No, we are not going to talk about the red rock Jeep traffic that may actually cause traffic on the trails! That is a conversation for another day. Generally all the professionals who navigate the jeep trails do a really good job of managing those trails such as the upkeep, as well as creating an atmosphere that moves the flow of vehicles through the trails transparently to the tourists and other vehicles and their drivers.
We have two seasons where the tourism swells above normal which increases traffic. Our local population is around 10,000 but on any given day there are 20,000 tourists visiting the city. On holiday weekends that number can grow even larger.
Spring & Autumn
Those seasons with larger than normal tourism numbers include Spring and Fall, with Spring lasting much longer than in years past. Here are the reasons why there is more tourism:
- Arizona has had National Football Championship games
- All Star Basketball games
- The Waste-Management golf tournament
- Cactus League Baseball
- More access to hotel rooms
- Infrastructure (loop freeways) built out and other freeway expansion projects including Interstate 17 to Sedona
In Sedona we have had aggressive tourism campaigns targeting areas like California and Phoenix. We have had a Marriott Courtyard built, the first hotel in 12 years giving us more rooms. Another section of a popular craft and gallery shopping and restaurant area (Tlaquepaque North) opened up in late Summer of 2016.
Arizona residents and many California residents travel by car to Sedona. If you fly into Phoenix, you generally will rent a car to get to Sedona. This creates more traffic.
What Is Sedona Doing To Minimize Congestion?
- One of the first major projects taken on was SR 179. The highway was made wider and eleven round-abouts were put in to help make traffic flow easier.
- Uptown Sedona parking and pedestrian walkways were redesigned for efficiency. Traffic lanes were added to help traffic coming out of the canyon flow easier into the Uptown area.
- Tram routes were added to ease vehicle traffic through the city.
- Additional parking studies are being conducted right now with the possibility of shuttle services from these remote parking areas to the Uptown area. Highly regarded Kimley Horn is conducting the feasibility study for the city of Sedona.
- Other areas being highly considered are traffic meters on the 89A in Uptown. Implementing traffic control restrictions between the hours of 1pm to 5pm. These hours may be extended based on traffic conditions. There will be turn lane restrictions and one way traffic to alleviate traffic bottlenecks.
Because Sedona does care about traffic control, many things the city has done and is in the process of doing will alleviate traffic congestion. However I hear from many REALTORS® that clients have decided that Sedona was just too congested for them and they have moved on. Generally, the increase starts in late February around the week of the Film festival and goes through April. Most of the year other than holidays, the traffic flows well. Everything is very close in Sedona so only a few minutes are added to your trip. Really bad congestion might add 15 total minutes to a trip.
For me, traffic is nothing compared to Southern California or even Phoenix. I would never trade moving away because of the traffic. As a local, you know how to maneuver through it or pick the right time of day to run errands. Sedona is a life choice I will make all day long!