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Wood: With multifamily pipeline primed Scottsdale should be widening roads — not shrinking them

Photo of Scottsdale resident Susan Wood who is discussing roadway sizes
Susan Wood, above, is speaking out on the idea of applying a road diet to local Scottsdale streets and the potential long-term impacts those decisions could have. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)
By Susan Wood | Digital Free Press

The controversial 68th Street road diet was approved by the City Council on March 21 with an estimated cost $1.9 million to reconfigure a 1-mile stretch of road, the city is signaling that it’s only the beginning of an aggressive agenda to eliminate car lanes and narrow roads across Scottsdale.

City staff have embraced federal transportation nomenclature, describing these expensive and divisive roads as “complete streets.”

With over 4,000 new apartments in the pipeline for construction in downtown, the city should be expanding roads, not narrowing them. 68th Street is not a neighborhood street, it’s a collector street that connects Tempe and Scottsdale.

City staff have said the project is meant to divert traffic to other parts of congested downtown Scottsdale. Traffic in the downtown area is already congested, and 68th Street is used by drivers to bypass traffic on Scottsdale Road.

As the city pursues road diets on additional streets, driving will become more difficult and unpleasant — not as an unintended consequence but as the ultimate goal. Road diets are, in my opinion, intended to make driving so miserable that more people will give up their cars, and ride the bus or demand they build light rail in Scottsdale.

With more than half of the population of Scottsdale over 55 years old, it is unlikely residents are going to walk to a bus, or ride a bike in 110 degrees. According to the Maricopa Association of Governments bikeways map, Scottsdale has one of the best bike path systems in all of the Valley.

A 2022 Survey conducted by Statista’s Global Consumer Survey, reports that 76% of American commuters use their own car to move between home and work. Meanwhile, only 11% use public transportation and 10% ride their bike.
The bicycle lobby hoodwinked City Council by sending a few of their members to speak at the City Council meeting. Here is a link to their blog, celebrating the City Council’s vote.

We must bring sanity back to City Hall. Stop spending time and money on projects that will hurt our quality of life, in an effort to satisfy the bicycle lobby and climate change advocates.

Editor’s note: Ms. Wood is a resident of Scottsdale and community advocate

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