Tag Archives: mag

Traffic Congestion, Ways to Reduce in Phoenix, AZ

Public Identifies Transit Priorities for Southwest Valley

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), in partnership with West Valley cities and through extensive input from residents, has completed a transit system study that identifies a local transit plan for the Southwest Valley.

MAG has worked in partnership over the past year with the cities of Phoenix, Avondale, Goodyear, Tolleson, Litchfield Park, the town of Buckeye, Maricopa County, and Valley Metro in developing the plan, which is based on the transportation needs and priorities identified by more than 2,000 Southwest Valley residents. Residents prioritized a local transit system that is accessible, affordable, convenient, and connects to regional transit services.

The short-, mid- and long-term strategies in the plan for local transit services will guide communities in implementing new services as additional revenues become available.

A drop-in open house will be held this week to enable residents to see the plan maps and talk to the project team:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Centerra Mirage Elementary School
15151 W. Centerra Dr. South
Goodyear, AZ

The executive summary of the plan will be posted to the project website March 13th at http://www.azmag.gov/Projects/Project.asp?CMSID=4173. The full plan will be posted shortly thereafter. For more information, please contact Jorge Luna, MAG transit planner, atjluna@azmag.gov or by calling (602) 254-6300.

federal transportation bill

Arizona Forward hopes to guide Arizona’s transportation systems

As Valley Forward transitions to Arizona Forward to encompass a statewide focus, it’s only fitting that the association with a 43-year history of success tackling environmental issues — including land use, water management, air quality and energy — turns its attention to an issue that impacts every resident and every business in Arizona.

“Valley Forward has always valued transportation as one of the organization’s key areas of interest,” says John Godec, president of Godec, Randall & Associates Inc., which helps governments and businesses solve public and stakeholder challenges. “The Phoenix and Tucson metros have seen radical transportation changes and improvements in the past decade, so we’re asking, ‘What’s next? Are we good to go now?’”

Just as it did last year with parks and open spaces, Valley Forward hopes to answer those questions as it unveils its stance on transportation, covering topics such as transportation planning, how it impacts the quality of life in the Sun Corridor and how transportation affects Arizona’s economy.

One issue that Valley Forward wanted to address in its Transportation Primer is one on the minds of every Arizona: traffic congestion and how to better connect cities with each other. According to a policy report written by Byron Schlomach for The Goldwater Institute, the average Phoenix commuter spends an average of 38 hours a year in traffic, while a commuter in Tucson spends roughly 42 hours in traffic.

In an attempt to remedy traffic congestion in Phoenix, voters adopted Proposition 400 in November of 2004, which allowed for the renovating and extending of current freeways and the addition of more public transportation, such as the Valley Metro Light Rail, all of which connect small communities with larger cities. In Tucson, Pima County voters approved the $2.1 billion Regional Transportation Plan, which saw the construction of a modern streetcar project throughout the city, giving more people a chance to get around, while getting cars off the highways.

However, the question that has been asked by Valley Forward is, is it enough, especially since Arizona only seems to be growing in size?

“At least half the transportation systems that the state will need in 2050 have yet to be built,” says Sally Stewart, deputy communications director at the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and Valley Forward member. “Despite the recent economic downturn, Arizona’s growth is not over. It is not a question of whether the Sun Corridor — one of the emerging megapolitan regions in the country — will be a reality; it is simply a matter of when.”

According to a study published in March 2010 by ADOT, it is expected that Arizona’s population will more than double, from 6.4 million to about 16 million people in the next 30 years. Maricopa County’s population is expected to increase by 90 percent, from 4 million people to about 7.6 million. The study suggests that because of this population explosion, travel times for various destinations in the Sun Corridor could increase by about 100 percent by 2050. This could mean that a trip between Phoenix and Tucson, which currently is about a 95-minute drive, could take up to 5.5 hours in 2050 (assuming that the Interstate-10 freeway is widened to about 10 lanes).

Valley Forward experts say that Arizona must plan ahead to improve this possible transportation dilemma, especially if the state wants to see more business activity and economic improvement.

“Transportation is key for economic development,” says said Eric Anderson, transportation director at the Maricopa Association of Governments. “The ability of a company’s workforce to commute on a predictable basis is critical. The movement of freight in and out of the region is also important. Companies looking to locate in the region always look at the adequacy of the transportation system in providing mobility and travel options.”

According to the American Public Transportation Association, every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates 36,000 jobs. Despite the fact that policies, such as Proposition 400, have created and funded transportation projects, Valley Forward says that there is still not enough money allocated for Arizona’s travel needs.

“Arizona’s future economic development will be tied closely to the state’s willingness to commit funding and resources to improving and expanding its statewide transportation system,” says Craig Hughes, CEO and founder of Total Transit, the parent company of Discount Cab in Phoenix and Tucson. “Without a firm commitment to building and maintaining an efficient, integrated transportation network, the future could be one of congested freeways, inadequate rural highways, gridlocked city streets and under-funded and under-utilized mass transit.”

Valley Forward hopes that its stance and data findings will help create a dialogue not only among Phoenix and Tucson residents, but also policymakers.

“Arizona’s business community is a vital participant in guiding policymakers regarding the infrastructure challenges facing the state,” Stewart says. “If Arizonans want to enjoy a better quality of life based on a vibrant economy, then the business community must work closely with policymakers to make the difficult, but necessary decisions regarding transportation infrastructure.”

Adds Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, “We want to bring together the public and private sectors. Valley Forward’s goal is to try and drive the conversation to the middle and take the politics out. We want to drive up solutions so that Arizona, as a whole, can advance and can sustain itself.”

Mayor Elaine Scruggs

Mayor Elaine Scruggs Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

Mayor Elaine Scruggs is the recipient of the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award for regional planning in Maricopa County.

Scruggs received the award from the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) during its recently held 2012 Desert Peaks Awards ceremony in recognition for her 22 years of service exemplifying regional cooperation.

“It has been my joy and honor to serve on the MAG Regional Council and various MAG committees as we collaborated to create a Valleywide freeway system, plan for the expansion of airports and airport amenities, develop air quality measures and address human services needs,” said Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs. “Working with elected officials from every city in Maricopa County and the county itself has been one of the best parts of my public service. Supporting our efforts to address current and long-range concerns that affect all Valley cities have been the talented and dedicated MAG staff members under the leadership of Executive Director Dennis Smith. I am overwhelmed by this award and want to thank all I have worked alongside during these remarkable 22 years of progress and regional partnership.”

Since becoming mayor in 1993, Scruggs has held leadership positions on numerous regional organizations and committees. She has been a member of the MAG Regional Council since 1993 and served as chair of MAG from 1997-1998. Mayor Elaine Scruggs is a charter member and current member of the MAG Transportation Policy Committee, which she chaired from 2004-2006.

She also served on the MAG Executive Committee, Transportation Subcommittee and Regional Aviation System Plan Policy Committee. In addition, she is a current member of the MAG Economic Development Committee.

In his remarks while presenting the award to Scruggs, MAG Chair and Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said she was “instrumental in accelerating the regional freeway system completion by seven years” and that she “continues to work closely with citizens and is noted for being visible, accessible and approachable.”

Earlier this year, Scruggs was honored as one of Arizona’s 48 most intriguing women throughout the state’s 100-year history as part the Arizona Centennial Legacy Project.

Find out more about Mayor Elaine Scruggs at glendaleaz.com/mayor.

regional planning agency

Regional Planning Agency MAG Elects New Officers

Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers has been elected to lead the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the regional planning agency for the Maricopa region. MAG is a Council of Governments and Metropolitan Planning Organization that provides a regional forum for discussion, analysis, and resolution of regional issues, including transportation, air quality, and human services. MAG prepares the 20-year Long Range Transportation Plan and five-year Transportation Improvement Program for the region. MAG was founded in 1967.

Mayor Lopez Rogers was elected chair of the MAG Regional Council during MAG’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. She succeeds Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, who has chaired the Regional Council for the past year and whose term is expiring.

Mayor Lopez Rogers stated that a key priority for her will be to work with the MAG Economic Development Committee and Joint Planning Advisory Council to foster a viable megaregion known as the “Sun Corridor.”

“One important priority will be for us to identify the corridor’s key economic drivers and find ways to grow those opportunities,” said Mayor Lopez Rogers. “One key area of focus for us will be working to improve our trade relations with Mexico and Canada and enhance the flow of commerce into Arizona.”

Mayor Lopez Rogers will lead the MAG organization for the next year and also will preside over the MAG Executive Committee. Mayor Lopez Rogers has served on the MAG Regional Council since 2006 and MAG Executive Committee since 2007. She served as treasurer of the Regional Council from 2010 to 2011, when she was elected vice chair. The committee serves as MAG’s finance committee and is responsible for a number of administrative responsibilities, such as amendments to the budget and contract selections. She will also serve as vice chair of the MAG Economic Development Committee, and she will continue to serve on the MAG Transportation Policy Committee. She serves as the vice president of the National League of Cities and in November will become its president.

In addition to Mayor Lopez Rogers’ selection as chair, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith was elected as vice chair. Youngtown Mayor Michael LeVault was elected as treasurer. Elected as at-large members of the Executive Committee were Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney, and Litchfield Park Mayor Thomas L. Schoaf.

The Regional Council also appointed members of the MAG Transportation Policy Committee (TPC). New members included Lt. Governor Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community and Joseph E. La Rue of the State Transportation Board. The TPC is responsible for making policy recommendations to the Regional Council on transportation issues, including the Regional Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Program. A full listing of all Regional Council and TPC members is available on request.

For more information on MAG, the regional planning agency for the Maricopa region, please contact Kelly Taft, MAG communications manager, (602) 452-5020. There website is azmag.gov.

desert peaks awards

Desert Peaks Awards Honor Regional Efforts

During a ceremony attended by nearly 300 people, the Maricopa Association of Governments honored nine partnerships and individuals in six categories who were selected to receive the 2012 Desert Peaks Awards. The awards are presented to those agencies and individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting, recognizing, and attaining the ideals of regionalism. In addition, the first-ever “Lifetime Achievement Award for Regional Planning” was bestowed upon Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, in recognition for her 22 years of service exemplifying regional cooperation.

“Even before she took office, Mayor Scruggs was involved in the ‘get out the vote’ campaign for proposition 300, which implemented the half-cent sales tax that built the regional freeway system we are driving on today,” stated MAG Chair and Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman in conferring the award. “She was a charter member and driving force in creating the Transportation Policy Committee and a primary champion of Proposition 400 to extend the tax another 20 years. She was instrumental in accelerating the regional freeway system completion by seven years. Mayor Scruggs continues to work closely with citizens, and is noted for being visible, accessible and approachable,” he said.

Desert Peaks Awards were distributed in six categories: Public Partnership, Public-Private Partnership, Professional Service (two recipients were selected for this honor), Regional Partnership (two recipients were selected for this honor), Regional Excellence (two recipients were selected for this honor), and a new category added this year, Outstanding Economic Development Champion. See the list of projects below, as well as the partners in the project in the attached page. (Photos available on request.)

This year, two individuals were selected to receive the program’s highest honor for Regional Excellence, Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers and Tempe Councilmember Shana Ellis. Mayor Rogers was nominated “for her regional leadership in guiding the transformation of not only Avondale but the entire region through her direct engagement to ensure its economic, social and cultural vitality.” Councilmember Shana Ellis was cited for being instrumental in having the Regional Public Transportation Authority (Valley Metro) and METRO light rail work in tandem to realize significant efficiencies through a combined, streamlined regional agency.

Public Partnership:

  • Regional Emergency Transportation Service

Public-Private Partnership:

  • Gangplank Avondale

Professional Service:

  • Mr. Ed Beasley, former City Manager, City of Glendale
  • Mr. David Smith, former County Manager, Maricopa County

Regional Partnership:

  • Domestic Violence Protocol Evaluation Project
  • Regional Wireless Cooperative/Topaz Regional Wireless Cooperative

Regional Excellence:

  • Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, City of Avondale
  • Councilmember Shana Ellis, City of Tempe

Outstanding Economic Development Champion

  • The Flinn Foundation

Regional Emergency Transportation Service

  • Apache Junction Fire District
  • Town of Gilbert
  • City of Mesa
  • Town of Queen Creek

Public-Private Partnership: Gangplank Avondale

  • City of Avondale
  • Gangplank Collective

Professional Service: Ed Beasley, former Glendale City Manager

Professional Service: David Smith, former Maricopa County Manager

Regional Partnership: Domestic Violence Protocol Evaluation Project

  • City of Apache Junction Police Department
  • City of Avondale Police Department
  • Town of Buckeye Police Department
  • City of El Mirage Police Department
  • Town of Gilbert Police Department
  • City of Glendale
  • City of Goodyear Police Department
  • Maricopa Association of Governments
  • Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
  • City of Mesa Prosecutor’s Office
  • City of Peoria Police Department
  • City of Phoenix Family Advocacy Center
  • City of Phoenix Police Department
  • City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office
  • City of Scottsdale Prosecutor’s Office
  • City of Tolleson Police Department

Regional Partnership: Regional Wireless Cooperative/Topaz Regional Wireless Cooperative

  • Apache Junction Fire District
  • City of Apache Junction
  • City of Avondale
  • Town of Buckeye
  • City of Chandler
  • City of El Mirage
  • Town of Gilbert
  • City of Glendale
  • City of Goodyear
  • Town of Guadalupe
  • City of Mesa
  • City of Peoria
  • City of Phoenix
  • Town of Queen Creek
  •  City of Scottsdale
  • City of Surprise
  • City of Tempe
  • City of Tolleson

Regional Excellence: Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, City of Avondale

Regional Excellence: Councilmember Shana Ellis, City of Tempe

Outstanding Economic Development Champion: Flinn Foundation

Lifetime Achievement Award for Regional Planning: Mayor Elaine M. Scruggs, City of Glendale

For more information on the Desert Peaks Awards, visit azmag.gov.

road trip

Tips To Keep Highways Safe & Clean During Your Summer Road Trip

Summer is the season when the wide open highway calls to many Arizonans, beckoning them to a road trip adventure. It is also when the state’s roadways take an extra beating from the paper litter, cigarette butts and blown-out tire treads that can accumulate when motorists don’t take time to plan ahead, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the organization behind the powerful “No Cups, Cans or Butts – Don’t Trash Arizona” initiative.

This summer, drivers can ensure a safe and litter-free road trip by following some advance-planning strategies:

  • Carry extra plastic bags (recycled grocery shopping bags) in the car for use when discarding trash, or visit www.DontTrashArizona.com to receive a free, reusable, recyclable trash bag to keep in your vehicle. Although research finds that about 60 percent of litter is intentional, typically occurring in places where debris has already accumulated, it’s important to note that ALL litter is preventable. Littering—whether accidental or intentional—is a class three misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500 in fines.
  • Keep a portable ashtray in the car for getting rid of cigarette butts. For newer vehicles that don’t have an ashtray, drivers can use an empty soda can instead. By discarding cigarette butts properly, drivers help keep the roadway clean, prevent toxic chemicals from contaminating the water system, and help reduce the incidence of wildfires started from sparks igniting dry brush that is commonly found along desert highways.
  • Properly maintain vehicle tires. The summer heat wreaks havoc on rubber, causing it to dry out and crack. To help avoid a tire blowout, drivers should examine the tread. AAA Arizona recommends checking tire tread by placing a quarter upside down in the tread grooves on several spots on the tire. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed at any point, it’s time to replace that tire. Blowouts can cause serious traffic accidents. Tire tread along Arizona highways also greatly contributes to roadway debris, creating a safety hazard for other motorists.

“We’re asking summer travelers to recognize litter is ugly, unhealthy, and unsafe,” said Tempe Mayor and MAG Chair Hugh Hallman. “Motorists who toss or lose trash on the roadway contribute to the 1.6 million tons of litter that must be removed from Valley freeways each year. A little advanced planning is all it takes to help put trash in its proper place.”

For more information about how to keep our highways clean and safe on your next road trip, visit Maricopa Association of Governments’ website at azmag.gov