Public safety along Porter Road took center stage in May as City Council granted final rezoning approval for a 536-unit apartment complex on the busy thoroughfare.

Before the 5-2 vote to approve, however, a group of Glennwilde residents turned out to City Hall to complain about the traffic on Porter and express their dissatisfaction with several multi-family developments set to add traffic to the mix.

The four-lane corridor is already heavily congested, they said, especially during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up at the seven schools located on Porter or just off. At Saddleback Elementary School, cars queue up every school day in Porter’s middle lane to await entry into the school driveway. The speed limit is 35 mph in some places and 45 mph in others.

At an earlier meeting before the Planning & Zoning Commission, one resident said traffic is a quality-of-life issue.

“The bravest person I know is the crossing guard by Saddleback Elementary School. She’s risking her life every day,” she said.

“We’ve had three students hit and one adult hit this year,” another resident warned. “Adding more cars isn’t going to help that. It’s going to make it worse.”

Porter Road, just north of Bowlin Road, had an annual average daily traffic of 8,162 vehicles, according to 2021 data from the Maricopa Association of Governments. AADT is the volume of vehicle traffic divided by 365 days.

Three projects on Porter between Bowlin Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway — REV@Porter and Copa Flats, which are under construction, and Home at Maricopa — will add about 6,000 residents and about 3,200 parking spaces in the area.

Meanwhile, a couple other residential communities are planned along Porter and development continues at The Wells shopping area nearby.

Before council’s rezoning vote for the Home at Maricopa project, city officials noted commercial projects at the site and elsewhere would create considerably more traffic than residential developments.

In July, just after the first day of school, then-police Chief James Hughes told the council he expected new traffic plans — developed by the schools with assistance from city officials — would help improve the “stacking” of vehicles on Porter.

Hughes said at the time he understands that parents’ primary objective is to pick up or drop off their child safely.

But he said if the community approaches the issue from a collective, rather than individual standpoint, it will create a better and safer situation for everyone.

One Glennwilde resident, however, wrote InMaricopa recently to say he believes there is a related public-safety problem on Porter Road endangering schoolchildren trying to cross the busy thoroughfare.

Steve Murray lives near West Carlisle Lane and North Jameson Drive, a short walk from Porter Road and the walk light at Alan Stephens Parkway.

“This morning there was another near miss with children in the crosswalk,” he wrote. “It is a matter of time until we have a horrible incident at that light involving children. Someone needs to correct this horrible intersection immediately before something terrible happens. There needs to be an actual traffic light at the intersection instead of those blinking lights.

“No one pays attention to the lights as it is right now.”