Loop 202: It's time to build - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

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Loop 202: It's time to build

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Posted: Monday, August 17, 2009 11:00 pm

Finally! We can look forward and begin to plan for the South Mountain Loop 202 Freeway completion that will connect the loop around the city. It’s been a long time coming and it’s time to focus on positives rather than the fear mongering and exaggerations that have been written in the past.

I’m a member of the “silent majority” here in Ahwatukee Foothills who are patiently waiting for all the political mumbo-jumbo to be done so we can get this road built. We need a western escape route out of our town!

I’ve said it before but I guess I’ll repeat it again. The church on Pecos Road knew the freeway was going to be placed there and made a whopping deal on the land. I remember reading about it in the newspaper years ago. The school district knew the proposed placement of the freeway when they placed their schools. It didn’t seem to stop them then. When we looked for a home here back in 1988, the developers along Pecos told us then about the proposed freeway. I’m sorry if the home sellers after that didn’t convey that information to the new folks that moved in but if they drove down Pecos, surely they could read the signs.

To answer some of the fear mongers, maybe mitigations can be made to restrict speed and the types of vehicles that would be able to travel the Pecos Freeway, such as restrictions against hazardous waste, etc.

Let me be clear … (I just had to toss that in) this freeway is not the proposed route for the Canamex Corridor or a truck-bypass! There we go again, trying to stir Ahwatukee residents into concern by not basing your arguments on facts.

Personally, I think it will be nice to drive through the western edge of the South Mountain Park. We do that all the time throughout the state. Many roads cut through portions of mountain ranges and we, the citizens of Arizona, have benefitted by not only being able to appreciate the beauty of our state but also to enjoy nature that belongs to all of us. As it stands now, we don’t have access to that portion of South Mountain and I for one would like to be able to enjoy it as I drive by. It will not destroy or carve a large chunk out of the mountain.

One PARC member states, “…but the agency (I believe she means ADOT) should be forced to leave the mountain alone because of their (Gila River Indian Community) proclamation.”

Force them? I happen to be proud of the work ADOT has done on behalf of the citizens of Arizona to keep our freeways moving and expanding as the population keeps increasing. They meet with citizens, answers questions when they can, provide information as available, and are focused on making this the best fit for our community needs. They are listening to all of us, even those on my side who are wishing this Pecos Freeway was built yesterday.

By the way, were the many TV and radio stations forced to leave the mountain alone and not install their transmission towers and antennas? I do not worship mountains. I worship God. In my faith, He isn’t a mountain. I respect that there are other beliefs as I hope they will do the same with mine. I believe it is His creation for all of us to enjoy and since the majority of us have had no access to the far western edge of South Mountain Park, we have not been able to enjoy it.

Whenever I drive up north and pass Anthem, I look over at Anthem’s beautiful state-of-the-art high school campus, literally less than 300 feet from I-17. That is where they chose to build it. You can see the outdoor basketball courts and football field a stone’s throw from one of our busiest freeways in the state. Arguments have been made concerning pollution near our schools. We are not Manhattan! We are not a congested city like L.A., where some of those smog studies have been done. There are no tall buildings next to Pecos to trap and hold smog to the ground. It’s the bumper-to-bumper traffic at a standstill on I-10 that is a concern, not the free flowing cars zooming by and I believe this new route will help alleviate some of that congestion and give relief to those living along I-10.

By the way, I bet if you did a pollution study outside any of our schools at the end of the day when parents are picking up their kids, sitting there for ages, idling, the “pollutant levels” would amaze everyone who seems to be worried about the school distances. I haven’t seen Kyrene School District officials outside their schools asking the parents to turn off their engines to keep the exhaust fumes from seeping back into the classrooms. Maybe they should think about it. It’s much worse in front of those schools than it will ever be on the easy flowing Pecos Freeway.

 

Susi Fathauer is a fourth generation Arizonan, Ahwatukee Foothills resident, former teacher and community volunteer.

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