Paradise Valley continues Lincoln Drive median improvement discussions

A view of Lincoln Drive, facing east, that is being considered for median improvements. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

There was nothing concrete — or perhaps set in stone, more accurately — as Paradise Valley Town Council continues its ongoing discussions regarding contemplated Lincoln Drive median improvements.

Jerry Bien-Willner (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Town Council was presented with more options for the median improvements during a Thursday, Jan. 24 work study session at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

Concerns involving the input of two municipalities remain for the Lincoln Drive median improvements from Mockingbird Lane to the eastern town’s limits bordering the City of Scottsdale.

“Going back to our prior discussions with this, the shared access, in order to get access, we need an agreement,” said Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner while facilitating the meeting. “Focus on safety. Many of the property owners have their own personal interests … the area we have been focusing on is safety, access, property rights, what the trade-offs are. There are not a lot of objections.”

Town Engineer, Paul Mood, presented Town Council with a timeline detailing the stages of development from the Sept. 13, 2018 Town Council meeting when 30 percent of the design concept was outlined.

Town Council was presented with three options at a Dec. 6, 2018 work study including options of left-turn in/left-turn out for Lincoln Medical Plaza and SmokeTree Resort; shared access with left turn-in/left turn-out for the medical plaza and resort; and to raise the median for right turn-in/right-turn out only access for the medical site and the resort.

At the time, recommendations were to modify the second option for shared access to include a left turn-in/left turn-out for Applewood Pet Resort moved to the west entrance; move the shared access for Lincoln Medical Plaza and SmokeTree Resort to accommodate vehicles; make a right-turn deceleration lane for shared access driveways; eliminate the west entrances for the resort and medical plaza; and cross access easement and Lincoln Medical Plaza non-vehicular access easement.

“They are not agreeable to closing those entrances,” Mr. Mood said during the study session discussion. “The safest option is the full median, the full way; the shared access option we are presenting is the safest, best on the stacking.”

He and members of Town Council noted that a lot of the stacking of traffic jams occur by the Scottsdale side and would require cooperation from the municipality of Scottsdale to move forward with the best possible plans for improvement along with the residential property owners.

“One of the main concerns is just on the Scottsdale area,” Mr. Mood said, suggesting that there is a “dedicated right turn lane onto Scottsdale Road.”

“Did they talk about long-range plans?” asked councilwoman Julie Pace of Scottsdale’s involvement.

While Councilman Paul Dembow stated that the “most-likely accidents at AJ’s entrance” should be considered, meanwhile councilmembers Mark Stanton and Ellen Andeen voiced concerns about lowered speed limits.

“Later on, is the City of Scottsdale looking at this? As they look further, that area may change somewhat in that intersection,” said Vice Mayor Scott Moore.

He considered the broader conflict, not just involving Scottsdale’s input but how property owners would be impacted.

“I think we should take another dive at a couple situations not to create too much of a safety issue. Look at that a little bit further,” Mr. Moore said.

Mr. Bien-Willner said the full median did not require extra study as “it is what it is.” However, he noted that all options were on the table and to consider the Town Council’s questions.

“I haven’t decided on it yet, if it is a full median, I don’t know the answer. If the safest thing is to find some way to make some access,” Ms. Pace said, adding that there needs to be a compromise with Scottsdale to prevent dangers to pedestrians and traffic catastrophes involving cars cutting through parking lots for quicker access.

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