F3 Position: SUPPORT. As Arizona state has decreased funding to CCC 30% over the last 20 years, F3 supports the renewal of the CCC bond to cover programs after the Lone Tree Campus bond is paid off. Taxpayers will not see a difference in property tax bills for this seven-year extension.
Proposition 418: 418 would repeal provisions of Proposition 414 passed in 2016 to increase the minimum wage for the city of Flagstaff. If passed, the minimum wage in Flagstaff will be the same as Arizona state minimum wage until 2021, when it will be 50 cents higher than the Arizona state minimum wage.
F3 Position: OPPOSE. Proposition 418 seeks to remove the protections and minimum wage increases passed by citizens in 2016. As cost of living in Flagstaff is 15-20% higher than other metropolitan areas in Arizona, our wages should be higher than the state minimum wage to retain citizens in our community.
F3 Position: OPPOSE. F3’s position on 419 was not an easy one for our board to decide. It took a lot of detailed research, weighing of one community value against another, and ultimately asking ourselves if this is the best our community can do given our very real limitations. Although there are aspects of 419 that our board supports, F3 decided that we as a community can do better and does not endorse Proposition 419.
The biking infrastructure that Proposition 419 would fund looks good on paper- 33.8 miles of bike lanes, and 14.7 miles of FUTS trails. This is more bike/ped infrastructure than our current transportation tax. However, the bike infrastructure proposed will not make the average citizen get out of their car and onto a bike. The bike lanes on both W. Rte 66 and Butler will run right beside multi-lane streets with speeds between 35- 55 miles per hour. A cyclist is almost guaranteed to be seriously injured or die if hit by a car at those speeds. In an age where distracted driving is on the rise, we as a community shouldn’t ask our cyclists to take those risks. Nor should we be surprised that the majority of people (including students) will choose to drive in those conditions. Proposition 419 is promising “complete streets” in theory but not in practicality. There are many different infrastructure options to make cyclists safer when on or near roads, and they are relatively cheap (especially in comparison to building roads). Proposition 419 doesn’t take a holistic approach to making biking and walking a safe and convenient choice for people, and F3 hopes that a transportation tax proposed in 2020 will take these issues into serious consideration.
In discussions of Proposition 419, there is the enduring myth that creating more road lanes will help relieve traffic. Fifty plus years of traffic data or a day trip to Phoenix shows this is not the case. Creating more road lanes simply creates more drivers. The widening of W. Rte. 66, Butler, and Lone Tree will not make anyone’s daily commute shorter in the long-term. Our population will continue to grow and widened roads will absorb those new drivers, especially when there are not appealing alternatives. However, there are many things we could do that would lessen our single-driver dependence and relieve traffic: Transit and HOV lanes, Bus lines on W. Rte. 66 and JWP, traffic signals that favor transit/bike/ped, even simple things like more bike parking or lighting on FUTS trails would relieve traffic. But none of these are in Proposition 419; it is primarily an automobile-oriented transportation tax where pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is secondary and insufficient. F3 hopes that a broader approach to traffic relief will be available to the voting public in 2020 in a new transportation tax.
There are two metaphorical roads to Flagstaff’s transportation Future in the next 20 years. One will have us sitting white-knuckled in traffic, cursing the driver in front of us, and circling around looking for a parking spot. We might frequently choose to stay at home than engage with our community. One will have our waistlines a little thicker, our city budget struggling to repair potholes, our children’s asthma rates a little higher, and a rampant increase in greenhouse gases.
Another road to Flagstaff’s transportation Future in the next 20 years has us exercising more and all of us a little healthier. It has us saying hello to the neighbors we pass on the sidewalk, the FUTS trail, or on the bus. It gives us a street-level view of our local businesses to check out and ample bike racks in front. It has us safely writing a message to a friend on our smartphone on the way to a community event, while someone else does the driving. It leaves more money in our city budget to fund other things that we want. It also gives us the opportunity to seriously reduce our greenhouse gases and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
This is what a community that prioritizes and adequately funds transit, walking, and bicycling looks like. Proposition 419 doesn’t get us remotely close enough to this vision, and we don’t have the luxury of another 20 years to get it right. We at F3 hope that you will join us at the ballot box on November 6th and vote no on Proposition 419. We also hope that our members will join us in helping to provide input on a new transportation tax that we all can feel proud to support in 2020.
F3 Position: OPPOSE. F3 has a history of advocating for modes of transportation that use less fossil fuels and establishing city infrastructure that makes walking and biking a convenient and safe choice. When Flagstaff prioritizes road projects in transportation planning, our community will continue to drive in automobiles as the more convenient and appealing choice. As the effects of climate change are already impacting our community and as our municipal budget is continuously stretched thin, F3 does not endorse Proposition 420, the Lone Tree Railroad Overpass.
The Lone Tree Railroad Overpass is expensive – $131.5 million to build the bridge and its bonding costs. In contrast, a planned bike and pedestrian tunnel under Rte. 66 and the BSNF tracks at Sitgreaves would cost about $5 million and currently has no funding source. All 44 pedestrian and bike projects (bridges and tunnels) to make crossing safer near our high-speed roads would only cost $64 million, less than half the cost of one Lone Tree bridge. Roads are expensive, both in building and in their continued maintenance as heavy cars wear down asphalt significantly faster than bicycles and pedestrians. In shrinking city budgets, our sales tax can go to much better uses than the Lone Tree bridge.
The idea that creating more roads will relieve traffic does not hold up to the data. Creating more roads simply creates more drivers. If our community is hoping that a Lone Tree Bridge will help them zip across town, as was possible when the population was smaller, they will find themselves in a few years disappointed as they are idling on the Lone Tree Bridge with all the other drivers who had the same idea. It will be a very costly lesson to learn for our community.
Automobiles currently contribute 41% of Flagstaff’s greenhouse gases (GHG), our largest factor contributing to climate change. We cannot decrease our GHG if we continue to prioritize roads in transportation planning. However, by properly funding bike and pedestrian projects, we can make those transportation choices more safe and appealing to larger segments of our population. If we continue business as usual and try in vain to engineer our way around vehicle traffic, we will run both out of money and a habitable planet to live on. Voting no on Proposition 420 would be a strong signal to our city that the era of the automobile needs to end and our future lies in alternative forms of transportation. Friends of Flagstaff’s Future hopes that you will join us at the ballot box in November and vote no on Proposition 420.
F3 Position: SUPPORT. Friends of Flagstaff’s Future has long been a supporter of the accomplishments and improvements in NAIPTA and supports Proposition 421 for increasing the frequency and hours of our current transit lines. F3 thinks that Prop 421 will help many of our citizens make transit the more compelling choice in their transportation options.
Fifty percent of our population works in the service industry sector, which often includes weekend and night shifts. Proposition 421 will extend the hours of service, as well as increase frequency on weekends. More workers will be able to use transit if they know that NAIPTA will be operating at the end of their shift, and they only need to wait a few minutes for the next bus.
Proposition 421 will also be effective in making it easier for our community to attend community and cultural events. With extended hours, people will be able to choose transit to attend a play at Theatrikos, a performance at Coconino Center for the Arts or the Orpheum, most of the events on the NAU campus, and many of our other downtown events. Between gas and parking, it will be cheaper and less stressful to pay $2.50 to NAIPTA than driving to these events.
Proposition 421 will also go a long way to eliminating NAU students’ need to have a vehicle. With every student having a UPass that will work on all transit lines, they will be able to commute to school, commute to jobs, and travel to community events without dependence on a vehicle. Our younger population in particular would prefer not to drive if the alternatives were convenient and easy. Proposition 421 makes this a reality for a large portion of our population.
F3 supported the transit tax in 2016 and thinks Proposition 421 will provide the means to significantly increase ridership. F3 would like to see more transit lines throughout Flagstaff and to our neighboring communities. By increasing ridership through Proposition 421, these additional lines will be easier to support. F3 hopes that you will join us at the ballot box on November 6th and support Proposition 421.