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"Y" Not in Sedona Arizona

The Y at Sedona, intersection of SR 89A and SR 179, Sedona Scenic Byway.For many years getting around

For many years getting around Sedona generally meant some encounter with what was commonly known in the local vernacular as “the Y” or technically, the intersection of SR 179 and Highway 89A. The 3-way stop light made the “Y” easy to recognize and navigate.

A Past and Present View of the Famous Sedona "Y"

From SR 179 just a couple of blocks north of Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, a right-hand turn headed you to Uptown Sedona and the scenic drive up Oak Creek Canyon. A left at the “Y” sent you in the direction of West Sedona. Conversely, a right or left on Highway 89A to SR179 headed you in the direction of the Village of Oak Creek.

Easy breezy. Books on popular hikes gauged the driving distance to trailheads from the "Y." Guide books to local attractions gave directions via the "Y." Ask a local or long-timer for directions on your next visit to Sedona, and he or she will very likely refer to the "Y."

Then came the roundabouts, a set of two traffic circles with double lanes, lots of arrows, lane markings, and new signage that shares a close similarity to crop circles. Nice landscaping however, and not so many wires and poles obstructing the view.

The old gas station, located on the southwest corner of the intersection, closed following the construction of the roundabouts and gone with it the two Hopi Koshare, or Hano, Clowns. The figures amused passers-by from their lofty perch at the edge of the station’s roof for decades and became something of an off-beat and quirky attraction locally. You can find them—still clowning around—at their new location atop the Farmer’s Market Stand in the Village of Oak Creek immediately south of the Bell Rock Inn.

Some but not all of the guidebooks and hiking guides are making adjustments to the new highway design, referring to the historic intersection as “the Y roundabouts,” “the intersection formerly known as the Y,” or simply, “the junction of 89A and 179.” This is probably one spot in Sedona where GPS comes in mighty handy.

Safe driving, everyone!

Photos by Terree L. Duncan.

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