By John Roberts, Sedona Resident
(February 20, 2020)
Black swans is a term used to designate unexpected or unplanned consequences of a decision. We are rarely prepared to cope with black swans.
Sedona is a prime example what can happen when allowing extended visits of too many black swans.
It began with the decision to spend $80 million dollars to rebuild the old highway 179 , a congested two lane road , into a new roadway of, again, two lanes.
This project had enough support for an informal vote. That election passed which pleased the city council and mayor who believed this two lane tight driving space would deter tourists from invading the town. Also it was contrary to the preliminary ADOT ( Arizona Department of Transportation ) recommended much better 4 lane wide highway design. Voting by residents, also known as tree huggers, predominated the yes vote.
Now we have a major highway entry to Sedona which is far better renamed as ” Snails Trail : for the long lines of jammed traffic mostly before and just after celebrations/holidays held over weekends. Congestion occurs at other times too because of accidents or just because too many residents decide to drive into or out of Sedona at the wrong times. like lunch, dinner, doctor appointments, buy food, etc.. Not very considerate of those who were living alongside 179 before construction began who had to now contend with the unintended ( to them ) problems of delays getting to appointments in or out of Sedona.
Snarled traffic may have been a cause for the Chamber of Commerce to initiate a sales program attracting tourists to offset the negative of traffic congestion discouraging tourists from coming to Sedona. The black swan returned again when the chamber program succeeded so much beyond expectations with so many more vehicles driving in town to aggravate an already bad traffic flow.
Then another black swan arrived when homes began to be offered for short term visiting and out of town investors piled on and bought homes with the sole intent to convert them to accommodate the recently created new surge of short term tourism. Which disrupted the previously very comfortable living style in these subdivisions. Not very considerate for the non renting residents.
Before I forget, those tree huggers didn’t really reach their tree saving goal because most all the trees which the contractor dug up to remove them from the 179 right of way and which were boxed to sit aside the construction zones mostly died off from the absence of friendly nourishing soil and adequate water conditions.
The last black swan has to be where we are right now. The city has begun road constructions ( SIM – Sedona in Motion ) to reroute traffic aimed to ease traffic congestion at a huge cost of tax revenues. 89A is a nightmare of traffic flow as it enters the uptown shopping zone. Parking uptown is a fight to the death. And both will probably get worse.
Now then have you kept count of all those black swans who have visited us since Snails Trail was created ?
Are you praying that city council will solve all the problems now besetting what used to be a friendly sleepy artist community?
Are you happy that now you have some idea about the scope of destruction black swans, beautiful creatures they are, can create.
What’s really sad is this account is not tongue in cheek stuff.