Make Your Voice Heard
Next week you will have two opportunities to tell local political leaders you support efforts to improve safety and accessibility for bicyclists and pedestrians in Prescott:
• U.S. Bike Route 79 through Prescott: Tuesday, October 27 at 3:00pm City Council Chamber, 201 S. Cortez St., Prescott
• Bike/Ped Master Plan – Thursday, October 29 at 9:00am City Council Chamber, 201 S. Cortez St., Prescott
Please mark your calendar. Go to this City link to find the agendas for each meeting: http://www.prescott-az.gov/leadership/meetings/
For the past several years, Prescott Alternative Transportation (PAT) has supported efforts to re-engage a pedestrian and bicycle advisory committee within the City of Prescott. The working group assembled earlier this year by Councilwoman Jean Wilcox, as a prelude to such a committee, has completed its work on the three items for which it was created. Two of these will be presented at the meetings next week.
The first, a proposal recommending changes to the designated path for U.S. Bike Route 79 through Prescott will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday, October 27. The meeting starts at 3:00p.m.
Rather than designating Willow Creek between Iron Springs and Route 89A, as initially suggested by Adventure Cycling and the Arizona Department of Transportation, the working group's proposal would follow Iron Springs out to Williamson Valley Road, connecting to the highway from there.
The second item, a revision of the Bike/Ped Master Plan will be on the agenda of the Planning Commission at its meeting on Thursday, October 29. The Commission must approve the plan before it can be sent to the City Council.
The plan takes what you might call the thirty thousand foot view, asking the City to commit to three broad goals:
• improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety,
• increasing pedestrian and bicycle trips, and
• improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.
Each of these goals is supported by several recommended strategies.
The ten-page document is framed in what the working group hopes are noncontroversial terms the City Council can readily embrace. The many pages of data and detailed recommendations that had been included in previous drafts of the master plan update are now included in appendices.
As City of Prescott Public Works staff finalize the supporting memoranda for these proposals, we will pass those along.
The next heavy lift will come early next year, after the incoming Mayor and Council members take office. At that time, the working group, through Councilwoman Wilcox, will ask the Council to reinstate a standing Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC), which would have an ongoing role in vetting infrastructure improvements for safety and accessibility. The previous PBAC was disbanded by the City Council in 2010.
The working group has drafted a charter for the standing committee, which would enable pedestrians and bicyclists to bring their concerns proactively to the Public Works Department, rather than accepting a merely passive role in advising on projects the department itself has already developed.
As many of you will remember, Prescott Alternative Transportation was instrumental in pushing the process that led to the creation of this working group. PAT president Russ Willis chaired the working group and guided the various task forces in shaping these proposals. He himself chaired the task force that drafted the charter for a standing advisory committee.
Russ will be at the City Council meeting on October 27 to urge adoption of the Route 79 recommendations, and he will be present at the Planning Commission meeting on October 29 to urge approval of the master plan update. Please try to make one or both of these meetings to lend your support.