Foothills! Freeway siting not just about you
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 26, 2006 12:00 AM
Here's a shocker for some Ahwatukee Foothills
residents: The planned South Mountain Freeway isn't just about their community.
Despite the past few months of heavy media coverage focusing on the plight of
Ahwatukee Foothills homeowners and those who've bought land along the proposed
route, the last leg of Loop 202 is a topic of broader regional importance. And
the whirlwind of controversy over the possible Pecos Road alignment has gummed
up the decision process so much that the South Mountain Citizens Advisory Team
agreed last week to temporarily table any Ahwatukee discussions. The group faces
a Feb. 2 vote on a west-side alignment recommendation, with reams of paperwork
to read through before then.
The advisory team also decided to muzzle the public, which had been submitting
so many written comments - largely concerning the Ahwatukee section - that the
meetings were running late.
Keep in mind, the team is a group of volunteers
from different areas along the route. Volunteers who have been meeting for four
years to help guide the Arizona Department of Transportation in its final
decision. The volunteers don't need to be harangued by people who have made
their dislike of a freeway fully known. Rather, they need some time to work on
the task at hand, which is recommending a western alignment for the South
The three proposed routes, connecting to Interstate 10 in the West Valley at
55th Avenue, 71st Avenue or Loop 101, have the potential to affect several
communities with concerns of their own.
While Ahwatukee's concerns are the most near and dear to our hearts, we
empathize with communities such as Tolleson and Avondale that have also been
living with the uncertainty surrounding a possible freeway. Their concerns
deserve the same careful consideration that Ahwatukee residents expect.
In the Southeast Valley, the regional importance of finishing Loop 202 cannot be
overstated. The freeway will offer a necessary alternative to residents as they
travel to the West Valley for sports venues, jobs or on their way to California.
Projections done by the Maricopa Association of Governments predict that, if the
South Mountain Freeway is not built, the Broadway Curve of Interstate 10 will be
overwhelmed within 15 years. It will not be able to carry the more than 400,000
cars daily that MAG expects.
It seems clear that the South Mountain Citizens Advisory Team is conscientious
about its task and intent on offering a well-reasoned recommendation to ADOT. To
achieve that, the team is wise to buckle down to meet deadlines.
Ahwatukee Foothills residents should respect that and give them the breathing
room they need.