Town Council Study Session
September 9, 2009
CALL TO ORDER - at 6:00 p.m.


Paul Loomis, Mayor
K.C. Carter, Vice Mayor
Paula Abbott, Council Member
Bill Garner, Council Member
Barry Gillaspie, Council Member
Al Kunisch, Council Member
Salette Latas, Council Memmber

Council Member Abbott attended via telephone.


Discussion regarding Public Transit Service Options for the Town of Oro Valley

Click here for Item 1

Town Engineer Craig Civalier introduced Jim DeGrood Director of Transportation Services for the Pima Association of Governments (PAG) and the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and Jeremy Papuga Transit Planning and Operations Manager for PAG and RTA. Mr. Civalier introduced Transit Administrator Aimee Ramsey.

Ms. Ramsey noted the effort to regionalize para-transit services for ADA passengers. She stated that the RTA proposed that ADA certified passengers in Pima County and within certain zones would have access to the same services for seamless transportation across the region.

Ms. Ramsey noted that currently Oro Valley has ninety ADA certified residents.  She also noted that the RTA planned to extend ADA services to the Pinal County line which would allow for seamless service for all of Oro Valley.

Ms. Ramsey explained the proposed changes for ADA services:
~ADA passengers would utilize the Regional Para Transit service for access outside the designated boundaries.
~The RTA Board is investigating extending ADA service to the Pinal County line to encompass all of Oro Valley
~New service options would not have residency or age requirements.
~Full collaboration with Coyote Run service

Ms. Ramsey informed Council that Route 402 has not met performance standards due to:
~Community comments
  *Too infrequent
  *Too indirect
  *Trip times were too long
~The route averaged 32 passengers per week 

She reviewed the options:
Option 1 - Bi-directional service:
~Reverse loop for direct service
~Easiest to implement and explain
~Adds another vehicle
~Densities may still not support service
Option 2 - Flex Route Li'l Easy Model
~Guideline - 1 bus per ten square miles on average
~Combined "main" bus stops that are transfer points with "flex" stops
~Main bus stops have schedules
~Flex bus stops require reservations at least one hour in advance
  *Curb service could still be available at a higher fare.
~Picks passengers up and drops off at any of the stops
~Flex and Main stops would be charged the normal fare
~First come first served
~General public

Option 3 - Zoned Call and Ride
~Limited area of circulation with points for transfers between vehicles.
~No fixed bus stops; similar to Coyote Run but without age or resident restrictions.
~Requires a transfer to go from Zone to Zone or Sun Tran
~Reservation required
~First come first served
Option 4 - General Area Call and Ride
~Multiple vehicles roaming the entire service area
~No fixed bus stops; similar to Coyote Run but without age or resident restrictions.
~Requires a transfer to go to Sun Tran
~Reservation required
~First come first served

She explained the challenges to the options:
~New concepts not yet vetted with residents
  *Some resistance to another ADA provider
~Determination of operational logistics
~Not exclusive to seniors
~Possible lack of Town identity
~Revenue sharing
~Fareboxes/fare handling
~Technology and customer service.

Perception Negatives - Responses:
~Quality of ADA service
  *Service for ADA residents will expand by both geographic area and service span
~Senior service
  *Use dedicated Coyote Run fleet vehicles and new volunteer drivers to serve Seniors requiring medical trips within a defined area
~Service is more expensive
  *Regional fare and technology will allow Oro Valley residents to travel farther for less 

~New concept with possibility of sustainability
~Regional access
~Regional fare
~Dual accountability - RTA & Town
~General public
~Shared resources and improved efficiency
~Implementation of an effective transit alternative that is sustainable.

Implementation Timeline:
~Preliminary data collection conducted
  *Phone survey August 10-21, 2009
~Next steps
  *October 2009
    -First public outreach open house to discuss options
    -Begin developing final service plan and details
  *November 2009
    -Public outreach open house to review the final plan
    -Develop operating policies and procedures
  *December 2009
    -Public hearing presentation to Mayor and Council on final service plans
    -Develop communication plan for ADA transition
  *January 2010
    -Amended intergovernmental agreements approved by Mayor and Council
    -Amended intergovernmental agreements approved by Regional Council
  *February 2010

Discussion noted the following:
~Coyote Run was a federally funded service.
  *Must conduct a public hearing to modify the service.
~Schedules not posted at the bus stops.
~Concern for seniors that have to walk to the bus stop and possibly wait various lengths of time if buses are called out to individual residences. 
~8 volunteer drivers had been trained and were working out well.
~Importance of publicizing the meetings and hearings for public awareness.
  *Possibly have surveys for passengers on Coyote Run.
~Important to offer service to everyone to increase ridership.

Mr. DeGrood stated that since the beginning of August, the best performing route was Oracle Road. He stated that the second largest use was the connection between Green Valley and Tucson. He noted that various other routes vacillate for third best performing route.

He explained that the ridership for the Continental Ranch and Sahuarita routes were marginal.

It was noted that:
~The hours of operation for Sun Shuttle 5:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. 
~Due to the requirements to ride Coyote Run, policies would need to be revised and brought to Council for approval
~It would be important to track passengers daily and analyze the origination and destination of riders. 
~ADA certification allowed for direct service.
  *The proposal would combine and overlap services
~Options 3 and 4 would allow for senior or low income rider discounts

listen for direction***


Discussion regarding the Town 4th of July Celebration

Click here for Item 2

Communications Administrator Mary Davis presented the item. She stated that the former Greater Oro Valley Arts Council (now Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance [SAACA]) had managed the event for nine years. She requested direction from Council for the event.

Council members voiced their concerns:
~Staff has a heavy workload due to the recent reductions in force. 
~Various duties may be neglected in order to manage this event.
~The 2010-2011 budget projections are bleak.
  *The Town may not be able to support such an event.
~Continue with individual picnics in the park rather than a Town sponsored event.

Ms. Davis stated that the ramadas in the park were full, however there were traffic problems as traffic management had not been planned for.

Discussion ensued regarding:
~The event should be unique and different from other Fourth of July celebrations. ~Staff should research the options and assess the situation in January.
~The Town should take back the event and manage it.
~This could provide an opportunity for artists to display their wares or talents.
~Staff should explore options that total less than $40,000.

SAACA representative Liz Bowers stated that the Tucson Symphony fee was $20,000-$25,000 and included the musicians only. She noted that there would be additional costs to set up and operate equipment.

It was noted that:
~this event would be difficult for staff to manage. 
~the traffic issue should be managed regardless of whether an organized event was held.
~this event was important to the Town and should be supported as it is the biggest event the Town holds.
~the festivities should be held at the park and not a parking lot as there would be  numerous liability issues.
~the former GOVAC had done a good job
~staff should look into negotiating the price with the Tucson Symphony.
~this event must be funded outside of the community funding process.

Ms. Davis stated that she felt SAACA would be open to partnering with the Town for the event. She noted that staff would not conduct the event, simply that the Town would sponsor it.

It was suggested that the Town could partner with other municipalities to share costs.

Staff was directed to return to Council with options at a study session in late October/early November.

It was noted that the Parks and Recreation department would like to be part of the planning process.


Future Agenda Items - None


MOTION: A motion was made by Vice Mayor Carter and seconded by Council Member Kunisch to adjourn the meeting at 7:15 p.m.

MOTION carried, 7-0.