Proposed Changes–Bus Service to Laveen
Three public meetings were held last month by the Phoenix Public Transit Department to present proposed changes to Valley Metro bus routes serving south and southwest Phoenix.
The proposed changes would be effective on Jan. 23, 2012, and could include an extension of bus service along Baseline Road. The current westbound route ends at Cesar Chavez High School. Projected route revisions would extend service on Baseline Road to 75th Avenue in Laveen.
“All of the service we’re providing right now is being offered on a cost-neutral basis because we are cutting or reducing some service in other parts of the system to extend service along Baseline,” said Matthew Heil, public information specialist for the Phoenix Public Transit Department.
Broadening service on Baseline Road would bring reductions or alterations to local bus routes on Central Avenue, 7th Street, 7th Avenue, 19th Avenue and 35th Avenue. Most notably, the routes would be redirected to service a new park-and-ride on the southwest corner of 27th Avenue and Baseline Road.
The $2.8 million facility, which will function as a park-and-ride and transit center, is being funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Construction is underway and plans are to have it operational in January 2012.
“Eventually, we may offer some other type of services at that park-and-ride, but we thought it would be a good opportunity to move the routes that were terminating at Cesar Chavez (High School) out into a space where other people could access them and, if folks were wanting to connect to transit, could get dropped off,” Heil added.
According to a June 2011 Citizens Transit Commission Report provided by the Phoenix Public Transit Department, options to extend westbound bus service on Baseline Road were reviewed during the fiscal year 2012 budget process. Original requests were to extend service to Betty H. Fairfax High School at 59th Avenue. But after assessing extension options, capacity allowed for a route farther into Laveen.
District 7 Councilman Michael Nowakowski said residents have requested bus routes past Cesar Chavez High School since he was first elected, adding that limited bus service in Laveen is especially challenging because so many residents live west of 43rd Avenue.
“Obviously, I support the proposed extension, and I want to thank all the residents who persistently contacted my office and our Public Transit Department demanding the change,” he said. “This was long overdue.”
With public meetings out of the way, the proposed service changes now move through the Phoenix City Council process for approval.