An Opportunity for Arcadia
By Wally Graham
A year ago, an Arcadia area resident shared concerns about vehicle speeds on 56th St. She had a friend who volunteered with her at Prince of Peace and struggled to get there in the mornings. The once quiet street has now become a major thoroughfare. It is becoming more difficult to turn onto 56th St from the smaller neighborhood streets, most noticeable from the streets by the Great Hearts School, and Osborne Rd. Subsequently the Arcadia Osborn Neighborhood Association (AONA) formed a sub-committee in April 2016, to look at ways to slow down and reduce traffic on 56th St. The committee worked with the City of Phoenix Traffic Department to update old traffic studies. They reached out to the Scottsdale Unified School District and Veritas to involve administrators and parents including several members from ACMNA. Rana Lasgari from Councilman Sal DiCiccio’s office also a big help. The committee developed recommendations for improvements that would make 56th St a little more friendly and more importantly – safer for pedestrians. Shortly after the committee started work, members from the Scottsdale Unified School District staff and the Ingleside Middle School PTO joined the committee. A significant conclusion of the committee was that the crosswalks at 56th St and Indian School are unsafe for students. In fact students have actually been injured. The committee concluded a crossing guard was urgently needed and took immediate action. Despite a restrained budget, a crossing guard is now on duty at that intersection – thanks to the efforts of the neighborhood committee. In addition, City of Phoenix Traffic Engineer Scott Logan assisted in improving the safety of the crosswalks by getting the department to repaint all of the crosswalks with high visibility paint. This has helped with driver awareness and the need to watch for pedestrians crossing the intersection.
During an ACMNA Board meeting last month, neighborhood concerns about the entire stretch of 56th St were stridently discussed and it was resolved that ACMNA would also establish a sub-committee to review the problems north of Indian School. Since then, the Arcadia Camelback Mountain Neighborhood Association (ACMNA) and the Arcadia Osborn Neighborhood Association (AONA) quickly realized that we share all the same problems with 56th St, specifically between Camelback and Thomas Roads. The resulting meetings have brought forth a single joint task force combining resources from both neighborhoods. The new committee will be supporting a larger vision, encompassing associations, city staff, school representatives and independent traffic consultants. They are tasked with providing recommendations, developing plans for significant improvements and following them through to fruition. The principle focus will be on five key areas: Speed, volume, safety, aesthetics and enjoyment. We believe both associations and all of our residents must work together to ensure the entire length of 56th St is looked at. All of us have a shared interest in keeping 56th St from becoming a two-mile arterial comprised of cut through traffic. That is not going to be an easy task but working together, we can make it happen. The AONA 56th Street sub‐committee has so far accomplished: ♦ Installation of high visibility crosswalks ♦ Installation of Right turn warning signs at 56th St and Indian School ♦ Constructed bike posts at 56th St. and Indian School intersection ♦ Engagement and support of SUSD/Ingleside administration & PTO ♦ Involved Veritas/Archway parents ♦ Assigned a Crossing Guard to 56th St at Indian School ♦ Increased community awareness about safety issues on 56th St ♦ Completion of traﬃc studies south of Indian School Rd and 56th St ♦ Initiated petitions for traﬃc calming bumps on Osborn, and Earll ♦ Supplied traﬃc calming recommendaƟons needed from Indian School Rd. to Thomas