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Soldiers Pass Road Hazards Still Ignored as City Caters to Tourists

Sedona AZ – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

My first published letter (SedonaEye.com/Sedona-city-manager-ignoring-parking-hazard/) submitted about Soldiers Pass needs some clarification. This roadway is unsafe as the last message explained – and as has been testified to by intelligent commentary – and especially in detailed experiences reported by residents often using this road to access town.

From the view of an engineering professional in the highways and road building design and construction standpoint, the hazard on Soldier Pass consists of parking cars too far into and on the paving and, in too many cases, closing off one of the two traffic lanes completely. There are almost no shoulders, trees growing up too close to the paving surface, traffic often exceeding the 25mph posted speed limit, poor to very poor line of sight, far too many parked cars every day (the count running almost as much as into the 90 to 100 range, almost all of them in a reach of less than a mile or a mile and a half).

The city’s claim that the road meets safe standards can only be a mistake by them. It just ain’t so. Nor did just about all of the 20 or so comments the (first) letter drew agree that it was safe.

In the reaction by comments to the first letter on this road hazard, there were no worthwhile engineering nor any intelligent comments offered to oppose the need for corrective steps to make Soldiers Pass safe. And not potentially deadly.

The hazardous situation has not changed. But my understanding why the city doesn’t take steps to rid the roadway of these hazards has improved. It is significant that there has yet to be stated any justification for inaction by the city.

This change in understanding the “why” results from a good enlightening visit with Robert Welch, a PE and Associate Engineer at Public Works in Sedona city hall. We are fortunate to employ him. Bob is an asset.

Here is what I now better understand about why Soldiers Pass road remains with no city action to make Soldier Pass safe:

The overriding situation is that tourists and residents want to hike the nearby Soldier Pass forest trail. Both have that right. But there’s not anywhere enough forest land parking available at the trail head – so parking is done along nearby Soldiers Pass road with hikers walking to the trail head. Cooperation from the USFS for providing more parking at the trail head is not there.

Another factor is the Sedona population consisting of both retired folks and those residents committed to serve the tourist. With this in mind, it is easy to understand city manager Justin Clifton reluctant stance not to close down all parking along Soldiers Pass as I last suggested with no parking signs and police patrolling to cite violators. If he did, the uproar would be deafening from a good number of citizens.

This dilemma will remain as will the hazard of driving on Soldiers Pass. With no corrective action being taken, is it necessary that someone becomes maimed or killed before action to rid the hazards is taken.

City hall best take action because after (not if) a tragedy happens to some innocent person, the likelihood of a sizeable monetary claim to follow is very much more than a possibility. With all the evidence now accumulating along with professional opinion the persuasiveness of the city case is about a zilch.

It is time to act. Being just lucky is not a good city policy. Nor is having someone killed on our streets.

John Roberts
Sedona AZ 86336

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  1. Lila, west Sedona says:

    Mr. Roberts this was an interesting letter to the editor, and I am sharing it widely with friends here. Its welcome to know insiders views. God Bless and have a Happy Easter.

  2. Doug says:

    people organizing on FB join in

  3. Jean, VOC says:

    There’s nothing wrong with the road capacity that stopping advertising for tourists won’t fix. Tourism is wanted by a small group of businessmen and developers but it doesn’t do anything to improve Sedona cachet. That’s what our politicians are to protect, our cachet.

    People don’t elect politicians to be marketeers or advertising agencies. They elect politicians to do the grunt work of keeping their quality of life better.

  4. Steve Segner says:

    Jean, VOC says:People don’t elect politicians to be marketeers or advertising agencies. They elect politicians to do the grunt work of keeping their quality of life better.
    Sedona is a tourist town all ways has been, we have 8000+part time residents 10,000 people that work in Sedona and 20,000+ the visit everyday and you think it all about your travel time to Bashes… and you do not even live in Sedona. The city council works for balance Sedona will grow, So will the village traffic will also grow.

  5. Dan Massey says:

    ADOT can put up a sign prior to exiting on SR 179 that shows how long it will take to reach the Y. It’s done all the time around the state. On weekends put the signs into use on both sides of the interstate so people can decide whether to exit on SR 179 or continue traveling North or South. Seems city of Sedona politicians know about this but since many own businesses dependent on tourists, don’t want to tell people how long it will take to get to Sedona. Keep Sedona Beautiful and Sierra Club have to come together and demand this like the Grand Canyon and other areas do to prevent idling cars and smog. Our AQI is being diminished. Our carbon footprint is being wrecked havoc with and it’s time to stop this.

  6. Jim, Uptown says:

    Intelligent attitude, thanks for sharing. Let’s see this done City Council. Residents need to demand it. Resorts need to demand it. Visitor numbers suffering at high end resorts because low income travelers clogging roads and access. People with the money Sedona needs to survive to keep the galleries in business are beginning to spend it at other prettier less congested places. People with money don’t sit in traffic because they are escaping congestion. People are lucky to live here and stay home during peak tourist times because we live here for the peace and quiet. Get it? It’s not rocket science except to city hall with its bloated administration. Rein it in, city council.

  7. Rita Evans says:

    FB is the only place that actually attempt to make a REAL difference.
    Plus people have courage and thier true identys are known. (deleted by editor)

  8. Sedona Sam says:

    A huge problem with FaceBook @Rita Evans is too many people actually believe everything they read there. No specified sources, no verification, in most cases it’s just peoples’ opinions – but unfortunately not so specified.

    There’s risk at doing stuff like that on Facebook, because it might lead to perpetuating libelous information. Check with an attorney if you don’t believe it. Is it worth it? Opinions do count and so do facts.

    Learn to appreciate both @Rita Evans not really.

  9. Rita Evan says:


    Thanks Sam.. But I’ll stick with people not afraid to use thier real names. What non factual about a signing campaign voiceing a stance agaisnt say the housing project off Andante Drive.

    If you are stating facts and and not attacking people use your real name.. Take a stand do something that actually makes a difference besides attacking and complaining . The latter is what I find here and not on Facebook.

  10. Bill, VOC says:

    Rita Evan or Rita Evans not to worry. It’s all in a name you say, and yours is fake.

  11. Rita Evans says:

    @Bill VOC
    Oh excuse me Bill. I left off the S. (deleted by editor)

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