Chandler's comprehensive citywide transportation plan, meant to keep local roads from grinding into gridlock over the next two decades, was set for a public airing Thursday evening.
Residents were invited to comment on the city's draft Transportation Master Plan, which indicates that many major roadways will become hopelessly clogged by 2030 if nothing is done to improve them, and identifies which intersections have the highest number of traffic accidents.
The plan lays out recommendations on how to improve the city's transportation infrastructure to keep pace with projected population and business growth and designates several projects as near-, medium, or long-term. For instance, plans call for such things as increased bus service in the near-term, while proposed light-rail extensions into Chandler - on Arizona Avenue from south of Guadalupe Road south to Pecos Road, and on Rural Road from north of Ray Road south to Chandler Boulevard - are relegated to sometime between 2020 and 2030.
"It's a guide to where we want to be," said Dan Cook, deputy public works director.
The Transportation Commission is slated to discuss the plans on Dec. 17, and the City Council is slated to consider them in January. The plan was last updated in 2001, and officials have been holding public meetings since June 2008.
Recently, city officials indicated that some of the $147 million in capital improvement projects planned over the next five years, including improvements to roadways, water, and wastewater, might have to be delayed in light of plummeting city revenue caused by the economic downturn. Cook said officials have taken current economic conditions into consideration.
"It's not a blip in the economy, it's a major impact on the economy," he said. "This plan is slowing things down a little, particularly with the downturn in the economy."
Encouraging people to walk instead of drive is one of the master plan's major themes. It recommends revising building and street construction codes to focus more heavily on pedestrians, and goes so far as to urge the drafting of a Pedestrian Master Plan.
According to city projections, traffic on portions of major roads like Alma School, Queen Creek, Ray, Ocotillo, Price and others will grind to a halt by 2030 if the city fails to widen them or otherwise streamline traffic flow. The plan identifies the intersections of Arizona Avenue and Ray Road, and Alma School and Ray roads, as having the highest number of traffic accidents, followed by Alma School and Warner roads and 56th Street/Chandler Boulevard. The report also notes elevated crash rates at Elliot Road/Arizona Avenue, Warner Road/Arizona Avenue, Ray and Dobson roads, and Ray and McClintock roads.