Do what’s already on the books. Do a little more than planned. Or go for a massive and costly expansion of Scottsdale’s transportation system over the next two decades.
Those are the three options that emerged from a three day public-private workshop at Scottsdale Community College, that ended Wednesday night, intended to shape the city’s yet-to-be crafted master transportation plan.
Regardless what direction the city ultimately takes, traffic congestion will continue and the level of service on Scottsdale’s roads will continue to decline due to growth and development, said Charles Hales, the lead transportation consultant hired by the city.
“We’re not proposing anything. We’re testing ideas. We’re not advocating one way or another,” Hales said on the last day of the workshop.
Hales’ company, Nebraskabased HDR, is overseeing the planning process.
Among the most dramatic and expensive ideas:
• Creation of a third main arterial route running north to south through the entire length of the city or vastly upgrading Hayden Road.
• Building two underground traffic tunnels at the Scottsdale Airpark to reroute heavy traffic volumes in that area.
• Expanding bus and public transit services, upgrading and widening roads throughout the city, adding more multiuse paths, and eliminating all traffic in downtown Scottsdale except for pedestrians and public transit.
“I would love to see most of this come to pass,” said resident Rita Saunders-Hawranek. “It would be great if we could get more people out of their cars.”
A former senior transit planner for Los Angeles County, Saunders-Hawranek attended the workshop and is part of the informal citizens working group helping to develop the plan.
Saunders-Hawranek said she thinks the suggested public transit options would work except for eliminating vehicles in downtown Scottsdale.
“It is a great idea but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Where are you going to create a bypass? We don’t have adjacent north-south areas that would work as an outflow (for traffic),” she said.
Hales said his firm is slated to conduct an analysis over the next several months of the alternatives. Through that analysis, transit engineers will know by this fall the extent to which traffic congestion will delay travel time, Hales said.
Because the planning process is still in its preliminary stages, price tags for the alternatives have yet to be calculated, said Leslie Dornfield, HDR community planning manager.
More public sessions over the transportation plan are slated to be held this fall when the analysis is finished.
The final plan is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months.