questions estimates of freeway, street traffic counts
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 30, 2006 12:00 AM
Pecos Road into the proposed South Mountain Freeway could mean less traffic on
Chandler Boulevard, Phoenix engineers said this week.
Members of the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee disputed those
findings at their meeting Monday night, however, saying that the traffic numbers
didn't seem to match up with Ahwatukee's population estimates.
Don Herp of the Phoenix Street Transportation Department said the freeway could
result in more cars on streets connecting Chandler Boulevard and the freeway.
presented an analysis of Ahwatukee traffic in the year 2030 based on population
estimates supplied by the Maricopa Association of Governments.
MAG estimates Ahwatukee's population will be at about 90,000 by 2030. Estimates
from the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce peg the current Ahwatukee
population at 87,000.
Committee members disputed the traffic numbers, saying that the growth in car
trips seemed to outpace the population.
"This is fatally flawed. It's not even close," member Max Masel said
of the traffic report.
The proposed 22- to 26-mile highway would connect to Interstate 10 in the west
and east, bypassing downtown Phoenix. It would cost at least $1 billion to
build. The Arizona Department of Transportation has proposed connecting the
eastern leg along Pecos Road.
If the South Mountain Freeway were built, traffic could decrease by as much as
10,000 car trips per weekday on certain sections of Chandler Boulevard, compared
with a no-build situation, according to the report.
"Even if you take away Pecos Road as a local arterial street, it doesn't
overload or cause any significant traffic problems on Chandler Boulevard,"
Traffic on streets that would serve as exits for the freeway, such as Desert
Foothills Parkway, 24th Street and 40th Street, would increase by thousands of
trips per day, he said.
One Ahwatukee resident in attendance spoke out against the freeway.
"There is no resource given to validate any of the figures that you people
have been given," Greta Rogers told the committee. "If (the freeway)
is a wise use of funds, then I'm a monkey's uncle."
The committee decided to wait to take an official position until its April 24
meeting when ADOT representatives will discuss response to the freeway gathered
at a November public meeting.