The Laveen-South Mountain Transportation Study identified transportation needs and infrastructure improvements that would enhance mobility and circulation while preserving the rural character of the Laveen and South Mountain neighborhoods in Phoenix, Arizona. With the recent opening of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway adjacent to the communities, economic development opportunities and associated demand on the local roadway system were anticipated. The Study included the comprehensive evaluation of both existing and future conditions, with consideration to land use, utilities, drainage and flood control infrastructure, roadways, pavement conditions, traffic control devices, average and peak hour demand, and crash histories, as well as population projections and system improvements already programmed by the Arizona Department of Transportation, Maricopa County, and the City of Phoenix. Alternative future scenarios were also developed to explore the impacts of enhancements ranging from roadway widening, river crossings, sidewalk and bike path extensions, and increased bus stops and bus routes. Results were modelled and validated by Maricopa Association of Governments to ensure data-driven decision-making.
Public engagement was important for the success of this project and was anchored by virtual and in-person public workshops and open houses where information was presented in both Spanish and English to reflect and include all community groups. Bilingual community surveys and online interactive maps and crowdsourcing tools were also used to collect community insights on the transportation systems, specific geo-located issues, and current and future mobility needs. The meetings provided information on traffic circulation and connectivity, roadway conditions and public safety, active and public transportation conditions and opportunities, and other topics. The virtual outreach and digital information sharing proved key as the project unfolded during the COVID-19 pandemic but incorporate innovative approaches critical for many contexts in which residents and stakeholders are dispersed or otherwise difficult to access through traditional methods.
Matrix’ GIS Team was instrumental to successful public engagement and in securing meaningful input. Our GIS specialists and transportation planners worked collaboratively to capture and display all existing and planned system variables and alternative enhancements in interactive online maps. Customized tools allowed the GIS Team to crowdsource input in real time and quickly add and share information for further consideration. Virtual outreach and digital information sharing proved key as the project unfolded during the COVID-19 pandemic but highlight innovative approaches critical in many contexts in which residents and stakeholders are dispersed or otherwise difficult to access through traditional, in-person methods.
The Study culminated in a series of actionable recommendations with detailed cost estimates, implementation time frames, and potential implementation partners, ultimately positioning Laveen and South Mountain to realize enhanced multimodality and connectivity within, between, and beyond the two neighborhoods and to capitalize on economic growth opportunities at a scale appropriate for the distinctive community.