City News

The results of the city’s second traffic survey came as little surprise to Assistant City Manager Karen Osburn.

The first one, which was completed late last year, garnered 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.

“Traffic is probably the hottest topic in Sedona right now,” she said. “We have a lot of people who are very interested.”

The Sedona City Council will be discussing the survey during its Wednesday, Aug. 9, meeting at 3 p.m.

The survey is part of the ongoing Transportation Master Plan, which is set to be completed in the near future. Respondents were asked a series of questions regarding potential projects. Each listed benefits, cost and trade-offs.

They then chose how likely they were to support it: Very likely, somewhat likely, neutral, somewhat unlikely and 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.

Osburn said that when it comes time for council to make decisions on transportation projects, based on the survey, there will be a wide range of public opinions.

“You will have opposition to any and every strategy,” she said. “We saw that in the comments. You had on almost everything, comments ranging from, ‘I love it. This is the best idea I’ve heard,’ to ‘This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I can’t believe you’d even consider this.’ There are so many divergent opinions, perspectives and interests. That’s what makes making the decision on what gets done so difficult.”

The city has tentatively budgeted $53 million for traffic and road improvements over the next 10 years, though there is no guarantee that this amount will be spent. But that leads many to ask how everything will be paid.

Survey respondents were asked their thoughts about a tax increase from one-half percent to 1 percent. More than 67 percent said they would be likely in favor of a one-half percent increase, 53 percent would likely be in favor of a three-quarter percent increase and 51 percent were in favor of a full 1 percent bump.

“The reason this survey included a question about people’s tolerance for a dedicated sales tax — specifically for these transportation projects — was because realistically, the city doesn’t have that kind of extra money,” Osburn said.


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