Local

July 5, 2012

Study could help reduce traffic congestion

Story by Natalie Lakosil
Staff Writer

The city of Sierra Vista will be partnering with Fort Huachuca and other local employers to conduct a transportation efficiency study later this month.

The city applied for special funding, a grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation and was awarded the money to start the research in May. “The reason for the study is to try and see if there is a means for us to come up with different alternatives of transportation to alleviate the congestion in Sierra Vista, namely at our gates but in other areas as well,” said Fort Huachuca Master Planner, Kacey Carter.

The study focuses on the 25 largest employers in the community, ranging from Fort Huachuca to Walmart to Cochise College.

The first phase of the study is an online survey of all the large employers’ employees.  “We will be sending out a link to the survey through Hua-Watch; it [the survey] should take maybe 10 minutes to complete,” Carter said.

“It just basically asks different questions about your travel patterns in a 24-hour span. We are trying to get this out so we can get as much participation as possible. With Fort Huachuca being the largest employer, if we don’t get an adequate amount of participation, then the study is pretty much moot,” Carter added.

The survey has two parts and asks about 30 questions. The questions are multiple-choice and a driving diary for one day. The survey will be sent to fort employees in a mass email around July 16. Employees will have 12 days to take the voluntary survey.

“We have talked to the garrison commander and a lot of the larger tenant units on post and they will definitely give their people time to take the survey on working time,” Carter said. “A lot of people may be concerned if it is going to ask you personal information but we have worked through all that for fort personnel.”

“If you put in the very first question, the employer is Fort Huachuca, then you wont be asked any personal questions. We have already take into consideration the security of our personnel and we really want to see participation because it could help alleviate a lot of our parking issues that we have on post, a lot of complaints about parking here,” she added.

The results of the survey will be used by “statisticians who will use the information to help the city of Sierra Vista to come up with a what they are calling traffic reduction plans. And those plans can be used for anything from park and rides, increasing our public transportation system, increasing programs that your employer may provide you, whether it be telecommute, alternative work schedules or van pools,” Carter said.

Some benefits the study can help with are reducing single occupant vehicle trips, provide ample parking for those who need to come on post, in the future having alternative means of getting to work to cut down on using resources, cut down on the heat index, with runoff issues during monsoon and increase the air quality.

“The study is not meant to come up as a means to restrict people at all, it is just to come up with ways to come up with good ideas then get the community involved on what it feels would be the best way to cut back,” she said.

It is not something that is mandatory. It is strictly voluntary but it is in all the employees’, Soldiers’ and Families’ best interests for us to participate, Carter added.

The survey focuses on the peak times of commutes for the whole community. To make the study viable, more than 35 percent of people employed on Fort Huachuca have to participate.

“People should participate because it directly involves every employee here. As you are sitting out there at the gates, just waiting to get on the fort saying, ‘my gosh how many lights do I have to go through to get on post?’ well this can help,” Carter said.

The final report will be released in March 2013. In between the survey and final report two informational public meetings will be held in Sierra Vista.

All fort permanent employees should receive the survey. For any questions, contact Carter, 533.5125.




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