Mesa is making updates to the 2025 Transportation Plan, which is nearly 10 years old. Before the updates are made, city officials are asking for public input to help decide which issues need to be addressed most.
Ken Hall has been the senior planner for the transportation department with the city of Mesa for five years. He said in a phone interview with the Independent that Mesa is very progressive in terms of transportation compared to other cities across the nation.
Mr. Hall said the most commonly used mode of transportation in Mesa is automobile and 90 percent of people feel safe driving in the city. However, the transportation plan addresses more than just roadways. It consists of seven other categories: pedestrian, aviation, bicycle, intelligent transportation systems, travel demand management, transit and complete streets.
"We'll certainly consider all the responses, try to identify needs and use the survey for our goals and objectives," Mr. Hall said when asked about the online survey any Mesa resident can take at www.thisismymesa.org/Transportation.aspx by clicking on the "survey" link. It takes about three to five minutes to complete the survey and it will be online through the rest of 2013, said Mr. Hall.
According to a press release by Melissa Randazzo with the transportation department, state law requires written procedures to include public involvement in the updating of a community's general plan, which must be approved by voters every 10 years. The update is scheduled to be on the November 2014 ballot. Along with the online survey the public is encouraged to provide feedback at public meetings and via e-mail to this is my firstname.lastname@example.org
The online survey includes questions about sidewalks, bicycle lanes, what prevents people from getting to their destination while driving and safety while walking around the city.
The new transportation plan update will be referred to as the My Mesa 2040 Transportation Plan.
Jodi Sorrell works with the city of Mesa Transit Department, which takes care of public transportation such as buses and the light rail. She said in an e-mail response to the Independent that in fiscal year 2011-12 1.7 million people boarded the light rail at the Sycamore station while city buses had just over 8.7 million boardings.
Mesa has a one-mile stretch of the light rail with one boarding station but that will soon change. "Extending the light rail to Mesa Drive, and eventually to Gilbert Road, will increase accessibility and mobility for our residents as well as create economic development opportunities. Four universities chose to open campuses in downtown Mesa because of light rail accessibility," Ms. Sorrell said.
Public input is important said Ms. Sorrell because the transit system belongs to future and current riders. After the plan was last updated, Ms. Sorrell said six new bus routes were added, the light rail service was initiated, construction began on a three mile extension of Mesa Drive and five new park-and-rides were constructed.
Valley Metro operates both the light rail and buses in Mesa, and representative Susan Tierney also responded to questions from the Independent via e-mail.
"Transit provides essential mobility to residents as they travel to work, school, shopping and medical appointments," she said. "The value of incorporating bus and light rail into daily lifestyles is becoming more valuable as younger and older generations turn to transit instead of relying on driving to their destinations."
Although updates are coming, Ms. Sorrell said she is looking forward to what lies ahead. Mr. Hall hopes the public voices their concerns so that transportation in the city of Mesa can better serve the people who live in the city.
News services assistant Pilar Arias can be contacted by calling 480-982-7799, via e-mail at email@example.com or on Twitter@pilararias—mmj.
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