figures change, not opinion
Ahwatukee Foothills News
The editorial published on Dec. 14, 2005, brought a
few telephone calls from readers who disputed the population numbers quoted in
this space as part of an argument over the need for the Loop 202 South Mountain
We're glad they called.
Turns out, a revision is necessary in numbers, but
not in opinion.
Drawing from a study funded by the city of Phoenix,
the editorial reported Ahwatukee Foothills' population is expected to increase
from about 78,000 residents in 2000 to nearly 120,000 in 2020.
The original numbers came from the Transportation
Needs Study for the Ahwatukee Foothills Village, a report prepared
for the city of Phoenix by Phoenix-based Lima and Associates and released in
December 2000. The study attributed its population projection to information
from the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG).
A phone call to MAG resulted in growth estimates that
are more in line with the perceptions of those folks who called the newspaper. A
week after the editorial was published, MAG provided the Ahwatukee
Foothills News with its latest forecast. The projections were
presented in three scenarios:
* Within the boundaries of the Ahwatukee Foothills
Village, the population is expected to grow from 76,500 in 2000 to 85,800 in
* Stretching the northern boundary of the village area
to Guadalupe Road, the number of residents is expected to rise from 81,300 in
2000 to 96,600 in 2020.
* Extending the northern boundary of the village area
to Baseline Road, the population is projected to increase from 96,500 in 2000 to
125,000 in 2020.
One caller, suggested a lower population growth count
would refute the editorial's argument. We don't agree.
The editorial sought to explain how the unstoppable
force of population growth in the village, the Valley and the state Arizona
has ranked as the second fasted growing state in the nation for the 11th
straight year -- will add increased stress upon our highways and other
Although the population projections for the village
are lower than reported five years ago, residents and businesses in Ahwatukee
Foothills rely on access to Interstate 10 to get to work, to receive deliveries
and to get out of Dodge, so to speak.
As more people move here the access points to I-10
become more congested. As more people move to the city of Maricopa, and those
folks drive north to work, I-10 becomes more congested. As the Gila River Indian
Reservation continues to enhance its commercial ventures, more southbound
traffic will clog I-10. These areas are just two of the nearby communities,
whose growth will affect I-10 traffic.
Residents here cannot object to the South Mountain
Freeway without proposing a feasible alternative, because continuing population
growth demands an east-west route around downtown Phoenix, which the freeway is
intended to provide.
Foothills News agrees that a 10-lane freeway along the Pecos Road
route is unacceptable, it destroys too many homes here and through Laveen. The
Arizona Department of Transportation is urged to find an alternative.
Letter writers have proposed several ideas worth
exploring, including opening a parkway thoroughfare closed to trucks and
stretching from Pecos Road to I-10 in the West Valley, and creating a designated
truck route from state Route 85 east to Interstate 8.
ADOT has an opportunity to be unique in this
situation. The state ought not to miss this chance.
Ahwatukee Foothills News editor
John Conway can be reached at (480) 898-7910.