Chamber has sights set on mitigating traffic


June 1, 2018

With Memorial Day a fresh memory and the 4th of July on the horizon, I’m reminded of those hectic summer nights at my first job in Sedona, busing tables at the Hideaway Restaurant back in 1984. Even then, busy summer traffic was a problem.

But getting caught in traffic today can take some of the joy out of living in the world’s most beautiful place. I’ve heard about it all over town. As Chair of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau Board of Directors, I can tell you that all of us who have businesses in the city, employ Sedona residents and have kids in Sedona schools feel the same way. That’s why the Chamber is getting even more involved in the community-wide move to aggressively address our traffic issues even as we review new ways to manage tourism sustainably.

As you probably know, after many listening sessions throughout the community, the City Council approved a transportation plan that starts construction this year, partially funded by a .5 percent sales tax increase. Relief can’t come soon enough! I’m looking forward to additional lanes at SR 89A and SR 179 at the ‘Y’ to allow right-turning vehicles through the roundabout without yielding; an Uptown median that includes a roundabout at Jordan Road, and a new connection from Forest Road to SR 89A near the Post Office.

Our members and their employees are out there in traffic every day, too, and after listening to Council share concerns about how marketing Sedona as a tourist destination contributes to traffic snarls and quality of life issues, we decided the Chamber could have an even more positive contribution.

First, we decided to ask for no additional marketing money when the Council approves the budget later this month, even though an increase is scheduled. Instead, we’re asking Council to use any increase due to tourism promotion to help pay for those transportation projects. That’s an extra $268,900 for traffic improvements. In fact, we will invest more tourism funds into improving our community than we will spend on outside marketing next year. Look for more details about that in coming weeks.

Second, the Chamber is developing enlightened ways to manage the visitor experience, even enlisting visitors to practice sustainable tourism and help us preserve our incredible environment. You will be hearing more in coming weeks about how our sustainable tourism project is going; we are working closely with ASU on a plan we think will be a national tourism model. It’s going to be very exciting!

Third, we crafted a new mission statement as a beacon for this Board and all Chamber members. The statement reflects our resolve to listen to our entire community, continue to build a healthy local economy and manage tourism sustainably.
Our new mission:  To serve Sedona by making it the best place to live, work, play and visit.

These actions represent a new mission and a new way of being effective for all of Sedona. The Board, staff and I will be very active keeping you up to date and I look forward to hearing from you. Please send me your views at

lonnie-lillie-2015-blog–Lonnie Lillie,

Chair of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau Board of Directors







Listen to what Lonnie Lillie says about mitigating traffic: