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Community Mobility Element

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Vision Statement

Scottsdale will be a community that safely, conveniently and efficiently moves people, goods, and information by providing access and mobility choices. Scottsdale recognizes that there will be a diversity of mobility systems to match the character and lifestyle of different areas of the community. Mobility choices will provide alternatives to the automobile, increase accessibility, improve air quality, enrich the community and its neighborhoods, and contribute to the community's quality of life.


The Community Mobility Element's policies concentrate on providing safe, efficient and accessible choices for the movement of people, goods, and information. The following are some assumptions that begin the discussion of mobility choices and the Community Mobility Element.

  • We are an auto-oriented community, and the primary reliance on the auto is creating negative impacts on the quality of life in the city.

  • We continue to grow in population and we travel more per capita than we ever have.

  • Our community has a strong focus on preservation of desert and mountain lands bringing up questions of access to preserved lands.

  • Future technologies may offer new mobility solutions and opportunities.

  • At current levels of zoning and land use, roadway demand will exceed projected capacity by 2010.

  • Land use and transportation plans need to incorporate multimodal opportunities now and in the future.

  • A substantial amount of Scottsdale's traffic is pass-through traffic. Many Scottsdale residents work and attend school outside the city. Many Scottsdale employees live outside the city, impacting traffic in other communities.

  • Scottsdale cannot control growth occurring outside its boundaries, but that growth impacts traffic into and through the city and citizens' quality of life. Emphasis on regional coordination is critical.

  • We cannot rely on "building our way out" of our transportation problems - in other words more roads or traffic lanes will not solve our transportation problems.

Scottsdale has a rich history of community involvement in defining and refining the vision for its mobility networks. Beginning in 1961, with the development of Scottsdale's first transportation plan, through the S.T.E.P. forums, Visioning, and CityShape 2020 processes, to the more recent "Lets Get Moving" dialogues and Future in Focus meetings, citizens have played an integral role in the city's mobility vision. Specifically, residents have indicated:

  • They want to maintain the high quality of life Scottsdale currently enjoys and the mobility system should support that quality of life.

  • Transportation solutions should not alter the physical character of the city.

  • We need to complete our roadway network (with bikeways included) AND encourage other modes of transportation.

  • While we need to prepare for new travel, we must also discourage unnecessary travel.

  • There is no one solution; we must plan with a view toward the future, not just today.

  • Scottsdale citizens and businesses must be part of the solution.

In the future, the automobile will remain an important way of travel. To maintain mobility, land use and transportation policies must emphasize work, live, and play relationships and more efficient and accessible transportation options must be provided. To reduce traffic congestion and impact on the built environment, appropriate land use decisions must be sought which help reduce the length and number of automobile trips. In addition, alternative choices to the automobile that can be efficient, accessible, and comfortable, can challenge the reliance on the automobile and further help reduce congestion on our streets. To further reduce congestion during peak driving times, employers should consider supporting telecommunications and different types of transportation than the car, car- or van-pooling, and alternative (to 8 am to 5 pm) work schedule programs.

The networks that move people, goods, and information discussed in the Community Mobility Element are represented in three distinct and interrelated levels: Regional, Citywide, and Local or Neighborhood systems.

  • The regional level presents the relationships and coordination of systems that travel through and beyond the city borders. The coordination of these regional networks is important to maintain continuous and useful links between Scottsdale and its neighbors. The regional system includes aviation, freeways, parkways, expressways, arterial roadways, regional transit networks, the regional bicycle system and the facilities that support and enhance them. At this level, mobility takes precedence over access.

  • The citywide level focuses on policies that efficiently move people, goods, and information through and within our community. Citywide systems include arterial and collector roadways, scenic corridors, local and limited-stop transit systems, bicycle system network, on-demand services (currently Dial-a-ride and the trial program of taxi vouchers called Cab Connection) for elderly and handicapped persons, and technology and citywide electronic transportation systems. At this level, mobility and access should be balanced.

  • The local/neighborhood level seeks to develop choices based upon the dynamics of local neighborhoods. Local systems include neighborhood streets, circulator and shuttle bus systems, multiuse paths and connections to paths, sidewalks, telework centers, handicapped access features, and traffic calming strategies. At this level, access takes precedence over mobility, and non-motorized mobility types (for example: walking, biking, and in some neighborhoods horseback riding) are a priority.

The Mobility Element approaches "traditional" transportation planning in a different way. It recognizes the role of the automobile, but expands the field of mobility to fully integrate non-automotive modes such as public transit, air travel, cycling, walking, trip reduction strategies, and telecommunications. It also recognizes the inter-relationships among transportation, land use, and neighborhoods. Different areas within the city may have unique mobility needs requiring solutions that, while part of a larger system, are designed for specific areas of the city. The policies in the Community Mobility Element are designed to recognize these unique needs and find solutions for them.

The city's recommendations regarding building setbacks, parking facilities, and street naming and house and building numbering are included in the city's code rather than specifically in the Community Mobility Element.


Scottdale Values ...

  • Live, work and play relationships in land use patterns that reduce the number and distance of auto dependent trips and are supported by mobility networks (such as: mixed use projects or focused development near to non-automotive mobility systems).

  • Mobility choices that reflect the community's diverse needs and lifestyle in all areas of the city, respect neighborhood dynamics, and reduce reliance on automobile.

  • Balance between regional, citywide, and neighborhood level transportation needs.

  • Citywide and regional systems that minimize impacts on viewsheds, the natural environment, and local neighborhoods.

  • Maintenance of regional, citywide and neighborhood connections/networks.

  • Design of networks to move people, goods, and information that meet the aesthetic standards of Scottsdale and that enhance the pedestrian use of the city.

  • Free flowing and safe movement within the various modes of transportation, including aircraft, commercial vehicles, automobiles, pedestrians, equestrians, and cyclists.

  • Transportation practices that support the community interests in maintaining economic vitality, protecting natural resources, and preserving neighborhood life.

  • Partnerships between citizens, businesses, system users, and the city to develop and implement mobility solutions.

  • Use of technology to achieve a mobility system that meets community goals (safety, efficiency, accessibility, alternatives and choice, reduction of travel time, reduction of traffic congestion, improvement of air quality, etc.).

Goals and Approaches

Regional Systems:

1. Protect the function and form of regional air and land corridors.

  • Design all regional corridors to safely and efficiently move people, goods and information by using state-of-the-art technology (intelligent transportation management systems), and the integration of all modes.

  • Maintain Scottsdale's high development standards. The character of regional corridors in Scottsdale should reflect an image that is uniquely Scottsdale through unified streetscapes, street signage, and public art.

  • Enhance the natural beauty and unique character of Scottsdale through design and aesthetics of regional corridors.

  • Coordinate all planned and existing regional links by actively working with adjacent jurisdictions (e.g. Scottsdale/Tempe Major Investment Study).

  • Seek new opportunities for alternative modes of transportation or choices and carefully integrate all modes: motorized, non-motorized, electronic, and air, etc.

  • Coordinate transportation and technology planning with land use planning to provide a continuous and integrated system of mobility.

  • Develop innovative designs to reduce conflict points between various means of travel/user groups while improving the efficiency of the regional links.

  • Embrace future modes and methods of moving people, goods, and information.

  • Protect the regional corridor flow and function by considering use of grade separations to enhance safety and provide choices for mobility of different modes.

  • Control access to and from regional corridors to protect mobility within the corridor and to protect residential neighborhoods.

2. Protect the physical integrity of regional networks to help reduce the number, length, and frequency of automobile trips, to improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance quality of life and the environment.

  • Improve air quality, by encouraging live, work, and play relationships in land use decisions that reduce the distance and frequency of automotive generated trips.

  • Design all infrastructure for the movement and parking of vehicles to be sensitively integrated into the natural and/or physical settings.

  • Use technologies that will more efficiently move people, goods, and information throughout the networks.

  • Integrate alternative modes of transportation along regional networks. (Scottsdale/Tempe Major Investment Study is examining this opportunity)

  • Encourage alternative fuel vehicles and examine future alternatives for mobility options that will help air quality and the environment.

  • Coordinate local and regional construction projects to reduce mobility delays and hindrances.

  • Improve regional transit systems, and explore other public mobility systems.

  • Strategically locate transit centers and park and ride lots close to regional corridors. Provide links to these centers to optimize use.

  • Continue implementation of the regional bicycle system; on a regional basis these are primarily on-street.

  • Foster ways of reducing trips, such as telecommuting. Telecommuting centers should be located for convenient access from residential areas.

  • Employ appropriate technologies to increase the effective capacity of roads and reduce traffic congestion.

  • Promote safe, efficient and environmentally responsible operation of the Scottsdale Airport to accommodate various aviation needs and commercial services, and to link the Northeast Valley to the nationwide air transportation system.

3. Promote regional diversity and connectivity of mobility choices.

  • Integrate infrastructure such as park and ride lots, transit centers, and telecommuting centers along regional corridors and within "destination centers" (areas of higher intensity or places where large numbers of people go). (Regional systems will connect, through citywide and neighborhood systems, to where people live)

  • Connect and support a diversity of mobility choices to and within areas that contain the greatest intensity of development.

  • Actively work with adjacent jurisdictions to ensure mobility choices are not adversely affected and continuity is maintained.

  • Integrate regional employment centers into a regional multimodal system (i.e. streets, trails, bikeways, paths, and transit).

  • Aggressively pursue traffic reduction strategies in region serving areas of the city (e.g. Scottsdale Airpark area) that if successful will maintain economic vitality and quality of life.

  • Promote the implementation of the Papago/Salado plans to integrate bicycle and pedestrian plans between Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale.

4. Prioritize regional connections to safely, effectively and efficiently move people, goods, and information beyond the city boundaries.

  • Actively work with adjacent jurisdictions, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), and Regional Phoenix Transportation Authority (RPTA), to maintain the integrity of regional connections.

  • Maximize the efficient movement of people, goods, and information along regional connections through signal timing, trip reduction efforts, increasing mobility network capacity, "flex" schedules, and new technologies.

  • Coordinate the creation and maintenance of new non-motorized mobility networks.

Citywide Systems:

5. Relieve traffic congestion.

  • Design citywide networks to balance the safe and efficient movement of traffic with the need to safely access these networks from the local level, and reduce pressure to use regional networks for citywide trips.

  • Use technology and design practices (such as uniformly spaced traffic signals, coordinated timing sequences, and "intelligent" traffic management systems) to create a safe and efficient flow of traffic on Scottsdale's major streets, optimize travel, increase corridor capacity, reduce traffic congestion, more efficiently move people, goods, and information throughout the networks, and reduce reliance on the automobile.

  • Emphasize work, live and play relationships in land use decisions that will reduce the distance and frequency of automotive trips and support alternative modes, such as pedestrian paths, equestrian trails, cyclist routes, transit, telecommuting and technology for moving people and information.

  • Provide for alternative modes of transportation on citywide corridors that are accessible to all socio-economic and demographic groups within the community.

  • Encourage an active partnership between Scottsdale citizens, government, and businesses in the development and implementation of transportation and technology solutions such as coordinating and encouraging alternative business hours, telecommuting, and flexible employee scheduling to help reduce traffic congestion at peak times and the number and distance of automobile-dependent trips.

  • Retrofit or redevelop transportation/technology corridors to improve movement of people, goods, and information.

  • Use transportation demand management (TDM) techniques (such as trip reduction, flexible schedules, signal timing, participating in a transportation management association, etc.) to reduce capacity demands on transportation networks.

  • Ensure that telecommunications and utility providers efficiently use rights-of-way, and locate, install, and maintain their facilities in a manner that minimizes traffic and visual impacts.

6. Optimize the mobility of people, goods, and information for the expected buildout of the city.

  • Maintain the option to expand existing and future networks to more efficiently serve the community in the future. Communicate with the community to ensure options are left open to deal with needed expansions in a timely and cost effective manner.

  • Preserve and/or acquire public rights-of-way to ensure that mobility networks can be sufficiently expanded to efficiently serve the buildout population of the community, ensure flexibility, and accommodate multimodal uses.

  • Plan for alternative routes and modes to provide options in the event that expansion of existing routes is not possible.

  • Continuously manage the physical carrying capacity of citywide networks to efficiently move people, goods, and information.

  • Provide mobility choices that reflect consumer preferences in different parts of the city to ensure the networks are efficiently serving the community.

  • Use drainage easements, vista corridors, and public open spaces as an opportunity to expand non-motorized connections throughout the community.

  • Provide transitions from regional systems to neighborhood systems by gearing design standards for roads, bikeways, paths, sidewalks, etc. to the intensity of use and traffic volumes.

  • Consider use of grade separations to enhance safety and provide choices for mobility of different modes.

  • Balance the diverse needs of the traveling public through provision of choices, recognizing that compromises may be necessary.

  • Fully integrate all modes of travel along citywide corridors to create a mix of mobility opportunities and choices.

  • Encourage development and redevelopment that is compatible with and supportive of citywide corridor functions and design.

7. Maintain Scottsdale's high aesthetic values and environmental standards in the city's transportation system.

  • Ensure that the streets designated as scenic corridors are sensitively integrated into natural desert setting and the integrity of the scenic setback is preserved.

  • Sensitively integrate infrastructure (both in emerging and redeveloping areas) along street rights-of-way within the local setting.

  • Celebrate and define a unified identity for Scottsdale by incorporating a consistent palette of colors and materials and using public art to creatively address infrastructure such as sound walls and bus bays along citywide street networks.

  • Ensure environmental sensitivity and aesthetics by retrofitting or redesigning mobility systems to meet Scottsdale's values and standards. (e.g. the 101 freeway was redesigned and implemented by Scottsdale to include public art when the original design was to be without art or aesthetic treatment)

  • Provide for alternative fuels such as electrical recharge and cleaner fuels refilling stations.

  • Promote comfortable alternative paths and trails by providing shade trees, canopies, cooling/misting systems and other options.

8. Emphasize live, work, and play land use relationships to optimize the use of citywide systems and reduce the strain on regional and local/neighborhood systems.

  • Emphasize the relationship and balance of land uses within general areas of the city to determine if an appropriate mixture exists that will reduce the demand on regional and local systems.

  • Encourage the development or redevelopment of areas that support a balance of live, work and play land use relationships and alternative modes of transportation that reduce the reliance on the automobile.

  • Encourage, where appropriate, mixed use developments that physically incorporate residential, shopping and work environments within one area or project and place strong emphasis on connectivity with non-motorized access (pedestrian oriented development).

  • Encourage access to technology by supporting the expansion of telecommunications services and choices throughout the city.

Local/Neighborhood Systems:

9. Protect neighborhoods from negative impacts of regional and citywide networks.

  • Provide neighborhood systems that safely move people, connect neighborhoods to citywide and regional networks, while discouraging citywide and regional cut-through automobile traffic.

  • Protect the livability of local neighborhoods from citywide and regional network influences by developing measures to reduce noise levels, and discourage high volume traffic and speeds within local neighborhoods. These measures may include different "traffic calming" designs and features.

  • Preserve reasonable emergency access through neighborhoods, balancing the potential for neighborhood street restriction (traffic calming, street narrowing, speed humps, etc.) with emergency accessibility.

  • Explore neighborhood street layouts and design that are not necessarily aligned with the citywide and regional network to prevent cut-through automobile traffic, reduce speeding and noise, provide greater and safer opportunities for non-motorized modes, and to create an environment where the neighborhood can flourish.

  • Minimize traffic speeds, volumes and through-traffic by appropriate street planning and design.

  • Balance access and movement between citywide corridors and neighborhood corridors to favor protecting the neighborhoods.

  • Look for opportunities to provide grade-separated crossings for various travel modes (e.g. bicycle, pedestrian, equestrian) that connect neighborhoods to high demand locations and other neighborhoods, especially when separated by city or regional corridors.

  • Provide open space and buffering in design to protect neighborhoods.

10. Encourage a diversity of links between neighborhood systems and with citywide and regional systems.

  • Emphasize accessibility and connections between neighborhoods while discouraging citywide and regional traffic in neighborhoods.

  • Explore alternative layouts that use existing connections such as alleys, drainage corridors, dead-end streets, vista corridors, grade-separated crossings, and open space to create additional non-motorized connections between neighborhoods.

  • Provide accessibility to mass transit by enhancing the pedestrian experience, providing non-motorized routes and transit options that are not on fixed routes (such as shuttles, or Dial-a-ride type services).

  • Encourage developers to design residential and non-residential buildings and include infrastructure to accommodate technological advances. (DC Ranch is an example of this kind of development)

  • Ensure that intermodal connections are functional so that movement between types of transportation is convenient and uninterrupted.

11. Provide opportunities for building "community" through neighborhood mobility.

  • Provide non-motorized modes of transportation as an alternative to the automobile and develop opportunities to foster a sense of community by linking civic spaces.

  • Encourage the sensitive integration of live, work and play land uses and their physical links within and between neighborhoods to emphasize sense of place.

  • Strive for the highest standards of safety and security for all motorized and non-motorized modes.

  • Recognize the importance of non-residential "institutional" uses like schools and places of worship to a neighborhood's sense of community and identity and provide parking and connections that blend with the neighborhood.

  • Enhance the opportunities for technology and telecommunications within neighborhoods.

  • Promote neighborhood street systems as the foundation for bicycle use, through safety and design features.

  • Promote non-motorized travel for short neighborhood trips such as homes to schools, parks, libraries, retail centers, and civic spaces.

  • Promote school site design that encourages non-motorized travel for students and personnel by accommodating direct links between schools and neighborhoods in a manner that minimizes exposure to vehicles.

  • Provide a high level of service for pedestrians through facilities that are separated and protected from vehicle travel (e.g., placing landscaping between curbs and sidewalks).

  • Emphasize strong pedestrian orientation (e.g. shaded safe paths, links to civic spaces) to foster a strong sense of community.

12. Recognize the diversity of neighborhoods throughout the city and their different mobility needs.

  • Ensure that mobility choices reflect the character and dominant lifestyle within a neighborhood(s) and that services provided are appropriate for the neighborhood(s). For example, in equestrian areas of the community, create links to the citywide and regional trail system.

  • Explore partnerships and privatization to provide additional mobility choices.

  • Consider Improvement Districts to provide neighborhood links in a more time efficient manner.

  • Continuously communicate with the community that the strength of live, work and play land use relationships will have a direct impact on the service levels and number of mobility choices that a neighborhood may experience. Mixed-use development will have a stronger emphasis on pedestrian-oriented design and contain more dynamic non-motorized connections. On the other hand, more singular land uses such as low-density equestrian areas may place more emphasis on local trail systems to maintain connectivity.

  • Recognize that different areas of the city will have centers or focal points of intensity in mobility systems.

  • Examine at the character area or neighborhood level of general planning an area's connectivity, ways to create hubs for alternative methods of mobility, and vulnerability to decline.

  • In maturing neighborhoods explore retrofitting of aging infrastructure, re-design of streets, and connections for non-motorized traffic to augment a neighborhood's livability and safety.

  • Consider the use of grade separations to enhance safety and provide choices for mobility of different modes.

  • Work with local neighborhoods to develop solutions that create ownership and residential responsiveness, alleviate negative effects of regional and citywide transportation networks, and form financial partnerships in funding potential improvements.

 Related Plans and Policies:

  • City of Scottsdale Design Standards and Policies Manual, Section 3.4, 1999, Bikeways City of Scottsdale Design Standards and Policies Manual, Section 3.1, Street Geometrics  City of Scottsdale Zoning Ordinance, Bicycle Parking

  • Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices 2000, Part 9, Traffic Controls for Bicycle Facilities

  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, 1999

  • Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Regional Bikeways Plan, 1999

  • MAG Regional Off-Street System Plan, 2001

  • MAG Pedestrian Area Policies and Design Guidelines, 1995

  • MAG Pedestrian Plan, 2000


  • Indian Bend Wash Bicycle and Pedestrian Path Study, 1992

  • Upper Camelback Wash Multiuse Path Routing Study, 1998

  • Scottsdale Bike Path Improvement Study 1991

  • City of Scottsdale Desert Greenbelt Project Multiuse Paths and Trails

  • City of Scottsdale Bike Lane Retrofit Study, 1991

  • City of Scottsdale Bicycle Task Force Final Report, 1988

  • City of Scottsdale Transit Plan, 1990

  • City of Scottsdale Bicycle/Pedestrian Transportation Plan, 1994

 Element Graphic: