does it seem like south and southwest Phoenix are always last in line to get
Last to get new schools, last to get street improvements and last to get
noticed for just about anything.
Now the area is last in line in a slow-as-molasses Arizona Department of
Transportation plan for new freeways around the Valley. To add insult to
injury, the last stretch of Loop 202, whose ring around the region is almost
complete, has not even broken ground to connect the West Valley to Interstate
10 around South Mountain.
In fact, not only has
the last leg not begun, city and state bureaucrats are still debating the new
Meanwhile, truck-laden I-10 is grinding to a halt every morning, and booming
growth in southwest Phoenix, Avondale and points west keep adding layers of
traffic to an exhausted freeway. Meanwhile, planning committees and city
councils continue to approve developers' requests to add more housing out
I say we take a time out to find some leadership.
Where are the so-called elected leaders on this issue? Where are the area's
state senators and representatives? Where are the city council leaders? Where
is the mayor? Where's the governor? It's only been two decades since the issue
first came up. C'mon, people, let's choose an answer on this multiple-choice
The controversial last leg of Loop 202, which is tentatively set to follow
55th Avenue south from I-10 around the western end of South Mountain and then
head east just south of Ahwatukee (along or near Pecos Road) until it meets
I-10 near Chandler.
It's been held up for a variety of reasons. In a nutshell, here are the
problems: Ahwatukee residents, who either were fooled into buying expensive
homes near the proposed freeway or knew the road was coming in and bought them
anyway, don't to ruin the value of their homes.
They want the freeway built on the neighboring Gila River Indian Reservation.
The Native American group wants no part of a noisy, polluting expressway that
developers, state planners and city officials have known about for years, but
continued to allowing building as if it would never be built.
ADOT wants to run the freeway through part of South Mountain Park's west end
to try to satisfy everyone. Phoenix says no way. The Maricopa Association of
Governments may have a different view in the matter and its say may prevail.
And on the west side, Tolleson and western types want the expressway to
connect with I-10 at Loop 101. Laveen interests say the freeway is theirs and
its been planned that way for 20 years. What's more, horse-tract owners in
"rural" Laveen are scared the massive new road will destroy their
Most of the concerns here are legitimate. I, however, tend to agree with
Phoenix District 7 Councilman Doug Lingner when he told me a few weeks ago
that the time for more debates, finger pointing and delays is over. It's time
to build the last leg of the 202 and move on.
He's the only "leader" I've heard come out and support moving the
issue ahead and have the dirt start flying. Lingner supports the 55th Avenue
I'm not altogether sure which route in west Phoenix might be the best, but if
we have someone who has studied this issue at length, met with residents and
wants to get Phoenix moving, he deserves support.
Remember, even though Lingner has voiced his opinion, his jurisdiction is only
as big as District 7. This last leg, however, is more than a west Phoenix
issue. It's a Maricopa County issue. It's an Arizona issue. It's a safety and
environmental issue, and it's an interstate commerce issue.
It's time to get some leadership on this issue. Time to get this road built -
even if it's the last thing we do.
Teclo Garcia is a senior editor at The
Republic. Contact him at (602) 444-8281 or email@example.com.