to get real about freeway
Ahwatukee Foothills News
There is no doubt that frustration will be among the
emotions carried into this week's presentation about the Loop 202 South Mountain
Freeway proposal along Pecos Road.
And while it is counterproductive, the frustration is
justified for a number of reasons, including:
* The length of time this community has waited for a
decision on Pecos Road's role in the freeway plan.
* The fact that even though Pecos Road has long been
the proposed route, no official decision has been made.
* The announcement that homes will be destroyed to
accommodate the freeway.
* The inability of city and state leaders to strike an
agreement with the Gila River Indian Community to build the freeway on their
land, or to stop it from being built along Pecos Road.
It's understandable that people will be a bit angry
about this plan, but residents need to do their best to put that aside and
concentrate on what they can reasonably achieve at the meeting.
The reality of the situation for Ahwatukee Foothills
* Without an agreement from the Gila River Indian
Community, there is no other place for this freeway than Pecos Road.
* The state will need an agreement from the Indian
Community by the fall of 2006 if an alternative to Pecos Road is to be found.
* The freeway is a necessary addition to the Valley's
overall transit system for both the immediate and long-term future.
The South Mountain Freeway along Pecos Road is no
small matter, and residents ought to put their energy into changes that can be
made. It is planned at three lanes in either direction, with individual fourth
lanes added in the future along with HOV lanes. It could have up to five
interchanges, be built at or below ground level and include sound-dampening
features. Residents might not be able to determine where the freeway will be
built, but they certainly can get their two cents in now by telling ADOT how
they want this loop constructed so it has a minimal impact on individuals,
schools and neighborhoods.
There is little doubt that ADOT could have done a
better job with this project. Pecos Road has been on the books since the
mid-1980s as the proposed route, and yet no progress has been made on building
it even though houses and businesses have sprung up near the road. To ADOT's
credit, however, a proposal to add on- and off-ramps at 32nd Street
necessitating the destruction of about 100 homes has been dropped on account
of opposition from the public and city. Even though that leaves up to 200 homes
still facing the bulldozer, the decision indicates ADOT is willing to make
The situation certainly is not a pleasant one for
residents here to deal with, which makes it all the more important for them to
attend the meeting, learn about the project and make their thoughts known to
ADOT so when it comes time to pour concrete, Ahwatukee Foothills gets the
quietest, safest, least intrusive stretch of highway the Valley has ever seen.
The public meeting will be held noon to 8 p.m.
Thursday, in the Grace Inn at Ahwatukee, 10831 S. 51st St.
Foothills News editor John Conway can be reached at (480) 898-7910.