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Eye on Sedona with Councilor Scott Jablow

Article submitted by City of Sedona AZ

Sedona AZ (March 15, 2018) – Traffic has probably been the #1 hot topic over the course of the last several years, and certainly during the last city election cycle. The need to actually “do something” to address Sedona’s traffic issues was one of the primary reasons I and my fellow city councilors were elected. There is no quick fix or silver bullet, but I am very happy to report that this city council IS doing something — in fact many things — to tackle the community’s traffic issues. Progress is being made and will continue to be made until we see some relief.

As most of you know the council and city staff spent the majority of 2016 and 2017 developing a comprehensive Transportation Master Plan to identify strategies for improving traffic flow, and because there is no single solution, improving options for travel by bicycle, on foot and transit.

The Transportation Master Plan, completed at the end of 2017, identifies a series of big-picture strategies for improved mobility along with a number of specific projects. Many of those projects are already budgeted and are in the planning or design phases, with an expectation that construction will begin within the next year.

City of Sedona Councilor Scott Jablow

Among the first projects are Uptown roadway improvements that include adding a second southbound lane on State Route 89A; constructing a decorative median to mitigate left-turn conflicts and jaywalking; constructing turnarounds at the north and south ends of Uptown; and adding a new road connection between southbound SR89A and the public parking areas on Schnebly Road.

We know that these projects will entail a significant impact on the Uptown area, so the next year will feature discussions with all of the Uptown stakeholders, followed by a lot of planning, design and engineering work. While I wish we could see shovels in the ground tomorrow, this up-front work is critical to ensuring that the end result is well-conceived, effective at mitigating traffic and cost-effective. Especially in an area like Uptown, where so many residents and businesses will be affected by construction, we want to be sure that our planning and phasing is the best it can be in order to minimize disruptions.

In addition to these projects in the active planning stage, preliminary planning is underway to identify new neighborhood connections for residents, consider a new connection between Forest Road and SR89A to allow Uptown residents to bypass the roundabouts at the Y and Brewer Road, scope out bicycle and pedestrian improvements, add travel information signs on I-17, and develop (a)n plan for a visitor-focused shuttle system for greater Sedona and into Oak Creek Canyon.

Sedona Arizona City Council increased city sales tax by $.005 effective March 1, 2018 for ten years.

The new half-cent transportation sales tax, combined with existing city funds and the pursuit of grants and other outside funding, allows us to aggressively pursue traffic improvements identified through the Transportation Master Plan. I want to thank the group of Sedona citizens with expertise in finance and business who worked together for the better part of a year to recommend the best way to fund these improvements. This group of residents determined that new funds were necessary to accomplish our goals, and they recommended the time-limited sales tax that began on March 1. The tax will expire in 10 years or when residents feel enough projects have been completed to improve traffic, whichever comes first. We estimate that 65 percent of these tax revenues, like all of our local tax revenues, will be paid by visitors.

Stay informed about the improvements that are beginning under the Transportation Master Plan by visiting our Sedona In Motion website, sedonaaz.gov/sim.

Written by Councilor Scott Jablow, this article was submitted by the City of Sedona.  Sedona City Hall is open for business Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Fridays. The Municipal Court and Wastewater system maintenance remain on a Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. Police and maintenance services are not impacted. 

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5 Comments

  1. Joan Shannon says:

    Scott Jablow says the City would hold discussions with Uptown “stake holders” who are ALWAYS business owners and even never include a huge commercial stakeholder and NEVER residents.

    Those of us who live in Uptown West of Smith Road have been accused of contributing to the congestion at the roundabouts because there are 200 homes up here. That is totally INSULTING. There are 200 homes here, but many of us are retirees and many seasonal residents. Our neighborhoods are VERY quiet.

    City portrays us as everyone leaves their homes several times a day and GEE maybe we gather together at the same time and say ready, set, go and hit the roundabouts. I live right on the main intersection, a four way stop on Smith Road through which residents in this area drive through to get to 89a. It is usually very quiet even on weekends. The City says we would all take the alternate route, the extension of Forest Rd to 89a. What a joke, that road and quote, will be a “curving roller coaster road” so it would take longer to get to just West of the post office. That road will be full of tourists taking a fun drive as views are stunning. PLUS the City thinks nothing of using imminent domain on about a dozen properties even if it meant wiping out a house. One owner started building his house nearly 8 months after the City voted on this and never told him about their plan to take a large portion if his property even when he went into City Hall and paid his $11,000 for the building permit. They plan on confiscating their private road. The alternate road will be considered an adventurous road to take and tourists will post it on You Tube, Facebook etc, It involves expensive properties, six to seven hundred thousand dollars. Another couple have planned their home and their designer has been in touch with the City and they are due to pay their $11,000 for the permit and again NOT one word from the City of their disastrous plan. Yes, residents are now COLLATERAL DAMAGE for the residents….move over because the Chamber of Commerce advertises in China, Japan, Germany and the UK and lots in Phoenix and Tucson inviting day trippers. Yet we the residents are supposedly causing congestion at the roundabouts, Every Council Member voted for this road and agreed to imminent domain if owners would not sell and they are furious, worried, emotionally upset and will not sell. The City Council does not care about residents only how can we bring in more tourists for more money to spend. There is a rebellion brewing in Sedona against Home Rule which allows them to spend wildly like Congress. Certain officials are talking to neighborhood groups scaring them, saying if they lose Home Rule the City we will lose some services. These are lies, they imply have to live within their means and no essential services will be affected. How about not spending $2.5 million a year for more tourists? How about stopping neighborhood road connectors which no one wants and residents are rebelling Their online survey last year showed only ten percent approved without having full information on what was involved and there was no way to tell if only residents did the survey. Our City Council boarded a run away freight train several years ago and will not listen to common sense. Only they know what is best and that is BRINGING IN MORE TOURISTS. To use imminent domain on a large number of property owners for a road that will be quickly found and used by tourists with access on 89a, stunning views and then end up in Uptown at the lights and cause a traffic jam is obscene, but they are marching forward. The property owners have been badly mistreated and kept out of the loop of information, but now know from finding out on their own and will not go down without a big fight, YES, our City cares only about tourists as it gives them more money to feel powerful spending. Harsh words yes, but their harshness is hell for many property owners.

    I have lived at 315 Smith Rd for 38 years, I know my neighbors and we will NOT take the road they plan, we will continue to ‘”CAUSE CONGESTION AT THE ROUNDABOUTS” at one or two cars at a time and many times NONE.

    Time to vote against HOME RULE and for a new Council and Mayor. Anyone who wants to call me and refute what I have said can reach me at 282-4566.

  2. Tony Tonsich says:

    @ Joan Shannon

    I’ve lived here for 27 years, I agree with you 100%. This city is being run for tourist businesses and city staff.

    If you want change, vote NO on Home rule, Noelle Julian and Sam Tardio for city council and me, Tony Tonsich for mayor. I am not familiar with every other person running for council, but too many seem to think if we cut the chamber a little it will get better. No, things are out of control and drastic cuts need to be made.

  3. Public Owns It Not You Greedy Residents says:

    We’re a tourist town. Tourists bring in money. Not residents! The city should be turned over to businesses for developing. Residents require a drain on the budget, businesses give and generate more to city budgets!

    Imminent domain is a an ownership of private land which must be for public use and for the betterment of the public.

  4. @Public Owns It Not You Greedy Residents says:

    BS Then let’s all AGREE to DISINCORPORATE the city of Sedona.

    You must have graduated from the School of Sustainable Greed!

  5. Tax slave says:

    @Public Owns It Not You Greedy Residents

    Let us remind you, we “Greedy Residents” vote, not the tourists, tourist business or city staff. I pray voters are wise enough and well informed enough to throw you all out.

    This our home, you insult us and say it is a tourist town. NO, it is our home that has tourists. Not a “Tourist Town” that operates for the benefit of the city and it’s friends.

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