Monday, August 11, 2014

Incumbents Agree: Oracle Road Congestion Is Not Their Problem

Oracle Road congestion was the most significant problem faced by Oro Valley, according to a survey taken for the 2015 General Plan.

Can anything be done about it?

Council Members Joe Hornat, Mary Snider, and Lou Waters agreed at the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum that the congestion Oracle Road is not their problem.

Oracle Road is state highway.  The maintenance, construction, traffic lights and operation is the responsibility of the state.

According to the incumbents, there is no solution to the Oracle Road congestion problem.

Council Member Hornat: "It's really a State problem.... I really don't see a solution. Its not something that we can control."

Challenger Bristow observed that congestion is a problem that these incumbent's may have caused: "The first thing they [the incumbents] should have done is not to rezone for all those apartments that are being built.  That would have helped."

Council Member Snider: "It is an ADOT issue.... RTA is addressing the regional transit of vehicles.... Just getting the signal's to sych, as you know, is a problem."

Snider said that the regional transit people are really smart and that ADOT has said they will synch the lights once the expansion of Oracle Road to Catalina is complete.

Council Member Lou Waters: "I get it... It is a State problem."  He told us that traffic is much worse in Atlanta.  "More cars. More traffic. We're working on it."

This is what "working on it" means to the incumbents:
  • Waters says that residents should be educated to take the bus.
  • Snider says that residents should learn to deal with it until the State synchs the lights in when Oracle Road widening is completed.
  • Hornat says that residents should wait for Tangerine to be widened so that residents can take an alternate route.
At this same forum, Challenger Bristow observed that Oro Valley is landlocked because of the Catalina Mountains, so expansion east with an alternate route is not feasible. "You are going to have to find ways to divert the traffic." He continued: "I prefer to take La Canada when I go south. There's no sense to getting on Oracle with all the lights that are not in synch and all the traffic."

We asked Council Member Garner of the situation. He feels there is more Oro Valley should do to work the Oracle Road congestion.

"Perhaps in the not to distant future, Oro Valley will have the opportunity to develop Big Wash, which is north of Rancho Vistoso on the west side of Oracle Road.  That has potential to add even more traffic to Oracle Road, as does the continued development of southern Pinal County.  Oro Valley, Pinal County, and Pima County should consider forming a joint legislative task force to consider, together with the RTA and the State, actions we can take for Oracle Road. For example, we could establish an Oracle Road Disrict to help coordinate traffic along the corridor.  We could use that to consider options like new routes from Pinal County south. We could work together to accelerate the widening of La Cholla, which is not scheduled until the next decade."

The question is: Should Oro Valley simply "deal with it" as the incumbents suggest?  Or as Council Member Garner suggests, can Oro Valley, in some way, lead an effort to fix the problem within the context of a situation that Oro Valley has, to some extent, created.


Richard Furash, MBA said...

Great timing for this item. Monday's AZ Daily Star has an article entitled, "Apartment executives funding Hiremath bid". Think of all the new apartments on Oracle Road adding to the traffic congestion. Political favors?

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Four months and counting on my high end condo being empty at Boulders at La Reserve. This two bedroom one bath condo with views of Dove Mountain is priced 30% less than the apartments at Steam Pump and San Dorado, and yet it still sits empty. There is simply -0- demand, and maybe the experts at Town Hall can tell us when the demand will meet the supply.

The Management company that manages this condo and my other condos in Tucson, sold one of my condos in less than a week, and had another condo rented out in ONE day!

How about this possible scenario ...those apartments in Steam Pump being turned into subsidized housing units.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

That's right. Follow the money trail. Follow the endorsement trail. History has shown that political favors are always granted to those who pour thousands of dollars into your campaign or endorse you publicly. That's why, since Hiremath and Friends took office, developers and the OVPD get everything they want while the citizens are ignored.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

"Waters says that residents should be educated to take the bus." Perhaps he could lead by example and give up his Mercedes and ride the bus instead.

"Hornat says that residents should wait for Tangerine to be widened so that residents can take an alternate route." Oracle runs north-south. Tangerine runs east-west. How is Tangerine an alternate route?

Hornat: "It's really a State problem. I really don't see a solution. It's not something that we can control." Actually it is. You can control it by not approving development after development in an already congested area. Ditto for LaCholla where numerous developments were recently approved despite the current road conditions not being able to accommodate the increased traffic. They can't even handle the current traffic! You CAN control it. You just choose not to.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Turtle - yep; that'll be the case.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

With all the new housing being built, there should be a moratorium of at least two years on any new developments being approved. Let's get these filled first.