issues force better communication by ADOT
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 30, 2006 12:00 AM
Department of Transportation is working at the art of communication.
Good thing, because plenty of residents will have things to say about the
freeways that bound Tempe.
ADOT Director Victor Mendez told The Republic's
editorial board recently that the state agency has spent the past 18
months beefing up its public outreach by hiring six consulting specialists
statewide. The additional staff should allow the agency to host more meetings on
such hot topics as the widening of Interstate 10.
even improved communication cannot change burgeoning growth and a paltry
public-transit system in the Valley - both of which have pushed demand for
freeways beyond ADOT's ability to keep up.
But at least there will be no surprises when work begins on the freeways that
According to the Maricopa Association of Governments' Regional Transportation
Plan, I-10 and the Red Mountain and Superstition freeways are due for additional
general-purpose lanes through Tempe in the next two decades. The Price Freeway
also is up for additional general-purpose and high-occupancy lanes during that
Granted, the only road to see any sort of improvement in the next five years
will likely be I-10. ADOT is studying the idea of creating a parallel freeway
through the Broadway Curve and is putting a priority on widening the road
between Ahwatukee and Tucson.
But even that isn't guaranteed.
Transportation officials have taken a beating for the South Mountain Freeway
because homes now stand in the way of a road that has been planned for 20 years.
Not all of that public relations nightmare is ADOT's fault, mind you.
But at least the agency has learned an important communications lesson.
Remember: Tempe fought ADOT in 1999 until it took the planned U.S. 60 widening
off the table. Without constant outreach to residents, the same fight could
happen when rubber again meets the road around Tempe.