Arizona’s transportation planners want to hear from residents as they map out the future of getting around the state by car, bike and train in the next 20 years.
The planners will have to make big changes to the transportation systems, as an additional 1.5 million people are expected to move to Arizona in the next two decades. But exactly what changes are made will be decided with the public’s help through a series of forums.
"This is an opportunity to affect change before the bulldozer ends up at your front door," said John Pein, state and regional planner for the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The agency will hold nine meetings across Arizona this month. The only one in the Valley is Wednesday in Phoenix.
The plan is called MoveAZ and focuses on regional routes, such as Interstate 10 from Phoenix to Tucson. It leaves most urban planning to local agencies.
Planners conducted similar meetings last year with the public and found out Arizonans are generally happy with the smoothness of roads, Pein said. Knowing that, ADOT will leave its maintenance schedules as is.
However, the public wants ADOT to do more than build more and wider roads. As roads and bridges are built or widened, they want more room for pedestrians and bicycles, Pein said.
The public has also asked planners to leave room for rail lines in many projects even if trains aren’t part of a current project, Pein said. They’d rather have space set aside to add rail lines in the future.
Planners will share their findings to date and ask for more specific direction.
Most of the items discussed will be built in five to 10 years, Pein said. Most projects in the next few years are already planned, he said, so major changes are unlikely. But intermediate projects and long-term plans will be shaped most by public input.
Pein cautioned that not everything suggested is possible, such as frequent requests for rapid-rail lines zipping across Arizona. But the public can at least learn what is and isn’t affordable or practical.
When: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: South Mountain Community College, 7050 S. 24 th St., Phoenix
Reservations: Requested at www.moveaz.org or (480) 816-1811.