mayors: Tend your city
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 28, 2006 12:00 AM
It is understandable why the three East Valley
bedroom-community mayors would try to spin the benefits of "freeing"
Ahwatukee citizens from the "stigma" of living in the world's largest
cul-de-sac (Republic, April 20).
After all, Chandler has identified the Santan Freeway as its "commercial
corridor" and undoubtedly would like to see that continue on west through
our residential neighborhood all the way to Los Angeles.
The three mayors - Keno Hawker of Mesa, Boyd Dunn of Chandler and Steve Berman
of Gilbert - don't seem to understand why, as Hawker noted, the state Department
of Transportation is the only one making any arguments in favor of the proposed
South Mountain Freeway. Well, Mayor Hawker, only ADOT wants it because it is a
bad idea that doesn't make sense.
Having lived in Ahwatukee for over 20 years, I
must say no, thanks, to these outside politicians who want to explain to me how
I would benefit. As Republic
reporter Corinne Purtill reported after her three-day walkabout in the community
(Republic, March 15), the beauty
and tranquility are irresistible and the "road to nowhere" image is
embraced by loyal residents. We like it. We enjoy sharing Pecos Road with
competitive cyclists and getting our exercise by hiking into South Mountain
The bedroom-community mayors say Ahwatukee property values will go up if the
freeway is built. That doesn't have much credibility, given the lower property
values in their communities. Thanks to the dedication of the Ahwatukee Village
Planning Committee and an excellent school system, values in our community have
held strong, thank you.
New growth induced by extending the freeway through the community, outside of
the planning and zoning purview of Phoenix, can only depress property values and
increase crime. As The Republic has
noted, Interstate 10 is now a preferred fast getaway route for criminals. There
is no reason to believe that extending the Santan Freeway wouldn't simply move
crime further into the heart of Ahwatukee.
To illustrate improved travel times, the mayors really had to make a stretch -
Metrocenter, Goodyear Airport, Williams Gateway Airport.
Come on, guys. Whatever happened to living and working in the community? You
might just as well have talked about commute times from Surprise to Los Angeles.
Having driven I-10 for 20 years, I can tell you that it is the pingpong,
lane-changing zone between the U.S. 60 on-ramp and the Broadway curve that backs
up traffic during rush hour. Two billion dollars to improve that problem would
do more for our commute times than would any truck bypass through our
So, to the three mayors, I say please don't worry about my stigma. Hoe in your
own pickle patch. To ADOT, I say I am sorry that you are lonely in your myopic
quest to build a freeway through my community, but please take a fresh look at
what $2 billion would accomplish elsewhere. Please don't start building a
10-lane monstrosity through my community and then skimp on mitigation when costs
soar right past the $1 billion you budgeted and the $2 billion you now estimate.
After all, there is more to quality of life than concrete.
Biff Hoffman is a resident of Phoenix.