APWA AZ Newsletter 2016 January
In this issue
2016 Newsletter Sponsors
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR
January 20, 2016
January 20, 2016
Greetings and Happy New Year. As President of APWA, I look forward to a year of great things for our State Chapter with a focus on Optimism. It has been 6 months since our National Congress was here in Arizona. It was amazing to see all of our membership rally to the call for volunteers. Let’s not lose that momentum. I am encouraging anyone who wants to get involved to contact me directly and let me know what you are interested in. All of our committees benefit greatly from membership input and diversity of ideas. Our chapter was recognized last year with a National Award because of our membership growth and we want to see that growth continue. Our goal is to provide the programs, networking, and education that you want and have asked for. As a board, we understand you have many choices when it comes to joining an association or where to spend your networking time. We are optimistic that we can deliver what our membership is looking for.
Here are a few highlights for the coming months.
As we begin this New Year, there is also much to be optimistic about in 2016 for Public Works and for all of us who work in the industry. It has been a long 8 years since the recession hit here in Arizona, along with our neighboring southwestern states. We can now see the beginnings of growth in the local economies as we see municipal budgets looking healthier. We finally have a 5- Year National Transportation Program, “FAST” (Fixing Americas Surface Transportation) Act. Engineering and Construction firms are once again hiring staff. Our Feature Article in this month’s newsletter from Elliott Pollack & Company states we can expect continued gradual improvement in 2016. As with any industry on the rebound, we have the opportunity to make choices with these growth strategies that can impact our communities in many positive ways, such as making sustainability part of the plan for our environment. For those who want to join the APWA Sustainability Committee, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to working with the 2016 APWA Arizona Board Members this year. I am truly optimistic that we can accomplish much in advancing advocacy for the Public Works Industry in Arizona.
Greater Phoenix Economic Outlook 2016
The Greater Phoenix economy continues to grow, but at a slower pace than in past recoveries. In fact, this recovery is the weakest by historic standards. Yet, growth has occurred and is expected to continue. The key is to not compare the current economic recovery to previous expansion periods, but to compare the trends to current expectations given the issues we have faced in this recovery.
As of October 2015, Greater Phoenix was just out of the top one-third of major employment markets in terms of percentage employment growth this year. That really isn’t a bad showing relative to what has occurred since 2006, although it is weak compared to our history. And the employment statistics are improving year after year. The “lost jobs” from the last economic downturn were finally fully recovered in November 2015. The unemployment rate for Greater Phoenix now stands at 5.0%.
Annual employment growth for 2015 should reach 3.0% and is expected to continue to grow in 2016 by 3.2%. While this isn’t the 5.0% rate of job growth that we might normally enjoy at this point in an expansion, it certainly is an improvement over where we stood just a couple years ago.
Population growth is also starting to improve. In terms of domestic migration, Arizona is third out of the 50 states. For international migration, however, Arizona is down from 7th to 17th. While current numbers are weak by historic standards, we expect that population flows will continue to accelerate over the next several years. Population growth in 2015 was 1.8%, and is expected to grow by another 1.8% in 2016.
What does this mean for the real estate market? We are now experiencing a more significant recovery in new single-family housing. We will not reach the 40,000 or 50,000 permits that we experienced in the last cycle (nor we really don’t want to). But, given the relatively moderate growth we have had, the increase in housing permits is encouraging. Single-family permit will increase by about 50% this year to between 15,000 and 16,000 permits compared to 10,800 last year. This will be the best year for single-family housing since 2007. And the outlook for 2016 is also positive.
The multi-family housing market outlook is better than any time in the past including the 1980’s. This is a result of the number of millennials reaching their peak rental years. In addition, because they are delaying marriage, millennials will live in apartments longer. Office, industrial and retail commercial markets are all experiencing decreasing vacancy rates, which continues to encourage new construction.
Overall, the issues that Greater Phoenix has experienced in this recovery are starting to unwind. Expect continued, gradual improvement in 2016. More movement of people and money across the country will also translate into more people moving to the state and needing a place to live, which will create a new level of demand for goods and services. This will generate more jobs. It is ok to be optimistic about the state of the economy, as long as those expectations are based on the economic reality that we currently face.
Third Street and Van Buren Street Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements
Submitted by Michael Baker International, Inc.
Contracted by the City of Phoenix (City), Michael Baker International, Inc. (Michael Baker) performed a pre-design study and developed a preferred alternative for the implementation of bicycle and pedestrian improvements within the Third Street and Van Buren Street corridors in Phoenix, Arizona to add alternate transportation modes, increase connectivity, and preserve vehicle access. The corridors along Third Street are between Indian School Road and Garfield Street and along Van Buren Street between 7th Street and 24th Street.
The project began with data collection and review from the City and other sources, including prior planning studies, transportation plans, development project lists, as-built drawings, traffic and crash analyses, and utility data. Michael Baker then performed a field review to inventory and assess existing conditions, including bike lanes, sidewalks, street lighting, signage, speed limits, bus stops, driveways, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) features. Traffic operations of the corridors were then analyzed under existing and projected volumes and lane configurations for street and intersection levels of service (LOS) and average daily volumes. Michael Baker developed an existing conditions Synchro model, include micro-simulation and animation of traffic flow, and developed a "no build" Synchro model of the corridors to analyze operations under future 2035 volumes and existing lane configurations. The 2015 and 2035 traffic volumes obtained from Maricopa County were used to calculate the growth rate on Third Street and Van Buren Street.
Michael Baker used the collected data and analyses to identify opportunities for retrofitting or enhancing bicycle and pedestrian accommodations throughout the project area. Roads and intersections within the study network were assessed identifying specific recommendations and actions necessary to implement each improvement. Alternatives were developed collaboratively by involving project team members with the goal to include bike lanes through the Third Street and Van Buren Street corridors while maintaining acceptable level-of-service for vehicular traffic. Conceptual design alternatives included combinations of bike lanes, narrow lanes, reduced or eliminated vehicle travel lanes, sidewalks, etc. To further analyze the conceptual alternatives, Michael Baker developed performance characteristics related to user costs, livability, safety, sustainability, aesthetics, health, fuel savings, mobility, and multi-modal levels of service.
Because the City received Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) funding, the project needed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental authorities, including statutes, regulations, and executive orders. Thus, studies were performed to identify any environmental impacts from or to the project corridor. Cursory studies were performed for historic sites, Sections 4(f) and 6(f) properties, endangered species, air, noise, and hazardous materials.
In addition to traffic LOS, alternatives were evaluated using a variety of criteria, including aesthetics, pedestrian and bicycle buffers and amenities, roadway crossing ease, maintenance needs, drainage, utility impacts, driveway conflicts, and costs.
Three alternatives were developed and evaluated for the Third Street Corridor. The selected (preferred) alternative adds buffered bike lanes by eliminating one existing traffic lane in each direction (See Figure 3). The new lane configuration would include one 11-foot travel lane in each direction with an 11-foot two-way left-turn lane. The remaining street width would be used for the 6-foot bike lane and a bike lane buffer.
Two alternatives were developed and evaluated for the Van Buren Street Corridor. The selected (preferred) alternative includes restriping Van Buren Street to include one travel lane in each direction, and adding one 11-foot travel lane in each direction with an 11-foot two-way left-turn lane (See Figure 4). This would allow for a 6-foot bike lane with 5-foot buffer separating the travel lane from the bike lane. The preferred alternative would also upgrade pedestrian amenities along the Van Buren Street Corridor by improving sidewalks, replacing existing pedestrian ramps, installing truncated domes at pedestrian ramps, upgrading existing street lighting with LED light fixtures, and installing street furnishings throughout the corridor.
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Entellus Celebrates 30 Years of Service
Phoenix, Arizona – Entellus reaches a milestone this week, celebrating 30 years of serving Arizona since 1985 and building a reputation of providing intelligent engineering services, innovative solutions with a highly technical qualified staff who embrace the opportunity to make a difference in their communities and with their clients. "We thank our clients for the great 30 years, and we look forward to continuing to serve them." said Michael Bonar, Chief Executive Officer.
Entellus, originated with four employees as AGK Engineers, Inc. (AGK) founded by professional engineers, Ed Adair, PE, Gerald Green, PE, and Sam Kao, PhD, PE along with administrator Patrice Miller. Since the beginning, Entellus has been engaged in planning, analysis, and design of public infrastructure projects throughout Arizona. Technical expertise has been enhanced to offer transportation, water/wastewater, hydrology/surface water engineering, geographic information systems, site development, surveying, and construction administration services. In 1996, Entellus expanded its ownership to include key employees and correspondingly changed the name to Entellus, Inc.
With 60 employees, Entellus today is administered by CEO, Michael Bonar, PE, President Timothy Crall, PE and Senior Vice President, Bill Linck, PE specializing in Public Works and Private Development projects with an office in Bountiful, Utah and headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona.
2016 Arizona Statewide Conference
Each summer the Arizona Chapter holds its statewide annual conference where members and non-members can exchange information, socialize and learn from each other and technical experts. Visit the Conference website for information and registration. www.azapwa2016conference.com
Highlights include the following:
New Member Spotlight
Name and Title: Diane Luber, Writer/Editor/Media Relations, Kaneen Advertising & Public Relations
With APWA Since: 2015
Describe your responsibilities: As a member of Kaneen’s public involvement and outreach team, my mission is to inform and educate the public – through direct print and electronic outreach and through the media – about the public works projects that provide rewarding jobs; improve our communities’ roads, buildings and infrastructure; and make our lives easier and better every day.
What was your favorite project to work on in the last 10 years? Hard to pick one. I learn so much assisting construction companies with contract proposals and with award entries that bring them and their projects much-deserved attention and accolades. Last year, I organized and edited a 32-page special section about the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar that ran in the local newspaper on the Sunday before the system launch. This year, I helped obtain local media coverage of “Southern Arizona Construction Career Days,” when local construction companies and educators teamed up to expose 1,000 high school students to hands-on construction experiences and great career opportunities. While working for Pima County (before Kaneen), I enjoyed promoting its construction of “The Loop,” 130+ miles of shared-use paths connecting parks and commercial and residential areas around Tucson.
Name one thing not many people know about you: I own – and enthusiastically share – a copy of the “Super Bridge” NOVA show (about the construction of the Clark Bridge across the Mississippi River in the early 1990s). I worked for newspapers for 25 years and I wish I had known then what I know now about the enormous contribution that public works projects make to our communities. They are generally ignored by the media, even though they usually involve local companies, employ hundreds of local residents, improve our communities’ livability and economies, and are full of great stories – as “Super Bridge” demonstrates. Educating the public about public works projects will give them the “pride of ownership” that brings communities together and makes them great. I’m grateful now for the opportunity to make up for lost time.
APWA NEW MEMBERS