Yesterday I attended both the quarterly Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization (SVMPO) meetings. At the TAC meeting, Mike Normand, the city's Public Works Transportation Administrator, went over some changes and possible changes with the VistaTransit system. He started with sharing information about the Fare Policy. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires discounted fares for elderly and disabled to be half the price of the regular fare, and as of right now the VistaTransit is charging a little more than half. City Council is leaning towards voting on lowering the discounted fare to comply with that requirement. It's been over 10 years since there's been any change in rates. You may not have known, but Sierra Vista is on the Greyhound line again! For only $20 you can get a round trip from the Sierra Vista Transit Center to Tucson and back. Currently, tickets have to be purchased online, but there's a plan in the works make it so you can also purchase tickets at the SV Transit Center. As of now the Greyhound line will operating in Sierra Vista 7 days a week, with departure time at 11:40 AM and returning at 4:40 PM.
As for bus procurement, the city also plans to move to smaller 18 passenger buses to improve efficiency, and only use the larger buses on higher ridership days. All of the Internationals have been retired and sold at auction. And the department test drove and are hoping to purchase one or two of is the Spirit of Independence by ARBOC for the ParaTransit. Unlike operational costs where FTA funds 50%, and the city has to match it, FTA funding dollars would pay for 80% of the cost of any new buses, and the city would have to pay for 20% since it's a capital improvement. Talks with Huachuca City about their bus system have been tabled for now but may open up later for a potential partnership. As of right now, the Huachuca City bus has a route that brings passengers into SV and makes various stops around town, many of which our local transit system already covers. The Transit Center has the capacity to accommodate the Huachuca City Bus and having their passengers transfer there and use the VistaTransit while in SV would cut down on redundancy and help both systems.
As announced before Cochise Connection will no longer be serving the Benson area due to low ridership generated out of that location. Instead Cochise Connection will be servicing Palominas. Ridership has been steadily increasing with SV Transit Center and the Lyric Plaza in Bisbee being the two highest boarding locations.
The next TAC meeting is scheduled for December 13, 2018. Then at the SVMPO meeting, new Administrator, Karen Lamberton lead the meeting starting with an over view of the three active Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) projects.
The North Garden/Fry Blvd project using the HURF swap. The city is one of the first to use the new funds available through the HURF exchange and once available will begin the design phase of the project. This will be multi-year project with completion anticipated by the end of 2021.
Adaptive Signal Control project is a Highway Safety funded project. The design phase was authorized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on August 30, 2018. ADOT will begin working with staff to develop a Scope of Work and identify a consulting team.
Charleston Rd. safety improvement project, funded by Highway Safety funds, is being tracked in the SEAGO TIP at this time. However, the project is in the SVMPO region. This project is in two phases, adding rumble strips to both edge and center striping for the length of Charleston Rd. within the unincorporated County limits. This project is in the preliminary assessment stage: initiation of this project will be submitted this fiscal year. A total of $1.27 million has been awarded for this project.
Another item of interest that was discussed was on the construction on Route 92. Jeremy Moore, with Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), shared that they hope to complete the project in 4 to 6 weeks and that they would also be redoing the intersection at 92 and Charleston, this time without chip seal in the hopes that the intersection holds up better. As for general campaign updates, this week I received a sample ballot for approval on the spelling of my name. It was such a thrill to see it right there, in black and white! Also, the Herald/Review recorded a 30 second clip of me for their Candidate Introduction video. The video features all five city council candidates that will be speaking at the final forum on October 2nd. You can view the video here: https://www.facebook.com/myheraldreview/videos/549410528847685/UzpfSTE2NDkwNjM1NTg1MTEzMDM6MTkxNTQ2MDM0ODUzODI4OA/