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Finley is not swayed by recent Voice of Choice report
A monthly column by former Sedona Mayor Ivan Finley

Ivan FinleyThe Voice of Choice engineering report is out!

In my review of this 35 page document, I find nothing new that would make me change my mind on how SR 179 should be improved.

In fact the opposite is true, I find in their report many items that solidify my opinions.

A quick review of the facts:

Highway 179 from Interstate I-17 to the Wye at Sedona is 14.49 miles. The ADOT plan starts the improvements 5.58 miles from I-17. That 5.58 remains a two-lane, unimproved road.

Of the 8.9 miles to be improved, there are 3.47 miles in Yavapai County and 1.5 miles in Coconino County up to the City Limits of Sedona.

There will be improvements to 3.94 miles of SR 179 within the city limits of Sedona. That 3.94 miles is the only section of SR 179 that the City of Sedona has any say so in.

It appears that the Voice of Choice is trying to redesign the whole 8.91 miles, denying the fact that Yavapai County, Coconino County and The Village of Oak Creek have already endorsed the ADOT plan.

The Voice of Choice report says, “ADOT’s Plan C, favors rural sprawl over compact development.” Every piece of private property is already known along SR 179, and two, three, four or five lanes does not affect how that private property is developed.

The VOC report says, “ADOT’s plan encouraged strip zoning and commercial development.” The zoning on every piece of private property is already in place. Two, three, four or five lanes make no difference in zoning.

Any property owner can ask for a zone change, even if the property is served by only a cow path. Lanes do not make a difference.

The report states, “Voice of Choice should reduce its efforts to challenge traffic data because: the most recent ADOT update is a good-faith upgrading of information.”

The Voice of Choice report also says, “Another major element, only now beginning to surface, is the possibility of a parallel scenic, low-speed road in the National Forest.”

WHERE DID THIS ONE COME FROM? Another two-lane road in the national forest. How can the Voice of Choice, with all their arguments against removal of trees and destroying the beauty, support this concept.

The report also shows no bicycle paths along any of the road. ADOT plans have sidewalks and shoulders wide enough for bicycle traffic.

The Voice of Choice report speaks in several places to a high speed 4 to 5 lane highway. The ADOT plan is not for a high-speed highway, but is designed for a 37 mile per hour speed. The speed limit within Sedona will probably be 30 mph. The 37 mph design speed means fewer cuts and allows curves. It can in no way be compared to Highway 89A between Sedona and Cottonwood where the design speed is 65 mph.

The lower-speed design does affect the need for sound walls. The number of lanes does not reflect the need for sound walls, but the sound coming from traffic is the criteria that determines the need for sound walls. If Federal dollars are used to develop this road, then sound walls have to be considered whether it is two, three, four, or five lanes. If an area is determined to qualify for sound walls, the homeowners have the choice of turning them down.

The Voice of Choice report states that the ADOT plan did not consider a two-lane improved road. ADOT, in 1992-1993, did consider the two-lane concept but dropped it because the road had already exceeded the traffic that a two-lane road could handle. So with the update in 1995 they had already eliminated the possibility of an improved two-lane road.

Their report states: “Numerous arguments can be made for making the SR 179 corridor into one of the premier examples of context-sensitive design in the United States.” ADOT has already promised that in the final design (a phase which has yet to begin), that this will be done. The number of lanes does not affect the ability to design with pavement material, colors, aggregate, landscaping, or any other esthetic enhancements.

Forget the emotional involvement and concentrate on the fact that this roadway has been neglected for more than 40 years and must meet the needs of the community, today and 20 years in the future.

THERE WILL BE AN ELECTION ON MARCH 12, 2002:

Be sure that you are registered to vote. If you have moved to a new house, new address or had a name change, you need to re-register.

THIS ELECTION WILL BE OUR FIRST TO BE CONDUCTED TOTALLY BY MAIL. It is extremely important for you to look for a card sent out by the City of Sedona to check the validity of your registration. Failure to return this VERY IMPORTANT CARD, could result in you not receiving a mail-in ballot.

This election is really important, we will be electing three Sedona City Council persons. At this time, seven people have picked up packets.

Also on the ballot will be the opportunity to support the completion of the “Recreational Activity Center” at the Posse Grounds. This has been in the planning stages for more than 10 years. A “yes” vote on this funding issue will move Sedona years ahead into the future.

“TIS” THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY, GENEROUS AND
CONSIDERATE, PLEASE SEND WHAT YOU CAN TO THOSE IN NEED:

The Sedona Humane Society

The Boys and Girls Club

The Salivation Army

The Food Bank

The Verde Valley Sanctuary

The United Way

The Adult Community Center

Rainbow Acres

Or Any One Else Whom You Know Is In Need

Thelma and I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone,
visitors and residents alike, a very Happy and Joyous Holiday.

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