Bell Road/Grand Avenue Update
Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) issued a project improvement announcement for the Bell Road Bridge and Grand Avenue earlier this month. The on- and off-ramps at the Bell Road Bridge over Grand Avenue (US 60) have been closed this past week for roadway improvements both on and near the overpass.
The Bell/Grand ramps are scheduled to re-open at 5 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 24), according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Drivers can use detour routes along Dysart and Litchfield roads to make connections between Bell Road and Grand Avenue. Bell Road will remain open for traffic traveling over the bridge.
Please expect restrictions along westbound Grand Avenue near Bell Grande Drive and near the Bell Road overpass.
City Council Work Session
Valley Metro Update Regarding Paratransit and RideChoice Programs
Valley Metro completely changed its transit service models on July 1, 2017. The previous model under the NW Dial-a-Ride contract ended and three new services were introduced to the city. The first service is the senior bus which falls under the Valley Metro Transdev operations. The second program is Regional ADA Paratransit also operated by Valley Metro and Transdev. The third service is similar to the old NW Dial-a-Ride program called RideChoice, operated by various cab companies and contracted directly by the resident once they are enrolled in the RideChoice program.
Residents who have utilized the service models since July have encountered various problems; most notably, no-show or late pick-ups on all services and trouble booking longer Regional ADA medical and work trips. Valley Metro is working with their contractors to resolve the issues. Recent changes by Transdev, staging buses on the west side at 99th Ave. and Peoria, will help on-time performance for Regional ADA service. The contractor for RideChoice will be hiring a staff position and locating them at Valley Metro’s mobility center for quicker response on RideChoice issues with the various cab companies. Residents that have been using Regional service for Surprise and shorter trips are being moved to RideChoice. Valley Metro is working with the city’s Human Service and Community Vitality Department staff to ensure next day service manifests are correct, and that there are two dedicated buses each day for senior service. Items that still need to be addressed are: driver retention; dispatch communication with all calls for service; enhanced cab company dedication to the Northwest Valley; on-time service; and improvement of subscription trip bookings for medical and work.
To assist Valley Metro, there are several things that you as a resident can do:
- Contact Valley Metro Customer Service anytime you have an issue with any of the services provided. This allows Valley Metro to document all complaints. That number is 602-253-5000 or email at email@example.com.
- Familiarize yourself with your service needs:
- if you are taking short trips within or nearby Surprise, use RideChoice. It’s cheaper for you and allows you the flexibility to self-book your trips with a cab company of your choice in the RideChoice system. Sign up by calling 602-716-2100. It will take 7 – 10 business days to receive a card and packet in the mail.
- If you are in need of longer Regional trips for medical or work that are within Valley Metro’s ADA service area, use the Transdev Regional ADA. That number is 602-716-2200.
- If you are going to the Senior Center on a regular basis, 3-5 times per week, contact the Surprise Human Service and Community Vitality Department to get signed up for the Senior Bus. That number is 623.222.1500.
- The City and Valley Metro will be developing a survey that will be mailed to Surprise residents who are signed up for either Regional ADA or RideChoice. Please complete the survey and return it so we can improve the service to you.
City Council Meeting
Asante Planned Area Development
Three Public Hearings were held as part of the City Council meeting on Tuesday pertaining to the Asante Planned Area Development (PAD). Asante North Major PAD Amendment is a project that requires rezoning of approximately 149.1 acres to allow for the development of a 369.2-acre private active adult community. Asante Major PAD Amendment also required the rezoning of approximately 220.1 acres to allow for the same aforementioned private active adult community. Lastly, the Asante Paradiso PAD is an overlay district that will establish specific development standards, design guidelines and permitted uses for the proposed 369.2 acres.
The three items passed unanimously.
District 3 Vacancy Appointment
City Council approved the appointment of Patrick Duffy to represent the residents of District 3 at their Tuesday night Regular Council Meeting. Mr. Duffy replaces John Williams, who resigned from Council on August 15, 2017.
Mr. Duffy is a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch and for the past 9 years has worked part-time as a City of Surprise Recreation Leader 3. He has lived in Surprise for eight years, two of them in the district he will now represent – District 3. In addition, he was a member of the Surprise Municipal Property Corporation Board since April 2017 and through his employment with the city, he has been part of numerous Community and Recreation Services events including Spring Training support, Relay for Life events and Cal Ripken All-Star games. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University.
Mr. Duffy will be ceremonially sworn into office at the next Council meeting on October 3. The term expiration for the appointment will be December 31, 2018; and the remainder of the four-year term will be placed on the next scheduled Council election in August 2018.
Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Vacancy Appointments
City Council approved the appointments of two applicants to fill vacancies for the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission. Doug Tolf was approved for a term which expires on June 30, 2020, and John “Jack” Hasting with a term expiration of June 30, 2019.
New Citywide Shop Local Program
During the Bell Road bridge construction, the city partnered with the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce to implement a digital marketing campaign to assist and retain the 277 local businesses located within the vicinity of the closure. Due to the success of the campaign, City Council asked staff to partner again and explore a citywide Shop Local campaign, leveraging the best practices learned.
The first year start-up costs are estimated at $55,000, and the campaign will be launched in November in conjunction with National Small Business Month and in support of the holiday shopping season. City Council unanimously voted to approve a budget amendment which will transfer the funding from the Economic Development Contingency Fun to the General Service Fund.
Adoption of New City Council Policy to Honor Exceptional Leaders
The City of Surprise has a storied history and limitless future. All of us sit on the shoulders of great people who invested a precious part of themselves to the benefit us. From time to time, residents have asked City Council to honor an exceptional leader by holding a special event or naming a city asset after this special individual. City Manager Bob Wingenroth has proposed a Council Office policy for honoring such individuals.
The aforementioned policy outlines a balanced, inclusive approach to provide the Surprise City Council with the information needed to take action in order to properly honor exceptional contributions to Surprise. This policy also includes the establishment of a task force that would include the Chair of three Council Commissions (Planning & Zoning, Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission and Community Recreation Advisory Commission), an Assistant City Manager, the City Attorney or designee and the Public Works Director.
Events & Meetings
Constitution Day at Willow Canyon High School
I was invited to participate on a Constitution Day panel at Willow Canyon High School on Friday, September 15. Sharing their experiences also included Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson, Associate Judge Catherine Gaudreau, and Attorney Laura Robertson. Thank you to Willow Canyon for the invite and to the students and administration for their hospitality!
Mark Your Calendar
City and Education Partners Hosting Voter Registration Drive
Dysart Unified School District and Ottawa University (OUAZ) in Surprise and the city are joining thousands of groups across the country in hosting voter registration drives on National Voter Registration Day, Tuesday, September 26! The City of Surprise will have a Special Election on November 7 in which voters will be asked to decide three separate General Obligation Bond Questions to fund 10 projects in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation. (Learn more about the projects, costs and tax impacts at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise).
ALL REGISTERED VOTERS WILL RECEIVE A BALLOT BY MAIL BEGINNING OCTOBER 11. The registration deadline to participate in this election is October 10. Below are the voter registration events planned on September 26:
Surprise City Hall- Community Room (16000 N. Civic Center Plaza): Voter registration tables and computers will be set up for eligible residents of Maricopa County to register to vote or ask questions about the process from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. A General Bond Obligation Public Meeting is also planned in the Council Chambers this date beginning at 6 p.m. for those interested in learning more about the bond questions and the projects. This meeting will be carried on Surprise TV, streamed at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv and Facebook Live at Surprise City Gov.
Dysart High Schools: The cafeterias will include voter registration tables with laptop access during each of the four high school’s lunch hours for students ages 18 and older, or school staff to register to vote or to receive information about how to register.
Ottawa University- Surprise: Voter registration tables with laptop access will be set up on campus for students ages 18 and older, or school staff to register to vote or to receive information about how to register, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
City staff and volunteers will be on hand at all locations to accept completed voter registration print forms or answer questions. Anyone who registers that day will receive an “I Registered to Vote Today” sticker!
The voter registration drives are made possible thanks to the Surprise City Clerk’s Office and generous volunteers from the League of Women Voters; Surprise Youth Council, the Surprise Chapter of Women Leading Government and students at Ottawa University.
You can learn more at: https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/ or contact the Surprise City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Have you moved or need to change party affiliation since the last election cycle? You will need to update your voter registration information either in person or by visiting www.maricopa.vote. A reminder that the City Clerk’s Office remains open for voter registration through 5 p.m., Tuesday, October 10. Office hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Surprise Fire-Medical Hosting Open Houses
The Surprise Fire-Medical Department is holding a series of open houses at city fire stations. Residents can come out and meet the firefighters, tour their living and eating quarters, walk through the bays and see the fire trucks! Attendees will also get a look at the medical equipment, firefighting gear and tools used on emergency calls.
Dates for the open houses are as follows:
Saturday, September 30 – Station 304, 24900 N. 163rd Ave.
Saturday, October 14 – Station 305, 15517 N. Parkview Pl.
Saturday, November 4 – Station 306, 16645 W. Clearview Blvd.
Saturday, November 18 – Station 301, 16750 N. Village Dr East
Saturday, December 2 – Station 303, 15440 N. Cotton Ln.
Saturday, December 16 – Station 307, 16171 W. Cactus Rd.
All open houses will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon.
For more information, please call the Surprise Fire-Medical Department administration line at 623.222.5000.
Did You Know?
Civic Center Drive is Open!
I am excited to announce Civic Center Drive, from Bell Road to Paradise Lane, is now open! The expansion of this road provides a new route to city events, public meetings, recreation amenities and the Surprise Stadium. The roadway consists of one lane in each direction and has a speed limit of 25 MPH. As development occurs adjacent to the roadway, there are plans to fully build Civic Center Drive to two lanes in each direction with a center median and sidewalks.
If you are looking for meaningful ways to utilize your gifts to make a difference, Experience Matters is hosting a free information session on September 27. Experience Matters is an organization that connects talented, experienced people with non-profits. The session will be held on Wednesday, September 27 from 10 -11:30 a.m. at Surprise City Hall (Conference Room 150), 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. For more information or to register, please contact Ruby Sitea at 623.222.3242 or ruby@email@example.com.