How did Scottsdale learn it was on the wrong path to control vehicle traffic in residential areas? It took a long battle over a short stretch of road.
City transportation officials currently are working on a Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan. This is the first time Scottsdale has formally set forth policies, procedures and standards for how to control a road that sees excessive speeders or cut-through traffic.
A draft has been composed, and the public now is being invited to comment. The plan will go before the Transportation Commission later this year, and will be finalized and adopted in mid-2007, if all goes according to schedule.
The need for such a document, explained traffic engineering director Paul Porell, emerged two years ago during an ugly fight over Mountain View Road between 96th and 112th streets. When the city found itself caught between the conflicting demands of squabbling neighborhoods, officials realized their emphasis on consensus could be counterproductive.
“It just was not a fun time,” Porell recalled. “It kind of taught us that we have to be very careful when dealing with homeowners associations.”
The saga also taught officials sometimes they needed to act decisively, and not let outside interests have too much say.
To that end, the neighborhood traffic plan changes some standards for community input, such as petitions. In the past, at least 65 percent of affected homeowners had to sign off before the city proceeded with traffic calming projects, such as medians and roundabouts. Now, residents can choose to conduct neighborhood meetings rather than collect signatures.
“It adds flexibility, where appropriate,” Porell said. “And it adds some specificity, where that’s appropriate, in terms of what streets would be eligible.”
The draft contains clear guidelines for determining which streets are good candidates for traffic calming. Before, Porell said, the city made that determination after dumping a list of factors into a complex spreadsheet. Already, the city’s draft has received some feedback. One resident noted a big oversight — there was no way to ask for the removal of a traffic calming device.
For further information, view the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan at