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Tue, Dec. 07

Coconino National Forest proposes expansion of shuttle system

Oak Creek in Sedona. (Stock photo)

Oak Creek in Sedona. (Stock photo)

Coconino National Forest has announced a proposal to expand mass transit shuttle services at select trailheads in the Sedona area to reduce traffic congestion, overflow parking in residential areas, and improve pedestrian safety.

According to the USFS, traffic and congested parking during peak visitation are frequent complaints by Sedona residents and visitors. Popular trailheads are often beyond parking capacity. Parking demand then displaces visitors more than a half mile away into undesignated areas, surrounding neighborhoods, and surface streets. This traffic pattern results in resource damage, adverse public safety, and diminished quality of life for residents.

Access to popular trailheads can be improved by utilizing alternative modes of transportation for visitors who would otherwise drive their own vehicles to trailheads. A proposed transit program, operated by the City of Sedona, would offer reliable transportation to and from popular trailheads.

“I believe this joint venture between the Red Rock Ranger District and the City of Sedona will help mitigate some of the traffic congestion problems people face at trailheads and also improve safety for pedestrians across the board,” said District Ranger Amy Tinderholt. “With how popular these trails have become, it will be vital to find long-term solutions such as this to allow for greater and safer access, while improving the experience for everyone in the area.”

A description of the proposed action, along with maps and other information, can be found at https://tinyurl.com/TrailheadTransit or www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=60969.

Key points of the transit proposal include:

• Five trailheads would incorporate shuttle services: Dry Creek, Little Horse, Mescal, Cathedral Rock, and Soldiers Pass.

• Proposed transit operations would occur 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, beginning March 2022, and offered year-round.

• Shuttles would operate on an approximate 15- to 45-minute frequency.

• Public parking would remain open at Dry Creek, Little Horse, and Mescal trailheads.

• Cathedral Rock and Soldiers Pass trailheads would be closed to public parking during shuttle operations to encourage the use of the shuttle and alternative transportation.

• Pedestrian and bicycle traffic is encouraged as an alternative transportation method.

• Shuttles may be increased during peak-use holidays and spring break months.

• To accommodate shuttle access at Cathedral Rock, a trailhead re-design would convert an existing pedestrian path to a motorized route that exits onto Back O’ Beyond Road. A new pedestrian path would be constructed.

• Trailhead modifications may include adding a designated shuttle stop, relocating parking stalls, or closing select parking stalls during shuttle operations.

HOW TO COMMENT

The public is invited to provide input on the Red Rock Country Trailhead Transit and Parking Restrictions Project during a 30-day comment period from Oct. 20 to Nov. 19, 2021.

Please provide written comments with “Trailhead Transit” in the subject line via:

• E-mail: comments-southwestern-coconino-redrock@usda.gov; or

• Fax: (928) 203-7539; or

• Regular mail: Red Rock Ranger District, Attention: Trailhead Transit, P.O. Box 20429, Sedona, AZ 86431; or

• Hand delivered: Red Rock District Office at 8375 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86351 between the hours of 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays.

For additional information on this project proposal, please contact Recreation Special Uses Permit Administrator Mark Goshorn at mark.goshorn@usda.gov.

For more information on the city’s transit program, go to www.sedonaaz.gov/transit or contact city of Sedona Transit Administrator Robert Weber at (928) 203-5086.

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