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TRAFFIC MATTERS ACTIVITY UPDATE - 11/3/17

The Traffic Matters Committee has been extremely busy since our authorization by the Board of the OCCPOA in July 2016. A website was created (www.occtrafficmatters.com), all OCCPOA members were contacted by mail, a power point presentation was developed, and a 3 minute video was made, demonstrating 2 hour Labor Day traffic delays, backed up as far north as Indian Gardens. These efforts proved extremely useful at the more than 27 individual stakeholder meetings that ensued between July 2016 and Feb. 2017. Since that time, our Committee has learned much about the roles of various entities, most of whom share our deep concern and desire to implement real change in the short, mid, and long term. We have learned of the difficulty in coordinating governmental agencies, even when goals are aligned. We have been told by many that a citizens action committee like ours is often more effective in bringing the stakeholders to the table than any one government agency could be.

We applaud the Mayor, City Council and City staff for endless hours spent sifting through the results of the year-long Kimley-Horn Traffic Study, hearing citizen comments and debate, for deciding to move ahead with Uptown improvements, and for approving a 1/2 % sales tax increase to covering traffic abatement costs.

  1. The timeline for actually implementing those improvements is still being developed, and like many government actions, is very slow. We plan to continue our meetings with all the same individuals in order to expedite these improvements as much as possible.

  2. These short-term Uptown improvements include:

  3. Putting in an additional southbound lane

  4. Putting in a median to discourage jay-walking.

  5. Putting in a traffic “turn-around” at the north end of Uptown at the Art Barn, to avoid u-turns in the middle of the street. The turn around will be similar to the way one must exit Tlaquepaque.

  6. Increased traffic personnel has already been implemented controlling pedestrian traffic facilitating thru traffic on the busiest weekends. The effect has been measurable.

  7. Conduct a traffic signal timing analysis to coordinate mid-block and Forest Road traffic signals.

  8. Construct a roundabout at the south end (Jordan Road) of Uptown on SR 89A.

  9. Create one-way access southbound from SR 89A to free parking via Schnebly Rd.

MID-TERM IMPROVEMENTS: We continue to remind everyone that the census bureau predicts 2 million more people moving to Phoenix over the next 20 years, and that the scarcity and lure of water in our hot climate will never diminish. The danger of fire and/or destruction of the Canyon’s precious ecosystem looms large. It is our belief that we cannot stop with short-term improvements alone. We must encourage and support our representatives in planning for the future now.

Possible mid-term solutions include:

a) ADOT is implementing a Canyon parking study, acknowledging the needs of all stakeholders, which will be completed by Jan. 1, 2018. It will become an important part of the USFS strategy moving forward.

b) The Forest Service is giving higher priority to its Oak Creek Canyon NEPA study, that should help eliminate unauthorized parking and dangerous pedestrian traffic on 89A in the Canyon.

c) There appears to be serious consideration of the possibility of public transit to reduce vehicular traffic, concentrate visitors in well-managed locations, and eliminate some of the “social" trails down to Oak Creek, which contribute to unauthorized camping and illegal camp fires.

We all know it is going to take a regional effort to effect longer term improvements such as a transit system, a by-pass, or some other "out-of-the-box” solution. The good news is that people are really coming around to understanding that decisions to improve the situation can no longer be put off for another generation to solve. The time is now.

We are committed to monitoring and being a part of long-range planning. We are delighted that the current City Council has made traffic abatement a real priority.

From Karen Osburn, Assistant City Manager for Sedona: "The Traffic Matters group has been instrumental in not only raising the awareness of key decision makers regarding the traffic issues in Oak Creek Canyon, but bringing them together to collaboratively pursue solutions. Tangible things are now happening because of their tireless efforts.”

Sincerely,

Your TRAFFIC MATTERS committee

Marcia “Marcie” Ellis, Chair

Jerry Showalter, Vice Chair

Rick Black

Daniel Garland

Mary Garland

Steve Segner

WM Stalcup

Dave Watters, President, Oak Creek Property Owners Assoc.

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