Council to discuss traffic concerns on Porter Road

Councilmembers Rich Vitiello and Henry Wade at a city council meeting. [Bryan Mordt]

City councilmembers will hear a presentation Tuesday on safety concerns with school traffic, a hot topic at recent meetings of the City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission.

The presentation will be for council discussion only. No action on items presented will be taken.

The area under the heaviest scrutiny is the Porter Road corridor, from Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway to Honeycutt Road, where seven schools are located on the busy road or just off it. They include a public school, Saddleback Elementary; five charter schools – A+ Charter School, Heritage Academy, Leading Edge Academy, Legacy Traditional School and Sequoia Pathway Academy; and Central Arizona College.

With more than 1,000 new apartments proposed or in some stage of the entitlement process in the immediate area, local residents – especially those in Glennwilde – are concerned traffic will become untenable. It’s already a safety issue during morning drop-off and afternoon pickup at the schools, some residents say.

Councilmembers Henry Wade and Rich Vitiello voted against the final plat for the four- and five-story, 536-unit Home at Maricopa apartments at the May 18 City Council meeting, at least in part due to concerns over traffic in the area.

Wade said he has seen the problems first-hand.

“I live in Glennwilde,” he said during that meeting, explaining his vote against the project. “I walk there every day. I see the danger in the traffic, I see the kids coming through, kids I speak to every day, and I’m concerned about their well-being when they have to make it across the street. I used to take my grandson to Saddleback, so I’ve seen parents misuse the parking area, misuse the front area (of the school), turn left on a do not turn left sign. I’ve seen all this in the last 12 years when I’ve lived here in Maricopa.”

About a dozen citizens spoke at both the most recent P&Z and City Council meetings in opposition to that project, citing Porter Road traffic.

City Manager Rick Horst said at the May 17 council meeting that all stakeholders would need to be involved in solving the traffic issue along Porter, including administration of the schools, police, city planners and parents.

“The schools will submit their plans in advance of the new school year and then we will monitor those,” Horst said then. “We will have more people out there…and sorry, but some parents won’t like it. We all have to do our part. We all have part of causing the problem and we have part of solving the problem. That’s what a community does, we work together through the good and the bad to help solve problems.”

Horst said city staff has been meeting with staff at the schools for several months “about their failure to comply with their original traffic plans,” adding the city has drone video of parents clogging roads and blocking private driveways in violation of traffic rules while picking up their children. That video has been provided to the schools as part of the effort to have them revise their traffic plans.

He said the success of the plan will largely depend on the willingness of parents to change their behavior and follow traffic rules.

“Parents do not have a right to park in lanes, impede traffic, hold up traffic lights, park in turning lanes waiting for their kids to pick up,” Horst said. “So, we will…focus on that with what we call courtesy citations at the beginning of the school year – not to hit their pocketbook but to get their attention. And for them to solve the problem which parents are helping to create, quite honestly.”

Horst said if the traffic issues continue as the school year moves forward, the city will begin writing traffic citations.


  1. my ? is where has the city council and city manager been for the last 3 to 5 years on this issue? r they brain dead like rt 347 traffic issues? plz answer council, city manager and mayor?

    • Yeah 3 yrs with no citations and now that people are vehemently opposing a potentially very profitable project of the cities and citing traffic as one of the major issues they now have skin in the game to force changes. I think when they start citing 100s of parents each day who are just trying to pick up their kids they will stop forcing change and will just accept the new source of income gladly.