A new plan was adopted by the Payson Town Council Thursday night that's designed to help Rim country motorists drive safer and more efficiently in the future.
The Payson Area Transportation Study, prepared by ASL Engineering, was the culmination of a year-long process, said Town Engineer LaRon Garrett.
"The ball's in your court now," said ASL consultant George Flanagan.
With much input from the public, Flanagan said the transportation study reflects not only the best interests of Payson motorists, but also maps out proposed bicycle routes, and safer access to major shopping centers and schools.
"I like to use the word 'mobility' rather than 'transportation,' because people automatically think of cars," Flanagan said. "This plan covers much more than that."
Among the recommendations in the plan, ASL Engineering supports the proposed southeast Payson bypass as a way of relieving congestion on local streets.
"I hate to use the word 'bypass,'" Flanagan said, "but it would basically be an ADOT roadway that would start somewhere south of Payson, and extend in a north-easterly direction."
Flanagan figures an estimated 20 percent of the approaching motorists will use the bypass. "These are people who don't have a reason or desire to stop in town," he said.
The plan also includes seven stoplights that are proposed for Rim country thoroughfares, at such busy intersections as the new Wal-Mart entrance at Malibu, the crossover between the Payson Center and the Payson Village Shopping Center, and the Beeline Highway at Airport Road.
The only public comment on the plan came from Dan Basinski, the self-declared "bicycle conscience of Payson."
Basinski, who only days earlier had a near miss with a vehicle while riding his bicycle in Payson Ranchos, said there are two existing bike paths in Payson --one good and one bad.
The poorly planned bike path runs along McLane Road, he said, "It's only one way, and it goes against recommended bicycle lane plans," he said. "The one on Airport Road is a beautiful example -- this is what we need to strive for."
While the transportation plan is only a guideline to the town's future transit project, Basinski encouraged the council and town planners to "think bicycles."
In other business, the town council approved a measure to acquire by eminent domain property along West Bonita Street.
The town plans to rebuild Bonita Street and add sidewalks to provide Rim Country Middle School students with a safer route to and from school.
To accommodate the new project, town staff has negotiated with property owners to acquire rights-of-ways. There were a few property owners, however, who could not be located, and the town plans to acquire those needed rights-of-ways by eminent domain.
Council member Ken Murphy said he was opposed to government taking property in such a manner. The resolution was approved, six to one, with Murphy casting the dissenting vote.