alignment wrong then and now
The Arizona Republic
In 1985, ADOT, MAG and Phoenix determined an alignment for the South Mountain Loop.
Twenty years later, ADOT would like to finally
implement the plan. Yet opposition to this freeway project in the past six
months has increased considerably and some question why this trend. The
following information attempts to explain why many Ahwatukee residents are
questioning the need, purpose and functionality of a stale and outdated freeway
ADOT has not addressed these two important issues, and common sense (not traffic modeling) will tell you that building more freeways will only serve to further promote the "live in one part of the Valley and drive 50 miles to work in another" ethic.
It has also become painfully clear that removal of Pecos Road as an arterial in Ahwatukee will have severe consequences on traffic throughout our community. Schools will be inaccessible and traffic on Elliot, Warner and Ray roads and Chandler Boulevard will be returned to pre-2000 status.
Ironically, ADOT has done no studies to look at the impact of the freeway on local traffic in Ahwatukee.
In addition, residents in Ahwatukee see no benefit to having the freeway but see many adverse impacts on our internal transportation system, air pollution and noise pollution.
Speaking of environmental impacts, it is unconscionable that ADOT would even consider blowing up a part of South Mountain (a cultural site for the Indian community as well as the largest city park in the United States) without having exhausted all other options, including talking to the Indians about what they want.
We are appalled that their preliminary design documents do nothing to attempt to preserve the mountain, the pristine washes and habitat corridors, which will be fragmented and isolated by their proposed freeway design.
Furthermore, many residents find it incredible that ADOT appeared to give so little thought to the issue by presenting this portion of the freeway as an at-grade or semi-depressed freeway. This only reflects how out-of-touch ADOT is with the region.
New information that was revealed to the public includes making the freeway a 10-lane facility instead of the six-eight lanes as was initially communicated. This, in turn, has made the right-of-way expand from 250-300 feet to 500-800 feet wide.
The reality of this freeway is hitting home and its construction elements are changing regularly and are considerably more impactful than they were initially presented three years ago.
Residents of Ahwatukee and Laveen know that the construction of the original alignment was a missed opportunity by ADOT and Phoenix, resulting in diminishing support by residents around the alignments for the proposed freeway. ADOT and MAG were wrong 20 years ago when they put this line on the map and ignored the Gila River Indian Community's offer to build the 202 on Queen Creek Road (which is where is should be now) and hindsight tells us this would have been a most progressive solution.
Laurel Arndt is a member of the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee.