Latest from Lauren - January-February 2019
Tempe’s Vision Zero and Distracted Driving
Vision Zero is a traffic-safety policy that takes an ethical approach toward achieving safety for ALL road users—be they drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Tempe is committed to reducing the number of fatal and serious injury crashes to zero in our city, because no loss of life is acceptable. We are the first city in Arizona to adopt Vision Zero and to identify specific performance measures to achieve our goal. Learn more.
Propelled by recent pedestrian and bike crashes in Tempe involving texting while driving, I’ve asked staff to bring an update to City Council at our February 21st Work Study Session on our Distracted Driving Ordinance, passed in 2015, with recommendations on whether to move it from a secondary to a primary offense. The result of such a change would be the ability to ticket drivers for simply using their devices while driving, as opposed to the current requirement that a driver must exhibit unsafe driving before being pulled over.
We’d love your input on this issue, so please join us at the February 21st meeting (4:00 PM, Tempe City Hall Council Chambers) and make your voice heard.
Additionally, city staff will be holding a pair of public meetings to discuss several other possible Vision Zero recommendations and gather your feedback.
March 23, 2019 @ 9 a.m. and March 27, 2019 @ 6 p.m.
Clean Air and Public Health
On January 17th, the City Council approved my request to form a Working Group with colleagues Kolby Granville and Joel Navarro to explore air quality in Tempe. Currently, East Valley cities rely upon Maricopa County to provide air-quality monitoring and data, but we hope to develop partnerships to expand location-specific monitoring to help identify the impact of point-specific pollutants like wood-burning fireplaces, idling vehicles, and blowers, as well the effects of power generation on our air.
In the coming months, we hope to return to Council with more data and recommendations. Thank you, Tempe resident Cliff Anderson for your public-health advocacy in bringing this Working Group to fruition!
Tempe’s award-winning, free, high quality preschool program was extended for another two years by unanimous vote of the Council in December. A working group consisting of Councilmembers Keating, Navarro, and myself are continuing to work with education staff on a long-term funding source for the program going forward and discussing ways that the city might expand the reach of the program.
Currently, 3 and 4 year olds whose families are at or below 20% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for high-quality, free, year-round, full-day preschool through Tempe PRE, a program that has served 360 children annually for the past two years. In the next two years, the pilot program will expand eligibility to all income levels with a sliding scale tuition model, with free programming still available for those who qualify.
Tempe PRE is currently full and is accepting applications to be placed on the waitlist.
Point-in-Time Homeless Count
On January 22nd, over 50 volunteers awoke before dawn to to help the City of Tempe's Human Services , Housing, and Police departments -- with our annual Homeless Point in Time count. We fanned out across the city to count and survey men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. New for this year's “PIT” count: a phone app that collects and maps data in real time and a question about pet companions, as pets can be an impediment to sheltering. Assessing the extent of problem is key to crafting solutions and gaining resources for our street neighbors.
The Cat’s Meow
As spring approaches, it is nearly kitten season, and we are beginning to hear from residents with questions about managing feral cat colonies.
Did you know that Tempe partners with the Arizona Animal Defense League to provide TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) services to Tempe residents who want to help end unnecessary feral cat breeding in the city? AADL has created a separate fund to cover the costs for local residents, but those funds have run out. Can you help? You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Tempe TNR fund by contacting the ADLA at 602-265-7729, ext. 101, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Every dollar helps!
Learn more about outdoor cats here.
What Are We Doing About Those Scooters?
My colleague, Councilmember Randy Keating, leader of the Working Group on scooters, summed it up best:
“On January 10th, Tempe City Council took an important first step in regulating scooters and rental bikes (called “shared active transport vehicles” or SATVs), a needed alternative transportation method that has become popular in the last several months. During that time, common complaints have emerged, including concerns over the number of scooters deployed and abandonment of scooters in areas that block public access to the sidewalks and paths (a nuisance for many and dangerous for those with accessibility issues). We’ve also heard concerns about the unsafe behavior of many scooter riders.
Thank you to all of the residents who contacted us on both the benefits and the challenges of this new form of transportation. There’s more to come soon on issues of traffic laws and rider safety, but for now we’ve accomplished a few important things:
1. We’ve established a license for SATVs in the city’s right of way that vendors will need to apply for in order to operate in our city. In addition to paying an annual licensing fee, we will require vendors to carry liability insurance and meet all equipment safety and operational requirements. More importantly, we will require them to create a plan for educating riders on local laws, parking requirements, and safety concerns.
2. We’ve created guidelines and regulations around where and how these SATVs can be “staged” or parked. Blocking sidewalks or any public right of way violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and will not be allowed, nor will parking in any way that creates a safety hazard or nuisance. The city can remove any violating bike or scooter and charge vendors $100 for each offense. These fines will be used for enforcement.
3. The City will change ATV vendors $1.06 per vehicle per day to use city right of way for staging. Our hope is that this will discourage vendors from deploying more scooters than are likely to be used, creating a market-based approach that seeks to keep the number of scooters and bikes at just enough to meet the needs of riders without blanketing the city with them.”
These regulations are only the FIRST wave of scooter regulation and are focused on the vendors themselves. Councilmember Randy Keating leads a Working Group (including the Mayor and Councilmember Navarro) that is finalizing rider laws and safety regulations. Arizona traffic laws are different based on type of vehicle, with clear definitions in our state statutes and city code. Scooters have never been addressed in law before, so clarity on what laws currently apply and how to change the code to add new ones has taken some time.
As Councilmember Keating has stated: “We hear your safety concerns, and we’re on it!”
Mayor’s Disability Awards: Nominations due Feb 19th
Nominate someone inspirational for a Tempe Mayor's Disability Award. Details here.
Affordable Housing Update
THe City of Tempe and Habitat for Humanity have teamed up to provide 18 affordable townhomes for grateful residents: Learn more here.
Connecting with Kuby
My next drop-in “Office Hours” are February 23rd, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Tempe Library’s Connections Cafe. These one-on-one conversations with residents are invaluable to me. Last month, talk centered on alleyways, water conservation, homelessness, affordable housing, police training, distracted driving, and electric scooters, as well as issues particular to certain neighborhoods.
Salary Negotiation Training Workshops
If you live, work, or study in Tempe, SIGN UP HERE for one of our popular, FREE salary-negotiation workshops, held at the Tempe Library. These workshops, central to Tempe’s award-winning Equal Pay program, build confidence and skills around salary negotiation, market worth, tools of persuasion, and business strategies.
Saturday, Feb. 16, 9 a.m. to noon, TLC Classroom, Tempe Public Library, 3500 S Rural Rd, Tempe, AZ 85282
Upcoming City Council Meetings(Meeting agendas are posted the Friday before the meeting)
Work Study Session:
Regular Council Meeting:
Selected Upcoming Events (Free)
Saturday, Feb. 23rd, Connecting with Kuby. Monthly office hours at the library, 1 to 4 p.m, Connections Cafe.Learn more here.
Keep in Touch!
Disclaimer: This City Councilmember e-newsletter shall in no way be construed as any attempt to influence the