Wingert: Paradise Valley looks to tackle quality of life issues

In January 2016, the Paradise Valley Town Council looked at a group of issues labeled as “Quality of Life” issues. Those issues include items such as cell phone coverage, garbage collection service, and construction noise.

Peter Wingert

Peter Wingert

The Advisory Committee on Public Safety, which is chaired by Councilwoman Maria Syms was asked to look at three items under the “quality of life” banner.  Those three items were traffic signage in school zones, neighborhood traffic concerns, and the increasing amount of traffic signage. This column will focus on defining the problems around these issues.

Arizona State law allows for public schools to petition the town council to reduce the speed limit to 15 miles per hour during school times on school days. Although it would seem natural for private or charter schools to also petition the town council in order to keep their students safer, the law doesn’t take these students into account.

As a result, there is no clear process for a private school or charter school to reduce the speed limit near their campus. Some of the private schools in Paradise Valley have approached past town councils in order to get the speed reduced. A clear process would be beneficial to maintaining the safety of our most precious resource.

The police department receives several requests per month to deploy resources in a neighborhood in order to reduce the number of vehicles parked on the street in a neighborhood. Parking issues are usually short term as a result of a neighborhood gathering, which rectify themselves within a few hours.  Occasionally, the parking issues have a more lasting impact, such as in neighborhoods around Camelback Mountain during hiking season.

The town is willing to assist in attempting to correct the issue by placing no parking signs or issuing parking citations. More permanent solutions, such as gating the community, or changing the traffic flow into the neighborhood require the residents of the neighborhood to agree upon the solution.

The third quality of life issue referred to the ACOPS group by the town council was the increasing amount of signage related to traffic conditions in Paradise Valley.

We live in a beautiful town, with gorgeous views of red rock mountains, perpetual blue skies, and bright sunlight. To have those views obstructed by traffic signage telling drivers what to do and where to go diminishes the visual appearance of the streets we drive.

Traffic signage, however, is also mandated by the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Striking a balance between the FHA’s MUTCD and the beautification of the community continues to be a struggle.

As the Advisory Committee on Public Safety group addresses these issues, I will keep you informed about the outcomes of the board.

If there is a law enforcement topic you would like to discuss, please let me know. Give me a call at 480-948-7410 or shoot me an e-mail at pwingert@paradisevalleyaz.gov

Editor’s note: Mr. Wingert is the Paradise Valley Police Chief

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