More arguments are taking shape over the possibility of light rail in Scottsdale.
A Scottsdale city councilman believes controlling growth, not laying tracks, can solve the city’s choking gridlock.
But the local chamber of commerce’s leader says growth is coming no matter what the city does, so Scottsdale must accept mass transit in one form or another.
Not for months will it be decided whether light rail, streetcars or buses will carry passengers along Scottsdale Road. High-capacity transit is just one part of the Master Transportation Plan, which will go before the City Council for approval sometime next summer.
But people aren’t waiting to make their cases.
During a forum on Friday, the issue was framed as whose vision of Scottsdale should prevail. Councilman Bob Littlefield said backers of light rail see Scottsdale as a catalyst for urban living.
“If you’re concerned about congestion, (light rail) is the last thing you want,” Littlefield told the Scottsdale Community Council.
Littlefield said light rail brings about a population movement into taller buildings of higher population density. That’s what’s happening in downtown Scottsdale, even without rail, to Littlefield’s dismay.
“I am not in favor of turning Scottsdale into Tempe or downtown Phoenix,” he said.
Those cities will be connected by light rail once a 20-mile line, which also goes to Mesa, starts service in December 2008.
On the other side was Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce president Rick Kidder, who stated “the donothing option really doesn’t work.”
The reason why, Kidder explained, won’t be found in Scottsdale. Instead, he advised looking toward north Phoenix and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, both bordering the city. That’s where there soon will be massive development, in the Desert Ridge masterplanned community and along Loop 101 east of Scottsdale.
“These are situations out of our control,” Kidder said.
Kidder added that he is not an advocate for light rail. Rather, “we are advocating transit.” However, in the past Kidder has said the chamber would like to see light rail eventually extending to Scottsdale Airpark.