|Ahwatukee Foothills News, 02/21/2002|
Neighbors Meet to Oppose Freeway on Pecos Road
|By Doug Murphy Staff Writer
No one is sure where the South Mountain Loop 202 freeway will go, but a small band of Ahwatukee Foothills residents know where they don't want it -- along Pecos Road. That's the bottom line of Concerned Families Living Along South Mountain Loop 202, a grass-roots group concerned with the proximity of a freeway to schools, churches and homes, and the health effects from noise and diesel fumes.
The group held its first meeting Feb. 6 at Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary School, which borders Pecos Road. Thirty people attended the three-hour meeting, according to resident Robin Salthouse.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) began last fall to conduct a three-year, $6-million study to see if South Mountain Loop 202 is needed and if so, where it should go.
"Our biggest challenge, is convincing people that there is no set route already in mind," said John Godec, who spoke at the meeting. ADOT hired Godec's consulting company to involve the public in the study process. The Phoenix-based Godec Randall and Associates specializes in communications strategy and issues management. David Folts, who organized Concerned Families Living Along South Mountain Loop 202, pulls no punches. "These people are highway builders, and that's what they are here for, to build highways," he said Feb. 8.
Since 1988, Pecos Road has been the official alignment for the proposed freeway that will extend west from the Interstate 10 and Pecos Road intersection, around South Mountain Park and reconnecting with I-10 between 55th and 63rd avenues. Since then, however, homes have been built right up to, and in some cases, into the freeway right-of-way. Also, churches, schools and homes now back onto the alignment, resulting in ADOT taking a new look at where the freeway should go.
Councilman Greg Stanton opposes extending Pecos Road around the mountain as a city-owned street or using the road as the alignment for a freeway. He would like to see the freeway built south of Pecos Road, on the Gila River Indian Community, but admits that the community may not be excited about the prospect of a freeway in its back yard.
For information on the ADOT study, log onto www.azdot.gov or call (602) 712-7006. Folts and Concerned Families Living Along South Mountain Loop 202 hope to soon have their own Web site up and running, but until then can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com. The group is tentatively scheduled to meet again in late March or early April.
The reporter can be reached at (480) 898-7914 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.