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Sedona residents asked Ari-zona Department of Transportation and Sedona city staff if they plan to actually consider alternatives to continuous lighting for pedestrian safety at the first SR 89 Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee meeting.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Sedona residents asked Ari-zona Department of Transportation and Sedona city staff if they plan to actually consider alternatives to continuous lighting for pedestrian safety at the first SR 89 Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee meeting.

City Manager Eric Levitt assembled a committee to look at pedestrian safety on Hwy. 89A in West Sedona after a public uproar when ADOT presented a plan for 76 street lights.

“If we felt strongly lighting was the only solution we would have told you that a long time ago,” Chuck Gillick, ADOT northern region traffic engineer, said.

Levitt assured concerned residents at the Nov. 7 committee meeting the city and ADOT are interested in exploring other options. Neither the city nor ADOT is required to allow the public to comment, Levitt said, but both entities agreed to do so based on the intensity of previous council meetings.

Council told Levitt to form the committee — made up of approximately 15 people including ADOT and city staff, and members of the public — at its Sept. 11 meeting.

Cliff Ochser, president and founder of Evening Sky Tours, said he worried about the balance of bias on the panel with the majority of representatives from ADOT and the city — more than half work for or are contracted by ADOT.

Committee mediator Russ Hanson, contracted by the city and ADOT, assured Ochser the intent of the committee is to come to a consensus.

“We’re not going to just take a vote,” Hanson said.

ADOT plans to research the committee’s recommendations and then present them to council.

“At the end of the day, when we go back to council for the sixth time, we need to, as a group, support [the plan],” Gillick said. Everyone on the committee needs to buy into the idea produced.

ADOT originally brought the lighting plan to council last summer after the city asked it to address pedestrian safety following three nighttime fatalities in two years.

Levitt asked committee members to focus primarily on nighttime safety to keep the scope narrow. Some committee members thought daytime safety also needed to be addressed.

During the three-hour session, the committee, with help from people in the audience, generated more than 60 ideas.

Yellow, pink and purple sticky-notes covered large sheets of paper at the front of the room. Each sticky-note had a

suggestion written on it.

On-demand lighting, a stoplight at Andante Drive and Hwy. 89A, lights, lowering the speed limit, requiring pedestrians to carry flashlights and medians made the list.

Hanson later divided the ideas into nine categories — crosswalks, signals, lighting, sidewalks, medians, law or ordinances, transit, education and speed — for committee members to evaluate based on a criteria they created.

The committee’s evaluation criteria included 11 elements:

  • Budget constraints.
  • Length of time to implement.
  • Effectiveness.
  • Community acceptance.
  • Dark sky impact.
  • Environmental impact.
  • Also addresses daytime pedestrian safety.
  • Fits Sedona’s character.
  • Impact on tourism and sales tax.
  • Recognition for innovation.
  • ADOT accepts the proposal.

After the committee developed the criterion, Hanson sent them home to think.

Before the committee meets again in early December, each member will receive a spreadsheet listing all of the safety suggestions for them to evaluate based on each criterion.


Trista Steers can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 124, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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