|Not much changed since 2005, so little study update needed|
|Written by Trista Steers MacVittie|
|Thursday, 30 August 2012 12:42|
Let’s stop talking about Uptown’s parking problem and do something about it.
Dr. Ted M. Byers’ letter to the editor [“Why not improve West Sedona, VOC?, Sedona Red Rock News, Friday, Aug. 24, edition] hit the nail on the head — why didn’t the city fix parking during the Uptown Enhancement Project?
It wasn’t because the Arizona Department of Transportation told it no. In fact, the city took ownership of the small section of State Route 89A running through Uptown to create the environment it wanted.
If my memory serves me correctly, the project actually eliminated spaces to accommodate other features.
The city’s most recent parking study, which Sedona City Council voted to update, came out in 2005. Uptown Enhancement Project construction occurred in 2006.
Seems to me incorporating some of those study findings into the project could have saved us the headache now.
However, history is written, and now the city sits with a 7-year-old study and $25,918 to update it.
The amount of money council approved, $25,918, I’m assuming is a cap because it’s an awfully large amount of money to analyze a situation that hasn’t changed much in the past seven years.
The volume of tourists in 2005 quite possibly exceeded the number Uptown sees now.
The boom years leading up to 2005 brought droves of visitors, and then the recession dramatically slowed traffic. While the area is again seeing tourist volume pick up, it’s probably on par with or less than 2005 numbers.
So, volume is comparable to the time when the study was released.
The number of businesses in Uptown also remained stagnant.
There haven’t been new buildings going up or vacant spaces filled by new stores.
No new stores, and slower business — according to those operating them — leads me to believe there are likely the same number or fewer workers parking in Uptown.
Before the city gives a consulting firm a large chunk of its money, city staff should evaluate the study using nothing other than common sense, looking for sections not in need of revision. If it finds areas it needs help with, ask the experts. Otherwise, let those the city hires for their expertise use some of it, and save the taxpayers a little money for something else.
Thankfully, the city did budget money to address the problem in this fiscal year increasing the likelihood council is ready to pull the trigger.