January 16, 2012
Registration is now open for the Friends of Transit 10th Annual Conference! Join us on Friday, February 24, 2012 as we celebrate this milestone event by looking back over the past ten years at what has been accomplished and looking forward to what the next ten years (and beyond!) will bring for transit in the Valley. Click here for more information, or register online at www.FriendsOfTransit.org.
In the News:
Bids sought for Scottsdale park-and-ride, The Arizona Republic, January 9, 2012
My View: Valley needs ‘Total Transit Network’ like Salt Lake’s, Phoenix Business Journal, January 13, 2012
Metro light rail tops 13M passengers for 2011, Phoenix Business Journal, January 13, 2012
Phoenix bus service changes set for Jan 23, 2012, City of Phoenix, January 13, 2012
Bus routes change in West Valley, The Arizona Republic, January 14, 2012
Light rail usage up 4 percent in 2011, Tribune, January 14, 2012
Friends of Transit 10th Annual Conference, February 24, 2012
AzTA Legislative Day, January 26, 2012
Don’t forget to visit Friends of Transit on the web at www.FriendsOfTransit.org!
Friends of Transit is now on Facebook!
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Bids sought for Scottsdale park-and-ride
by Beth Duckett
Jan. 9, 2012 10:43 AM
The Arizona Republic
Scottsdale is looking for a builder to construct a park-and-ride lot southeast of Scottsdale and Thunderbird roads.
The facility will have 275 parking spaces and serve riders on local and express bus routes. It could open as early as this fall, sooner than a previous estimate.
The city is accepting construction bids through Jan. 26.
What it will have
Plans call for covered and uncovered parking spaces and a walkway to a shaded passenger platform.
The goal is to separate bus circulation from parking as much as possible, according to the city.
The covered parking could include solar canopies. The solicitation includes a security and equipment building, along with site improvements such as landscaping and lighting
Who can use it
The park-and-ride will serve transit riders, including those using Route 511, the express route to the Scottsdale Airpark, and Route 72 on Scottsdale Road.
Carpools and vanpools will use the facility, too, as well as future bus rapid transit.
How much it costs
The total cost is projected to be about $7 million.
Funding will come from a mix of grants and local sources, including $5 million from federal stimulus funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to the city.
Proposition 400, which voters approved in 2004, also could cover some costs. The half-cent sales tax pays for regional transit projects.
The facility could take an estimated six months to build, project manager Gary Meyer said.
Construction could start in March and finish in September, he said. The city also plans to convert the three-way intersection of 73rd Street and Thunderbird Roadto a four-way intersection. This could provide a safe entrance and exit for buses and cars into the facility, it said.
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My View: Valley needs ‘Total Transit Network’ like Salt Lake’s
by Stephen Banta
Phoenix Business Journal
Friday, January 13, 2012, 4:00am MST
This fall, I took a trip to Salt Lake City to see its success in developing a regional, multimodal transit system. In Salt Lake, many modes are working in coordination to serve the metropolitan region: light rail, commuter rail, bus, bus rapid transit and paratransit services. The city also is designing its first of several modern streetcar lines. It is a classic example of what I refer to as a Total Transit Network.
My take-away from this trip is Salt Lake’s transit system is expanding despite the economy.
The economy consumes our dialogue these days. But we in the metro Phoenix region cannot afford to sit idle. We have to work collaboratively and creatively to keep the public’s priorities intact.
In 2004, the public voted to expand our transit system, including a 57-mile high-capacity transit system by 2026. Twenty miles of it are built as light rail, connecting three cities. Metro and its member cities are looking for ways to accelerate the remaining 37 miles, but we need continued support to do so.
In Salt Lake, they are undertaking an ambitious plan with federal support to build an additional 70 miles of rail by 2015. These projects will connect more of the Salt Lake region and areas such as the airport, University Medical Center and other destination centers.
In August 2011, Denver’s Regional Transit District received a $1 billion commitment from the Federal Transit Administration to help build 30 miles of commuter rail connect to more of greater Denver by 2016 and their existing 35-mile light rail line. This project’s development will create or support 4,700 construction-related jobs in the next few years.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit received a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to support its downtown streetcar loop and $63 million in federal stimulus funds to help build its 14-mile Orange Line expansion.
Houston Metro recently received two federal grants in one year from the FTA to support an additional 15 miles of light rail by 2014.
The development of the Valley’s Total Transit Network is under way. In November, Congress approved $35.5 million in funding for the 3.1-mile light rail extension into downtown Mesa, connecting a third retail, cultural and urban core. We also are planning for extensions to the west and northwest Valley. The West Valley extensions will be important to relieving roadway congestion and creating connections between our suburbs and urban cores.
We are pursuing federal funding for the 2.6-mile Tempe streetcar project to enhance circulation and create economic development in central Tempe.
But we cannot stop here. We have to work together to advance projects and compete for federal funding. Now more than ever, building regional mobility and generating economic activity is critical to maintaining the stability and competitive edge of the metro Phoenix region. Advancing projects quickly not only generates jobs related to construction, but also generates long-term jobs with the development that is spurred along these future corridors.
Standing still allows only our peers to advance a quality of life and healthy economy that we need here, in this community.
Metro light rail tops 13M passengers for 2011
Mike Sunnucks and Jan Buchholz
Phoenix Business Journal
January 13, 2012
The Metro light rail system saw its traffic rise 4 percent in 2011 to 13.2 million passengers, making it the busiest year since its opening.
The 20-mile system, which runs from northwest Phoenix to Mesa with stops in downtown Phoenix and at Arizona State University, had 12.6 million passengers in 2010. Metro light rail opened in December 2008.
Valley Metro, which runs the system, also saw $383,000 in advertising revenue come to the agency in 2011 via ads light rail stations as well as ones wrapped around trains. The Metro grabbed $335,000 in ad revenue in 2010.
The system changed its advertising rules last year to allow beer ads, including trains being wrapped with Coors Light logos and ads.
The system could be expanded further into Mesa and northwest Phoenix. The city of Tempe is also looking a new streetcar line that would link to Metro and Mill Avenue.
Here's a look at some of Metro light rail's accomplishments during 2011:
• Served on average 40,712 riders on the weekdays, 31,008 on Saturdays and 20,930 on Sundays.
• Served nearly 200,000 riders during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week.
• Generated $383,000 in advertising, about 25 percent over budget.
• Completed the 123-space park-and-ride lot at Seventh Avenue and Camelback Road.
• Installed a solar-cooled station at 3rd Street and Washington Street.
Phoenix bus service changes set for Jan 23, 2012
Local bus, RAPID service will see routes altered
City of Phoenix Public Transit E-News
January 13, 2012
The Phoenix Public Transit Department is notifying riders of changes to City of Phoenix Valley Metro bus routes, effective on Jan. 23, 2012. The changes are listed below:
Route 77-Baseline Roadwill be extended to 75th Ave. in Laveen from 35th Ave., providing service to Betty Fairfax High School.
Local bus routes 0-Central Ave.; 7-7th St; 8-7th Ave. will have service modified in south Phoenix to accommodate the 77-Baseline Road extension.
19-19th Ave.; and 35-35th Ave. routes will be redirected to a new park-and-ride under construction at 27th Ave. and Baseline Road.
RAPID SR-51 service will be modified; the Paradise Valley Mall stop will be eliminated.
More information on bus service changes, including route and schedule information, is available at www.valleymetro.org, or by calling 602-253-5000.
Bus routes change in West Valley
by Diana Martinez
Jan. 14, 2012 08:10 AM
The Arizona Republic
More than 30 Valley Metro bus routes will go through adjustments beginning Jan. 23, including some in the West Valley.
In addition, two new bus routes will launch.
Among existing routes, Route 59 along 59th Avenue in Glendale will no longer pull into the Honeywell facility. Instead, the route will be extended a bit farther north to Loop 101, past Union Hills Drive.
The Grand Avenue Limited will see slight schedule adjustments. Timing has been adjusted slightly to reflect traffic conditions, but the frequency of the bus service has not changed, according to Valley Metro spokeswoman Susan Tierney.
One of the new routes, Route 251, will travel through the Southwest Valley starting from 27th Avenue and Baseline Road to Vee Quiva Casino at 51st Avenue and Komatke Lane.
The other new route, Route 563, also known as the Buckeye Express, will travel from the new East Buckeye park-and-ride, located on the southwest corner of Jackrabbit Trail and Palm Lane, to downtown Phoenix.
This route offers two morning and two afternoon trips, each stopping at the Goodyear park-and-ride.
A 300-page transit book, which includes bus and light-rail schedules and information, is available online at www.valleymetro.org, at transit centers and on buses for passengers to check schedules and adjustments.
Transit riders also should find copies of the book at city halls and libraries.
"(With the schedule book) passengers can be self-reliant when planning transit trips," said Scott Wisner, Valley Metro customer-services manager.
Light rail usage up 4 percent in 2011
Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012 11:59 pm
Metro light rail ridership increased in 2011, to the tune of a 4 percent hike over the previous year. Metro handled 13.2 million riders last year, with an average of 40,712 riders on weekdays, 31,008 on Saturdays and 20,930 on Sundays/holidays.
The transit agency's other 2011 highlights include receiving $35.5 million in federal funding for the 3.1-mile extension on Main Street through downtown Mesa. Also, it established 13 stop locations and street configurations for the 2.6-mile Tempe streetcar project. The Mesa and Tempe projects should begin construction in 2013 and open by 2016.
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