|Ahwatukee Foothills News, 11/30/2001|
Comments Oppose Pecos for a Freeway
|By Doug Murphy Staff Writer
Citizens' comments on the purpose or need for a state highway around South Mountain Park show that many people are concerned about a freeway being built along Pecos Road and the truck traffic it could attract. Or, as Ahwatukee Foothills resident Barry Smith put it, "Where there's smoke there's fire, or where there's diesel smoke there's a road."
According to comments received at a series of public meetings held in the past several months, key issues include where a freeway will go, protecting South Mountain Park, where any proposed freeway will connect with Interstate 10 in the west, "And a lot of mentions of truck traffic," according to John Godec. He has been organizing public meetings and collecting public comments on the South Mountain Corridor Study being conducted for the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.
In 1988, the South Mountain Loop 202 was drawn along Pecos Road from 51st Street and Interstate 10 in Ahwatukee Foothills, around South Mountain Park, connecting back with the interstate near 51st Avenue. That alignment is still on the books, but the study, called an environmental impact statement, will look at all options, Godec said. The $6 million, three-year environmental impact statement, being conducted by HDR Engineering of Phoenix, will determine if a roadway will help relieve projected congestion in the Valley and, if so, what type of road and where it should go. Godec, of communications firm Godec Randall and Associates of Phoenix, is organizing the public participation involved in the study.
A dozen residents of Ahwatukee Foothills showed up at Monday night's briefing to the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee by Godec. Their shared concerned appeared to be that Pecos Road will be the alignment eventually selected.
"These people are highway builders and that's what they are here for, to build highways," said David Folts, who opposed using Pecos Road for a new route around the south side of South Mountain Park between Interstate 10 in the east and the west. Godec insisted that all options, including not building anything or beefing up Pecos Road as a city-owned surface street, are considered. "We have not made up our mind yet and won't for a long time," said Godec, adding that Pecos Road is not a forgone conclusion for a freeway alignment. "All options are being looked at," he said.
To comment or learn more about the study log onto www.azdot.gov or call (602) 712-7006.
The reporter can be reached at (480) 898-7914 or by e-mail at email@example.com.