presentation stirs Foothills' passion
was in the audience of the Arizona Department of Transportation and Phoenix
freeway alignment presentations at Ahwatukee's Grace Inn on Thursday.
I asked about the process whereby the city would have to sell part of the park to the state and Bruder said it is possible "if there is no reasonable, prudent alternative." The only other reasonable alternative may be building the freeway on the Gila River Reservation. The problem with that option is that the Gila Community would have to approve it first and there doesn't seem to be much momentum in that direction.
According to estimates by the Maricopa Association of Governments, our region's population is expected to double by 2030. Widening Interstate 10 through the Broadway curve will alleviate only 6 percent of the demand, according to Chris Clary-Lemon, a transportation engineer hired as a consultant by Phoenix. The plan that has been on the books since 1988 shows five lanes in each direction, plus drainage, costing $1 billion.
Clary-Lemon says the cost would go up if the freeway is constructed on Gila land. There is another problem if the Gila River Indian Community allows the freeway: There is no surface-road network to accept traffic from the freeway.
The mood in the room got excited when an audience member said, "It's not right that you allow homes to be built here and now you're coming up and telling us we have to move." That was the only time I heard applause from the crowd. There was more unrest when Clary-Lemon said that the state will only buy out property that sits directly in the path of the alignment and there isn't any compensation for the neighbors next door who might have paid a premium for the lot before it was decided a freeway would be built near their home. Some believe it is unfair that just because the state doesn't have to demolish your home you don't receive any compensation for the premium you paid when you bought the home.
It seemed to me that people living in the path of the Pecos Road alignment were not happy to be told they would have to move after investing time, money and emotion into "the shining home of my dreams." That's the meaning of the word "Ahwatukee" in the Crow Indian language, you know. At least that's what we were told by the Presley Development Company, original developers of Ahwatukee, back in the 1970s.
Clay Schad graduated from the University of Nebraska School of Journalism in 1976, founded and published the Ahwatukee Foothills News for 20 years.