Labor Day, 2004, undoubtedly set a record for the number of vehicles passing through Payson on their way to various places in the high country. I have been traveling to the heart of Arizona for more than 40 years though all kinds of conditions, but I have never witnessed the volume of traffic I did this past weekend. The backup was incrediblend, accordingo friends, at times was stop and go from Ryehrough the junction of 87 and 260. If you got off theoad for fuel or food, it was almost impossible to get back on.
It's time for Payson to seriously consider a downtown bypass. I've heard the argument: If you build a bypass people won't stop on their way through town. I submit that if steps aren't taken to alleviate the traffic congestion, businesses will lose both the traffic coming through town as well as the current weekend business they have from local residents who won't fight the traffic. If you are going to stop in Payson, you're going to stop, bypass or no bypass.
The long term costs for taking an ostrich approach to this problem may, in the long run, be far more costly to the town than making sure there is a safe and convenient method for people to get to their destinations.