This “My Turn” column by Mike Fernandez of Pottery Paradise appeared in today’s Scottsdale Republic. I served on the SCTSC with Mike.
Regarding the recent Q&A with Councilwoman-elect Virginia Korte, I must take issue with her assertion that Scottsdale has never had an opportunity for community dialogue or research on the subject of light rail.
I am a small-business owner in Scottsdale. I also served as chairman of the Scottsdale Citizens Transportation Study Committee in 2004 and 2005. The committee’s objective was to have a dialogue with every citizen regarding the desirability of light rail or modern street car in Scottsdale.
This was not an easy task, since rail lobbyists, several Valley mayors (including Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross), the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce and print media were already hyping rail ahead of the public discussion.
Our committee was able to bring to town some of the top transportation and public-transit experts in the United States. These experts either managed transportation in cities like Los Angeles or spent decades researching these systems around the world. They spoke at open forums (always filled to capacity) and met with the media, talked with Scottsdale’s transportation staff, City Council members, The Arizona Republic, radio and television. It was the hot topic at City Hall for several years because of the massive subsidies it would require to build and run such a system.
The bottom line was that the experts overwhelmingly agreed that Scottsdale was not conducive to light rail or modern street car, which also runs on fixed tracks.
In the immediate past election cycle, Scottsdale City Council candidates were questioned at forums all over the city. When the topic of light rail came up, only Ms. Korte (tone deaf to the boos) was open to the idea. She always prefaces her comments by using the word “connectivity” in her attempt for approval. Her favoritism toward rail came as no surprise to me because I also served on the McDowell Road Task Force, of which Ms. Korte was a member. There, too, she tried in vain to have the force recommend light rail for Scottsdale. The answer was “no thanks.” Now, Virginia Korte wants yet more dialogue.
Literally thousands of Scottsdale’s citizens attended the numerous forums presented by the Citizens Transportation Study Committee. Before, during and after these forums, the city’s own transportation department was holding open-house meetings throughout the city trying in vain to get anyone to buy into rail in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Republic covered these events extensively.
It was practically a unanimous opinion: The citizens do not want rail in Scottsdale. Even the city’s sanctioned rail forums came to the same conclusion.
If Ms. Korte is serious about Scottsdale’s future, especially in her quest to revitalize McDowell Road, she needs to get on board with the overwhelming majority of Scottsdale’s citizens and business owners who want no part of rail in Scottsdale.
Literally thousands of Scottsdale’s citizens attended the numerous forums presented by the Citizens Transportation Study Committee. … It was practically a unanimous opinion: The citizens do not want rail in Scottsdale.