We just got back from a few days break in Santa Fe, New Mexico; it had been about 30 years since my last visit and the changes were amazing, a little like the changes in Sedona. In my memory, the entry into Santa Fe down Cerrillos Road had been a bit like Route 66 in East Flagstaff, old motels and gas stations from the 1950s and 60s without much charm. Now the old buildings have been torn down or heavily remodeled, rather like Sedona’s El Bravo saloon being transformed into The Heartline Café or The Wrenwood Tavern and mobile home park being reborn as Vino di Sedona and the A&W becoming Los Rosales.
Another similarity was the residents’ concern with the extra traffic that resort popularity brings. In Santa Fe they have a new by-pass road to alleviate matters, large, new arterial roads and an elaborate one way system close to the historic Plaza. Here in Sedona I was pleased to read recently that we have a plan in place and new traffic patterns and solutions for Uptown have received conditional approval from City Council. I also read with interest the idea that the traffic problem can be laid at the feet of The Chamber of Commerce for bringing visitors here, but personally I think that’s “a red herring” and here’s why.
For at least the past decade, the US has been undergoing a dramatic demographic change as people move from the “rust belt” to the “sun belt” and they are coming here for the exact same reasons that brought you and I, a better lifestyle. I remember when I moved here in 1980 that the population of our state was 2M and now we are the fourteenth largest state in the Union with over 6M inhabitants! That trend will continue as jobs and opportunities in 21st century industries move to the Southwest and manufacturing in metal-bashing factories dries up.
In many ways, other than growing pains, we are blessed. Like Santa Fe we have a tourist and art based economy that generates lots of revenues to support services that benefit us all such as superior educational infrastructure, cultural institutions, first-rate emergency services, recreational opportunities and the priceless intangibles such as clean air, friendly neighbors, low crime etc.; all this with traffic being about the only downside.
Having emigrated here from the UK, and knowing a thing or two about roundabouts, I have a simple suggestion here also – we could do a better job of educating drivers in best practices such as using your turn signal as you approach your exit, not stopping in the roundabout and blocking circulation or build dedicated slip roads alongside congested roundabouts to let vehicles go on their way without entering it; think of the Happy Valley / I 17 intersection.
This month’s article was written by Andrew Brearley…..