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Ivan Finley, Sedona's Former Mayor: "Calls It As He Sees It!"
A Monthly Feature of the Red Rock Review

NOT HIGHWAY 179 AGAIN...YES...YES
by Ivan Finley

In early 2000, the Sedona City Council amended resolution 99-12 to read in part.

"The City of Sedona through its Mayor and the City Council, does hereby convey to the Arizona Department of Transportation, its concerns regarding the roadway improvements to State Route 179. It is imperative that improved safety and traffic flow be attained while maintaining Sedona's small town character and scenic beauty with a minimum of impact on adjacent businesses and residences.The Arizona Department of Transportation by working with the community can help us with environmental sensitive solutions that will allow us to continue with our quality of life and still resolve transportation issues within the Sedona City Limits."

Every person at ADOT has indicated that they will continue to do that. The roadway plan has yet to be let out for final design, but the concessions that have bee made are all in Sedona’s favor.

The design speed has been reduced, eliminating over 1,300 feet of walls.  Remember there are two kind of walls - those necessary to hold the roadway in and banks out, and sound walls. The lower speed design results in less “cut and fill,” lowering the heights of walls and the amount of vegetation to be removed.

Sound walls are dictated by the Federal Highway Department for the protection of Sedona Citizens against traffic noise. ADOT has no choice in the matter. The only  choice is by the residents affected.  They can elect not to have sound walls.

The roadway width has been reduced. Inside the city limits there will be curbs, which eliminates the need to remove vegetation outside the defined roadway. Shoulders will be wide enough for pedestrian traffic, and in the business areas there will be sidewalks.

The City of Sedona has already started the process necessary to include the Ranger Road by-pass, when ADOT gets to that point. And they have promised that it will be considered.  That will eliminate the congestion at the Wye.  Even ADOT's preliminary design at the Wye effectively would have eliminated the congestion.

The City of Sedona has decided that the alternative of a turn back of SR179 was not in the best interest of the city. It would have created more problems that it solved.

The Voice of Choice has continued their opposition to the design. They showed up in mass at a recent meeting of the State Transportation Board, in Flagstaff. The same people said the same things to Board members- in effect, “build it our way or don't build it at all.”

This meeting was open to all areas of the Sate of Arizona, and people came from all over praising ADOT for what they have done in their areas and asking ADOT to come back and do more.  The Mayor of Camp Verde, Barbara Miller asked ADOT: if Sedona doesn't want the money for SR179, why don't they spend it widening SR260?  Every area of the state wants it if Sedona doesn't.

Long-time Sedona citizen Joe Tabback has formed a loose-knit coalition of support for the City of Sedona and ADOT to get on with the final design and build it.  He has the support of the medical community, the fire department, both county sheriff deputies, the school bus company and the drivers, Village of Oak Creek Council, the Realtor's association, members of the Board of Citizens For an Alternate Route, the men’s Republican Club and many, many more.

I am including with this article two pictures from a book put out by the US Department of Transportation.

The color photo shows an urban street, with visual appeal created by adding trees and flowers in the medians and roadway edges. This could be the look inside the city limits.

The black and white picture is of US Route 101 in Oregon, a divided roadway with vegetation left along the side and planted in the median. This roadway is over 50 miles long and elevates from near sea level to over 1,000 feet above the ocean. It passes through a variety of urban, suburban and rural landscapes. This route is considered to be one of the most scenic highways in the United States. A similar roadway would not hurt the Red Rocks, it would enhance them.

Please do not let scare tactics and rumors influence your thinking. We need your help in getting a safely designed roadway from I-17 to Sedona.

Let your voice be heard. Please attend the City Council meeting on May 22nd at City Hall, where the consultants hired by ADOT and the City will make a report to the City Council regarding SR179.

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