Opinion

Crawford: Camelback Road, downtown Scottsdale sidewalks desperately needed

Posted 4/5/21

How much longer does Scottsdale have to wait before our most heavily traveled pedestrian corridor gets decent ADA complaint walkable rollable pathways?

I would like to bring awareness to the …

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Opinion

Crawford: Camelback Road, downtown Scottsdale sidewalks desperately needed

Posted

How much longer does Scottsdale have to wait before our most heavily traveled pedestrian corridor gets decent ADA complaint walkable rollable pathways?

I would like to bring awareness to the community regarding a continuing safety and image problem we have in downtown Scottsdale.

For years, downtown residents and business owners have been complaining about the pedestrian walkways, or lack thereof, along Scottsdale’s signature Camelback Road between Scottsdale Road and Miller Road.

At the present time, there are two hotels open on Camelback Road, and there will soon be two more, along with other major developments planned and approved. The fact that we have dirt pathways for residents and visiting pedestrians to walk on is deplorable and speaks volumes regarding the city’s lack of concern for downtown Scottsdale.

If we include the traffic from the Entertainment District, this is the most heavily traveled pedestrian segment of all of Scottsdale’s infrastructure. The sidewalks we do have on Camelback Road are squeezed alongside a four-lane busy road where risks of speeding vehicles and drivers under the influence is a common occurrence.

Unfortunately, some pedestrians have lost their lives negotiating this dangerous section of Camelback Road.

As a 25-year downtown resident and business owner; and the founder and former President of the Association to Preserve Downtown Scottsdale’s Quality of Life, I have listened to campaign promises from candidates pledging their support for our downtown for all those 25 years, only to have the critical infrastructure needs forgotten once elected.

I have personally conducted walking tours for new council persons once elected to show them the great need for ADA compliant walkable rollable pedestrian pathways. They all said they would address the issue soon. We are still waiting.

This neglected stretch of sidewalk in the heart of our downtown is a good example of the perception that there is a disproportionate allocation of Scottsdale resources, which seem to favor northern over our downtown/southern needs. This is a situation where resources available to the city for the greater good should be utilized for a resolution.

Also, there are reasonable solutions available for the northeast intersection of Scottsdale and Camelback roads, including the addition of a pedestrian bridge over the SRP Canal, thereby removing pedestrians from the narrow walkway shared with motorized vehicles, and allowing for a right turn northbound lane from Westbound Camelback Road onto Northbound Scottsdale Road.

If we do nothing to prepare for what’s coming the impending traffic and public safety problems will be challenging.

It’s time for the city to address this critical need, and the time is now. We are weeks away from another major hotel opening on Camelback Road.

More residents are coming. Shoppers walk to the Camelback Miller Plaza and patrons of the Entertainment District fill the sidewalks at night. Hotel guests walk to and from Fashion Square and Old Town and to our many restaurants and events.

We have waited long enough. Now is the time to build the sidewalks we so desperately need.

Editor’s Note: Bill Crawford is a 25-year downtown Scottsdale resident, business owner and former City Council candidate.

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