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Eddie Maddock: Feasible and Sustainable Sedona Matters

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock looks at Sedona’s year ahead in the light of its problematic past.

Sedona AZWelcome to Sedona Arizona 2019.

Has our Golden Goose been cooked?

Is there anyone visiting Sedona or living here for that matter, let’s say since Thanksgiving 2018, who isn’’t convinced there is a huge traffic problem? As the situation grows worse on a daily basis ongoing studies have been procured from professional consultants – most of whom are costly and ineffective – if for no other reason than they have yet to result in actually addressing the problem.

The root of the matter is never appropriately acknowledged by the culprits behind the continual onslaught to chop Sedona, the aforementioned Golden Goose, into teeny tiny pieces. Translated: Sedona was discovered a long time ago and is no longer in need of being promoted. Even efforts for alleged “destination tourists” haven’t been proven to be effective. Quite possibly the introduction of short term rentals via private property owners and Airbnb are contributing factors to this problematic situation which should have been addressed with serious intent to at least some degree a long time ago.

Instead Sedona planners forge ahead with one idea after another clearly without looking at or anticipating suggested plans might be seriously flawed. While the term “sustainability” has become a common catchword, the word “feasibility” all too often is overlooked prior to initiating “perceived” solutions.

View of Sedona – exclusive SedonaEye.com photo

For example; inflated foot traffic in the narrow ADOT corridor of SR179 in front of Tlaquepaque was ignored at the time approval was given to Tlaquepaque North across that very busy section of a State Highway. After the fact, the result has been a disaster. So what to do?

Number one suggestion on the drawing board seems to be a concept for some sort of a pedestrian overpass. Voila! Problem solved. Wait, –not so fast. Has any consideration been given to the fact that said overpass must span SR 179, a state route? Just how high must a cute little footbridge be in order to clear traffic such as semi-trucks and 18-wheelers for which state routes are designed? Maybe an indication might be more clearly imagined if one were to think about overpasses on I-17.

Another potential solution to mitigate traffic congestion, created essentially due to lack of foresight, is the extension of Forest Road uptown to connect with West 89A someplace next to the Post Office location. This concept appears to be a wonderful idea on the surface, but has the depth of this proposal been extensively considered?

Now that becomes extremely interesting when viewing the terrain in actuality, as well as on maps.

View of Sedona – exclusive SedonaEye.com photo

The two photos offered here were taken December 30, 2018, on SR89A across from the vacant land just west of the Post Office, a portion of which has posted a “For Sale” sign. Clearly it is rugged and anticipating any portion being used as a connector from Forest Road uptown to SR89A becomes somewhat unclear. It appropriately should be noted the open space beyond the Hyatt and custom-built homes at the end of Forest Road is comparable terrain – –hilly, rocky, and steep.

From the Post Office hill to Mariposa Restaurant is rocky, but relatively level with or below SR89A. Not to be overlooked is a portion of that land belongs to the U.S. Forest Service. It isn’t difficult to observe – with a quick glance to the left when driving east on 89A towards uptown – prior to the Brewer and “Y” roundabouts.

As previously mentioned, there are several upscale homes at the end of Forest Road, clearly sustaining their value because they are constructed on “view” lots. The city has gone on record admitting that to extend this proposed road would necessitate condemning some of those houses. However, what they haven’t addressed is the steep, rocky terrain. Even a non-engineer might question the complex construction required for a connector road in this location which should realistically be seriously addressed prior to pursuing this alleged “short cut” from Point A (Forest Road) to Point B (West 89A).

Where will all the remaining red rocks go? To parking lots and highways and tourists now going and many long time gone.

There are a multitude of unanswered questions pertaining to acquisition of land and related expenses, over and above feasibility for extending Forest Road to connect down and across extremely rocky, unlevel open terrain. Shouldn’t we insist on accurate and transparent accountability prior to, during, and at completion of this endeavor should it come to pass? And, more specifically, what will be the source of funding?

Likewise, shouldn’t more extensive consideration apply to accommodating additional traffic which surely will become further problematic at the Schnebly Hill roundabout if aggressive approval for multi-housing and additional shops comes to fruition as proposed in order to justify the designation of another Community Focus Area?

Another suggestion for constructing an additional bridge from Schnebly Hill Road to the northern portion of uptown to connect to 89A onward to Oak Creek Canyon will, in all probability, require trespassing on USFS property. Has any consideration been given to that by city planners if plans are pursued to extend Schnebly Hill Road as an alternate route to I-17… also USFS land.

A final question: Which should come first –feasibility or sustainability?

The answer will emerge from the inner sanctum of City Hall.

Word for the day:

FEASIBLE
[fee-zuh-buh l]
Adjective
1. Capable of being done, effected, or accomplished: a feasible plan
2. probable; likely: a feasible theory
3. suitable: a road feasible for travel

 

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302 Comments

  1. Sedona Mina says:

    @andrewsally Best said will stop there

  2. Mathew M. says:

    Farewell Mayor Sandy. You did well to accomplish your dream of offering “affordable” workforce housing on the property you earmarked years ago. And in the middle of a major drainage wash, too.

    Way to go! Another “legacy” literally down the drain and who paid the bill? City of Sedona, of course.

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