Fri, July 19

Mixed bag of results on VOC traffic survey; alternate route

Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Randy Garrison. Courtesy photo

Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Randy Garrison. Courtesy photo

I want to give a big “Thank You” to everyone who participated in the Village of Oak Creek and Upper/Lower Loop Road Alternative Route Survey and also personally apologize for any confusion and stress it caused for some recipients.

For the past three years I have not attended a meeting in Big Park without being asked the question “when are WE going to work on an alternate route?” Or more pointedly, “when are YOU going to build us a bridge?”

The only way Yavapai County can gain financial support from any of our government partners is to show not only broad community support, but a specific community-supported plan or route.

This survey was intended to determine whether an alternate route was of community interest or not, and if so, was there enough support to move forward with studying options for an acceptable route?

This survey was never connected to a Red Rock Crossing bridge. Unfortunately, that point was slanted by individuals within our community that continued to push a Red Rock Crossing agenda (pro or con), regardless of time spent in front of the public trying to justify the positive impacts that might be gained through a localized corridor study.

The survey results and community comments clearly show there are legitimate and growing concerns with our general traffic issues, and the effects that they continue to have on our quality of life.

However, the survey also showed there is very little local support to fund this type of solution.

Without a strong commitment and cohesive community interest, we have no chance of success in moving this study forward. Given the responses from this survey and conversations with county staff and community members, we will not be pursuing further discussions related to an alternate route study.

On the plus side, we sent out a total of 6,240 surveys and received back 2,488, an astounding level of interest. Yavapai County holds the state record for voter participation, so we tend to experience greater than average turnout, but this response sets a new bar for community engagement.

Not only did you take the time to complete our survey, but many of you also committed to sharing your concerns directly to us. While we may not have directly responded to every submission, I can guarantee we read each one, and those comments are taken into consideration in our decisions.

When you speak, I want you to know we listen.

Where do we go from here? We will continue to work with our federal representatives, ADOT, and every municipality across the Verde Valley to find solutions to our transportation issues.

This is a growing problem and there will be no easy answers, but if we can find some common ground and work together, we might surprise ourselves with the results.

Respondents reported by a large margin (69% percent to 20 percent) that traffic congestion is a serious problem in the areas of the Village of Oak Creek/Big Park and Sedona.

The support for an alternate route was less (59 percent to 27 percent).

An alternate route was believed to improve access to local businesses and entertainment, transit time to schools, medical and other appointments, improve public safety, fire and medical response times, and reduce traffic congestion on Hwy 179 on average (50 percent to 29 percent).

Of the total survey respondents, only 31 percent support increased taxes to fund an additional connection between the communities.

Quite a few unsolicited comments were received along with completed surveys, many with strong views of opposition, due to a perceived potential of direct impact of a connection in the vicinity of their property.

There were no specific transportation corridor alternatives considered or evaluated as part of this survey.