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Phoenix City Council OKs certain downtown bus route expansions, dashes circulator growth back to TIP

photo of Yassamin Ansari who is vice mayor at Phoenix City Council
Phoenix Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari represents District 7 atop the dais at Phoenix City Council. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress)
Phoenix City Council sends DASH circulator expansions back to TIP subcommittee
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Phoenix City Council is moving forward with certain downtown bus route expansions meant to better facilitate local mass-transit frequency in an effort to improve circulation and reduce wait times.

But item No. 78 or Ordinance S-50097 came with one caveat to the chagrin of members of Phoenix City Council: proposed expansions of the free DASH bus service along First and Jefferson streets.

Phoenix City Council considered downtown bus route expansions during its Aug. 28 formal meeting at City Council Chambers, 200 W. Jefferson St.

“I am thrilled we are starting our first meeting back from summer break with expanded bus services for our public transit users,” Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari said during the Aug. 28 public hearing at City Council chambers. “As we reach the end of our heat season, I think about the benefits of a 15-minute wait time as opposed to a 30-minute wait time will mean for so many of our residents.”

Vice Mayor Ansari pointed out the vital ingredient mass-transit services provide to quality of life and the economic development prospects of a growing sector like downtown Phoenix.

“Access to reliable frequent transit is essential to our growing city and the economic and social well-being of our constituents, especially as we work toward building a more walkable transit friendly city,” she said. “I am also very excited finally expanding the DASH service in downtown Phoenix, which is a request I have been hearing from many constituents since I started in this position.”

Service changes are expected to begin this October and include frequent service coverage to some 217,000 Phoenix residents as well as 133,000 more jobs within its service area, the City Council report states. Here is a breakdown of changes comes to downtown Phoenix mass-transit efforts:

  • Route 0 (Central Avenue): From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, modify frequency from 20 to 30 minutes. Please note that this change is not moving forward at this time.
  • Route 3 (Van Buren Street): From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, modify frequency to 15 minutes between 35th Avenue and 32nd Street, and extend 15-minute frequency to 44th Street.
  • Route 7 (7th Street): From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, modify frequency to 15 minutes between Dunlap Avenue and Baseline Road, and to 30 minutes north of Dunlap Avenue and south of Baseline Road.
  • Route 16 (16th Street): From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, increase weekday frequency to 15 minutes between Baseline Road and Northern Avenue.
  • Route 19 (19th Avenue): From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, increase frequency to 15 minutes for the entire route.
  • Route 27 (27th Avenue): During weekday peak hours, increase frequency to 15 minutes between Bell and Lower Buckeye roads.
  • Route 35 (35th Avenue): From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, increase frequency to 15 minutes between Lower Buckeye Road and Metrocenter Transit Center.
  • Route 70 (24th Street/Glendale Avenue): From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, increase frequency to 15 minutes between Baseline Road and 43rd Avenue.

Phoenix City Council sends DASH circulator expansions back to TIP subcommittee

While Mayor Kate Gallego agreed with positive news of expansion of bus routes in downtown Phoenix and portions of District 4 she drew concern around proposed expansion of the free DASH circulator.

“A lot of good bus improvements here,” she said. “One that is a little bit more complex for me is the DASH when we’re doing the Prop. 104 process we talked a lot about a downtown circulator but at the time at least I committed that it would not be the DASH. DASH is a free shuttle that goes from the west side of our downtown to the Capitol and the human services campus.”

For Mayor Gallego, she says, the timing and expansions are not the right fit for the downtown area.

“At the moment we are doing changes around transit security and changes in the downtown routing to me this is not the right fit for the downtown circulator or the timing,” she explained. “So, I will be a ‘No’ on this one.”

The original measure was voted down but through discussion Phoenix City Council created a new motion to adopt a portion of planned bus-route expansions opting to send DASH service expansions back to the Transportation, Infrastructure and Planning Subcommittee.

“I counted how many routes had proposed changes and seven of those nine routes hit District 4,” Councilwoman Laura Pastor pointed out.

“I understand the DASH pieces … Could we relocate the DASH piece and get the eight other routes through?”

Phoenix City Councilwoman Kesha Hodge Washington made the alternative motion, which specifically sends the DASH expansions back to the proverbial drawing board. The motion passed unanimously.

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