Goodwin project goal: Stem Whiskey Row flooding

Another of Prescott’s major downtown streets is in line for changes in appearance, functionality and drainage.

The Prescott Public Works Department took the preliminary plans for improving Goodwin Street to the Prescott City Council this week. The project would be the sixth in the city’s recent efforts toward improving the “streetscapes” of downtown Prescott.

In January, construction began on a major city improvement project on Alarcon Street, and similar projects are in the works for Marina/Union, Carleton/Alarcon, Bashford Courts, and Willis/Cortez.

The Goodwin project, running roughly from Summit Avenue to Marina Street, is currently about 15 percent designed. Program Development Manager Steve Orosz said this week’s presentation to the council was intended to provide a chance for feedback in the early stages of design.

“We want to get input from the council, input from the public, very early in the design process,” Orosz told the council, adding that a public meeting is scheduled for March 1 (from 4:30 to 6 p.m., at the Mile High Middle School multi-purpose room/cafeteria, 300 S. Granite St.).

Although streetscape improvements on crosswalks and landscaping will be part of the project, Orosz said an existing problem with drainage on Whiskey Row was “one of the key drivers in the project.”

“Businesses are impacted during heavy storm events,” he said, adding that the street’s tall curbs – sometimes with pylons protecting cars from hitting the curbs – make for a situation that is “not a real efficient system from a drainage perspective.”

Mark Maloney, representing the consultant design firm Hoskin-Ryan, also referred to the flooding issues. “Right now, everything is surface flow on the streets,” he said. “Our plan is to put all the surface water in a storm drain system that can be conveyed to Granite Creek.”

While the city reportedly gets regular complaints about flooding during the monsoon season, David Ortega, manager of the Galloping Goose store at Whiskey Row and Goodwin, said Wednesday, Feb. 15, that flooding has not been an issue.

And Homer Kellogg, a resident of Alarcon Street where a repaving and streetscape project is currently underway, questions the need for the median and crosswalk amenities that the city is planning on his street and others.

“It seems like they’re just wasting the money,” Kellogg said, maintaining that Alarcon is safe at its original width. Rather than spending money on medians and crosswalk improvements, he said, “They could be fixing more streets, like Willis, which is really bad.”

City officials have pointed out that the streetscape amenities are being added to construction projects that already on the city’s list of priorities. The cost of the additional streetscape amenities are minimal, they say, when done as a part of a larger project, while they would be more expensive to add later.

And Councilman Greg Lazzell emphasized on Tuesday that the money the city is putting toward its street improvements comes from a voter-approved 1-percent sales tax, which could not be used for other city uses, such as paying down the public-safety pension shortfall.

Along with the drainage and streetscape improvements, the project also is being planned to create more parking spaces by converting existing parallel spaces to angled parking.

Councilwoman Jean Wilcox voiced concerns about the change. “I’m not excited about angled parking, because right now we have a chronic problem with over-sized vehicles using angled parking,” she said. “It’s a nuisance, and it does impede traffic.”

Orosz responded that the spaces would be designed with “a full nine-foot-wide stall, which a lot of trucks will fit in.”

The design also could include a traffic circle at Goodwin and Summit, Maloney said, adding, “We think it improves visibility, traffic safety.”

City Capital Project Manager Jeff Low said the Goodwin project is estimated at a cost of $4 million to $6 million. A more specific estimate will be developed as the design proceeds, he said. The existing design contract with Hoskin-Ryan totals about $572,000.