As the city of Sedona’s yearlong transportation study comes to an end, the next step will be to decide how to best use the information in it, and when.
Sedona City Council members scratched that surface on Aug. 9, when discussing the city’s second public online traffic survey. They did this while going over the pros and cons of four of the 13 potential projects designed to reduce traffic.
The first survey was completed late last year, garnering more than 2,000 online responses. The most recent one was open from June 21 to July 6 and saw 1,700 responses, with 1,400 completed fully.
“This is not a scientific survey,” City Manager Justin Clifton said. “We have not done anything by way of a random sample. We can’t give you a margin of error or anything like that in regard to the results because we didn’t administer the survey that way.
“It’s tempting to say that people want this project more than another one because it’s 2 percent higher. I would advise against using the survey results with that level of detail and nuance. I think it’s better to take this as general feedback.”
Respondents were asked a series of questions regarding potential projects. Each listed benefits, cost and trade-offs. They then chose if they were very likely to support it, somewhat likely, neutral, somewhat unlikely or very unlikely.
Of the options presented, traveler information signs on Interstate 17 received the highest approval. At a cost of around $100,000, the purpose of these signs would be to keep drivers informed of real travel time, which would enable them to make informed decisions regarding alternative routes such as State Route 260 through Cottonwood. Of those responding, 67 percent said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to support this project.
The project receiving the least amount of support was Uptown parking, with 43.5 percent choosing very likely or somewhat likely. This included a new parking structure at a cost from $5 million to $15 million depending on size and location.
Projects receiving more than 60 percent approval [very likely, somewhat likely] include visitor transit to the Village of Oak Creek and Oak Creek Canyon, commuter transit to the VOC, Uptown roadway improvements, major road connections and neighborhood connections.
Those receiving less than 60 percent include bike and pedestrian improvements, improvements at Schnebly Hill and “Y” roundabouts, West Sedona access improvements, Uptown pedestrian improvements and neighborhood vehicles. Of the four potential projects discussed, council spent the most amount of time on the Uptown roadway improvement option. This idea was widely praised by council, who felt it was something that could start sooner than later. However, they did have concerns as to the potential impact on Uptown merchants not only during construction but afterward, as well.
The $3.6 million projects would include the following:
- Raised median with decorative fence to direct pedestrians to controlled crossings.
- An additional southbound travel lane on State Route 89A through Uptown.
- Turnaround or roundabout at the north end near Art Barn Road. n Roundabout at the south end at Jordan Road.
- One-way access from State Route 89A to free parking via Schnebly Road.
As for the benefits of the project, Clifton said with no traffic, it takes seven minutes to get from the Trout Farm in Oak Creek Canyon to the “Y.” But in severe congestion it takes 42 minutes.
He said this level of severe congestion occurred on seven days between Feb. 1 and June 4 of this year. With this project option, he said a severely congested trip would be reduced from 42 minutes to 15 minutes.
Clifton said this is done because a raised median reduces turning movement conflicts and uncontrolled pedestrian crossings while roundabouts facilitate U-turns and serve to keep vehicles consistently moving at safe speeds.
While the project has benefits, there are also trade-offs, Clifton said. Some of those include lengthy disruption from construction and possible loss of some landscape area, such as seating and sidewalk at Jordan Road, to expand roadway. In addition, expanding two lanes of traffic to three could impact pedestrian crossings and overall character in Uptown.
“We want to be as clear as we can on how you view these improvements and whether or not you think it’s good to go or that we need to do more due diligence to decide whether or not the concept is even viable,” Clifton said.
Other projects discussed at the meeting included Uptown pedestrian improvements, Uptown parking improvements and adding additional northbound and southbound travel lanes from Schnebly Hill roundabout through State Routes 89A and 179 intersection.
The city has tentatively budgeted $53 million for traffic and road improvements over the next 10 years. While there is no guarantee that this amount will be spent, it’s been earmarked to do so. But that leads many to ask, how will everything be paid? Survey respondents were asked their thoughts about a tax increase from onehalf percent to 1 percent.
More than 67 percent said they would be likely in favor a one-half percent increase, 53 percent would likely be in favor of a threequarter percent raise while 51 percent were in favor of a full 1 percent bump.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS