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Eye on Sedona with Mayor Sandy Moriarty

In spring of 2014, transit bus shelters were erected but the Verde Lynx system has been unable to attract consultant’s forecasted ridership for its Cottonwood – Sedona – round trip or one way routes. The Verde Lynx system also connects the Yavapai-Apache Reservation and honors its transit system tickets.

Sedona AZ – This SedonaEye.com article was submitted by the city of Sedona on behalf of its author, Sedona Mayor Sandy Moriarty, with the following disclaimer: The opinions expressed above (below) are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the Sedona City Council or any other organization.

Our Sedona in Motion traffic and mobility improvement projects are becoming realities. In about six weeks or so construction will begin on the Uptown Roadways Improvement project, but, in this article, I’d like to focus first on another major Sedona in Motion effort — transit improvements.

A city contractor, LSC Transportation Consultants, delivered their preliminary transit service recommendations to a well-attended public meeting April 9 and the city council on April 10. The study was made possible by a $160,000 federal grant and $10,000 in funding from Coconino County.

The consultant finds good resident and visitor support for transit, and projects robust ridership. The report recommends building a transit system in four phases: The first phase calls for three core bus routes in Sedona to serve residents and visitors on a route that travels to west Sedona, Uptown, and south to the Red Rock Ranger Station. It could include a demand-based service for people with disabilities and trailhead shuttles to four locations. Things that are required to support implementation of the first phase include property acquisition for a transit hub and maintenance facility, road improvements to accommodate buses, and, of course, funding for capital costs and operations. The second, third and fourth phases of the proposed system envision expanded service to more Sedona-area trailheads and destinations through Oak Creek Canyon.

The Verde Valley has several public transportation options for residents and visitors. Verde Lynx – http://cottonwoodaz.gov/cat-verde_lynx.php This service connects central Cottonwood with the major employers in Sedona along 89A and northern portions of SR 179. Hours of Operation – Service 7 Days-a-Week – Monday – Saturday Service: 6:00 AM – 7:15 PM – Sunday Service: 7:30 AM- 6:00 PM Expanded commuter service between Cottonwood and Sedona. Free Park & Ride facilities at Garrison Park in Cottonwood and the Sedona Municipal Lot in Sedona. Riders can use Verde Lynx’s sister service in Cottonwood (CAT) to connect to Verde Lynx. Click here to view, download and save the Verde Lynx riders guide in .pdf format. For Verde Lynx schedule or more information, call (928) 282-0938 Cottonwood Area Transit (CAT) – http://cottonwoodaz.gov/cat.php This local bus service connects Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Bridgeport and Verde Village. Monday thru Friday 6:45 AM to 6:45 PM – Every 45 minutes CAT service now includes four routes that connect every 45 minutes at the Cottonwood Library. You can transfer between routes with no waiting. You can also connect to the Verde Lynx to Sedona at the Cottonwood Library. Ask your driver for a transfer. CAT Paratransit provides origin to destination transportation services for persons with disabilities who are unable to use CAT fixed route buses. Service is provided to locations that are within 3/4-mile of a fixed route bus stop. The services are shared-ride and require reservations be made by 5:00 p.m. the day before. Vans pick riders up at the curb by their home, and drop them at the curb by their destination. The one-way fare is $2.25. For more information or a paratransit eligibility application, call CAT at (928) 634-2287 or visit www.cottonwoodaz.gov/cat.php Click here to download the CAT riders guide in .pdf format. For information about CAT bus routes in Cottonwood, call 928.634.2287 Information courtesy of above. Visit the websites above for schedules and information.

The benefits of transit include better mobility for residents, including those with disabilities, improved connectivity between Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek, reduced parking and environmental impacts, and – our major goal – reduced traffic congestion. The consultant estimates that the first phase of the plan will reduce the number of cars going through the Y by 500 a day on peak days, and on SR 179 by 200. If all four phases of the transit plan are implemented, the consultant projects a traffic reduction at the Y of 800 to 1,800 cars daily on peak days.

Next steps include identifying funding sources and further exploring necessary partnerships with other governmental entities including the counties, and state and federal governments.

I encourage you to read the consultant’s full transit implementation report at sedonaaz.gov/transit. There is still a great deal of study and discussion needed, but we are on a solid footing to have a data-based, meaningful community conversation about whether or not this transit vision can someday become reality in Sedona.

Here’s a quick update on a few other Sedona in Motion projects:

Uptown roadway improvements: Construction is set to begin after Memorial Day and completion is expected before spring 2020. I encourage you to visit sedonaaz.gov/simuptown to learn the details of this exciting project, which will improve both traffic flow and appearance of Uptown.

Y bypass lanes: This involves adding right-turn lanes to the Y roundabout to allow some vehicles to proceed without entering the roundabout. ADOT is the lead agency. Assuming design and right-of-way acquisition proceed as planned, construction is expected to begin in fiscal year 2021.

Pedestrian crossing near Tlaquepaque: Currently in the planning stage with about 70 percent of that work completed. This project proposes construction of a pedestrian bridge or tunnel, shared-use crossing at the creek bed, and/or improved pedestrian controls at SR 179 near the shopping area.

Bicycle and pedestrian improvements: A local consultant is working on designs for projects in several high priority areas, and we recently finished constructing a segment of shared use path at Sunset Park. We’re also working with ADOT to create green lanes – colored pavement within a bicycle lane to increase its visibility – on portions of State Route 89A in west Sedona.

Traveler information: We continue to work with ADOT to monitor and assess the impact of travel-time information signs on traffic congestion in Sedona. Interactive camera installations are in progress.

In closing, let me assure you that the city is committed to traffic improvements, and to supporting the health of our neighborhoods and businesses through the implementation of our Sedona in Motion projects. But you, too, have a responsibility: Show your support for these improvements, and take the time to study and understand the details so you can help the council make informed choices that move these projects forward.

Hyperlinks were edited by SedonaEye.com

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  1. McHarry, economics professional says:

    Just out. Best economy ever. Nobody intelligent will vote for Democrats. Lowest unemployment ever and zero inflation. Highest employment numbers for Hispanics and others ever with decent wages and benefits. People used to be delirious with 4.6% unemployment and it’s 3.4%. Thanks to Trump. Own it. Democrats what are you running against?

  2. Arielle Courdrey says:

    somebody named Geoff posted on a VOC site that we have the most incompetent personnel in almost every department and it continues to decline every day

    time for Sedona personnel to shape up, time for Yavapai & Coconino personnel to shape up

    thanks Geoff for having the guts to say it like it is

  3. The best your tax dollars can buy says:

    City manager making over $180,000, Assistant city manager making over $130,000, both get generous car and phone allowances. Car allowance $6000 a year for city manager and $5000 for Asst mgr. Sedona pays them six figure salaries and gold plated benefits. How does a month vacation and leave the first year of employment plus 8 Mondays off on a 4 day “work” week sound to you ?

    The city could eliminate both positions and no resident would notice !!!

  4. steve Segner says:

    So we should pay what $98,000 and get people with less skill and experience that can not afford to live in the Sedona area? Or we could pay even less and have a new city manager every 3 year as they look for better work.
    We have a great staff and just like a business we need to pay enough to keep them, it is a free market system good people cost more. Our city staff save us way more then we pay them every MONTH.
    You get what you pay for

  5. Alarmed says:

    The City Manager gets six months’ salary whether he is fired or resigns. His salary and benefits add up to $240,000.00 per year. Time to convince him he should resign and leave Sedona behind.

    BTW, the City’s SCHEDULE G “(Full-Time Employees and Personnel Compensation”) for the current fiscal year lists 145 “Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) 2019” employees. Their “Total Estimated Personnel Compensation 2019” is $13,154,250. This includes

    “Employee Salaries and Hourly Costs 2019” at $8,990,853
    “Retirement Costs 2019” at $1,813,522
    “Heathcare Costs 2019” at $1,627,300
    “Other Benefit Costs 2019” at $722,575

  6. Pierre says:

    Why is Steve Segnar in charge of Sedona tourism crowd control? Why is Steve Segnar in charge of a boutique hotel that should be condemned to allow Tlaquepaque parking space where it stands? To condemn his small building to provide parking for the biggest tourist attraction in all of Sedona is the right thing to do. If Sedona pays for top talent, what qualifications does Steve Segnar bring to the city hiring table with his lack of schooling and management experience? Very few of the sitting council has lofty city hirable qualifications.

  7. Alarmed (PS) says:

    As of June 30, 2018, the unfunded liability of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) was $4.5 Million. The City is liable for funding police retirement.

    The FY 2018-19 Annual Budget lists approximately $27.49 Million in outstanding bonds. The majority of bond issuances was for the construction of the sewer system. The FY 2019-20 annual budget is anticipated in late June, at which time the up-to-date amount of bonded indebtedness should be disclosed.

  8. Paul, REAL 2019 STATISTICS says:

    @Mayor Council Alarmed

    The national average? The unemployment rate in Sedona is 3.8%, which is 21.7% lower than the national average. The poverty rate in Sedona is <10% which is 37% lower than the national average. We don't need low income housing per the government guideline for municipal low housing requirements. Zillow and Realtor.com shows enough housing to accommodate twice the low income threshold required.

    The median Sedona household income is $58,417, which is 12% higher than the Arizona average and 3% higher than the national average. A salary of $98K is excessive based on averages.

  9. Hotel staff says says:

    Sedona just wants to encroach upon the VOC because you know the cash cow is in town now and you want those people dragged into in Sedona.
    Any car you park and shuttle will be replaced by another car.

    Face it. Sedona has screwed the pooch and once all the hotels go up in the VOC and all the restaurants open, people will avoid uptown Sedona like the plague.They already do.

    Did you know Marriott is going into business soon with short term rentals using Marriott points?Yeah, I can’t wait till they get a cut.
    So now Marriott has the west entrance in Sedona , the south entrance in the voc and soon short term rentals.

    That marketing money Sedona spent has sold the soul of Sedona and brought in all the big out of town corporations. All the money going out of town to the corporations. Sedona’s legacy is forged in downed trees, displaced homeowners and cement roads, washes and parking lots.
    A festering nightmare once called home.

  10. steve Segner says:

    ok find a place to live for under 1,700.00 am month. we lost over 400 units with SB 1350 and Air bnb , unemployment rate in Sedona is 3.8% you say actually we have over 400 open jobs but no place to live. Most city employees live out of area because of cost…….

  11. Paul, REAL 2019 STATISTICS says:

    @steve Segner Mayor Council Alarmed

    There are many places under $1700 a month because most people are single, singles living together, or loosely formed groups. Majority of homeowners renting offer plenty of civil living arrangements. All of you in the city are well aware of these arrangements and most of you (except one) own or have similar housing conditions.

    When 2 or more are paying rent, rent here is cheap and the majority of homes are superior rental value for received rent. Many a massage therapist, psychic healer, crystal reader, Tarot and tea leaf reader, nail technician, hairdresser, architect, civil engineer, vitamin seller, MLM buyer, auto mechanic, babysitter, dog walker, waitress, waiter, housekeeper, handyman, lawn maintenance, pet groomer, insurance sales, actor, screenwriter, retail clerk, cook, gardener, fiber artist, ceramic maker, potterer, painter, seamstress, and so on ad infinitum lives in 1/2 million dollar homes and more, the advantage of not being a tourist town is that multiple homes are second and third properties for their owners, and most provide private or semi private arrangements to keep homes occupied and additional income. None of the homes that I’m well aware of offer Airbnb because they keep their homes furnished with personal items; they look for and keep people who are honest and clean and trustworthy. The city’s staff and council has skewed the rental market.

    Stop advertising and it will right itself within one season. Prove me wrong by doing it. Let the Chamber fend for itself as it should, and let the lodging group fend for itself as it should, and let the new corporations that came to town pay enough to employees that the 15 minute free bus ride from Cottonwood or Camp Verde or Clarkdale or elsewhere is less expensive than the cars they drive now. Because almost every single one of those lower income (not low) drives a car, puts gas in its tank, buys groceries, etc. The food bank complains they can’t give away food because too few people want or need it. The JCSVV and Episcopal church feed social groups, people who want to eat with friends once a week. Sedona has always had social nets. It still does.

    Tell the city to stay in city hall issuing permits and collecting sewer fees. They do little else well, including maintaining a wastewater treatment system for all. Now I’m done on this pulpit and leave it to others.

  12. DK says:

    City needs to get this litter problem under control from tourists. Its ruining residents quality of life and our trails and views. Parks & Rec needs to pick up trash in the parks fields and paths because its part of their job to provide safe clean fields and activities or should be every day and with scoops for poop too. Instead of sitting around in an office all day let’s see some exercise outdoors while at work. Can’t keep relying on a few good sams volunteers to do jobs and I observe a lot of inactivity when avoiding to handle necessary work. I’ve said it before and its now said publicly. Thank you.

  13. Bad energy says:

    The psychics and healers are leaving, all the trash and traffic causes bad energy and is not conductive to healing. Resident count has dropped 10% and is still dropping. Soon our once beautiful Sedona will be nothing but tourists and trash.

    Good job council.

  14. Bruce says:

    Anytime someone mentions Sedona I just look at them sideways and say, “Sedona? Never heard of it.”

  15. 4Coyotes says:

    Let’s be clear that we avoid recreating where we work like most people (multiple names removed by editor). We see red rocks ALL DAY LONG and don’t want or need them after work and a few of us like hearing desert nights and seeing miles of open desert during days off at home or like living in a cooler climate north that Sedona doesn’t offer are all easy access.

  16. Marv, Sedona says:

    IMO bad energy emanates from City Hall staff, council and mostly that ill conceived controlling force of incorporated Sedona, the Regional Chamber of Commerce. Over-hyped & over-funded & mostly delegated undue power. Why has that been allowed to happen, AZ State Attorney General? Misappropriated funds? Gifts? How about the property the Chamber purchased Uptown with public money? Don’t they still hold title to that? !!!!!GIFT!!!!

  17. Marlene says:

    @Bruce@851AM@Sedona? Thank you for the laughs because it reminded me of a trip to Phoenix and I was paying for a purchase in a famous mall. The woman asked for my zip code with the credit card I offered and asked me where it was from and I said Sedona. She replied what state is that in? I said it’s two hours north. She said north of where? These people propagate as my mama used to warn me about bringing them home to meet the parents. She’s long gone but I know what you mean Mama. Happy Mother’s Day. Happy that I brought home a rocket scientist and produced a few more.

  18. Lori says:

    @hotel staff same here

  19. Cliff says:

    @stevesegner & council & staff & residents

    You ought to know the stats you try to manipulate.

    The city has been losing residents because of bad policy, and real estate agents are wary of selling anything in a municipality that doesn’t know its residents value and who choose not to honor P&Z and codes proven to protect the city income at a sustainable pace of growth.

    City councils are concerned that Whole Foods may consider packing up and leaving, CVS & Walgreens as well. But the issue is when they do, not if they will, how the city is positioned to absorb their loss and now, absorption is not problematic. The CVS building was held to strict building codes as was Mariposa which will hold its city area resale value. Whole Foods modernization of its building will allow a new supermarket to easily resume service even if on a smaller scale, Walgreens building can be replaced for its land which holds west Sedona resale value.

    There is no downside of services if any of those retailers pull out unless the city “builds to keep” unneeded low income targeted government controlled housing and draws a different demographic that adversely impacts tourism and residents. The Sedona employee and resident draw is based on “self motivation”, not “artificially induced demographic diversity economics”. Induced economics has always met with failure as in Reno NV, a city whose government walked and talked the same as Sedona staff and councils do now.

    Right now there are no “pockets of fear” as is euphemistically said, no trails that are targeted by gangs or have become hangouts for druggies in its caves and mountain ledges, and housing rental projects of those who chose unemployment rather than seek it.

    If you chase away the middle class travelers and the high end spenders then jobs will disappear and “pockets of fear” will drive the Sedona safety net to another town. There is no shame in being a highly educated (66% with some college or more, 81% with high school degree or more) city that values itself and its residents and that has a high standard of living and protects its assets, the limited views of red rocks. It’s difficult being best, it’s easy being less than best.

    In an aside, there are plenty of “off the books” long term rentals. The Sedona political conversation is not its economic reality, it is induced economics by a small cadre of residents wanting to benefit from government programs.

    Programs that must be manipulated to be relevant are not a Sedona conversation, they fail the litmus test of need. The super majority of our residents own, a healthy percentage rent. Leave the working system be. Government never improves, it speeds decline.

    Sedona Real Estate

    Median Home Value
    $446,900 National $184,700

    Median Rent
    $1,206 National $949

    Area Feel Based on the population density of the area.

    Rent vs. Own

    Rent 27% Own 73%

  20. Bang your heads together says:

    Sandy and Randy

  21. Get This says:

    What a sick joke. The Mayor wants us to help the council make informed choices (see last sentence). Since when does the useless City Council listen to concerned citizens? Valued instead is the input of the incompetent City management staff and that of self-serving Jen and Steve.

    The National Citizen Survey “Sedona, AZ Community Livability Report 2017” found 57 percent of residents were opposed to growth in “Tourism (i.e., hotels, restaurants).” Traffic congested Sedona has new hotels and restaurants anyway, and more are proposed.

    Under GOVERNANCE the following 5 out of 9 comparisons lagged below the nation benchmark: Overall direction; Confidence in City government; Acting in the best interest of Sedona; Being honest; and Treating all residents fairly.

    The Mayor, City Council, and City management staff continue to ignore this National Citizen Survey information that City Hall paid big $$$$ for. Meanwhile, the greedheads at the Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council spend City taxpayer money to harm Sedona’s livability and quality of life.

  22. Faith says:

    Our business uses statistics showing Sedona has only 5% population without a high school degree or better.

  23. Stunned Stella says:

    @Faith “Sedona has only 5% population without a high school degree or better.”?

    Wow! And that’s a direct reflection on the outcome of the last Sedona election? So much for education!

  24. Why stunned? says:

    Sedona also had a large liberal and Democrat voter base. They vote with their feelings and not with their logic. Wait, never mind, you can’t have logic and be a liberal. Soon Sedona will provide more low income housing, homeless amenities and will become like San Francisco where there is poop and needles on the streets.

  25. Get Real says:

    Sedona has a large voter base consisting of City Hall cronies (Chamber, Lodging Council, etc.) as well as money-grubbers who receive small grants from the City. Individual small grant amounts typically range from $2,000 to $20,000.

    Recipients of City Hall giveaways and their members influence the outcome of Sedona elections in their favor.

  26. Alan, west Sedona says:

    I read the comment about Twombly and ran a search and read a few of his powerful letters. This one impressed me for his foresight.


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