Hello Mayor Moriarty, Councilors and City Manager Clifton,
I read that the Transportation Master Plan is listed as the current #1 Council priority. So will the study area include the entirety of Sedona, I wonder?
While it’s not unusual to have traffic quagmires in and approaching the City, still more vehicle-congesting lodging projects are in the works. A Transportation Master Plan will not keep residents, tourists and workers out of harms way should a wildfire rage through Sedona, or Oak Creek flash-flood beyond the pale. Hot, dry weather has fueled wildfires across much of the drought-stricken west this year, and no doubt Arizona is not that far off. A string of clogged vehicles that cannot move could get trapped during a wildfire, subjecting people to a life-threatening situation. Whatever happened to protecting people’s health and safety and focusing on making Sedona a safe place?
Sedona, as opposed to most cities, has but two highways in and out of town as we know. Both State Routes 89A and 179 are already overwhelmed on weekends and heavily congested on weekdays during much of the year. It is not unusual for weekend traffic to be backed up to Slide Rock State Park on 89A and south past Bell Rock on 179. Current congestion-clogging projects that will add to traffic gridlock, either under construction or approved, are: (1) the Marriott Courtyard with 121 lodging units, (2) an additional 32 lodging units at the Sedona Rouge and (3) 40 additional units and a Conference Center at Sky Ranch Lodge. If this isn’t enough, the Chamber of Commerce efforts are bringing into the City ever increasing numbers of day-trippers, as well as by-passers headed for Oak Creek Canyon and beyond, who also contribute significantly to the clogging of 89A and 179. Unfortunately, a potential alternate route in and out of the City, given the terrain, would be costly and comes under County or ADOT jurisdiction.
I urge the City to address current zoning as it relates to traffic, not push forward with the Western Gateway CFA (#4), the Schnebly Hill CFA (#15) and the Soldiers Pass CFA, all listed as Council Priorities. Constructing more lodging in the Western Gateway area where the Marriott is going in is supported by City planning, while the “Community Focus Area Plan for the Soldiers Pass Road CFA” specifies “Potential for a continuous strip of lodgings on 89A.” And the Schnebly Hill CFA area already contains a roundabout that is gridlocked for many hours during weekends, less during weekdays. Increasing density and/or attracting more tourists to worsen traffic nightmares via these CFA’s is unjustified and not in the City’s best interest. In addition to not compounding the City’s existing traffic problems, over-commercialization, safety issues, unmaintained streets, drainage problems and declining livability are ongoing travesties that need to be rectified at the present time.
By the way, walkability and shuttles won’t likely achieve much. In general, people are addicted to their cars and do not want to walk or take public transportation. There weren’t hardly any riders when the City had the Roadrunner serving the tourist area FREE several years ago. And as to City residents, according to the 2014 CAFR, their median age increased from 50.5 in 2009 to 56.1 in 2014. I doubt that many would want to walk in our hilly City and/or wait in the sun for a shuttle, subjecting themselves to heat stroke during the hot months of May through October. Hmm, school enrollment plummeted from 1,509 in 2009 to 968 in 2014. Why doesn’t Sedona City Hall analyze and determine how come it’s policies are driving families to live elsewhere, thus causing the median age for the elderly here to increase?
JJ once again you are just wrong.
The city cannot change zoning that will take away value.” The city cannot stop hotels from being built if they own the land and have the zoning.
Like it or not Sedona is a tourist town, and will grow. We need to plan for growth.
Jean, people will get out and walk. Look at the 89A history walk, and how it has gotten people to walk from Tlaquepaque Art district to up town. We can do much more to encourage tourist to walk Sedona. Every person walking represents a car not being driven, and a car not being parked uptown.
The new parking meters up town are a great start. They will give the city the money they need to fix some of the long-standing traffic issues.
The city needs to look at a citywide shuttle and needs to encourage jeep and off-road companies to use the cities free parking lot up town. Customers can be picked up and dropped off and not use 89A loading zones.
Jeep companies need to have adequate off street parking for their customers. Every other business in Sedona is required to have adequate off street parking.
Just a few things we CAN do.
UPDATE 10/13/15 Agenda Item 8.c. (AB 2004):
With the exception of the Transportation Master Plan (#1), “AB 2004 Discussion/possible action concerning final rankings of Council priorities” encountered confusion and trashing by City Manager Clifton at last Tuesday’s Regular City Council Meeting. According to the apologetic City Manager, “…staff intended to do a little more with this from the last meeting [Sept. 23rd].” He indicated the ranked numbers (1 – 18) do not represent the reprioritization from the Sept. 23rd Council meeting, and the priorities listed really represent a subset of the Council’s broader priorities–adding that the priority list doesn’t lend itself to a 1,2,3,4,5 ranking. With regard to the Transportation Master Plan, it will remain ranked #1, however, the City Manager said the objectives, scope and financial plan need to be identified.
Essentially, the rug was pulled out from under the process and the public so that extensive untimely changes could be embraced mid-stream. Yet a third City Council meeting re Agenda Bill 2004, Council Priorities, is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 28th.
Stop lying. JJ is someone else. How many times do I have to tell you this? Also:
1. The City has a long history of changing zoning from Commercial or Community Facility or Residential, ETC., to Lodging. If a land sale is involved, big bucks are pocketed. I oppose such future rezonings and the additional traffic woes they will engender throughout Sedona. Recent examples:
a. From General Commercial (C-1) to Lodging (L) for the 121 Marriott Courtyard units under construction.
b. From Residential (RS-10a) to Lodging (L) for the 40 additional units and Spa under construction at the Sedona Rouge. This also involved a land swap of a portion of Goodrow Lane, a public road.
c. From Community Facility (CF) to Lodging (L) for the 40 additional units and Conference Center approved for Sky Ranch Lodge.
2. Tourism does not need to be reinforced as Sedona’s sole industry. Look at what happened to Detroit.
3. I live in Uptown Sedona, and we who live here are imprisoned on weekends. Only a tiny percentage of people walk the 89A history walk when compared to the overwhelming number of visitors whose vehicles clog our streets and park Uptown. Nor will significant walking take place throughout Sedona. Due to the 13 Community Focus Areas, several being fast-tracked, Sedona throughout will experience additional traffic congestion and a further decline in infrastructure.
4. The City’s free parking lot Uptown is full most weekends and nearly full many weekdays, thus cannot be used for the purpuses specified. In fact, the City Council rejected your ideas when they were included in the list the Citizen Engagement Program submitted for possible approval earlier this year.
5. I didn’t mention parking meters. However, they will very likely do little, if anything, to reduce traffic gridlock in Uptown Sedona.
SEDONA IS BEING OVER-COMMERCIALIZED AND OVERDEVELOPED. THE GROWING OF TOURISM IS A DREADFUL PLAN.
Jean J says:
Tourism does not need to be reinforced as Sedona’s sole industry. Look at what happened to Detroit.
Jean,if a new business came to Sedona it will pays no direct tax to the city except a few small business fees and some sales tax, If it builds an office,the the county will get all the property tax.
Tourism (hotels) collects a bed tax and sales tax, regular business pay no city tax.
Jean if a business came to town that had 100 employees it would generate less income for the city then a small 8 room motel at $89.00 a night!
Sedona made it through the last recession in great shape, better then most cities in the U.S. because we have had great city councils and city managers and city employees.
Jean, understand Sedona has always been a tourist town, from fishermen and campers coming up from Phoenix in the early 1900.
Jean you just spew fear and wrong numbers, all cities need to grow.
Jean, Detroit’s business was shipped to China in the 70 and 80ies but
Sedona will always have the Red Rocks.
By running the City’s sales and occupancy tax revenue from 2008 through the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator and making an adjustment to the results for the increase in taxes realized from the additional lodging units constructed and the phenomenal increase in hotel room rates since, the results show that Sedona is not doing any better now than it did before the last recession.
As Ron Bonner wrote in his March 31, 2015 comments to the terrific five-part “Selling Sedona” series re the Chamber of Commerce:
“Unlike Sedona, Telluride [where Mr. Bonner lived for 12 years] was realistic about the impacts of tourism and second homes on the residents’ quality of life, on the environment, and on the City’s budget…Here in Sedona, we collect the sales and bed taxes but give the money right back to the Chamber to attract more people into town and create further impacts that go unmitigated…Let’s look at who lose. The environment definitely loses with more cars, aircraft and people crowding into a small space, ETC. …I would opine that the quality of life in Sedona diminishes, not from a ‘reasonable’ level of tourism which brings desirable amenities to the community but from the ‘excessive’ level of promotion and tourism that I have seen over the past five or so years…The majority of tourist based tax revenues (like the $1 million plus now going to the Chamber to clog our streets) should be used to offset the impacts of existing tourism on the community and its residents. Funding should be provided to cover the additional public services including police, fire, ambulance, search and rescue, street maintenance, sewer system improvements, trail maintenance, trailhead construction, ETC. As it now stands most residents indirectly foot the bill for tourism’s heavy impacts…” and so on.
And, yes, I’m in agreement that tourism has become excessive, is not paying its fair share in Sedona, and that the quality of life here is under siege. By the way, historically, single-industry cities eventually collapse.
But Jean, you just said Sedona is just now getting back to 2008 levels, Are guests now driving two cars?
No , traffic is no worse then it was in 2008. But We have the new 179 and round abouts, that ADOT told us would slow traffic at peak times.
Residents just forgot what traffic was like in good times.
So please don’t blame the guests, life is really good, thanks to the tourists.
Recovery from the recession has brought Sedona’s bed and sales tax income nearly up to FY 2008 levels–not the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce with its $1.5 Million in taxpayer funds. The Chamber’s efforts are compounding and worsening Sedona’s existing traffic problems by bringing an ever-increasing number of day-trippers into the City, ditto by-passers headed for Oak Creek Canyon and beyond. This is contributing significantly to the clogging of State Highways 89A and 179, as well as causing the overuse and deterioration of Sedona’s infrastructure.
Residents don’t forget. We are quite familiar with your gorilla marketing. HISTORICALLY, SINGLE-INDUSTRY CITIES EVENTUALLY COLLAPSE.
Jean in your last comment you said “Sedona was just getting back to pr-recession levels”.
Please answer the question,
(Last post) “But Jean, you just said Sedona is just now getting back to 2008 levels, Are guests now driving two cars”?
As for “Gorilla marketing” comment,one aegean when you cannot answer a question you go for the personal insult.
Gorilla marketing is the only way to market when you have a small budget, look it up it is taught in all marketing classes seems to have worked.
No, jean you just hate that Sedona is a tourist town and has sound governance,
I have a solution that is cheap and will make a huge impact on the flow of traffic to Sedona.
Put a” WELCOME TO SEDONA” sign on I17 before the 260 (Cottonwood) exit. Most people who have never been to the area stay in I17 until the sign at the 179 tells them where to get off the highway. Going through Cottonwood in to town will provide 4 lane roads most of the way and alleviate the congestion on 179 all the way to the Y. It will increase business in West Sedona as well.
We could also put a Welcome to Sedona sign as you come in to the VOC, and encourage people to stay and shop there and not waste 2 hours in the car trying to get to uptown for what? There are plenty of red rocks and great views in the VOC and maybe the shopping could be revived with a little more attention. But, this would never happen because instead of thinking about what is best for the entire area, Sedona proper will always be a greedy mess.
Of course when it comes to city politics they would have to stop looking at the VOC as the ugly stepchild and embrace the area as part of the solution to many of the City’s problems.
lead , I agree a billboard on 17 north bound show 260 as the Sedona /Cottonwood off ramp.
We have mocked up a sign and we are getting pricing 1000+ a month.
BUT, does Cottonwood what the extra traffic? nothing is simple