In 2008, the section of the Rio de Flag channel off East Route 66 between the ADOT Yard and the Flagstaff El Paso Road leading into Picture Canyon was considered an area of the city most in need of restoration.
Long an eyesore that was used as a paintball combat zone, an industrial junkyard and a place to abandon worn-out home furnishings, the Wildcat Reach (that's what we called it then) of the Rio de Flag was a jarring disgrace.
In 2011, led by my friend David McKee with the help of many volunteers, work began on the rehabilitation of this major Flagstaff disfigurement. They removed 8.2 tons of debris including 67 truck tires, a wide variety of derelict household items and lots of discarded vehicle parts along with an overdue purge of the residing weed population.
Coconino County owns the land in the middle of the Wildcat Reach and completed their section of a FUTS connection in May of 2017. The city owned parts of the reach-a parcel linking the finished county section to Picture Canyon, and another segment that would join the completed part of the FUTS to East Route 66 has yet to be constructed.
And in regard to the FUTS, it seems like the city interest in connecting our trails' many individual parts has moved downward on the list of projects to be accomplished. Considering our worsening traffic problems, such a demotion would seem counterproductive.
But I digress. Recently after two days of rain a group of us visited the refurbished Wildcat Reach and were happy to see its channel full of water. From East Route 66 all the way to the restored Rio de Flag meandering inside the Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve (another McKee dream realized), the stream was flowing. Thanks, David!
While we're on the subject of the FUTS, a discussion at the Pedestrian Advisory Committee has been about the possible introduction of standup electric scooters in Flagstaff, and if those renting them will be allowed to ride these motorized devices on our sidewalks and city urban trail.
As an avid supporter of folks choosing to walk, I feel obligated to question the allowance of these cute little motorized wonkers to go bonkers on our paved pathways. Because they're capable of doing 15 miles per hour, should pedestrians be forced to share limited walking space with them?
But when wearing my hat of a citizen trying to be fair, I know the FUTS was designed for use by those choosing alternative modes of transportation. And while I support that ideal, as a longtime advocate for travel by means other than in a vehicle, I find myself uncomfortably at odds with many of the currently proposed transportation options.
The attainable speeds of motorized conveyances seem a threat to the safety of the walking members of our community, but that's just my opinion. You can help bring clarity to the subject by completing a short survey on the subject at: https://www.opentownhall.com/7214
Or better yet, join us at the next Flagstaff Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday, March 14 at 4:30 p.m. in City Hall in the City Council Chambers. Let's talk!