won't help I-10 traffic
Since the Arizona Department of Transportation hosted
the open house in November, the activity concerning the proposed South Mountain
Freeway has increased considerably.
Feedback from citizens (including a few politicians),
a petition drive, and public meetings all continue to address the issues.
After following the developments I wanted to give a
little feedback of my own based on my observations and research.
There is a misconception that putting this proposed
loop in would alleviate the traffic on Interstate 10. One need not look at
projections to see how effective this loop will be, take a look at an existing
comparison. The stretch of 202 that extends from I-10 East has done nothing to
decrease the rush-hour traffic gridlock on the U.S. 60 from I-10 East. In fact,
60 is set to be widened because the traffic remains so bad.
Of course pass-through traffic, especially big rigs,
would use the proposed loop. So while providing clear roadway for interstate
truck traffic, the proposed loop unfortunately would do nothing to alleviate the
rush-hour gridlock on I-10 that is a major concern to many.
It is clear that ADOT is doing everything in their
power to get this project built. The "at or above grade" Pecos Road
alignment is by far the easiest alternative for them. Putting it below grade
would cost them considerably more money and be much more complicated to
construct. And although they warn that the below-grade option would cause more
houses to be demolished, they fail to point out that those houses would have a
20-foot wall in their back yards with the at or above grade option. If it was
your house, which option would you choose?
While the public meetings and Citizens Advisory Team
give the appearance of ADOT working with the public, the fact is they are
required in order to obtain federal funding. The Environmental Impact Study
(which is being conducted by ADOT) is required on any project that is requesting
federal funds. And while all these actions are required, the feedback from them
will be interpreted by ADOT, who will make the decisions and submit it to the
Federal Highway Administration for approval. After reading a quote from a member
of the C.A.T. stating "We've been told that we won't be allowed to ask for
a no-build option," (Ahwatukee Foothills News, 12/2/05) it seems pretty
obvious what direction ADOT is heading.
It is no wonder that ADOT will avoid a no-build option
at all costs. No build does not mean no action. On the contrary, a no build on
this project would require ADOT to change the thought process from building more
freeways to solving the real problem of future public transportation.
Sometime soon ADOT will be deciding on a western route
selection, and later this year or early next year announce the eastern (Pecos)
route selection. This year is an election year, and my message to all elected
officials is this: Take a stand, be clear which option you support, and if it is
the no-build option that you are actively working for you will have my vote.
Gregg Bander is an Ahwatukee Foothills resident.