Residents In 'Affordable' Areas Deserve Safe Roads

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Editor:

Mike Burkett's glowing story (May 11) about the affordable housing project opening in Star Valley leaves out some vital points that are of grave concern to those of us who already live in the area.

These issues are not only of concern to present residents, but to anyone who is considering moving into this new affordable development.

1. Moonlight Drive is the only way in or out of most of this area. It is a winding, narrow and dangerous road, particularly at the blind corner near Lumbermen's, where there was recently a head-on collision. Traffic often speeds and drifts into the opposing lane around that corner.

The road itself is inadequate for present traffic and has no sidewalks. This is a horribly dangerous situation that will worsen when the new development is finished.

There was some talk about putting in a three-way stop at the convergence of Lumbermen's, Moonlight Drive and Garrels Drive, but that hasn't happened, so we can expect more accidents.

(And since) Moonlight/Rainbow is the only ingress-egress, should there ever be a fire in the area, we could all be stuck with no way to get out.

2. Turning left from Moonlight Drive onto the four-lane Highway 260 is perilous. The guard-rail over Houston Creek at this turn creates a blind spot that makes it difficult to see traffic coming from Payson. Two lanes of traffic speeding down the hill on 260 from Diamond Point create an additional hazard.

3. Turning right onto Moonlight Drive from Highway 260 is dangerous. Due to the bridge over Houston Creek, there is no way for the Arizona Department of Transportation to build a slow-down/turn-off lane. Not only that, but the right turn onto Moonlight is sharper than 90 degrees, and there is a metal cattle-guard, which, particularly when wet, causes one's tires to skid left, toward opposing traffic.

... A traffic back-up in the right lane of Highway 260 (increases the) chance of a major ... multiple rear-end collision.

Representatives from ADOT told me in a meeting about this situation that they recognized the danger, and that if the affordable housing project were being built adjacent to the highway, they could and would require a right-turn lane to be built as they did with Chaparral Pines and Tyler Parkway. But since Iverson's development is being constructed away from 260, their hands are tied, and we'll just all have to live with it.

So when we turn right onto Moonlight from 260, we try to move as quickly as possible to avoid speeding traffic behind us rear-ending us, but as slowly as possible to negotiate the 90-plus degree turn and to avoid skidding on the cattle-guard into the cars waiting on Moonlight to turn onto 260.

The affordable housing project and its additional cars will pack this horrendous situation with more congestion.

4. Both Springdale and Sunbeam are dirt roads. The dust, traffic and accidents have increased substantially on these streets, and will worsen with this project. There have been six one-car accidents on Springdale since 1994, all due to high speeds.

I was almost killed before Christmas by a truck that was traveling at high speed and which skidded on the gravel, narrowly missing pinning me to my fence as I was putting up Christmas lights. Kids ride bikes on both streets.

The county refuses to either pave or put up speed signs or speed bumps on these streets.

I have no objection to affordable housing per se. What I do object to is the pig-in-the-snake stuffing of this project into an area that is not even marginally adequately served by roads or traffic safety concerns.

Over the past three years, many of us (here) have raised (safety concerns) at the Gila County Supervisors' meetings and asked for solutions. We have been stonewalled and ignored.

What we expect now is more accidents and possibly fatalities on Moonlight/Rainbow, Springdale and Sunbeam.

But I guess that's the message to those of us who can only afford to live in "affordable" areas our lives and safety are more expendable than those in less "affordable" areas.

Tina Terry, Star Valley

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