Downtown Scottsdale About To Go Off The Rails?

On October 28th the message below was sent out to businesses in downtown Scottsdale.  There’s probably more than a few alarm bells going off.
After all, what problem would shrinking Scottsdale Road from two lanes to one lane through a vibrant downtown solve?  Are city planners just looking for something to do?  Is there one-lane envy of Mill Avenue in Tempe?
At a time when downtown Scottsdale is bustling with activity we can think of few things to screw it up quicker than this idea.  Maybe the outreach will reveal a compelling vision.  After all, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg once shut cars out of Times Square over a great outcry, only to be rewarded with acknowledgement that the idea might have been good after all once implemented. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198
But where the discussion likely heads are those fearing a new attempt to inject light rail into Scottsdale.  For many years a passionate and influential group of downtown business owners has feared the possibility, and let it be known over their dead bodies.  But two of the ringleaders of that opposition – Mike Fernandez of Pottery Paradise and Tom Silverman of the Chapparal Suites hotel – have sold their properties.  And the Scottsdale City Council now includes at least two passionate advocates for such a system.

So are train loving city officials laying the first tracks for their Elysian Fields filled with mass transit?  We hope not.  And we hope planners don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory that has been the downtown Scottsdale story for the past many years.
President Teddy Roosevelt once said this about the Grand Canyon: “Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” City planners need to heed those same thoughts now about one of, if not the finest downtown in all of Arizona today.
Dear Business Owner or Property Owner,
The City of Scottsdale Transportation Commission and Transportation Department are developing a new Transportation Master Plan.  During these conversations, it was suggested to reduce Scottsdale Road in downtown Scottsdale from TWO LANES-per-direction to ONE LANE-per-direction.  A draft Transportation Master Plan will be prepared at the Transportation Commission meetings of 5 November, 19 November, 3 December, and 19 December.
Paul Basha, Scottsdale Transportation Director, will meet with Scottsdale Downtown merchants to discuss the suggestion to narrow Scottsdale Road in Downtown Scottsdale.
This meeting will occur on 11 November from 8:45 AM to 9:30 AM, at the City of Scottsdale Design Studio, 7506 E. Indian School Road (the northeast corner of 75th Street and Indian School Road).
If you have any questions, please call or e-mail Paul at (480) 312-7645 or