GPS Navigation Systems and Data Problems

We have a serious problem brewing with GPS navigation systems for automobiles and even motorcycles. There are however problems with this devise as a high tech toy are more serious than you might think. Ask anyone in a metro area who has bought a new car with one of those cool GPS upgrades for their SUV or new sports car. We have had our customers complain (customers of the carwash business, which is my profession). Oh they love the gadget, but they are under whelmed by the lack of data and streets, which are not listed. You see we have been seeing incredible suburban growth in many cities. Places near large DMA metros are a problem out in the middle class suburbs. In many areas such as outside Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Nashville, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, DC Subs, etc. And in NJ, NC, NV, OH lots of other fast growing growth pockets.

When GPS devises for cars first hit the scenes at the CES and SEMA shows in 1996, they became increasingly more popular, powerful and better data. But like VHS and Beta, Apple and IBM, competition became increasingly greater causing much consolidation in the industry along with patent fights. Much of the technology was former Defense Contractors peddling their wares through subsidiary consumer level companies. But the tight market remained due to the costs. Meanwhile companies like DeLorme and others tried to flood the market with low priced GPS units, which made things even more competitive. And the bugs were not fully out of the system yet. Someday all cars will drive themselves and people can watch TV, do video conferencing and use their transportation as a portable office or entertainment system while they are being driven to the location they have punched into their computer. Some things will have to occur before this is a reality of course. But eventually your dexterity skills to actually pilot a car will be worthless and un-needed.

First the satellites will need to be laser aligned and use multiple satellites to get absolute locations of ground items and vehicles. The cars will need to have additional anti collision devises made up of networked sonar and optic flow sensors. All of which are now available and the technology is getting better and better. Many military applications today will be civilian tomorrow. Just like Radar, Microwave ovens, Nuclear Energy, Cellular Phones, Satellite Communication and Jet Aircraft in Commercial Aviation. The flow of transportation will be brought to the next generation to serve man better.

For the time being the incremental changes in these technologies has hit a slight road block even though Honda, GM, Ford, Mercedes, Daimler Chrysler and Toyota have invested billions in anti-collision and safety devices which they will add comfort and desirable options which they can sell to customers as upgrades. Smart Car Technologies can add Thousands of Dollars to the price of a car and consumers are glad to pay for them. A factory GPS system with display can cost up to $6,000.00 and they sell a lot of them on the higher end cars. It is a high profit item upgrade, although there are some, which only cost $1000. And if you wish to compare these, some are very incredible with many features;

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There are many companies, which sell after market computer assist items. These companies are doing quite well and the systems work great. The big issue is just because you have a super duper incredible GPS system, does not mean the street you are looking for is even on the map yet. In other words it is like using an old map. If you are a studier of maps like I happen to be, you will see the problem with older maps. Even some companies keep printing old map data year after year without adding in new on ramps, city streets, infrastructure freeway improvements and ring-roads, it is aggravating for those from out of town. Even more aggravating looking for an address or street in a new housing tract, which you can see but the devise insists, does not exist? Then there are problems in areas like Cape Coral, FL and Tehachapi, CA or El Paso, TX and Knoxville, TN where the roads have been scraped and ready to put in or put in but do not connect or have nothing there yet. Of course it is very aggravating to see a road and try to go down it and find it is a dirt road that connects to nothing yet or an entire sub-division that does not exist? Is it a Mirage? If so where is the white Tiger Show?

Jack Dangermond of ESRI had set up entire networks of software makers who developed data for their awesome software products for GPS and GIS needs. Used by government, military, utility companies, transportation companies, private companies with GPS units to sell to the public, First Responders and school districts for buses. After the Dot Com crash those software companies were among some of the survivors, but had significantly cut costs. Thus without the proper data the GPS systems bought by the upper, upper-middle and middle class for their cars were not always good enough to support the price point for the newest technology. This is especially upsetting since the upper, upper-middle and middle class citizens who pay the most taxes live in the suburbs for the most part. The chances of a middle class American; who bought a home during the 3 years last housing boom; not being able to find their house or street on their new GPS devise is a higher probability then them actually finding it. We interviewed one man who bought a new Nissan Sports car.

Who lives in a newer developed area in the higher end Las Vegas, Clark County Suburbs, which only had the main streets on his GPS and had huge blank spots on his device? Some GPS devices allow the user to choose a satellite vendor and data vendor and software, but many of the Factory units do not. People think they are getting something really good and then find they cannot use it to navigate, which would really piss you off considering you may have paid as much as $6,000 for the unit. Even more dangerous is the information we learned from an EMT ambulance driver in Dallas area who told us of looking for streets for 15-20 minutes after battling through suburban gridlock to get to where they thought it might be. 3G cell phone technology may assist for those using cell phones to call in data to the dispatches. For all the training we are doing across this nation for first responders and on-going education of police, fire, Hazmat, etc. it appears that we have forgotten the problems of the system. Any time you build a system to serve humankind you must make it simple and make it work, that should be the first, the very first priority, then you can fix all the other issues.

With that said we interviewed a lady recently one evening who had a hell of a long day working for the Metro Police Departments Central Nervous System. The communications center and dispatch is to what we are referring. Although she was unaware of the problem at the center for bad data or missing data in the system, she could not say how they were able to get the information. Luckily serving a metro area they are probably connected to the planning departments computer, which they should be. And if the police department has the new data and no problem in this case, why have the software vendors not been able to access the data? It is a safety issue if someone with a GPS system pulls out a map and tries to read it while driving in an area they are not familiar with. It is guaranteed that in the history of the automobile in this country more people have been in serious traffic accidents from trying to read maps, than talking on cell phones, although cell phones no doubt a contributing factor in many lesser accidents will eventually pass this figure. Where the streets are, well frankly I cannot understand the need to keep this a secret unless it is the layout of Area 51, Prison, Power plant, Pentagon grounds, Military Bases, etc. If the emergency first responders divisions and contractors would share the data, there might be less accidents and they maybe able to get some assistance from the public being the eyes and ears

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and also perhaps they could in fact use the idea of Smart Virtual Mobile Communities or FlashMob scenarios since budgets are strapped as the National Security “Red-Orange-Yellow-High-Risk-Danger-Days” come with high frequency, more police and first responders are on duty and that costs money. Without significant inflows the coverage of the Grid of a city is in jeopardy of slower response times. Fast response times are the easiest way to keep the peace, everyone, which gets away can cause problems another day and of course in case of International Terrorist Attacks.

It is essential to have the data for these devises and everyone is better served when communication flows. GPS units provide that and the data should be readily available and probably it is best to have the cities using the same formats as first responders and the same data can be used for utilities, consumers, military and even census data or academia studying urban sprawl and growth rates to have infrastructures ready during expansion. Things like water and energy, which has obviously been a major focus here.

There needs to be a nationwide coordinated effort to see that such data is filtered into the private sector, because as it stand the companies have been hammered in the industry and cannot perform the services to bring this stuff to market. Communication is important for government and citizen a like, increased efficiencies in business will save the government money and provide additional tax base and funds on the income of such businesses utilizing such data, as well as save money and time for all the government services discussed above. If we want a screaming economy we ought to be thinking how we can streamline and accelerate the flow of information to increase efficiencies and allow a small portion of the gain from the expanded pie to continue the growth. In other words, we make it easier for the Florist to deliver, the school buses to pick up more kids per hour and the soccer mom to take more kids to practice and still have time left to shop all of which serves man. The digital GIS divide is as important for our economy as the Digital Internet Divide. Kids in sports do less drugs, become more competitive, have higher work ethics and soccer moms can help keep the retail economy going. Every time you ease the flow, more things are possible. The exponential increase in American productivity is needed to offset the time lost in traffic and congestion. GIS-GPS systems can help in any emergency or simply driving around town getting things done to check off one’s list for the day.

The Federal Shutdown’s Effect on Grand Canyon Bus Tours

Currently, the entire U.S. National Park System is closed due to the American government shutdown. Because the South Rim lies within Grand Canyon National Park, it’s closed down too. As a result, several of the most popular Grand Canyon bus tours are temporarily suspended.

The coach trips that have taken the biggest beating are the tours that head for the South Rim from Las Vegas. All premium van tours that take the same route have also been canceled for the duration of the shutdown. Both trips are very popular, but tickets won’t be available until the Congressional stalemate is broken. That might be another week or so.

From Phoenix

Folks based in Phoenix or another central AZ city (Mesa, Scottsdale, Sedona and so forth) won’t be able to take a Grand Canyon bus tour until the shutdown is over. My recommendation? Drive to the South Rim and hop onto an air-only airplane or helicopter tour there. The airfield is just outside the Park’s main gates and the government doesn’t own the airspace over the Park (more on that below).

Fortunately, it’s business as usual at Grand Canyon West, which isn’t part of the National Park. The government has no say-so there, and ALL tours from Vegas to the West Rim (coach trips and everything else) are still running on their regular schedules.

It’s only a 2 ½-hour drive from Vegas to the West Rim. Coach trips use comfortable buses and you’ll have plenty to see and do after you arrive.

The top draw (by a landslide) at Grand Canyon West is the fabulous Skywalk – the world’s largest all-glass cantilevered bridge. My favorite tour, though, is the package that includes an exciting helicopter flight to the canyon bottom followed by smooth-water rafting down the Colorado. It’s a heck of an experience, and the West Rim is the only part of the canyon where helicopters can fly below the level of the rim and land on the bottom.

Flights

Almost 95% of all Vegas Grand Canyon flights are running on their regular schedules. Vegas-based travelers can take air-only or landing flights. The strictly aerial versions fly over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead and then circle the canyon itself. Some airplane landing packages include VIP access to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, but I prefer the helicopter tour that lands on the bottom and comes with a champagne picnic (you could also take a ‘copter tour that lands at the top of the Rim).

The plane tours that start in Vegas and head directly for the South Rim are the only ones being affected by the government shutdown. They’re currently suspended because they include a Grand Canyon bus tour inside the Park, which is closed right now. They’re one of my personal favorites so I hope the shutdown ends soon.

All South Rim helicopter tours are air-only and they’re running on schedule. They take off just outside the National Park’s entrance, at Tusayan, AZ, and there are two versions: 50 minutes and 30 minutes. The shorter version flies from the South to the North Rim and back. The longer flight’s my favorite, though, because it does that plus it covers everything up to the Park’s eastern boundary. By the time it’s done you’ll see up to ¾ of the National Park!

Airplanes!

South Rim plane tours are cheaper than helicopter tours. They’re also a good backup if the ‘copter tour you want is sold out – helicopters can only hold 6 but planes can take up to 19 people. If you’re interested in a plane tour, book it right away because they’re selling out fast (so are helicopter tours).

Here’s hoping that Congress gets its act together soon. Once it does, we’ll all be able to take whatever Grand Canyon tours we want. Especially when it comes to the perfect canyon coach trip!

Mass Transit & Gasoline Prices: Time to Go Public?

How do you get to work every day at the beginning of your shift? How do you get home? For many of us, our commute is a routine as unchanging as eating and sleeping. A large number of us get to work every day by driving a personal vehicle. We take it for granted that we are taking advantage of the most cost-efficient and satisfying means available to arrive promptly and ready to work.

But the swiftly rising price of gasoline should be an urgent stimulus to make us re-examine our commuting strategy. Across the U.S., the price for one gallon of regular-grade gasoline has risen from about $1.50 two years ago to today’s $2.60, and it is uncertain that prices will level off any time soon, much less decline.

These realities prompt us to ask, does commuting by driving a personal vehicle up to five days a week provide us the best combination of cost, or time use, or life-style? Or should we seek a better solution?

Gasoline savings: compelling reason?

Many workers, including me, have opted to leave our vehicles safe at home and brave public transportation. Each of us has our own reasons. Now the price of gasoline gives us one more, and we find it fairly compelling.

In my own case, I live about 17 miles from work. My 1992 Mitsubishi gets about 24 mpg, which means that if I drove it to and from work, I would be spending about $17.70 a week just for the gas. Instead, I buy a monthly Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) pass and pay only $10.00 a week. By riding DART, I cut my transportation costs nearly in half! If I had to pay for parking, as many of you do, I would save even more.

Other reasons count for more

But wait, there’s more! In fact, saving on gasoline is not the primary reason I decided to “go public” several years ago. I used to drive the congested freeways of Dallas to get to work; during rush hours it would take me 30 to 45 minutes. I had so many close calls–so many split-second swerves and jamming of the brakes–that I began to think that it was inevitable that I would be involved in an accident of some kind, maybe even a life-threatening one. Do you ever feel that oppressive sense of impending doom?

Now, I drive two miles to the DART station in my suburb and ride the light rail. I usually get off at the Pearl Street Station and take a good, 15-minute, fast walk from one end of downtown Dallas to the other, a distance of about a mile. There I catch a bus that takes me to within one block of my office, where I arrive almost exactly one hour after boarding the train. In the afternoon, I reverse the route, often walking up to half a mile before boarding the downtown-bound bus.

When I have the time and inclination, I walk farther. I disembark from the train at City Place, climb the two extremely long escalators from the train station 160-feet below the surface, and walk all the way to the office, three miles to the west. At the rate I climb, I step up 42 times on the lower escalator and about 57 on the upper one. Then it’s another 42 steps up to the surface exit. Most of my hike to work is on Katy Trail, which skirts a string of parks along Turtle Creek. Katy Trail was recently extended to reach the American Airlines Center, which connects me to HI-Line, Turtle Creek Blvd., and the office. This fall, a walking trail is being constructed that will lead from Katy Trail right past my building along Turtle Creek.

The exercise I get regularly, enforced by being integrated into my commute routine, is my main reason for “going public.” But almost as important is all of that ride time I get on the train and the bus. I can read at least 30 minutes each way. Do you have the opportunity for an hour of reading five days a week? I cannot begin to list all of the books I have read on my commute, but it is a long list.

What others say

Do other employees share my preference for public transportation? Melissa, a Chicago customer service representative does.

She says, “I take the train (the el green line) to work every day. I work a split shift, noon to 8 p.m. I live in Oak Park, Illinois (the first western suburb), eight miles from the office. From door to door it takes 20 minutes. During my commute I enjoy reading, people watching, and defusing if it was a hard day.”

“The best thing about taking the train is the convenience of not having to worry about parking. [I avoid] the congestion of traffic, and with the high pay of gasoline, it is very cost efficient. And I am always guaranteed some exercise every day with the walk to and from the train. The worst thing about commuting is that sometimes the trains run late.”

With commuter trains, light rail, subway, buses, and van pooling, Chicago seems to have one of the best public transportation systems in the country. But other cities are rapidly catching up. Detroit, however, lacks a light rail system, beyond its “PeopleMover” that makes a tight loop in downtown. According to an article The Detroit News ran on July 7, 2005, “The region is the largest in the nation without a comprehensive subway, commuter rail or high-speed bus network.” Officials there, however, promise that this will change in years to come.

“Our public transportation system is terrible,” says Nancy, a Detroit human resources assistant, “and we don’t have a rapid transit system in the Metro Detroit area. I wish we did, but I guess this is the Motor City; they want to make sure we all buy cars.”

Mark, a Detroit customer service rep, agrees. “There is no viable public transportation system in Detroit. We make cars.”
Eddy is a manager who lives about 17 miles from his work just out of downtown Dallas. He says, “I think we should all ride public transportation at least once in a while to remind us how fortunate we are. That being said, I support anyone’s right to drive a car to work. As gas prices go up, I think we should figure out ways to reduce our dependency on oil products. One of the things I choose to do is to ride the bus periodically. I think I am fortunate because I live nearby to a transit station (1/2 mile) and can walk to and from it. Most people have to drive to a station…. I would like to see our company run a test to help fund riding public transportation (maybe buy half of a monthly pass or something like that).”

Security issues

Eddy acknowledges, “Because of our shift work, many of our people can’t use public transportation.” This sentiment is shared by a second-shift typesetter named Brandy. “Dallas has no good public transportation for me to use from North Richland Hills to my job, at the hours I work. I would have to take two buses, and as I work till 11 p.m. (at a minimum), the trains do not run. Also, being a female, I am not crazy about waiting outside on the corner at 11 p.m. at night for a bus to take me downtown, then another bus to the train station.”

These are certainly valid concerns, and there are no easy solutions for our employees in Dallas. For other cities, however, especially Chicago and eventually Phoenix, where the rail station is in the immediate area of our office building, public transportation may be more viable even for second and third shifts. Several employees walking together would be a partial solution.

Safety concerns

Another issue for bus passengers is the lack of seat belts and shoulder belts. I have been in two bus accidents without injury, but one sudden stop sent me sailing four or five feet forward. I managed to grab a post and only received a minor bruise. Since then I have selected my bus seats carefully, opting for the three or four places where I am against something solid should the bus stop suddenly. Of course, I then have to worry about being the cushion for other people’s landings. My seat of choice is right to the rear of the back door. Only one person is likely to slam into me there, and people seldom sit in that particular seat.

Not “going public”?

Other workers have their own reasons for avoiding public transportation. Violet, a Dallas sales support supervisor, says, “I only live seven or eight miles from work, and I always get to work in 15 minutes. My commute gives me time to myself, and I like that.” Gwen, a Denver sales rep, uses her 36-mile drive to phone clients and return calls. “It also gives me time to reflect,” she adds.

Roberta, a staff accountant at Dallas, has a 25-mile drive. She says she spends the 40- to 45-minute commute listening to Christian music. “It gives me time to switch gears from work mode to wife mode,” she says.

Do your own analysis: Is now the time for you to “go public”?
Take a serious look at the variables of cost, time commitment, health factors, and available transportation. Your decision will probably depend on the priorities you have and the special situation that you alone best appreciate.

One consideration should probably be left out of your analysis: class status. As Eddy says, “I also think we have many, many people in America (and certainly at our company) who think they are too good to ride the bus or train. We need to realize that we are all just ‘folks’ when it comes right down to it and that the man or woman next to us in the bus are just regular people, no matter what they look like or what color they are.”

Grand Canyon Bus Tours – The Definitive One Page Traveler’s Guide

Grand Canyon bus tours are a relaxing and informative way to see the sights. Here are our top picks…

Grand Canyon Bus Tours Offer Rest, Relaxation and Learning

Do you want to avoid the stress of driving in an unfamiliar location? Or do you find walking in the dry, summer heat unpleasant? Then Grand Canyon bus tours may be just the ticket.

There are two main types of Grand Canyon bus tour. Those that are operated inside the Park and those that transport passengers to the Canyon from major Arizona cities. Both are excellent ways to enjoy the Grand Canyon and enjoy some rest as well.

Grand Canyon Bus Tours Inside the Park

Once inside Grand Canyon National Park, one of the best ways to see the sights is by bus (shuttle). The Park offers several FREE shuttle services for visitors who prefer not to walk the entire Rim. There are several different routes that vary both in length and the number of stops along the way. The thing we liked best about these buses is, you are free to hop on or off a bus at any stop along the route. The buses are very accessible and easy to recognize. Each one is color-coded for each particular route. Here are some of the routes you can take.

Hermit’s Rest Route

This shuttle bus is available from March 1-November 30 only and normally runs every 15 to 30 minutes depending on the time of day and the time of year. This is the longest route with the most stops. If you were to ride the bus from the beginning of the route to the end without getting off, the trip would take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Some of the best stops along this route are Trailview Overlook, Hopi Point, The Abyss and of course Hermits Rest. This trip is definitely worth taking!

The Village Route

This bus runs year round but is not a scenic route. It transports visitors to the Canyon from various restaurants, hotels, campgrounds and parking lots. It also runs every 15-30 minutes depending on the time of day and the time of year and is a 60 minute round trip. This route begins at The Information Plaza and includes stops at Mather Campground, Trailer Village, Maswik Lodge and the Train Depot. If you need to get from any of these places to the Canyon Rim – this bus is your best bet.

The Kaibab Trail Route

This shuttle runs every 30 minutes and is available year round. It has two great features. One is that taking this shuttle is the only way to access Yaki Point. The other great offering is a Hiker’s Express shuttle that will take more adventurous vacationers out to the South Kaibab Trail Head. But be warned – this is not for those who like to sleep in. The Hiker’s Express bus departs between 4 and 6 AM!!

Rim to Rim Shuttle

There is one shuttle bus that makes a daily commute from one Rim to the other. This service is ONE WAY only and is available until October when the North Rim is closed for winter. For this service reservations are required.

Motor Coach Tours

For those who would like a little more than a shuttle service throughout the Park, there are luxury motor coach tours as well. These tours offer a very comfortable (and air-conditioned) way to see the sights. An expert guide will provide detailed information about the Grand Canyon as you make your way through the Park. These luxury tours also offer plenty of stops to view the awesome scenery and take lots of pictures. Don’t miss the sunset tour – it will truly take your breath away! And the cost is very reasonable ranging from $13 for the sunset/sunrise excursion up to $30 for more extensive trips. Children under 16 are free.

Grand Canyon Bus Tours Outside The Park

Many companies offer guided, motor coach tours to the Grand Canyon. They are available from many major Arizona cities like Flagstaff, Sedona, Scottsdale and Phoenix and even Las Vegas, Nevada. Most offer pick up and drop off directly from your hotel. The tours can be arranged as one-day or multi-day trips and can include other adventures like helicopter rides or river rafting. You ride in comfort and style while you leave the stress and headaches behind.

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Arizona RV Parks

RV parks can be a great way to see the country without spending a huge amount of money. While the initial outlay of an RV can be a sizeable sum, hotels are also quite expensive. An RV also has all of the modern conveniences of a home, albeit on a smaller scale. Instead of wondering who slept in their bed the night before, an RV owner can be secure in the knowledge that everything is where it should be. An RV owner is not at the mercy of a hotel or motel staff. Although RV parks do have rules and regulations, they are generally much less stringent than a hotel, since the RV owner takes responsibility for the vehicle.

RVs are popular with retirees. Although ideally one might have two homes – one in a cool climate for summer and one in a warmer climate for winter, this is financially unrealistic for many people. Instead retirees might buy an RV, which is much cheaper than a second home, and drive it to an RV park for a significant portion of the year. In such cases, the RV really is the second home, and it would be highly impractical to attempt to live such way in a hotel or motel. The cost per night quickly makes extended stay in a hotel or motel very unfeasible.

Arizona is a popular location for RVs and RV parks for several reasons. One is that the state does not have a well-developed public transportation system, such as trains, buses and the like. Although such things definitely do exist in the state, they are not extensive enough for people to use them exclusively. Thus a comprehensive system of roads has become the primary mode of transportation. In Phoenix alone, covering over 9000 square miles of metropolitan area, highways are a main artery. Therefore, RVs are a good way to get where one will go.

Secondly, Arizona has a wide range of climates. Contrary to what many people from outside Arizona think, the state is not one huge desert. It falls squarely into the Mountain Standard time zone, and has plenty of mountains to justify this. The highest peak, just north of Flagstaff, reaches over 12,000 feet, and much of the state is between the high desert of 3400 feet and mountain areas that reach 7000 feet. These areas get cold and snow, and more closely resemble what many would consider ideal Colorado weather than anything found in Phoenix. But the heat of the capital and southern third of the state should not be downplayed. For much of the year summer temperatures prevail. Anything below 100 degrees is considered cool enough to be outside in, since compared to 117, this is mild.

Arizona RV parks are a great way for people to experience the wide range of seasonal temperatures the state has. It is not uncommon for RV parks in Arizona to fill up in the Phoenix area in winter and empty when the temperatures rise. In turn, Arizona RV parks near Flagstaff will tend to empty in the winter, as snow birds migrate to warmer areas.

For more information about enjoying the varied climate in Arizona RV parks, see Desert’s Edge RV, one of the most loved RV parks in Arizona.

A Trip on the Light Rail

One may embark on a delightful rail ride through the heart of Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona by taking advantage of the newly opened Light Rail System. The twenty mile trip from end to end takes approximately 60 minutes. There are 26 stations along the way with a train departing roughly every ten minutes during peak hours and every twenty minutes during off-peak hours. Each car holds over 200 travelers. The fare is currently $1.50 one-way and $2.50 for all day. Eight Park and Ride locations have parking for 3,324 vehicles.

The journey begins on the western edge of Mesa at Main and Sycamore Streets, just one block from Dobson Road. The rail proceeds west, transitioning from Mesa to Tempe along what was once, in the pre-freeway days, a major route carrying traffic through Central Arizona from California to points East. Many remnants of that bygone era remain in the form of run-down motor cottages, abandoned gas stations and cheap eateries. The hope and dream is that the presence of the light rail will foster a renaissance for the area.

Soon the scenery changes to reflect the approaching Arizona State University Campus. One is struck by the number of fast food restaurants, ethnic cafes and apartment buildings existing on the outskirts of the campus itself. As the train makes an easy turn onto Rural Road, the vastness of the campus becomes apparent as several major buildings come into view. The railway passes next to Wells Fargo Arena and Sun Devil Stadium which will make the railway a convenient and festive method of transportation for attending athletic events at ASU.

The next stop is at Third Street on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe providing a gateway to myriad restaurants, bars and shops as well as a burgeoning residential population. From the Third Street station, the light rail proceeds across Tempe Town Lake offering spectacular views of the lake, the downtown skylines of both Tempe and Phoenix and of the Papago Buttes nearby.

After departing Tempe, the track heads west toward downtown Phoenix along Washington Street making a stop to connect with shuttle buses serving Sky Harbor Airport allowing air travelers to avoid the necessity of parking at the airport. The train then moves into downtown Phoenix with stops near Chase Field, US Airways Arena and the Phoenix Civic Center making access to these major venues extremely convenient. The rail also will provide transportation to the central city for hundreds of daily commuters who work in the downtown area and for students attending the Downtown Campus of Arizona State University.

When the railway reaches Third Avenue in downtown Phoenix, it turns to the north and runs four miles to Camelback Road serving the transportation needs of a large number of commuters who work in the high-rise office buildings along Central Avenue three blocks to the east. It turns west on Camelback to 19th Avenue and then north to Bethany Home Road ending in the vicinity of Christown Spectrum Mall which features a variety of dining, shopping and entertainment facilities.

The light rail system serving Phoenix and its Eastern sister cities of Tempe and Mesa, is more than a novelty or a way for rowdy sports fans to attend their favorite games. It is confirmation that Phoenix has arrived as a true metropolitan area offering the best and most modern transportation available and is ready for the future which promises more rapid growth and development demanding modern transportation modalities.

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What Will Happen to Ahwatukee Bus Service?

Transportation makes our lives easier. The different modes of transportation from way back then to the present provide an insight on how far our technology and lifestyle have gone. The mode of transportation has also become a major dictator for one’s status and the person’s place in the society.

One of the most dominantly-used means of transportation is the bus. However today, there are issues regarding buses, such as the buses in Ahwatukee that needs to be resolved.

The issue has been taken into the hands of the council who will soon decide the fates of the different bus services in the area. The Phoenix City Council are in deep thought regarding the matter, and are contemplating if one of the bus services, the Ahwatukee Local Explorer of ALEX should still be existent in the place.

Phoenix claims that ALEX and so are the other four bus services in the city are indulgence they cannot afford. So on Tuesday, the council is said to reach its verdict. Sal DiCiccio said that people are having difficulties getting to a City Council meeting who ride ALEX. But she urges that people should still speak regarding to the service they prefer. In order to do this, DiCiccio provides a hotline number and an email address which the people may contact in order for them to be heard.

To further add the dismay, the allocated $9.2 million in the state Lottery Assistance Funds will not be released due to the present crisis the country in experiencing right now.

Ahwatukee is billed $700,000 yearly for the free bus services roaming the area. On March 25, it was suggested that $6 million be chopped off the circulator program which gives free rides around Ahwatukee and other areas.

The bus service has become useful in running errands and in getting to school and other areas so they transfer in larger buses. DiCiccio was however saddened with the idea of getting the small bus units off the hook without prior consultation to the community. Each are now thinking of ways to make both ends meet without compromising the bus services.

Suggestions were already made by several individuals and groups. One is to cut $350, 000 from the budget and alter the waiting time of buses. Instead of the usual 40 minutes, it will be changed to one hour. The routes were also decided to be changed during the weekends, skipping some areas and replace them with buses more affordable than the ALEX buses.

There has also discussion on charging fares but the thought was quickly eliminated if there will be fare boxes installed in buses. DiCiccio contends that they are doing everything they can, but in the end of the day, a decision of eliminating the circulators has been reached.

The fiscal crisis is here and Ahwatukee is no exception. While it may be understandable to cut off some of the expenses, the bus service is still a matter of prime importance. If you search for Ahwatukee homes for sale, you could perhaps check out if the bus service is good in your area. The Ahwatukee real estate must do its best to give the best services possible, including bus service roaming their areas.

Bicycle Safety to Help Prevent Injury

A lot of people in Arizona enjoy riding their bicycles and it is especially important that bicycle riders take extra measures to keep safe. There have been many fatal bicycle accidents already this year. Even professional bicyclists must be careful when riding. So for all you professional riders, parents who go out for bike rides, and especially for young children, please take all the precautions necessary to avoid being hit and seriously injured.

Although a bicyclist may not be able to prevent a driver from hitting them, they can take measures to protect themselves more by following the following safety tips.

Wear a Helmet
Everyone knows that a helmet can protect someone from suffering serious brain injury in some instances, yet many people do not wear them. It is not only important that you wear a helmet; but that you also make sure that it fits you properly. Many people do not know how to wear a helmet properly and they must be worn properly to ensure the most protection.

You may want to check with your local bike shop to make sure that you are wearing the correct size helmet and that the helmet is properly being fastened to your head. For those under 18, wearing a helmet is required by law. Those over 18 should still wear a helmet for added protection.

Brain injuries are most often caused by bicyclists who were not wearing a helmet. In Arizona, even though wearing a helmet for those over 18 is not required, the insurance company or adjuster can still blame the extent of brain injury on the bicyclists for choosing not to wear a helmet. All bicyclist riders, whether professional or not, whether adult or child, should all protect themselves and wear a helmet.

Now, as a side note, some people also mistakenly believe that helmets will protect them from serious head injury or brain trauma in all cases. This is not true in all instances. So many different factors come into play in determining the effectiveness of a helmet, whole courses can be taught on the subject. Still, a helmet will help prevent serious injury in some cases, and that alone makes its use worthwhile.

Use Reflectors on your Bike
Many car accidents with bicyclists happen because the automobile driver does not see the bicyclist. It is important to make sure that there are adequate reflectors on your bike. One reflector is not enough. Also, make sure that the reflector is giving off adequate light; otherwise, the driver of the automobile will still not be able to see you. In addition to a reflector, there are also headlights and taillights for bicycles that can give off ample light so that automobile drivers can see you.

Choose Your Clothing Carefully
When riding your bicycle, it is best to wear light colors. Wearing lighter clothing is more likely to make a bicyclist visible to the car driver. Also, it is very important that those riding a bicycle wear reflective clothing. It is not enough to rely on the reflectors on the bicycle; bicyclists should still wear reflective clothing to ensure adequate protection from getting hit by an automobile.

Many car accidents are caused by the automobile driver not seeing the bicyclist because the bicyclist did not have on any reflective clothing and could not be seen. This does not excuse the driver; it is just an added protection that bicyclists can use to protect themselves.

Use Hand Signals
One of the ways bicyclists can protect themselves is to use hand signals. Automobile drivers sometimes are not able to respond to a sudden movement by a bicycle rider, which often causes a collision. The longer warning of turning a bicyclist can give to an automobile driver, the more time the driver has to react.

Perform Regular Maintenance Checks
In Arizona, we are lucky enough that we can use our bicycles all year round. However, it is still important to make sure that your bike is always in good working condition.

Make sure to check the brakes and that they are working correctly. Many times the tires will need to be inflated. It is important to check the air in your tires on a regular basis. We recommend having a horn or bell on your bicycle as well. It is vital to perform regular maintenance checks on all aspects of your bicycle.

Be Aware of Cars
Bicyclists should watch out for automobiles to prevent injury. It is vital that as a bicyclist, you make sure that vehicles see you and know where you are going. Make sure to stay out of the blind spot of vehicles, especially trucks, SUVS and buses. Many collisions with bicyclists occur because the driver of the automobile, truck, SUV or bus could not see the bicyclist because they were in their blind spot.

Mesa, Arizona Housing Market

Mesa is a suburban city in Arizona and is the third largest one in the United States of America. It is a city located in Maricopa County and frequently flaunts its name amongst the well-known cities of Arizona.

There are approximately 147,210 households and 34% of them are children who live with their parents. Around 10% of the population is 65 years old or older. Thus, there is a very heterogeneous demographic behavior in the city. The “Marlborough Mesa” has won a community award. Homes in Mesa, Arizona for sale are mainly found in communities like Estate Grove Valencia Est, Red Mountain Ranch, United Amigos, and Fountain of the Sun.

Among these neighborhoods the highest average listing price is $950,855 and goes down to as low as $72,120. The highest average listing price has recently crept down 0.7%.

There are around 129 district schools and that clearly show the quality of the educational infrastructure. Mesa, Arizona has an average price of $195 per square foot, which was an increase of about 83% compared to the price per square foot at the same time last year.

Other than Mesa new homes for sale in Arizona, presently 5698 pre-foreclosure houses, bank-owned stages or auctions and 2825 resale homes are available for the interested buyers in this area. The median sales prices for Mesa have gone down by 16.5% or $132,000 according to the latest updates.

Amenities and entertainment centers of the city are quite attractive when compared to the other areas of Arizona. The transportation network in the city is quite well developed. Freeways like Superstition Freeway, buses and Metro rails make commuting very convenient.

As a top Arizona Realtor [http://www.phoenixrealtyfinder.com/] Greg Sidoff is a name you can trust when it’s time to buy or sell a home thru West USA Realty. This multi-million dollar producer feels that the key to a successful real estate transaction is to understand the client’s needs and to provide solutions that satisfy those needs. If you are looking for Mesa homes for sale AZ or want to know about Arizona Real Estate [http://www.phoenixrealtyfinder.com/] the Greg would be the right man for you to meet.

Personal Injury Attorney – What’s the Difference?

Although there is no distinction concerning kinds of law which can be practiced in the USA, there are in point of fact specific areas of expertise in which an attorney will offer his or her services. When looking for legal counsel, it is best to seek advice from an attorney dedicated to the specific area you need.

Types of Attorneys
A few of the various kinds of law firms and attorneys include real estate, family, personal injury, small business, malpractice, insurance, employment, criminal, and wrongful death. Keep in mind that there will be variations among states.

A general practice lawyer is typically a full service attorney that deals with cases spanning a wide array of areas such as business transactions, family and estate planning and the like.

Personal Injury Attorneys
Personal injury attorneys handle a range of legal situations that arise from vehicular crashes involving automobiles, trains, watercraft, airplanes, helicopters, motorcycles, buses, and commercial trucks. Additionally they take care of work injuries, slip & fall occurrences, product liability, nursing home incidents, incorrect prescriptions, and wrongful death.

The group of injuries that may be covered comprise an extensive list that includes brain injury, back and neck injuries, burns, certain birth defects, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis.

The term litigation merely means a lawsuit. Consequently any attorney who’ll file a lawsuit and follow it right through to trial is actually a litigator. With regards to types of lawyers, the important split is between those that deal with civil cases and those that accept criminal cases.

Get an Experienced Trial Attorney
When an attorney states he’s a litigator, that indicates that he or she is able to take a lawsuit through the court trial process. If you have a personal injury case, not only should you make sure that your attorney is well versed in personal injury cases, it’s also very important that the attorney is willing to take your case all the way to trial and is experienced and successful in doing so.

If you need a personal injury attorney in the Phoenix metro area, call the Millea Law Firm at 602-248-9107. Because they believe insurance companies will not pay top dollar unless they are certain that all parties are ready and willing to commit the time and money to take the case to trial, all cases that are accepted are prepared for trial.