Thornton: traffic at Pima and the light-change conundrum

A handful of residents took us up on the offer to get answers to questions they ponder during their day-to-day lives.

Terrance Thornton

Surprisingly, each question, one way or another, revolved around traffic concerns.

Scottsdale resident Ron Porter ponders: why traffic is so bad regularly when trying to travel southbound on Pima Road at the Loop 101 intersection?

Well, Mr. Porter, this is what we were able to find out relayed to the Independent from the city’s Public Affairs Director Kelly Corsette:

“Scottsdale traffic management staff are well aware of the congestion at this interchange. As residential and commercial development boomed in the north areas of Scottsdale and the nearby communities, traffic demand at the Pima/Princess interchange boomed as well,” he said.

“As drivers in the area well know, this interchange can’t handle the current traffic demands. Arizona Department of Transportation recently completed a concept design study on this section of Loop 101 and recommended significant re-construction of the interchange.”

Another question came from Scottsdale resident Eric Bettelheim asking why traffic lights can’t be timed better at certain intersections?

Well, Mr. Bettelheim, this is the response we were able to get:

“Recognizing that re-construction is not a quick fix, Scottsdale traffic management staff have developed additional operational changes at this interchange, which have been deployed in the past week — drivers should note the ‘Traffic Control Change Ahead’ signs that have been placed in Pima Road and Princess Drive,” Mr. Corsette said.

Mr. Corsette points out traffic control at the Pima and Princess intersection is meant to help accommodate for lost time.

“The way the traffic control infrastructure at this intersection was built leads to ‘lost time’ as only certain directions are allowed green at any given moment — these changes are directed at reducing this lost time and allowing more simultaneous movement to get more vehicles through on each signal phase,” he said.

“A second phase of changes is needed, but will require hard infrastructure installation — complete re-cabling of the interchange. This work will require shutting down the traffic signal for a time, so staff is carefully evaluating how and when this can occur, recognizing that it will make an already difficult situation temporarily worse while the new cabling is installed.”

Independent Newsmedia, publisher of the Scottsdale Independent, is a unique publishing and printing company that supports every American’s First Amendment rights and encourages and assists citizens in exercising those rights responsibly.

We’ve published a local newspaper in one form or another in Scottsdale for over three decades. But it’s this unrelenting dedication to that ideal that has lead us to prosper where others have stumbled.

Much of the idea behind that pursuit is as simple as getting tough questions answered and creating simple explanations to complex problems.

So, what can we at the Scottsdale Independent, get answered for you?

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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