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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-Construction should launch in 2009 to make a 10-year vision for Scottsdale Road become a reality. The $31.4-million project, fulfilling results from a long ago design charrette, will create common threads for a 24-mile stretch through design and development of bicycle paths and walkways.

The project is being financed with $27 million from a bond election and $4.4-million grant from the federal government for transportation development. Tim Conner, Scottsdale’s principal planner, says the streetscape’s master plan is making its way through the development and approval process. The public, planning department, city council and Arizona Department of Transportation still have to sign off on the final plan.

Conner says the 2009 construction start will focus on the southern part of the thoroughfare between Roosevelt Street and Earll Drive. The time line for subsequent phases hasn’t been determined.

Conner says the move to unify Scottsdale Road through design elements, landscaping and pedestrian walkways began in 1998 when citizens participated in a charrette led by John Meurnier, then Dean of Arizona State University’s College of Architecture. “They set the vision and saw there was a need to unify Scottsdale Road because of its importance to the community and the overall Valley,” Conner says.

Although the idea is good in theory, Conner says employing continuity along Scottsdale Road is a challenge. For one thing, the road was built piecemeal, beginning in the late 1950s. Different styles of architecture and landscaping line the road, which meanders through older retail commercial zones, urban core locations, resort corridors and natural desert from Carefree on the north to Tempe on the southern end.

“What we did was come up with two different concepts,” Conner explains. “One is the items of continuity–things you’d see along streetscapes, but that have different characteristics.” For example, he points out that the foothills scenic area, which is the desert and natural area of Scottsdale Road’s northern portion might have walking trails instead of sidewalks.

Conner tells GlobeSt.com that the current funding will be used mostly for the southern and Downtown portion of the project because these areas require the most work at this time. Once the money runs out, he says “we’ll have to get creative, whether it be through another bond program if citizens are willing to do that or even working on a transportation project.”

Although putting walkways, landscaping and bike paths along the artery might seem a lot of fuss for a street, Conner doesn’t see it that way. He points out that Scottsdale Road is one of the longest roads in the region. “It’s the namesake of our city,” he adds.

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