As many of you know, I place a high priority in trying to find ways to enhance transportation and transit services in our community. The challenge in front of us is that transportation is a “heavy lift” as it takes years of planning as well as dedicated money to operate and fund. Despite these challenges, we continue to move forward in this area.
Several transportation-related projects will be discussed at next Tuesday’s (January 19) City Council Work Session that I want to make you aware of in advance of the meeting. They are:
- Optimizing Grand Avenue – The Council Members and I will receive a briefing from representatives at the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) on a recently completed study on US-60/Grand Avenue. The Corridor Optimization, Access Management Plan and Systems Study or COMPASS was conducted by MAG in order to identify a long-term solution for accommodating traffic demand and adjacent property access on Grand Avenue, from Loop 303 in Surprise to Interstate 10 in Phoenix.During Tuesday’s work session, we’ll learn about the necessary “next steps” to begin implementing the COMPASS recommendations. US-60/Grand Avenue, which is part of the National Highway System, bisects portions of six cities plus Maricopa County. Thus, it’s critically important that we work closely with our neighbors to create an overall vision for the Grand Avenue Corridor. I encourage all of you to learn more about this important study, especially if you use or live near Grand Avenue.
- High Capacity Transit Feasibility Study – The Council will receive an update from Valley Metro on a study currently underway that is evaluating potential short-, mid- and long-term transit options for Grand Avenue, from Surprise to downtown Phoenix. The Valley Metro Grand Avenue Transit Feasibility Study is focusing on transit options and bus service enhancements within and intersecting the Grand Avenue Corridor. Transit options may include a bus rapid transit service from Surprise to Phoenix with a local circulator bus to help residents get to the transit route. Valley Metro is the regional transit agency run by the city of Phoenix that operates public bus, dial-a-ride, carpool and light-rail service for the entire region.
- East–West Connections – The limited number of east-west connections in and around Surprise has been a concern evaluated by city staff and our regional partners for quite some time. During this presentation, city staff will present a proposal that may help divert some traffic from Bell Road as well as other future east-west connections.
- Bell-Grand Construction Project – Evening utility relocation work has already begun near Bell and Grand in preparation of the upcoming bridge construction project. While the preliminary work is underway, the full closure of Bell Road at Grand is scheduled to begin in April (Grand will remain open). During Tuesday’s work session, my Council colleagues and I will be presented with specific timelines of the construction project as well as the City Manager’s recommended outreach and promotional plan to help mitigate the impact on businesses – while encouraging residents to continue “shopping” these hometown businesses – during construction.
You can view the January 19 agendas for both the Council Work Session, which begins at 4 p.m., and Council Meeting, which gets underway at 6 p.m., by visiting http://agenda.surpriseaz.gov. If you can’t attend these meetings in person, please watch them online at www.surpriseaz.gov or Surprise 11 on the Cox cable network.