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Tue, Nov. 19

CYMPO requests public comments on 2040 Regional Transportation Plan

PRESCOTT, Arizona - After conducting a stopgap regional transportation plan three years ago, the local transportation planning organization is gearing up for a full-fledged plan this year.

In 2011, in the midst of the recession, the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization (CYMPO) faced a dilemma: Although an updated regional transportation plan was due, population projections were falling, and government budgets were shrinking. In addition, CYMPO's member municipalities and Yavapai County all were involved in updating their general plans, which would provide crucial land-use information.

The result: a scaled-back regional plan that focused on updating population figures, and ratcheted down the plans for new road projects. At about $81,000, the plan cost less than half of a full transportation plan. Part of the smaller plan, however, was a requirement that a full plan would be necessary by about 2014.

With that in mind, CYMPO recently entered a $244,000 contract with consultants AECOM to conduct the new Regional Transportation Plan Update 2040.

CYMPO Administrator Chris Bridges said the firm started work this past November, and is now seeking community feedback.

CYMPO will conduct two public meetings next week - scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m., and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 23 at the Town of Prescott Valley Public Library Auditorium, 7401 E. Civic Center Circle. In addition, comments will be accepted through May 9.

The meetings will include an overview of the purpose of the transportation planning, as well as the existing roadway conditions and forecasted population and employment data.

Feedback provided at the meetings will become part of the study, according to a news release from CYMPO, and help to provide the project team with guidance on what improvements are necessary and desired.

Currently, Bridges said the plan includes a scaled-back road program. "What we've committed to building right now is the Highway 89/Willow Creek Road realignment," he said.

The public meetings will allow CYMPO and the consultants to hear residents' ideas on other road needs.

Another round of public meetings will take place in Prescott in August or September, Bridges said. CYMPO expects the new plan to be complete by about December 2014.

Between now and November, consultants will be compiling the information and calibrating the traffic model, including the new land-use information.

Despite a recent up-tick in development, Bridges said the new plan likely would include population figures similar to those projected in the 2011 plan.

During that plan, consultants dramatically reduced the ambitious numbers that had earlier been projected. In the 2006 Regional Transportation Plan, the CYMPO area (Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Dewey-Humboldt, and Yavapai County) was projected to grow from about 118,000 people to more than 400,000 by 2030.

The 2011 plan cut that projection in half - to about 200,000 people by 2030. Bridges said the population projection for the 2040 plan would be about 220,000.

Since 2011, most of CYMPO's member entities have either completed their updated general plans, or are in the process, Bridge said, which has provided new information for the transportation plan.

More information about the Regional Transportation Plan is available on CYMPO's website at www.cympo.org.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks

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