relieve a lot of that traffic,” Hutson said. “I’d be interested in looking at that before I’d buy off on 24 lanes.”
Why not just plan for the distant future and do something like 36 lanes in each direction? That should hold us for a while!
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  #76  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 3:23 PM
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Quote:
Why not just plan for the distant future and do something like 36 lanes in each direction? That should hold us for a while!
Let's go with a 3-story freeway! That would be unique.
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  #77  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 3:31 PM
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Wow.

Are these people on crack? Instead of trying to encourage people to use other modes of transportation, they are doing the opposite?
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  #78  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 9:37 PM
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what i'd like to know is how the hell that is even possible??? there is NO room for 10 additional lanes in that stretch of freeway! how much would be demolished to make way for this hideous freeway? hm.
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  #79  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 9:54 PM
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If there is anywhere in the central part of the valley where widening would actually not be that difficult, this is it. Most businesses are set back quite a ways from the freeway in that area, plus there's the cargo section of the airport, and the Salt River Bed. There just wouldn't be that much that would have to be moved.

As for the next phase they discussed for the I-17 to 202 section, I'm not sure how they're going to do that. They'd have to widen the tunnel, and I don't know if there's room for any additional lanes in that canyon. Widening the excavated portion of that section of the freeway would take lots of residential development that borders the freeway on both sides.
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  #80  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 9:55 PM
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How is it going to work? Essentially an inner freeway and an outer freeway? How do people get off the inner freeway, or how do people on the outer freeway continue on east and west? Talk about a major bottle neck... 24 lanes dropping to 10 or 12. How would they get around that? There's already tons of traffic west of I-17 in the west of this monster freeway, and tons of traffic south of US60 south of this monster freeway. How will there not be bottlenecks? Do people in charge not have any more ideas rather than keep building bigger and bigger and more and more freeways?

Why don't we just displace all homes and business in the entire city, build one humongous road that covers the entire metro area, and people can just live and work in their cars?
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