Following more than two years of delays, the Uptown pedestrian walkway project is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
The project, which carries a final price tag of $1.05 million, is nearing completion and will be in full use by the first of the year, Sedona Engineering Supervisor Stephen Craver said. Work will be done on the project itself in early December but additional work to the Wayside Chapel’s entryway will delay pedestrian use until early January. It was also agreed upon that this work would be completed prior to the installation of parking meters in Uptown, which is slated to take place in June.
The project was first discussed with the public in 2013 but various setbacks delayed it from getting off the ground.
“Part of that had to do with negotiations with the property owner — the city doesn’t own that land,” Assistant City Manager Karen Osburn said. “It’s not as straight forward as going in and constructing something on our own property. We had originally hoped to get some additional easement to the adjacent property [to Wayside]. We had to redesign that original concept to fit only on Wayside’s property because we weren’t able to negotiate for that additional easement.”
Craver said it also took time to procure the contractor for the project and then to negotiate a price.
The project will include construction of a sidewalk, crosswalks, lighting, 12-foot-wide staircase and a large-capacity elevator and viewing area adjacent to the Wayside Chapel. Additional improvements being made include:
- New pedestrian plaza/landing adjacent to State Route 89A.
- Elevated walkway.
- An ADA-accessible pathway from the State Route 89A to the intersection of Mountain View Drive and Schnebly Road to the city of Sedona Public Parking lot.
- Landscaping improvements.
- Illuminated bollards will be placed and consistent with dark-sky requirements.
“The city invested quite a bit of money into the municipal parking lot and we also have a public/private agreement with Wayside,” Osburn said. “So in that specific area there are about 200 public parking spaces. Right now there are no sidewalks, no crosswalks, there’s no pedestrian lighting or ADA access directly from those lots to Main Street.”
Feedback received from visitors, residents and business owners has been that once they get down to Main Street, people using the parking lots often have a hard time finding their way back, Osburn said. So, the city wanted to add the safety elements of the lighting and sidewalks for visitors and employees of Uptown businesses.
“The route to Main Street will be much more clear,” Craver said. “If people are going that direction, they’re now literally walking in the middle of the street and don’t know where to go. Right now it’s not safe or clear.”
One of the most daunting parts of the project to date was the installation of the bridge, which will lead to the elevator. There were three semi-trucks that each brought one of three pieces of the bridge that was then assembled.
“It was quite a process,” he said. “They began work around 7 a.m. and didn’t finish until 3 a.m.”
After the bridge was installed, some asked why the city didn’t build the walkway across State Route 89A. Osburn said that idea had been discussed when this project was first proposed.
“It was something the city was open to if the merchants wanted it,” she said. “The feedback we had gotten during public meetings and even when we met with the Uptown Parking Committee was that that type of infrastructure was not in keeping with the small town, rural character that Main Street wanted to maintain up there.”
She said one of the options being looked at includes pedestrian overpasses across State Route 89A in Uptown.