Help is Important for Tourism Plan
AS SEEN IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
June 14, 2019
It came up often during sustainability planning: everyone is glad Sedona is facing our traffic issues and as a result, taking a decisive new approach to both tourism and transportation.
ASU and the Chamber listened carefully during the nearly two-year development process, leaving no doubt that the final Sustainable Tourism Plan reflects Sedona’s authentic voice — placing our quality of life and environment front and center along with the quality of our economy and the amazing experience we offer visitors. The City Council unanimously agreed.
Now comes the hard part – but also the most exhilarating. With Council’s pending approval of the FY20 budget, it’s time to bring the Plan to life.
Every Sedonan can join in. Like a sapling or a new flower bed, we need to nurture our new Plan – giving it lots of attention and monitoring its progress.
Community groups all over Sedona, including the City and the Chamber, are stepping up to take responsibility for these exciting first-year plans:
Minimizing disruption of Sedona in Motion projects for local merchants
Exploring new parking facilities and reducing parking demand in high-use areas
Communicating real-time traffic and trail conditions
Enhancing walkability to get people out of their cars
Educating visitors about courteous Off-Highway Vehicle use
Educating visitors to be sensitive guests
Expanding ‘Leave No Trace’ principles
Developing sustainable experiences, such as dark sky-themed events
Stabilizing funding for trail maintenance
Monitoring and moderating helicopter noise
The first five bullet points are related to traffic, Sedona’s most complex sustainability challenge.
The Sedona in Motion Uptown improvement projects are underway and will help with one aspect — keeping traffic moving — but construction is disruptive. Minimizing it is a first-year goal. You can help by patronizing Uptown businesses during construction and sharing your ideas to help them prosper while the City and ADOT improves SR 89A.
Sedona cannot control some traffic factors, such as rapid population growth in the Valley. Since 2010, metro Phoenix has added 664,835 residents – roughly the population of Portland, Oregon. The US Census Bureau says Maricopa was the nation’s fastest-growing county for the third year in a row in 2018, adding 81,244 people. More people in the region mean more people are visiting Sedona.
Sedona proper is not necessarily the focus of a large percentage of our traffic. It’s made up of people enjoying a windshield tour of the red rocks en route to the Grand Canyon – increasing congestion but making no meaningful economic contribution.
Our marketing goal is a sustainable response: encouraging Grand Canyon tour operators, sightseers and pass-through drivers to pull off the road and enjoy a starry overnight stay, reducing congestion and enhancing economic impact (overnight visitors spend $618 vs. day-trip visitors’ $219).
Traffic is just one area the Plan tackles in various ways. You are sure to find opportunities to engage with the sustainability issues you care about the most. Visit sedonasustainable.com to review the Plan, see which groups are in charge of the various tactics, and join! Sedona needs you, and I’m convinced you will find the experience deeply rewarding.
Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO