On Jan. 10, the Payson Town Council took action to send the Mud Springs Extension project back to the Surface Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC) to determine if additional controls would prevent Mud Springs Road and Phoenix Street from becoming a bypass. Although this was the right thing to do, more action is needed. There are several serious traffic problems in this area that must be corrected.
The council's sending the project back to the STAC because of angry homeowners this late in the process shows there were some serious weaknesses in the project's planning. Typical project management practices would have included; performing an analysis to determine the extension's unintended consequences. A close look would have shown the creation of a bypass situation through quiet neighborhoods. There may be other unintended issues. The potential for causing an unintended bypass on Phoenix Street and Mud Springs Road was discussed several times, but apparently no formal study was done.
Developing solutions to eliminate or mitigate unintended negative consequences. No traffic engineering solutions were planned.
Building consensus and support of interested parties. There was neither a communication plan nor effort to obtain feedback and support from interested parties. There was no consensus building. The leaders and participants depended on Arizona open meeting laws and local newspaper articles to convey project information, which simply doesn't work.
The town council needs to take action to ensure the performance of these steps, or the chaos will continue. The challenges will be even greater this time as homeowners in neighborhoods along Phoenix Street have lost confidence. In the near term, assign an experienced project manager who will report directly to the council. For the long term, ensure that individuals assigned to lead the town's projects are trained on project basics.
J. Morris Brown