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We Must Overcome the Activists and Misguided Councilmembers Seeking to Implement Road Diets in Scottsdale

Misguided Councilmembers Seeking to Implement Road Diets in Scottsdale
Mason Gates, pictured above, stands next to the experimental 68th Street "road-diet" that displays the congestion it has created.

A key feature of Scottsdale’s unique appeal is its car-centric transportation infrastructure. Having largely been developed after World War II, during the height of the automobile’s reign as America’s most popular mode of transportation, Scottsdale attracted thousands of residents thanks in part to its wide, well-maintained, and easy-to-navigate roads.


Locals have long appreciated Scottsdale’s impressive ability to outdo most other cities across America and provide its residents with top-of-the-line roads. Scottsdale’s premier road network undoubtedly contributes to the prime quality of life that makes Scottsdale the envy of many.


Unfortunately, a well-funded, special interest-backed, activist-driven effort in recent years has endeavored to undermine Scottsdale’s well-regarded road network. And politicians like Mayor David Ortega and Councilmember Tammy Caputi have positioned themselves as unflinching proponents of this destructive initiative. 


Time and again, Ortega and Caputi have voiced support and voted in favor of “road diets” on Scottsdale’s roads. In other words, they have genuflected to the anti-car lobby and aimed to make life unnecessarily difficult for Scottsdale motorists. 


In layman’s terms, road diets amount to the reduction of traffic lanes through the redrawing of road markers to make way for bicycles and public transit. For example, in recent years, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors redrew road lines on Market Street near the city’s financial district to cut automobile lanes and make way for buses and bicycle lanes. This created a burdensome complication for motorists attempting to navigate the city’s streets while driving to and from work.


Cities up and down the West Coast, from Portland to San Jose, have similarly experimented with road diets in an effort to incentivize bicycling and public transit at the expense of motorists. 


Last year, when the Scottsdale City Council considered a proposal to impose a road diet on parts of 68th St., Mayor Ortega and Councilmember Caputi joined two of their colleagues in a 4-3 vote to turn 68th St. into a one-lane road for automobiles. Soon after this unfortunate vote, Arizona State House Representative Joe Chaplik (LD-3) voiced concerns about the project on X (formerly Twitter), noting how Scottsdale risked reaping the consequences of the failed road diets that afflicted Portland.


I, for my part, am directly affected by this road diet, as I commute to work every day northbound on 68th St. While I appreciate Rep. Chaplik’s foresight in sounding the alarm about this project, I continue to lament the City Council’s decision to allocate $89,819 in city funds to make life more difficult for car drivers in South Scottsdale. 

Unfortunately, the 68th St. project is one of many symptoms of a 15+ year activist campaign that has sought to impose road diets on Scottsdale’s formerly highly-efficient road network. In 2008, 96th St. between Shea Boulevard and Thunderbird Road was narrowed by a road diet, while Indian School Road between Goldwater Blvd and 60th St. succumbed to a similar fate in 2020. 


Scottsdale is now in danger of losing the unique character of its well-regarded transportation network. Ortega and Caputi’s rubber stamp on future road diet proposals would threaten our collective quality of life while undermining Scottsdale’s nature as the ideal community in which to live, work, recreate, and raise a family. 


I pledge to every Scottsdale resident that when I take my seat in city hall, I will do whatever I can to stop any future road diet proposals from seeing the light of day. City tax dollars should be spent repaving, beautifying, and further enhancing our beautiful roads, not reducing lanes to appease some out-of-state environmental interests. 


If you elect me into office, I will aim to build a working majority of pro-car, anti-road diet members on the City Council in order to maintain the integrity of Scottsdale’s transportation network.


We Must Overcome the Activists and Misguided Councilmembers Seeking to Implement Road Diets in Scottsdale


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