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07. Broadway Curve Project
Episode 725th February 2022 • Storylines • Valley Metro
00:00:00 00:26:55

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The I-10 Broadway Curve improvement project is Arizona's first major urban freeway reconstruction project. Go behind the barricades with Brittany and Madeline as they speak with Community Outreach Project Manager/Public Information Officer Marcy McMacken and Broadway Curve Project Manager Amy Ritz from the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

Abigail Cooksey-Williams, Valley Metro's Commute Solutions Manager, provides transportation options to get around the construction with a chance to win prizes while saving time and money. Visit ShareTheRide.com for more information.

Transcripts

Brittany:

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of your daily commute?

Madeline:

Or how transportation impacts the community you call home?

Brittany:

Maybe you want to explore outside your community and don't know where to start.

Madeline:

Well, you're in luck because this is where you hop on.

Brittany:

I'm Brittany Hoffman.

Madeline:

And I'm Madeline Phipps.

Brittany:

We work in communications for Valley Metro and together we'll discover all the ways that public transit enhances lives across the cities we serve.

Madeline:

And we might even make some new friends along the way.

Brittany:

Welcome to Storylines.

Maddie. Did you know there is a giant construction project happening on one of the major freeways in Arizona right now?

Madeline:

I think I might've heard about it but tell me more.

Brittany:

Well, what's happening in the Broadway Curve. And let me tell you about this area. It's when you're traveling from roughly around Baseline Road on the I-10 to about the I-17. And I've driven through there a million times, going back and forth to Tucson for college and that space of freeway is scary. You gotta bob, you gotta weave, you got to get in and out of traffic just to figure out which lane you need to be in to get to the next area.

I avoid that area at all costs now, because I did it so many times during college, that it's just a scary situation. So, I am so excited that they are now doing renovations to the Broadway Curve to expand from 10 lanes across to 20 lanes across. Now, in one way, that sounds a little scarier, but can you imagine all the congestion it's going to alleviate?

Madeline:

Honestly, it's really hard to picture. I mean, we deal mostly in roads because buses drive on them, but I know they're really important and we need a really robust transportation system and Maricopa County to move all the people we currently have living here and all the people that were expecting to move here in the next 10 years. I keep hearing this number, a million people in the next 10 years, so I can see why we're going to need 20 lanes to accommodate that many drivers.

Brittany:

But as you said, Maddie, transportation and transit in general is our bread and butter. So now we're going to talk to the experts from ADOT about how the Broadway Curve is going to help. Not only motorists, but transit in general

Marcy:

My name is Marcy McMacken and I am the Community Outreach Project Manager and Public Information Officer for ADOT. And currently I am specifically assigned mainly to the Interstate 10 Broadway Curve Improvement Project for ADOT.

Amy:

I am Amy Ritz. I am the ADOT project manager specifically for the I-10 Broadway Curve Project. So, I'm co-located with the design and construction team and the rest of the ADOT team that's assigned full-time to the project and I'm involved in the day in and day out of all the activities occurring on the project.

Brittany:

Awesome. Okay. So, we know that there is a ton going on with the Broadway Curve and all the construction and the beautification that will be at the end of this project, but can you give us, in 30 seconds, what's going on with the Broadway Curve and what people can expect?

Amy:

It usually takes me about five minutes to really go over all the aspects of the project. So, my very brief description, the I-10 Broadway Curve Improvement Project is ADOT’s largest freeway urban reconstruction project in state history. It runs for approximately 11 miles on I-10 from about I-17 near the airport to State Route 202.

There's also will be about a mile of work on both the US 60 and SR 143 to be able to make the new tie-ins to the improvements on I-10. We are adding general purpose lanes, high occupancy vehicle lanes, a new set of roadways called collector distributor lanes. And we are also rebuilding the interchange between and SR 143.

We'll have four brand new bridges in the project, two of which will be pedestrian bridges. And we are also widening the Salt River Bridge.

Madeline:

Wow. That's a lot of work. Which begs the next question. Why are we doing this?

Marcy:

% by the year:

These improvements were identified in Proposition 400 and ADOT is delivering on the commitment that was made to voters back in 2004. Also, the project corridor includes 50 of the region's largest employers, as well as colleges and universities. So, by making improvements on I-10, there will be better access to 4,600 businesses that are located along the corridor, which helps support our economy. And by adding additional general use travel and high occupancy vehicle, HOV, lanes in some areas of this project, the region will not only reduce current traffic congestion on the section of I-10 but will also be positioned to handle future growth predictions as well.

Brittany:

That brings us to our next question. We're expecting 375,000 cars to travel through this corridor in this area in the next decade. How is this improvement project really going to help that congestion and plan for our future?

Marcy:

This project is going to add additional general use travel and high occupancy vehicle lanes, HOV lanes, and collector distributor roads along some sections of I-10 which will help reduce traffic congestion during peak travel times. So, instead of traveling through their Broadway Curve area at slow speeds during these afternoon peak hours, the average miles per hour will actually increase by 27%. Also, one in three express bus passenger trips in the region use the Broadway Curve and there are over 500,000 annual transit and rideshare users. So, with the addition of another HOV lane, the freeway will be able to handle increased transit and ridesharing. So, the more people using transit and ridesharing services, the less traffic congestion there'll be.

And I think Amy can chime in on and talk about the collector distributor roads.

Amy:

Yes. Thank you, Marcy. As Marcy mentioned, we are adding collector distributor roads, along with the general purpose and HOV lanes. So, I just wanted to expound on that a little bit. The collector distributor roads are really intended to help improve congestion through this area and really help traffic move through the heart of the Broadway Curve more efficiently.

The CD roads will actually function similar to a frontage road, but without driveway access. As the name suggests the purpose of these roads is to actually collect vehicles from the mainline I-10 and distribute them into the CD road system. The idea here is to reduce the amount of weaving or lane changes that are occurring by separating the through traffic on I-10 from the local traffic entering or exiting the freeway in this area.

So the CD roads are being constructed along westbound I-10 from about Baseline Road to 40th Street and will also include an entrance from US 60 and then eastbound on I-10 from about 48th Street to Baseline. And I like to give an I-10 example of how these CD roads will look at the completion. Everyone can really kind of visualize how they'll operate.

So, for a driver who is traveling from south Chandler, Ahwatukee area, going westbound to go to the airport, they'll travel on I-10 and exit the mainline freeway about Baseline Road and go into the CD road system. We'll travel through the US 60 interchange and go directly onto State Route 143 and to the airport without having to make the multiple lane changes that they would have to today to really try to minimize the different points of potential conflict with the US 60 coming onto I-10 at that same location.

Marcy:

nomic evaluation conducted in:

Madeline:

Wow absolutely. And I know, hearing the mention of new lanes for express buses and ridesharing certainly music to our ears here at Valley Metro. But sounds like a lot of great benefits for our commuters all across the county and across our region. So, we heard a little bit about how many things are involved in this project. I know it is the largest urban freeway reconstruction project in Maricopa County. So, given all of that, what kind of planning was involved in actually getting this off the ground and getting into construction?

Amy:

The region's been looking at the corridor for over 10 years as we've really tried to figure out how to solve the problem that is the Broadway Curve. There's just so many people who travel through this area, the local commuters and people traveling across the country travel through this area. So, over the last 10 years there's been a number of studies that have occurred that have looked at this area. Most recently, and comprehensively, MAG performed the spine study and that study looked at solutions to figure out how to improve congestion in Maricopa County, along with I-10 and I-17, and it also included solutions to really work on the flow of traffic along I-10 in the Broadway Curve area ADOT also conducted a study called the I-10 Near-Term Improvements and that looked at just improvements that can be made in the heart of the Broadway Curve to really try to help relieve some of the congestion.

nvironmental process in early:

Brittany:

Hours and hours of planning before anything gets done. Before you even do construction. So, we know that this is a long process and obviously we are so excited for the end results, but what can people expect while construction is happening?

Marcy:

s scheduled for completion in:

Amy:

how the project will look in:

Marcy:

I did want to go over some tips for motorists traveling through the project area really quickly. So first of all, we're asking motorists to be patient and understand that this project is, again, impactful for many people. So, ADOT is working diligently to provide traffic restriction and closure information well in advance so motorists can plan ahead for detour routes that will add time and miles to their commute. We encourage motorists to explore and use transit and rideshare programs, which can help to reduce the number of individual vehicles in the project work zone, which will alleviate traffic. People who opt for transit can sit back and relax while someone else drives through the work zone for them. Also allow extra travel time, you know that the restrictions and closures slow down traffic. So be sure to plan ahead so you can make up for that lost time. And an important reminder for motorists when restrictions are in place, we encourage motorists to use the designated detour routes along the state highway system, rather than self-detour through local streets and roads.

The reason being is that local streets and roads are not designed or constructed to handle high volumes of interstate traffic. In fact, our data actually shows that even though traffic moves slower when everyone has to use a detour, drivers who stay on the detour route are making it through the work zone more efficiently than those who self-detour onto local roads and streets. So, stay on those recommended detour routes. And then again, ADOT wants to remind everyone that we strategically scheduled restrictions and closures for overnights and weekends when traffic volumes are lower versus during weekdays and peak travel times, except for when emergency road work, of course is needed.

So those are our tips for motorists traveling through the I-10 Broadway Curve Project area.

Alex:

Streetcars are on the streets in Tempe! If you're driving on the road next to one, just treat it like any other vehicle. Remember, streetcars are quiet, so make sure you check your mirrors and be aware of your surroundings when you're driving on the streetcar route. For more safety tips, head to valleymetro.org and search for streetcar safety.

Peter:

Don’t miss out on this slam dunk deal! Climb aboard Valley Metro’s RailRide. Your ticket to any Suns or Mercury home game is your ticket to ride light rail. In fact, your ticket to any game, concert or event at the Footprint Center is your free ticket to ride light rail to and from all the action. Learn more now by heading to valleymetro.org/railride.

Alex:

Get ready to celebrate the best that Arizona artists have to offer. The 34th Art Detour is coming in March and bringing new ways to engage and enjoy the works of the state's best artists, fashion designers, and culinary experts. And Valley Metro will be highlighting amazing public art at our light rail stations. Art Detour takes place throughout the month of March. Go to ArtDetour.com for more information.

Madeline:

So that was really eye opening for me, hearing some of those huge numbers of drivers currently driving through that section, moving up to 375,000 drivers hitting that section of the Broadway Curve in the coming years is, yeah, you can't even picture it almost. All the people who are going to need to navigate the Broadway Curve while this construction is happening and while these detours are in place. It's a lot to deal with. So, we also want to provide some help for all of you drivers out there. For a way to make your commute a little easier, a little less painful, and also you can get rewarded while you're traveling.

Brittany:

Prizes. I love prizes. Tell me more about the prizes Maddie.

Madeline:

Okay, well, don't take my word for it. We're going to be joined by a special guest from Valley Metro's Commute Solutions team who has all the info on what you can do to make your life better. Whether you're commuting through the Broadway Curve in the next two years or anywhere in Maricopa County. And you can earn prizes while you're doing it.

Abby:

I am Abigail Cooksey-Williams, and I am the TDM manager with the Commute Solutions group within Valley Metro.

Madeline:

Alright, Abby, will you just explain what Commute Solutions is and what it does?

Abby:

Certainly, Commute Solutions is part of Valley Metro, and we are the arm or the part of Valley Metro that works with employers in the Valley who are part of the Travel Reduction Program. That's a legislatively mandated program that Maricopa County oversees. And so, we are contracted with Maricopa County, MAG and DEQ to provide these services to employers, to help them with their travel reduction plans, to help them get those cars off the road, those single occupancy vehicles, as well as write in their plans that we can reduce by 5% every year.

Brittany:

Abby, what are Valley Metro and Commute Solutions doing to help alleviate congestion in the Broadway Curve?

Abby:

Our group is working closely with ADOT and MAG in Maricopa County to help the employers in that area. And additionally, we're responsible for the ridesharing platform that supports all of Maricopa County. And the ShareTheRide platform website is one of the biggest assets for our team in helping to alleviate traffic congestion in the area.

Through this platform, we're able to help commuters plan their routes. Whether it's transit, carpooling, vanpooling or other alternate modes, it's an effective tool in route planning. So actually, we just recently updated the platform and in the first 20 months, and I might add during a pandemic, our active users increased by 60% and users logged over 850,000 alternative trips, saved over $8 million in gasoline and vehicle maintenance, and at the price of gas, that's going to keep going up - and they reduced vehicle emissions by over 5,800 tons of carbon dioxide alone, CO2. So, not only does the platform assist with the commute, but we offer contests and incentives to participate and track your trips, make it fun.

Madeline:

So, you mentioned carpool, vanpool as some of the modes that we encourage people to use. How easy is it for people to find a carpool or a vanpool? What is that process like?

Abby:

It's surprisingly easy. You just go to ShareTheRide.com, you enter a bit of information about yourself and your commute, and it'll match you. It'll show you available carpools as well as if there's any vanpools in the area. It'll also show you transit routes and other alternate mode information, and you can even check out traffic cameras along your route if they're available.

And it's also available in English and Spanish. Now let's say there aren't any vanpools on your current commute. Well then, we can share information about how to start one. It's easy, it's fun and you also get free use of the van on the weekend, which is kind of nice as well. And right now, we're offering a first month free special with our partners at Commute with Enterprise, but it's all done on the platform. It's very easy.

Brittany:

Can you give us some of the incentives that are featured around the Broadway Curve area?

Abby:

Well, as I mentioned, we are currently offering a first month free special with our vanpool program. But we also offer incentives and contests on ShareTheRide. Actually, one of the things that we liked best about the new system was its outstanding gamification feature. You can earn badges and awards much like your Fitbit gives you badges when you reach an achievement, but it also helps you to be eligible for gift card drawings and other swag, t-shirts and some fun stuff.

It's easy. All you have to do is track your alternate mode trips. We are also actually looking at increasing the eligible incentives for those who have to commute through the Broadway Curve or through that corridor. We want to encourage and help as many people as possible avoid commuting in single occupancy vehicles, especially in that area.

And what better way to encourage folks then being able to win some gift cards?

Brittany:

Prizes. I love prizes.

Madeline:

So, Abby, I know before being at Valley Metro with Commute Solutions, you were in the Capital Rideshare program is that correct?

Abby:

That's correct.

Madeline:

Okay. So about how many years have you worked in some kind of rideshare transportation management role within Maricopa County?

Abby:

Oh, wow. 28.

Madeline:

28. Okay. I just wanted to preface this question with that, cause I know you have a lot of experience that you're going to bring it to this answer. Why are these kinds of programs so important as our county continues to grow? Obviously in close to 30 years, you've witnessed a lot of that growth firsthand.

So why is ShareTheRide so important?

Abby:

in the U.S. according to the:

Madeline:

Okay. I mean, you sold me. I didn't really need to be sold, but I'm already on board, but that's great and so helpful for our listeners.

Brittany:

Abby, is there anything else you want to tell us about interacting with this project or outlook for the future of ShareTheRide?

Abby:

We're excited to be at the table with this project. It's a very important project. How many years have we all complained as we drove or navigated the Broadway Curve? So, we're excited, but we also recognize it's a little bit painful. Change is painful. So that's okay. You know, once it's done, it'll be great, but we're happy to be able to be a partner in this and help that process along.

As far as ShareTheRide goes, we are thrilled that it has been so accepted and taken off as well as it has. Our ShareTheRide.com platform has been recognized by several awards, which is exciting on a national level. Our pals at RideAmigos, our friends who are responsible for hosting the platform and are a wonderful partner to work with, have really stood up our program is a good example to share with some of their other perspective clients.

So, we're very hopeful with ShareTheRide every day more and more people sign on, get used to tracking their trips and they can see the real savings. Something that was, I thought was pretty impressive was that RideAmigos was actually even able to customize the pollutants, the list of pollutants just for our area. And they worked with the scientists over at Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. So, I know for some people that's not exciting, but for those of us that monitor the pollution situation, it is.

Brittany:

Maddie, all of this talk of the Broadway Curve and using transit through that area, it makes me so excited for the future of Arizona. I think people realize how much we're growing and how important public transit and transportation throughout the entire Maricopa region is. And they're taking the steps for future generations so we're prepared to move all of these people coming to our state.

Madeline:

Absolutely. I think the Broadway Curve project just does a great job of illustrating that fact, you know, we need so many different ways of moving people around our state, in our region, just looking at the Broadway Curve, right. We're going from 10 lanes to 20 lanes from one HOV lane in each direction to two in each direction.

And part of that is because we know that transit is so effective at moving more people in less space. And so, we want to give those extra dedicated lanes to help move more people.

Brittany:

Don't forget. You can get all of your information about Broadway Curve by downloading their app, The Curve.

Madeline:

And don't forget if you haven't already, make an account on ShareTheRide.com. Start tracking your trips today. You can be entered to win all kinds of prizes, participate in fun challenges, earn points, awards, badges and maybe you'd make a new friend that you're going to carpool with. You never know.

Brittany:

That's it for this episode of Storylines. Thanks for hanging out with us and listening and learning more about your community and transportation that's going to move us all. If there's more you'd like to learn on Storylines reach out. Email us podcast@valleymetro.org.

Madeline:

For Valley Metro, I’m Madeline.

Brittany:

I'm Brittany.

Madeline:

Thanks for riding with us.

Brittany:

We'll meet you at the next stop.

Madeline:

Storylines is produced by Peter Corkery, Alex Tsotsos and Dane Ryals. Taylor Dunn is the executive producer. I'm Madeline Phipps with Brittany Hoffman. Thanks for listening.

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