Barry: The pending Doubletree Ranch Road disaster in the Town of Paradise Valley

On Thursday, Dec. 6, Paradise Valley Town Council will vote on whether to spend $3,300,000 to construct a new Doubletree Ranch Road from Invergordon to Scottsdale roads.

Bernie Barry

The only reason for the vote on Dec. 6 is because this will be the last council meeting that Mayor Collins will serve as mayor.

These were his words at the Nov. 15 council meeting.

The town residents first learned of Mayor Collins plans in March when they were invited to a meeting where the town staff would describe the proposed road. The meeting did not allow residents input regarding the design, as the plans were completed and for the most part, few if any changes would be allowed.

At the Nov. 15 council meeting, three of the council members stated that they were unaware of the plans until several days before the March meeting when they were told of the meeting by several residents. From then until now, Mayor Collins has tried to sneak the plan along until about a month ago when there were several discussions with the council.

The plans have had several minor changes, but otherwise have been unchanged from Mayor Collins’ original design. There was a second meeting in September, when the residents could express their opinions, but no answers or comments were provided by the staff.

Again, the council was not advised of the meeting and only a few members attended. The mayor did not attend as apparently he knew that most of the residents were totally opposed to the changes.

Also in September, the mayor sent a letter to the Doubletree residents, wherein he had been advised of opposition of the residents and that his plan would be postponed because of the resident opposition and that he recognized a more thorough review of the increase in the traffic volume from the roundabout and a decrease in the safety, which would occur with the new median and the curving road.

He proposed that a new committee be formed of himself, and five hand-picked employees to study the plan and make recommendations to the council. Previously these reviews had always been done by the town staff and the Town Council.

In October the proposed road was back on the agenda again for the work study session, with the same conclusion — more analyses had to be done in 2019.

At the Nov. 15 council meeting, the proposed “entrance monument” near Scottsdale Road was discussed. The agenda said “only the entrance monument would be discussed.” However, before the meeting a town employee asked that all residents answer questions concerning the proposed reconstruction of the road — not just the monument.

Also, one resident spoke in favor of the reconstruction and that he had discussed the matter with about 20 residents. It was obvious that the five or so residents who spoke in favor of the new road were asked to attend the meeting to express their opinions even though the meeting stated that only the monument would be discussed.

In summary, from the beginning, Mayor Collins has attempted to force his plan through the council, with no competent information as to the effects on safety and the traffic volume. Even the articles in the Town of Paradise Valley Independent make light of his efforts and he noted that the newspaper had been used to communicate his intentions to the Town Council.

From the beginning it is evident that Mayor Collins did not want to follow the prescribed process in bringing the matter to a council vote as he knew that the council would not be in favor of it if they did not have reliable information concerning the huge increase in traffic that will occur with the roundabout and the large decrease in safety that will exist with the median and the road with 12-foot curves.

Instead, he tried to mislead the residents and the council members to bring the matter to a vote without analyzing the effects of the change. The only study or in-depth analysis was the traffic study with a restricted scope and whose only conclusion was that the time to travel through the Invergordon/Doubletree intersection would be reduced from about 75 seconds to 10 seconds.

Regardless of your opinion as to the advisability of the proposed road it is obvious that more analyses must be done before any decisions can be made concerning the plans. To approve the plan without the required analysis would be a disaster and dangerous for residents, drivers and bikers.

Stay tuned as there will be more next week.

Editor’s note: Mr. Barry is a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley

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