Sedona AZ (April 26, 2019) – Our Sedona in Motion traffic and mobility improvement projects are becoming realities. In about six weeks or so construction will begin on the Uptown Roadways Improvement project, but, in this article, I’d like to focus first on another major Sedona in Motion effort — transit improvements.
A city contractor, LSC Transportation Consultants, delivered their preliminary transit service recommendations to a well-attended public meeting April 9 and the city council on April 10. The study was made possible by a $160,000 federal grant and $10,000 in funding from Coconino County.
The consultant finds good resident and visitor support for transit, and projects robust ridership. The report recommends building a transit system in four phases. The first phase calls for three core bus routes in Sedona to serve residents and visitors on a route that travels to west Sedona, Uptown, and south to the Red Rock Ranger Station. It could include a demand-based service for people with disabilities and trailhead shuttles to four locations. Things that are required to support implementation of the first phase include property acquisition for a transit hub and maintenance facility, road improvements to accommodate buses, and, of course, funding for capital costs and operations. The second, third and fourth phases of the proposed system envision expanded service to more Sedona-area trailheads and destinations through Oak Creek Canyon.
The benefits of transit include better mobility for residents, including those with disabilities, improved connectivity between Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek, reduced parking and environmental impacts, and – our major goal – reduced traffic congestion. The consultant estimates that the first phase of the plan will reduce the number of cars going through the Y by 500 a day on peak days, and on SR 179 by 200. If all four phases of the transit plan are implemented, the consultant projects a traffic reduction at the Y of 800 to 1,800 cars daily on peak days.
Next steps include identifying funding sources and further exploring necessary partnerships with other governmental entities including the counties, and state and federal governments.
I encourage you to read the consultant’s full transit implementation report at sedonaaz.gov/transit.
There is still a great deal of study and discussion needed, but we are on a solid footing to have a data-based, meaningful community conversation about whether or not this transit vision can someday become reality in Sedona.
Here’s a quick update on a few other Sedona in Motion projects:
Uptown roadway improvements. Construction is set to begin after Memorial Day and completion is expected before spring 2020. I encourage you to visit sedonaaz.gov/simuptown to learn the details of this exciting project, which will improve both traffic flow and appearance of Uptown.
Y bypass lanes. This involves adding right-turn lanes to the Y roundabout to allow some vehicles to proceed without entering the roundabout. ADOT is the lead agency. Assuming design and right-of-way acquisition proceed as planned, construction is expected to begin in fiscal year 2021.
Pedestrian crossing near Tlaquepaque. Currently in the planning stage with about 70 percent of that work completed. This project proposes construction of a pedestrian bridge or tunnel, shared-use crossing at the creek bed, and/or improved pedestrian controls at SR 179 near the shopping area.
Bicycle and pedestrian improvements. A local consultant is working on designs for projects in several high priority areas, and we recently finished constructing a segment of shared use path at Sunset Park. We’re also working with ADOT to create green lanes – colored pavement within a bicycle lane to increase its visibility – on portions of State Route 89A in west Sedona.
Traveler information. We continue to work with ADOT to monitor and assess the impact of travel-time information signs on traffic congestion in Sedona. Interactive camera installations are in progress.
In closing, let me assure you that the city is committed to traffic improvements, and to supporting the health of our neighborhoods and businesses through the implementation of our Sedona in Motion projects. But you, too, have a responsibility: show your support for these improvements, and take the time to study and understand the details so you can help the council make informed choices that move these projects forward.
If you haven’t done it already, sign up for SIM email updates at sedonaaz.gov/simnews. Get text message updates on the Uptown construction project by texting the word SIMUPTOWN to 888777.
The opinions expressed above are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the Sedona City Council or any other organization.