By Henry Twombly
Sedona AZ (September 18, 2012)
I disagree with Jim Eaton’s advocacy for medians along 89A in West Sedona (Guest Perspective, Sedona Red Rock News, September 14). He lists many reasons/situations that would occur whether or not there is a center land, e.g., swerving rapidly across oncoming traffic, cars and trucks nose-to-nose trying to turn left from opposite directions. etc.. Some reasons seem so implausible I wonder if they are true. Has anybody seen “semi-trailer trucks using the center lane to park in while unloading deliveries?” Who in his/her right mind would want to dodge traffic while making deliveries?
All those in favor of medians are creating a perfect storm for traffic congestion. Medians would prevent cars from making left turns down side streets. Instead they would be forced to go down to the next light and make a U-turn or a series of lefts to head in the right direction. Furthermore, cars making a left turn would also block up the rest of traffic, even if there was a short section for a left-turn lane.
Traffic in Sedona is increasing to the the point where we have a rush hour, replete with traffic jams and weekend bottlenecks. Moreover, the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce with their pro-growth policies are encouraging more people to visit or move here. So traffic is bound to get worse. Just as street lights will provide a nominal bump in safety, so will medians. Next thing you will know, they will want to put roundabouts at every traffic light. Though the official reason is public safety, who really benefits from building medians and roundabouts? Not to mention, how badly this construction will congest traffic, as we have already seen with that of the street lights. The center lane is the only thing that is keeping traffic moving, as it is. Medians would just be a boon for road construction and design companies and a bane for tourists and residents. Maybe it’s time to rethink the situation.
Sedona, AZ 86336
It seems surreal to still have someone addressing the subject of medians for SR 89A. IMO that all of the arguments given against these “traffic calming” islands do not hold water. Old Town Scottsdale has medians and pedestrian crossings, the speed limit is slower and that area is bustling with tourists. The point is, when you have to drive slow through an area, you notice the stores.
ADOT had recommended medians to the City about 20 years ago because Arizona does not have its own highway regulations, it has to defer to the federal governments’, hence the amount of our traffic warranted medians in a two-mile stretch where ADOT is in the process of installing those lights.
The shame is that those lights will not prevent any of our daytime accidents which comprise the majority of accidents on SR 89A.
Balderdash! Just today around 11am going west on 89A, a very long tractor-trailer truck was parked in the median just before the 89A entrance to Basha’s shopping center! Not only that the driver had just gotten out of the vehicle. Lots of traffic in both directions too…
Get real. The road has traffic and needs moderating, which eventually means medians in a few places and a slower speed limit – 25 mph (so the traffic is not going over 30mph). After all it is only 2 miles and slower traffic means drivers can contemplate stopping at a business. How many businesses along there would like that?
In response to West Sedona resident – Here’s the myth – Apparently, it’s not enough for businesses to want the tourists and the slow traffic, as many of W. Sedona places of business are owned by other interests who have their own agenda and the rest of us be damned.
Letter to the Editor;
Response to letter about medians
This is a response to Henry Twombly’s response to my Guest Perspective in the Red Rock News. In fact, it’s a response to two of Henry Twombly’s letters to your publication.
First, yes – all of the eleven justifications I gave for 89A medians are true, and I’ve seen them all myself – including semi-trailer trucks unloading in the center lane, using hand trucks, on several occasions in three different locations on West 89A. Others have too. I didn’t make them up, and I could have listed more. If you haven’t seen them yourself, Henry, you don’t drive West 89A much.
Second, a response to an earlier Twombly letter in which he claimed that the process for drafting Sedona’s new Community Plan is being done in “secret meetings.” The Citizens Committee for the new Community Plan has held more than a dozen very public input meetings, and is soon to hold at least nine more – with more public meetings next year, followed by formal public hearings and an election. Twice a month the Committee meets, with legal public notifications. The Committee has published three mailers and a tabloid newspaper that went to everyone in town.
Well more than 1000 comments, ideas and wants have been received, cataloged and analyzed. There’s a column in the Red Rock News every month this year and next. There’s a special Community Room showing ideas and other information. The City has exceeded all requirements, and this process is probably the most thorough and open ever in the history of the State of Arizona, and possibly in the US. (Much more than any state or federal process.) Please tell us what more can be done to satisfy you.
The following was submitted by Mr. Henry Twombly in reply to Mr. Eaton’s comment:
I apologize to Jim Eaton if I upset him so much that he feels he has to come after me. I appreciate a healthy exchange of opinions, wherein there is no absolute truth, just different perspectives. But I prefer to be criticized for things I actually said or wrote. To my knowledge I never wrote anything about “secret meetings.” His SRRN citation of this quote is incorrect. On August 31 only a guest perspective and no letters were published. In my “Public hearing will address amendment” I urged citizens to express their opinions about the proposed Sky Ranch amendment. So I’m not sure where he read about “secret meetings,” though he is correct thinking I believe much of the community plan has been drafted behind the scenes mainly as a pro-growth, pro-tourist agenda. Jim correctly points out there has been plenty of opportunity for public feedback. Whether that input has been incorporated into the plan we’ll never know.
My conclusion is that much of Sedona politics happens this way. For instance, I understand money has already been budgeted for the purchase of land for a river walk. I don’t remember a public discussion about using city money to buy creekside property from landowners, whose clients and/or friends would be the most proximate beneficiaries. Yes, there will be public access. But do we need to build a tourist attraction, when the city is $55 million in debt, and each of us is responsible for nearly $5,200, the sixth largest per capita rate in the state? More and more I believe we are being governed by fiat, wherein the powers that be legislate their own agenda into policy. Through public forums, disguised as opportunities for input, we citizens are asked to rubberstamp their decisions. And no matter what the feedback, they do what they want.
No doubt, Jim. You will have a different opinion. But that’s the beauty of our democracy, the freedom of expression, wherein we can cordially agree to disagree.
This writer must not go out often!
I also have seen several trucks, UPS etc. parking in center lane in W Sedona, and of course Mexidona trucks are always fun to get around or deal with. Regarding left turns, they do make left turn lanes in medians, again the writer has to get out more often or perhaps drive in some other cities that have medians since we do not. Oh yes, the Village of Oak Creek has medians and still manage to get some left turn lanes in.
I agree with what Jim Eaton wrote.
I appreciate the concern for the very real problem of traffic impacts. I hope to shift the dialog to very real solutions. It is empirically evident, across the country that building more roads, widening roads, adding lights, changing lights into roundabouts, adding medians, using more control devices, etc. does not prevent a community from progressing deeper in to the traffic problem.
So, what actually helps? Most every DOT and thoughtful professional involved in city improvement agrees that the following efforts, taken in tandem are helpful:
• Encourage mixed use zoning to minimize vehiclular trips.
• Provide for public transportation (the only ultimate and cost effective solution).
• Provide for other alternatives to driving, such as; bike lanes, city bikes, shuttle services, etc.
Can we discuss how these things might work in Sedona?
There is a brochure that was published by Federal Highway Administration on medians and how they not only sort out the traffic but improve business access. Drawings, stats and proven examples. But no one listened last year, so why is there even a discussion. We tried to warn the folks, they fell for the scare tactics, so live with the poles and the lights and the traffic and call it a day.