Welcome to Sedona's $35 Million Plan Addressing Tourism & Traffic Issues

Working as a Team, Sedona is tackling Tourism Issues & Traffic Backups on SR 179, Oak Creek Canyon, Uptown, & Cooks Hill, etc


All of the following projects assumes the city of Sedona is able to continue to use the funds it raises through sales and bed taxes, especially the new 1/2% sales tax levied specifically to help pay for this $35 Million Dollar Sedona in Motion plan. (And tourists pay 60-70% of the sales tax and 100% of the bed tax)

If, for some  reason, Home Rule, which is on the ballot on August 28, 2018 for approval by Sedona voters were to fail, then most of, if not all of the following improvements would not be possible. 

Learn more about Home Rule HERE

Thank You

Sedona In Motion - $35 Million, Multi-Year Improvements

Additional Information

  • The Sedona in Motion traffic plan started nearly three years ago when the city budgeted $250,000 to pay for it. We and taxpayers back then complained about cost, but that money was for this plan.

  • The discussion about Sedona’s traffic problems occurred through an online survey and numerous public meetings over the last two years. We had stories about meetings and the survey so those interested could attend meetings and tell the city about the problems they saw.

  • A litany of proposed solutions were discussed at public forums with maps printed on huge poster boards. Adding to the public sessions, an extensive poll was also placed online for residents to vote on each proposal and weigh in one the viability of each one via a cost-benefit analysis.

  • The final Sedona in Motion plan contained 14 suggested traffic solutions and was finalized eight months ago in October. The plan has been posted on the city’s website and has been available to be viewed by anyone.

  • Construction for the Uptown median project and possibly the Forest Road-SR 89A connector are expected to begin in January 2019.

Most of the information on this website comes from the cities, Sedona in Motion webpages: http://www.sedonaaz.gov/sim

Assistant City Manager Karen Osburn said Sedona in Motion is the moniker for everything that the city will be doing under the umbrella of the Transportation Master Plan or the new half-cent transportation sales tax.

“In the coming years there will be many projects, programs and services associated with achieving the goals of the plan,” she said. “We want to be able to tie all of these efforts together under one brand so whenever our community hears ‘Sedona in Motion’ or sees the SIM logo, they will know we are talking about all things transportation.”

An additional half-cent Transportation Privilege Tax was approved by council last year and will be dedicated to funding roadway and other transportation projects designed to improve traffic flow for our residents and visitors. This temporary tax increase went into effect March 1 and will expire as soon as improvements are completed, or in 10 years, whichever comes first. This fund is expected to cover a large percentage of the proposed $30-35 million-plus cost of the transportation improvements.

How transportation projects get done

Extensive planning is required. All transportation  projects must comply with state and federal guidelines and regulations  designed to protect public and environmental safety, and must follow  established engineering practices. There are required specialized  environmental studies and coordination with regulatory agencies;  specialists in such fields as noise and air quality, archaeology,  architectural history, biology, and land-use planning may be needed.  Design and traffic engineering studies are conducted to identify the  safest and lowest-cost alternatives. 

Public input continues. Changes in traffic and  pedestrian infrastructure can impact private and public property, and  business revenues. We will continue to actively seek out and  engage property and business owners to ensure that proposed changes will  generate a net gain for the community while minimizing impacts. Here is what's involved in the planning process for each  project: citizen input; data collection; engineering studies and  drawings; reviewing qualifications of potential contractors; working  with other government agencies and property owners to  secure permissions; and, finally, to coordinate work schedules among  various contractors, utilities and government entities. 


Shovels in the dirt - January 2019.  Construction is  expected to start as early as January 2019 for the Uptown median  project and possibly the Forest Road / 89A connector. 

Funding. All of the projects will be funded by a  temporary half-cent Transportation Privilege Tax, a sales tax, that took  effect March 1, 2018. Tax revenues, 60 percent of which will be paid by  visitors, will be spent solely on transportation projects. The tax will  expire as soon as improvements are completed or in 10 years, whichever  comes first.

Exploring the $35 Million Plan

Reducing Uptown & the Canyon Backups

This project seeks to improve the appearance and community feeling of  Sedona's Uptown area through a combination of street, hardscape and  landscape improvements designed to control traffic flow and remove a  variety of causes of slow-downs. Facets of this project include:  

  •  A decorative raised median to direct pedestrians to controlled crossings that also enhance the appearance of Uptown.     
  • Additional southbound SR89A travel lane through Uptown.     
  • Turnaround points at the north and south ends of Uptown. 
  • One-way access from 89A to free parking via Schnebly Road.     
  • Estimated cost is $3.6 million.

With no traffic, it takes seven minutes to travel from the Trout Farm  to the Y. In severe congestion it takes 42 minutes. With this strategy,  a severely congested trip would be reduced from 42 minutes to 15  minutes. The raised median reduces turning movement conflicts and  uncontrolled pedestrian crossings. Roundabouts facilitate U-turns and serve to keep vehicles consistently  moving at safe speeds. 

Read this Red Rock News  Article on Uptown Project: Click Here

Reducing Cooks Hill Backups

SR 89A & 179 bypass lanes to be built. This project is in the Planning Stage. 

This project improves traffic movement by allowing a portion of traffic  to bypass fully entering the Y roundabout by adding curb-separated  right-turn lanes for vehicles headed to southbound 179 and northbound  89A. 

With no traffic it takes 12 minutes to travel from Bell Rock Blvd to  the Y. In severe congestion it takes 36 minutes. This level of severe  congestion occurred on six days between February 1 and June 4, 2017.  With this strategy, a severely congested trip would be reduced from 36  minutes to 24 minutes.

Since this intersection is part of the Arizona State highway system and managed by the Arizona Department of Transportation, this project must be coordinated with and authorized by ADOT. Expected cost of this project to be paid by/reimbursed by the City of Sedona using it's own resources.

Forest Road Extension

This project helps residents of Uptown Sedona bypass the two  roundabouts at Brewer/Ranger roads and the Y, and also improves the  residential area with new hardscaping and landscaping design. This  local, residential road project will extend the west end of Forest Road  to connect to southbound SR 89A west of the U.S. Post Office location. 

  • Gives Uptown residents a way to bypass the two busy roundabouts that lead in and out of the Uptown area.
  • Provides access to emergency and fire emergency responders.
  • Reduces congestion at the roundabouts. 
  • Estimated cost $1.3 million.     

Tourism Focused Transit

Resident access to homes in the canyon can be improved and overall  canyon and Uptown traffic congestion reduced by providing and/or  requiring transit use for state park and possibly canyon trailhead  access. It is envisioned that the greater Sedona lodging industry would  actively participate in the development and use of a visitor-oriented  transit system. 

The city and its regional partners have issued an RFP to develop the  system with a $160,000 federal transit planning grant and $10,000 in  funding from Coconino County.

  • This strategy proposes a tourist-focused bus shuttle system from the Village of Oak Creek to Slide Rock State Park.
  • Buses would run every 15 to 20 minutes between March and October.
  • Park-and-Ride lot near Red Rock Ranger Station; additional stops and pick-up points along SR 179 and SR 89A.
  • Estimated capital costs  are $3.4 million for buses and  park-and-ride lot improvements with operating costs of $460,000 per  year, which could be shared between ADOT, Coconino and Yavapai counties  and the city of Sedona. 

Portal Lane Connection - Tlaquepaque Access

This  project would improve traffic flow on SR179 from the Schnebly Hill  roundabout and through the two roundabouts at the Y by altering traffic  patterns, improving roadway design and addressing capacity issues.   

  • Evaluate opportunities to use Portal Lane as one-way access to  shopping with new connections to allow vehicles to exit onto  Brewer-Ranger roads. 
  • Reduce the number of vehicles that use the Schnebly Hill  roundabout by providing alternate access to northbound SR89A and West  Sedona.
  • Improve safety at the Ranger Road / Brewer Road intersection.
  • Estimated cost $500,000.     

The Brewer/Ranger connection would help divert vehicles that would be  making a U-turn movement at the Schnebly Hill roundabout, reducing SR  179 congestion. With no traffic, it takes 12 minutes to travel from Bell Rock Blvd to  the Y.  In severe congestion it takes 36 minutes. This level of severe  congestion occurred on 6 days between February 1 and June 4, 2017. 

The Brewer/Ranger connection is a relatively low-cost improvement and creates a more convenient route for northbound and westbound SR179  travelers with minimal impact to southbound SR179 travelers. 

Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements

Multimodal transportation encourages alternate means of travel that  improve residents' access to services, increase recreational access and  provide new amenities to residents and visitors, and reduce traffic  congestion. The strategies include: 

  • A multi-use path from Uptown to West Sedona, the Sedona Trails and Pathways System, for walkers and bike-riders.
  • Wide paved shoulders on Dry Creek Road that support safe bike riding.
  • Bike boulevard parallel north and south of SR 89A using existing streets with some new connecting pathways.
  • Sidewalk connections to link neighborhoods and provide better resident access to parks and services.
  • Estimated costs: $1.2 million per mile for bike paths and $800,000 per mile for sidewalks. 

Tourism Sustainability Action Planning

The City of Sedona is town that has a dual personality -- caring for the everyday needs of its citizens for a high quality of life and at the same time providing an infrastructure which can manage the thousands of visitors who come to Sedona daily. 

The city does NOT have a property tax to fund it's operation, but relies on sales tax, bed tax and basic fees for funding.  The  health of the business community directly correlates to the heath of Sedona as a city since Sedona's visitors bring in 60 to 70% of all the revenue the city receives. 

The recession of the 2009-12 period demonstrated how dependent Sedona is on a healthy visitor environment. But it is also  challenged with the reality that too many visitors at any one point in time reduces the quality of life for residents and reduces the quality of the visitor's experience at the same time. 

Finding the right "management balance" is the long term goal of the city and a challenge for all city officials to address everyday.

Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau (SCC&TB) is a complex DMO, Destination Management Organization with access to talent and resources to assist the city in addressing tourism challenges. One of it highest priorities is the development of a Tourism Sustainability Plan which identifies the right path to take to balance the need for a high quality residential and visitor experience. Read more about this concept HERE

Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau embarked on the development of this action plan in 2017. Learn about their plan HERE. The plan is being developed with the assistance of ASU and will be completed in 2018. The cost of creating this plan is being paid for by the chamber using some of the bed tax funding it receives from the city.

This effort demonstrates the shift in the relationship of the city to the chamber -- "The goal of the sustainable tourism effort is to shift the focus of the city’s contract with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau (SCC&TB) from strictly marketing, sales and communications to a comprehensive approach of destination marketing and management with a greater emphasis on quality of life and managing impacts."

Facts about Primary Voting on August 28

It is important that you vote in the primary election!

If you do not vote in the primary, you will not be able to vote for Home Rule or the candidates running for Sedona City Council or Mayor of Sedona. Some or all Sedona Council seats may also be decided at the Primary, depending on how many votes are received by each of the candidates running. Those council seats not decided at the primary will go on to the General Election in November.

If you are on the Permanent Early Voter List you should receive a postcard or letter that you must return to get a ballot for the Aug. 28 election. If not, and you want to vote by mail, you only have until August 17 to request a mail ballot.

Independent voters must request an early ballot even if you are on the PEVL. You will not receive a primary ballot unless you let the county know which party ballot you want or request a city ballot only.

Follow this link for an ONLINE form if you live in Coconino County. 

Follow this link for an ONLINE form if you live in Yavapai County.

You can also call Coconino County at 800-793-6181 or Yavapai County at 800-771-2797 to request a mail ballot.

If you do not get a ballot by mail, you can still vote on the day of the election, Tuesday, August 28, at the appropriate polling place for your county. For Yavapai County, your polling place is the Elks Lodge. For Coconino County, vote at the Wayside Chapel in Uptown for Sedona North Precinct and Christ Lutheran Church in the Chapel area for Sedona South Precinct.


Please be sure to vote in the Primary!

If you do not vote in the Primary, you will not be able to vote for Home Rule or the Mayor of Sedona. Some or all Sedona Council seats may also be decided at the Primary, depending on how many votes are received by each of the candidates running. Those not decided at the Primary will go on to the General Election on November 6.