board opposes plan for Loop 202 through park
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
- The city's Parks and Recreation Board has voiced its opposition to a proposed
freeway route that would cut through part of South Mountain Park.
The board voted unanimously Thursday to oppose any Loop 202 route through the
park. One alignment would take the freeway 200 feet into Alta Ridge and Main
Ridge, affecting 6 acres of the western end of the park.
The routing of the $1 billion South Mountain Freeway, approved by voters in 2004
as part of the Proposition 400 regional transportation plan, has been hotly
debated in Phoenix and nearby communities.
freeway would provide a Phoenix-bypass route to the south for Interstate 10.
Christopher Clary-Lemon, a transportation engineer serving as a consultant to
the Arizona Department of Transportation, attended the Parks and Recreation
meeting Thursday to get suggestions from the group about the best ways to
minimize the impact on South Mountain Park.
"Nobody is interested in a freeway cutting through mountain if we don't
have to," Clary-Lemon said.
Many board members opposed further discussion of the South Mountain Freeway
until ADOT has had more negotiations with the Gila River Indian Community about
constructing the southern alignment of the freeway on their side of the border
The original route approved by the Maricopa Association of Governments in 1988
placed the freeway along Pecos Road in Phoenix. Valley planners might move the
alignment farther south onto the Gila River Reservation if an agreement could be
"Gila has not said no yet," board member Laura Bell said. "People
really do not want to see cuts in South Mountain."
Clary-Lemon said ADOT has been coordinating with the Gila River Indian Community
for about four years and will continue discussions.
Parks and Recreation Board member Phil Richards said Arizona 51 is an example of
a freeway that disrupted neighborhoods.
"I don't know how we can get the promises, I don't know how we can get the
assurances personally and as a board that we're not going to get another 51
scar," he said.
Laurel Arndt, a member of the South Mountain Citizens Advisory Team that advises
ADOT on the freeway, applauded the city's decision to preserve South Mountain
"That park has just a unique status to it as the Gila River Indian
Community has given to their property," she said.
Corinne Purtill contributed to this article.
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