Can you feel the pace of change accelerating?



November 8, 2019


verde-lynxThe Sedona City Council recently chose to move forward with a Forest Road connector, the latest sign that good things are happening. Design work starts immediately. When complete, Forest Road will morph from a dead end to a much-needed alternative to SR 89A for getting in and out of Uptown. We know this was a difficult decision for our City Council as it will have a negative impact to some residents along that road, but the greater benefit to the entire uptown community outweighed the tradeoff in this scenario.

Also, in October the City of Sedona, in cooperation with the City of Cottonwood and the Sedona Chamber, announced a major expansion of the Verde Lynx shuttle service. This is a big deal.

Running seven-days-a-week, for years Lynx has been an alternative to driving from Cottonwood. With stops at 15 Sedona hot spots, it is attractive to visitors and residents, too. The announcement that Lynx is starting earlier and running much later expands everyone’s horizons.

Inbound commuters can catch a shuttle from Cottonwood every 45 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. After that, Lynx runs every 90 minutes until 10:30 p.m., when the last shuttle leaves the Sedona municipal parking lot for the Cottonwood Library.  Weekend service is expanded, too, running every 90 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

More people in Cottonwood/Clarkdale can now consider taking jobs in Sedona, knowing they can get back and forth on Lynx, even if they have variable schedules that include weekends. Their employers don’t have to worry about employee parking. The result is less traffic and lower demand for always-precious parking spots.

The expansion is good news for Sedonans and visitors, too, making it easier to decide to ditch our cars and enjoy a stress-free trip to work, shopping, galleries or evening entertainment. The 15 Sedona stops are near employment and entertainment centers in West Sedona and Uptown as well as along SR 179 down to the Poco Diablo Resort. You will get exactly (or very close) to where you are going, and the service still costs just $1 per person per ride.

Enhanced Lynx service shows how partnerships make sustainable change happen. Lynx operates under an agreement between the Sedona and Cottonwood city councils. Cottonwood manages and operates the service; the two cities share responsibility for funding, maintenance and replacement, hiring and training, and installation of bus shelters, among other details.

But there is even more change in the air. We are already approaching the halfway point of the City’s Sedona In Motion improvements through Uptown – a new southbound lane, an artistic raised median, one-way access to parking via a new Schnebly Road connector, a Jordan Road roundabout and more are changing Uptown forever for the better. And, I’m sure you’ve read about the potential transit system which has the potential to expand into the Village of Oak Creek and Oak Creek Canyon – which would be highly desirable.

Other Sustainable Tourism Plan-related goals are happening, too. More local companies are becoming conservation certified, the Sedona Cares Pledge is spreading the word about our new mission, and a new position at the Red Rock Trail Fund is increasing private funding for trail maintenance, development and stewardship.

Viewed together, Sedona is improving traffic flow, reducing congestion, expanding economic options, increasing awareness of sustainability, and working toward a cleaner environment – all at the same time.  This is an accomplishment worth noting.

No question there is much left to do, and years of work ahead, but Sedonans are already showing we have the energy, vision, wisdom and commitment to make it happen.

–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO