Ahwatukee-based Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children (PARC) hand delivered more than 300 pages worth of comments and reports to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) on Tuesday, which summarizes their opposition to the South Mountain Loop 202 Freeway.
The 318-page document provides information from community associations and several experts from varied health and environmental backgrounds who have studied the recently-released Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the freeway.
The experts and consultants hired by PARC agree the information provided in the DEIS is outdated, flawed and does not give the public an accurate picture of how the freeway may affect communities and schools.
“When the data is current and scientific, when the proper models and methodology are used, the only reasonable conclusion is ‘no build,’” said a statement from PARC.
Health experts quoted in the comments claim that any schools within a half mile of the proposed freeway would be in a “hot zone” and children attending those schools may see not only an increase in asthma and breathing problems but problems with lung development. Emergency planning experts say the freeway would trap Ahwatukee residents in the case of an emergency and cause them to be exposed to harmful chemicals that did not come through the community in the past. Traffic engineers quoted in the comments believe the freeway will not help with traffic congestion in the future if the figures the DEIS uses are correct.
The comments included in the document come not only from PARC but were also submitted on behalf of The Foothills Community Association, The Foothills Club West Community Association, The Lakewood Community Association, The Calabrea Community Association, Don’t Waste Arizona, Inc., Gila River Alliance for a Clean Environment, Gila River Environmental Youth, Phoenix Mountain Preservation Council, and several individual Ahwatukee Foothills residents.
ADOT gave the public 90 days, which ended July 24, to submit comments on the DEIS. Those comments will be included in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which ADOT expects to release in 2014.
PARC, and its attorney, Howard Shanker, intend to use their comments to fight ADOT in court in the future if plans to build the freeway down Pecos Road continue. Before any lawsuit can be filed the group must wait for the FEIS. Once a FEIS is released ADOT will use that document to get a final record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration. ADOT has said construction could begin as early as 2015. PARC and its partners feel confident construction will never happen.
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