By Joyce Coronel
Autonomous vehicles, rubberized asphalt, housing, the environment and new businesses were among a plethora of issues Chandler
Mayor Kevin Hartke addressed in a coffee klatsch with business leaders at the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.
The mayor’s remarks, given on the 103rd day of his term, began with a listing of top concerns, including technology improvements in Chandler, fiscal responsibility and water conservation.
“With the drought situation going on, it’s incumbent on us and every city to look at what we are doing with water,” Hartke said, referring to conserving, preserving and being prepared for the future.
Hartke said he has spent his first days in office getting out into the community, logging 200 events and meetings with residents. “I’m interested and very concerned to hear what’s important…to our residents and what’s going on across our city,” Hartke said.
He cited a ranking by SmartAsset, a personal finance company, which named Chandler as the 2019 Best Place to Become Wealthy.
“Of all the places in the United States, this is the place where you can achieve your dreams and have a better prospect of becoming successful and wealthy,” Hartke said. The ranking of the 100 largest U.S. cities was based on Chandler’s high-wage jobs and five- year earnings growth, plus affordable housing and other metrics. Chandler tied with Plano, Texas, for first place.
Hartke lauded work by the city’s economic development team’s to attract companies offering well-paying jobs.
Chandler, Hartke said, was also named “one of the most desirable places to live in the entire state of Arizona and in the Valley” due to its reputation as a safe city with “great schools.”
Autonomous vehicles have cast a spotlight on Chandler as well, the mayor said. The city hosted a group from Sweden that was interested in studying what Chandler was doing in that regard.
“They posted a video that declared Chandler was the autonomous vehicle capital of the world. We like to say we’re doing well locally and nationally but they put a crown on us for the entire world,” Hartke said. A representative of Waymo in attendance asked those gathered to go to Waymo.com and sign up to become an early rider.
Attendees at the Chandler Chamber event had
the opportunity to ask questions of the mayor and many in the standing-room-only crowd voiced their concerns.
“Have you heard anything about funding to repair all the multiple holes on the 202? It’s really falling apart in Chandler,” one woman in noted. Hartke said he drives the roadway himself and has had his share of chipped and cracked windshields. He described the highly touted rubberized asphalt on the Loop 202, known as the Santan Freeway, as a “very desirable surface that absorbs noise and makes it a lot easier to drive” but that has not held up as well as planned.
“We anticipated getting 10 years out of the rubberized asphalt and maybe because of the rains or our other extreme weather, we’re not,” Hartke said. He pointed to upcoming closures on the freeway for repair work.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, portions of the 202 will be closed starting at 10 p.m. Friday, May 10, and continuing until 3 a.m. Monday, May 13. The project will require a full closure to all traffic on the Santan Freeway in both directions between the Price Freeway in Chandler and the Williams Field Road interchange in Gilbert.
On a similar note, a representative of an automobile dealership in West Chandler asked the mayor about “super-backed-up” traffic near Ray Road and the I-10. “We’re kind of tucked back there and you can’t see it from the freeway,” he said.
“Make sure we get your contact info and we’ll get back with you about that,” Hartke assured the man.