Transit rules Haney’s 1st district meetup in Surprise

By James Lotts

Surprise Council member Nick Haney’s first meeting with constituents on Jan. 26 at the Asante Library focused primarily on traffic safety at the intersection of Loop 303 and Grand Avenue.

“I think a lot of us living in the northern part of the borough have at times felt like we were forgetting and my aim is to make sure you feel like you have as much of a voice at City Hall as you do people just south of us,” the newly elected District 1 councilman told a room full of District 1 residents.

Haney is a longtime resident of Surprise and a Glendale firefighter/emergency doctor. He said he was glad District 1 residents came to the meeting and voiced their concerns.

“That’s the best part, and that’s why I love local government,” Haney said in an interview. “It’s going to the library in this community and it makes people come here and just feel comfortable, voice their concerns and understand that government has its limits, but it also gives us a lot of opportunities to do good do. and we’re working on it.”

A variety of city officials were in attendance to support the new city council, including City Manager Bob Wingenroth, Community Development Director Lloyd Abrams, Transportation Director Eric Fitzer, Public Works Director Kristin Tytler, Fire Chief Brenden Espie, Assistant Fire Chiefs Chip Gleason and Kevin Spirlong and Deputy Police Chief Chuck Morin.

District 1 of Surprise includes the northern and northwestern parts of the city. There is a lot of undeveloped land in District 1, but west of Loop 303 the area is growing rapidly, though not without problems.

Traffic is a big issue, especially for residents who live west of the 303 towards Wickenburg. Haney said the drive from City Hall to the Asante Library, the site of the meeting, took more than 30 minutes.

Some residents at the meeting cited traffic lights as a problem, while others called for more exits from Loop 303.

“We need to have more exits,” said Suzie Hunter, a District 1 resident who attended the meeting. “These additional exits will then reduce some of the traffic that is coming from Grand right now.”

Haney informed residents of a possible short-term solution. Two potential bills, HB2107 and SB1102, are bills that, if passed by the Arizona House of Representatives and Senate, would allocate $3 million for traffic reduction repairs.

Haney described the Arizona Department of Transportation’s proposed plans to convert the northbound Loop 303 exit to US 60 from one lane to two lanes, widen the ramp intersection at US 60 to provide three dedicated left-turn lanes and a single dedicated right-turn lane, adds a third left turn lane from southbound 163rd Avenue to eastbound US 60, a second lane for the right turn from westbound US 60 to northbound 163rd Avenue, and a third lane of eastbound US 60 from 163rd Avenue southbound.

District 1 Dallas Smith said he appreciated the opportunity to voice his concerns.

“I don’t know if they’re doing enough,” Smith said. “I’m not in a position to answer if they’re doing enough. At the meeting tonight, it sounds like… they’re trying to get input from the residents and the people who have the problem.”

When the meeting ended, Haney, Wingenroth, Abrams, Fitzer, Tytler, Espie, Gleason, Spirlong and Morin stayed to speak with residents, which Linda Kleiner of District 1 appreciated.

“I just want to say that after meeting tonight we are in excellent hands and I am very proud of the city we live in and the people who work here.”

James Lotts is a graduate student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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