Ahwatukee gets a new road

[UPDATE; this is the original material, circa 2009] Since Ahwatukee, part of the city of Phoenix, has been built-out now for years, I don’t get to say this much. Ahwatukee is getting a new road. It connects 40th and Pecos to the Wild Horse Pass (new) Hotel-Casino / Resort  / Rawhide on the Gila River Indian Reservation. The road opened to traffic to coincide with the grand opening of the new hotel/casino, Oct 30, 2009.

Views of Estrella Mountains to the west
Views of Estrella Mountains westbound on Willis Rd

For cyclists going “around the mountain”, this means it will no longer be necessary to cross over I-10 to get to Maricopa Road, usually via S 56th Street, and then cross back over to pick up Maricopa Road. Here is a map of the general vicinity (the new road is not shown yet). Continue reading “Ahwatukee gets a new road”

Training the Brain To Choose Wisely

This piece appeared on page one of the Personal Journal section. It dealt mainly with alternative incentives for behavior modification in the workplace; e.g. paying employees to lose weight or quit smoking. Here are some excerpts with my emphasis added:

The human brain is wired with biases that often keep people from acting in their best interest. Now, some employers and insurers are testing ways to harness such psychological pitfalls to get people to make healthier choices…

Rather than encouraging good behavior with small or one-time payments, some health and wellness plans have begun enrolling employees in lotteries for a chance to win a bigger reward….

Such approaches stem from the field of behavioral economics, which challenges the conventional economic doctrine that consumers always act as informed, rational decision makers. Instead, behavioral researchers have found, people often exhibit irrational, albeit predictable, biases that lead them not to act in their best interests.

…Though the study is still under way, about 70% of the lottery group has completed the assessment, researchers say. That compares with 34% of those receiving the basic cash reward, and 43% of those getting an additional grocery card.

It seems to me the lottery incentive could be used by businesses as an incentive for bicycle commuting (to comply with trip-reduction efforts).

Deal to increase sales tax to build roads

There is an initiative floating around from some group called the “TIME Coalition”.

A shady backroom deal cooked up between Napolitano and the Arizona Home Builders is almost too much to bear. It seems the home builders have engineered a way to escape any extra taxation (impact fees) by helping out the governor with another of here proposals. More here: nototime.blogspot.com including an image of the leaked agreement

As a tactic to derail TIME’s proposition (should it make it to the ballot), no-new-taxes lawmakers are preparing their own legislative initiative. This would set up a situation where potentially there could be two similar but competing ballot propositions both dealing with “transportation”. Rep. Russell Pearce’s legislation would put a ballot proposition that would levy a 1/2 percent addition general state sales tax whose revenues would be used for building roads. This is meant to stick it in the eye of TIME’s proposition which spends some of its revenue on public transportation — but not very much, 78% is on roads and freeways and only around 20% is on public transit. Rival Transportation Plan Posed, Arizona Republic, May 30, 2008.