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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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12/6/2012 9:59:00 PM
Proposed Sundog connector project sparks opposition
Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - A proposed shortcut from Prescott Valley to Prescott sparked widespread opposition during a meeting Tuesday evening in the Yavapai Hills subdivision clubhouse.

A number of the estimated 150 people in attendance questioned the need for the proposed Sundog Connector and suggested developers who own land along the proposed route would benefit the most from it.

They recommended widening highways 69 and 89 instead of building the connector, which would head north of the Yavapai Hills subdivision.

Construction is at least five years away, Charla Glendening, planning program manager for the Arizona Department of Transportation in Phoenix, said after the meeting that her agency conducted.

"A more realistic timeline is 15 to 20 years" before construction were to begin, she said.

Her agency is paying for a study, but it would be a City of Prescott project if it were to proceed. The study area shows the proposed connector extending about three and a half miles from the roundabout at Prescott Lakes Parkway in Prescott to the Sundog Ranch Road intersection in Prescott Valley.

The proposed connector drew support from only three people when Yavapai Hills homeowner Gary Liscombe asked for a showing of support at the meeting.

Liscombe, a retired police officer from Wayne County, Mich., who has lived in Yavapai Hills for six years, said after the hourlong meeting that he opposes the proposed connector because it does not make any sense to him.

"Whoever owns the land is going to profit from it," he said.

Another homeowner who spoke out at the meeting, Gretchen Masterson, explained afterward that she is "terribly opposed" because the southernmost proposed route is only yards from her property. She said the connector would increase noise as well as traffic congestion on Sunrise Boulevard, the entrance to Yavapai Hills from Highway 69.

"We hope it is not built there at all," said Masterson, who moved to the subdivision about six years ago after retiring from teaching at an online college in San Diego.

"It is too much impact to an existing community," she said. "It needs to go where it does not impact any-one on the far side of Glassford Hill, or they need to improve two existing roads (highway 69 and 89)."

Traffic congestion on Highway 69 and population growth sparked the need for the proposed connector, according to ADOT officials. Tricia Lewis, senior communicators officer for the Prescott District of ADOT, said Highway 69 draws average daily traffic of 50,000 vehicles a day between Prescott and Prescott Valley.

With a population base of 174,900 to 232,700 people in the region, the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization would justify the need for a two-lane Sundog connector, ADOT consultant Rebecca Fly said during her presentation. CYMPO serves an area that includes Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey-Humboldt, Chino Valley and Paulden.

A population base of 232,700 to 286,400 would call for a four-lane Sundog connector, said Fly, project manager with Parsons Brinckerhoff in Tempe.

An elusive factor is funding the project, Fly and Glendening explained.

Noting the vocal opposition at the meeting, Glendening said, "I think it is important that the City of Prescott listens to the public as they move forward with the planning efforts."

Councilman Chris Kuknyo, who attended the meeting and serves on CYMPO's board, said afterward, "Right now they are just looking at it. There is no money set aside to make that happen. There has been no design or anything."

He said the city needs to focus now on widening the 0.8-mile stretch of Highway 69 between Yavapai-Prescott tribal land east to Prescott Lakes Parkway, as well as widening Highway 89 from Ruger Road north to Highway 89A.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012
Article comment by: GRUNDO OBSERVES Pee Vee Dying on the Vine

Make that land a habitate for the Pronghorns! Let the Fains buy the land and give it to the state for a forever wild greenspace! Besides no one in their right mind wants to go to PeeVee, they want to get away. haven't you see the real estate prices plunging?

Posted: Sunday, December 09, 2012
Article comment by: Really? By the shooting range

Just asking, but are this geniuses going to take extra money and time on the section that will be going by the police shooting range, the Fire Dept. practice and training area and the pound and the trash depot? I mean, the fire dept burns buildings out there. What about the precious entrance to the precious hiking entrance? As soon as the hikers hear about the infringement on their sacred hike spot, they'll put a stop to it.

Posted: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Article comment by: Teds Perspective

Discussion is necessary to develop infrastructure that serves the community. Ignoring the circumstance, perpetuates the existing problems, and results in less sensitive change that is necessary. Itís selfish and unreasonable to deny some development of land owned by your neighbors. The community through reasonable dialogue should find a balance between the circumstances.

When reasonable dialogue is not allowed, results in far worse circumstances. Some parts of the county still just have associations attempting to control the lives of the property owners. As few groups arguing over assessments and the profits, while not allowing the properties owners to see a full accounting of the funds at times, plus excluding the properties owners from voting and being voted for in the leadership.

Posted: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Article comment by: Bring it on!

If you build it, they will come! This connector is needed badly as traffic levels are FAR too heavy between Prescott and PV on 69. Traffic light management won't make any difference. We must build our local roads to handle the future masses of population that will be headed here in the very near future. I am all in favor of this proposed road. I have also lived here long enough (32 years) to know that these meetings are just a "formality". The road plans and progress have been in place for many, many years and it will eventually get built. Adjoining property owners better get used to it.

Posted: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Article comment by: J l

What ADOT, Prescott and Prescott Valley need to do is improve the traffic lights on the existing roads first! NONE of the lights in this area are timed correctly and the lights cater to the side road traffic. You get one green light you should travel straight through without getting any red lights. And Prescott!!! PLEASE do something with the traffic lights in the downtown area. Turn arrows are needed on so many streets such as Gurley and Montezuma, Montezuma and Goodwin, etc, etc. And the turn lights as well as the yellow lights need to be longer than 2 seconds!

Posted: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Article comment by: Get a Grip

This road was planned before many who commented and many moved here. It is simply another way to move traffic throughout the area that is already overcongested. When there's a serious accident, people have to go back the way they came, and go all the way around, to and from Glassford Hill Road and Hwy. 89. Honestly folks, unless you're willing to support a successful transit solution and cut down on the traffic count on Hwy. 69, we will need this. And for those of you yelling about traffic signals, well, traffic counts and accidents caused them. They aren't going away.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: t szabo

Don't forget Diamond Valley residents! We probably need this connector road for traffic control but not in my back yard. My property backs up to the mountain and sitting on my patio looking at the mountain, watching the deer, coyote and javalina is priceless not to mention peaceful. One of the main reasons I bought this property and I'd rather not see and hear traffic out my backdoor. If the road has to be, put it on the other side of the mountain and save the wildlife habitat. I do have to thank ADOT for putting in the traffic lights on 69, it's much easier to turn left these days.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Karen Hunt

I know this is just a study, but isn't interesting that they would not tell us how this connector will be paid for. Weather is will be comming from a gas tax, general fund or even better property tax.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Button Square Pants

Of course the developers where the road would go in will make money, if someone were going to put a road through my land, I'd better get paid for it.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Positive Improvements Positive Improvements

All positive improvements for our community. Hwy 69 is congested and only getting worse. A scenic thoroughfare along the Sundog Connector would be a nice improvement for our local in-the-know residents to help alleviate having to fight traffic along Hwy 69. In addition, taking advantage of the view corridor along the foothills of Glassford Hill would enhance the communityís use in this area for added hiking trails along Glassford Hill that would ultimately connect to the Peavine at Watson Lake. This concept provides quite a few advantages for the community and its surrounding residents. I like it!

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Derrick O'Brien

Hi, i am an 18 year old drop out that thinks this connecter road is just a bunch of bull. if ADOT were to decrease the number of traffic lights they would have less congestion on the road. and maybe instead of the median being installed on 69 if they had added one or two more lanes on each side that would have helped as well. Just my views as a teen in this town where i have lived all my life.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: bob grant

An alternative thought!
Get organized to make all that is left of glassford hill into a state Park,extending down into whats left of the dells and north out onto the grasslands between Chino and Prescott ,it would provide the buffer most folks would like between chino and Prescott plus a limit to Prescott valleys sprawl North.
The good old boys will hate it,but it would protect the vistas left.
Also it can happen in less than five years.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: White RINO

The traffic light count from Mt Vernon to 169 is 28. I know them all and you can do your own count using a set of four.
4 out of town, 4 across the Rez, 4 gateway, 4 diamond hills, 4 west pv, 4 east pv, 4 DH. How much do you think I hate them?

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Schmedrick R. Schmendrickovich

To Strangelove: You must be too young to remember how nice this area used to be before rampant growth started building plots of little boxes of ticky tack all over the place with the resulting traffic. What's more, the connector will drop all it's traffic into the most concentrated section of Hwy 69 making congestion worse not better. Typical ADOT...more is less.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Wladislaw Grodek

In my beloved Bulgaria, we do not have problem. There, only few can afford car.

So simple. Government take all car. Everyone be happy.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Not in my Backyard

OMG not in my backyard! We cannot have any progression in the good ole' boy city of Prescott. We need to keep this town the small home it once was. In fact we should remove all the stop lights, all the paved roads, ban automobiles and make everyone ride horses in the this here small town. We cannot destroy those beautiful brown pines that are beetle infested and causing a fire hazard. Let us ignore any city growth and not annex any more land so that there is no benefit from any tax dollars. We should also not create more jobs and or projects so people can have money to spend so that small business can thrive.

Sounds absolutely crazy right? Well that is what all the nay sayers sound like. If you don't like it and want to continue to live in your small town then move out in the middle of nowhere and see what life is like there. If you want conviences and ease of access then you need to live with progress. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Jack Crumbly

Why not support our law enforcement with the appropiated money. Hire more officers to enforce traffic laws that are broken every minute.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Too many traffic lights Jamming up trafic.

The problem on 69 between Prescott and Prescott Valley is not the number of lanes, it is the number of traffic lights that is jamming up the traffic flow. Just count the number of lights from Prescott to Dewey Humboldt and you will be amazed. Are they all really needed or are they there to try and drive business?

89A is a much better way to travel. Little traffic there.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Cynders Mangino

What did all you transplants from everywhere but Prescott expect to happen when you all moved here? If you do not like what is happening to "my hometown" be part of the solution and go back to where you came from!!! Today could not be soon enough for you to leave!!!!

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Larry T

If they want to do some good build a bypass from HWY 69 and Old Black Canyon HWY to HWY 69 below the Prescott Country Club. The feds would give them the land. But then that means the good old boys can not make any money off of it. What good is a bypass if you build all along it and have stop and go traffic. Do something good for the people not the rich good old boys. This proposal has been on the books for years.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: tired of it all

Sure! Let's just keep destroying our beautiful vistas and views with more blacktop and concrete. What a waste of money!

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Steele

CYMPO is an unelected group made up of elected officials from the area and tribal areas. All, seem to be driven for growth in our area without regard for our dwindling water supplies. The population projections are "smoke and mirrors" provided by the large land owners and developers. Traffic studies and realistic population growth says this road and the one from 169 to Fain Road are absolutely not necessary to keep traffic volumes safely in check. The only possible benefit will be provided to the land owners as their property is served by these roads we taxpayers are to pay for. Better we fund our school classrooms and begin to support better education in Arizona which is not being well served today.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: History Lesson

"Traffic congestion on Highway 69 and population growth sparked the need for the proposed connector, according to ADOT officials." How could current congestion be the reason for the road when the two intersections were already built and the route for the road has been on the areas future map plans for many many years? Meetings like this are to pacify the locals and make them feel like they've had their say in the matter.
69 will have to be widened someday between Prescott and Prescott Valley. The poorer folks in Paulden and Chino may have to wait. It would be interesting to know who owns the adjoining land and will benefit from the road.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Put A Prison There Instead

Boo hoo. 'The developers who own the land will make money', the Yavapai Hillbillies cry. Ok, maybe a private prison could go in there. Or a dog race track, or new wastewater treatment plant, or ...

If they don't want it developed as a connecter road or anything else, they should pool their money and buy that land themselves.

I think a connecter is a great idea.

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012
Article comment by: Really Let's See !

Well it seems they smell the rat! The connector road would only benefit the land owners in the back of Yavapai Hills. And who are those owners you may ask? It's public record and all you have to do is break down the group who recently purchased it. And who would get the road project? Hmmm! maybe a double dipper in that group as there has been before on the 891 north road improvements.

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