to stay course
Approved 55th Ave.
alignment would be less disruptive
Nov. 18, 2005 12:00 AM
represent the Citizens Supporting the 55th Avenue Alignment Coalition. The
coalition is composed of farmers, ranchers, long-term residents, home builders,
business owners and developers in Laveen.
There are a great number of reasons that the alignment for the proposed South
Mountain Freeway should run along its approved course at 55th Avenue. Among
• History. In 1988, the
Maricopa Association of Governments adopted the alignment as part of the overall
General Plan. The developers and home builders of the hundreds of homes and
businesses that stand in the freeway's proposed path had a legal obligation to
inform potential homebuyers and business owners.
When MAG approved the extension, Phoenix halted further development
where the footprint of the freeway would eventually be built. Additionally, the
city built wider-than-average eastbound and westbound roads, to ease access to
the alignment at 55th Avenue.
• Future growth. Approximately
50 percent of building permits issued by Phoenix are for new development in the
Laveen and Estrella villages. These major village cores will eventually grow to
a combined population of more than 180,000 residents. Without a major
thoroughfare toward Phoenix's downtown business center, the small streets to and
from these villages will be a debilitating gridlock.
• Job opportunities. Major
retail development follows the building of major freeways. The route will create
more jobs and generate new taxes.
• 55th Avenue vs. Loop 101. The
number of homes and businesses requiring acquisition will pale in comparison
with the disruption of homes and businesses should the continuation of Loop 101
become the route of choice. Relocating Holsum Bakery would cost more than $75
million itself. Consider the impact on Tolleson and its 5,000 residents and
numerous businesses, employing more than 20,000 people. A Loop 101 extension
would bisect Tolleson, tearing apart the fabric of the city.
• South Mountain Park. Phoenix
is opposed to a freeway presence in the park, but is enthusiastically supportive
of the north- and southbound portion of the South Mountain Freeway at 55th
• Gila River Indian Community. The
tribe has been in discussions regarding the Pecos Road portion of the freeway
and is considering the option of moving it to reservation land. These
negotiations can take several years. The north- and southbound portion of the
freeway needs to be resolved first in order for the tribal discussions to
• Maryvale. Its
revitalization is a key component in keeping with the original alignment at 55th
Phoenix is the
sixth-largest city in the country. With no end in sight to this growth, a
reliever for Interstate 10 is necessary to accommodate and vitalize the
commercial and residential growth of the Southwest Valley.
Our goal, in partnership with Phoenix, is to persuade decision-makers to approve
an alignment that is the least disruptive, utmost respectful, unquestionably
efficient, economically productive and, ultimately, unwavering to the city's
General Plan that was established, agreed to and built upon over the past 20
Leslie C. Williams is president of the
Citizens Supporting the 55th Avenue Alignment Coalition. He can be reached at