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There is 99-percent chance safety solutions on Hwy. 89A in West Sedona will include lighting, according to Sedona City Manager Eric Levitt.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

There is 99-percent chance safety solutions on Hwy. 89A in West Sedona will include lighting, according to Sedona City Manager Eric Levitt.

Sedona City Council directed Levitt at its meeting Sept. 11 to form a committee to come up with ideas as to what type of lighting will be installed.

“There’s a lot of options within the lighting but lighting would be part of it,” Levitt said.

Local residents and organizations, including Keep Sedona Beautiful, became concerned when Arizona Department of Transportation presented a safety plan to council which included 76 streetlights. Many of those in opposition of the original plan worried about the impact the light pollution would have on Sedona’s dark skies.

Council and ADOT agreed to explore other options before implementing the original design.

According to Levitt, options to be considered include streetlights, lighted crosswalks, a traffic light at Andante Drive and lowering the speed limit.

Sedona resident Cole Green-berg said he was offended by the city’s “hollow offer of community input.”

“The notion that lights are the only answer just defies common sense,” Greenberg said.

Levitt agreed that extensive public outreach won’t be done because the city gave ADOT a three-month time frame.

Some council members were eager to move forward and other felt they had not choice, while Councilman Rob Adams was disappointed the Hwy. 89A safety committee turned into a lighting committee.

“If somebody gets killed tomorrow how are we going to feel about delaying this?” Vice Mayor Jerry Frey asked other council members.

Councilman Harvey Stearn said he doesn’t think the city can delay the project for long.

“I don’t think it’s our call. I think it’s ADOT’s,” Stearn said.

Adams said he wants a solution that makes the highway safer and fits in with Sedona’s beauty.

“I think it should have the aesthetics along with the safety issues,” Adams said. If the city can’t afford this type of solution now, council should wait until it can and lower the speed limit in the meantime.

ADOT presented the 76-streetlight plan after the city asked it to study the safety of Hwy. 89A in West Sedona following three pedestrian deaths in the past two years.

ADOT’s study of the corridor between Airport Road and Dry Creek Road determined more pedestrian warning signs were necessary and streetlights needed to be installed.

The city put signs up last summer but lighting was delayed while ADOT waited for a federal grant. Now ADOT has the money, but needs a design before it can move forward.

Levitt said since the grant is for safety improvements, there is concern that removing too many lights from the design could forfeit the grant.

Those in opposition said Sedona is a dark sky city, which governing bodies need to protect.

“I personally think there’s a difference between dark skies and pitch black, can’t see anything,” Councilman John Bradshaw said.

The committee council told Levitt to form will include Levitt, four city representatives from various departments and approximately four residents.

Levitt said he plans to select residents with diverse view points regarding the issue.

Trista Steers can be reached
at 282-7795, Ext. 129, or
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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