may delay freeway vote
ADOT not ready for presentation until next month
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 25, 2006 12:00 AM
months of delays, the proposed South Mountain Freeway finally has a place on the
Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee's agenda next week.
Monday's discussion is likely one of several more to come: the Arizona
Department of Transportation has asked for more time to prepare a presentation
to the group, and committee members said Friday that it could be too early for
them to take an official position on the project.
Committee chairman Doug Cole said he will ask the committee if members want to
take an official vote on the freeway. At least one member said that would be
With many questions on the freeway's design and
community impact still unanswered by ADOT, taking a position on the freeway now
could ultimately devalue the committee's vote, member Laurel Arndt said.
"Other than to just knee-jerk say we don't like the idea . . . we need to
base our decision about the freeway on all the information that we gather,"
said Arndt, who also sits on the South Mountain Citizens Advisory Team, an
ADOT-sponsored citizen panel.
"I think some of the community members would like to see us vote on it, but
I don't want our decision to be challenged or discredited because we didn't have
the right information and were just being reactive."
The South Mountain Freeway issue has been one of intense interest to the
Ahwatukee community. The proposed freeway would connect Interstate 10 in the
west and east bypassing downtown Phoenix.
Preliminary agendas posted for the committee's February meeting showed the
freeway as an agenda item. Several community members who missed notices that it
had been bumped showed up to last month's meeting hoping to speak on the topic
and were disappointed.
On Monday, the committee will hear a report from member Patrick Panetta, who in
December conducted his own research with the Maricopa Association of Governments
on how the freeway could affect traffic in Ahwatukee. MAG engineers said
building the South Mountain Freeway could reduce congestion on Ahwatukee's
surface streets, Panetta said.
A representative from Phoenix is also scheduled to talk about current traffic
counts at major intersections along Pecos Road.
As late as Friday evening, the committee's posted agenda showed a possible
presentation by ADOT on public comments received at a November meeting at the
But earlier this week, ADOT spokesman Matt Burdick sent a letter to Cole stating
that the report was not ready and no ADOT representatives were available for
The presentation was rescheduled for the April meeting, Burdick said.