Squires: Protect Ahwatukee: Get involved with PARC now - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Squires: Protect Ahwatukee: Get involved with PARC now

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Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 9:16 am

Active members of Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children (PARC) in our Village of Ahwatukee and outlying residential areas aim to stop the South Mountain Freeway from being built on Pecos Road. Preventing the destruction of our community and South Mountain is the main goal of PARC, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.

I am opposed to the “Canamex Truck Bypass” rolling down Pecos Road, and a truck bypass is exactly what the South Mountain “Freeway” (SMF) would become. The SMF would bring a much higher crime rate to us in Ahwatukee, and it would cast a nightmare of other negative impacts upon us.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has given us until July 24 to send to them our written opposition to building on Pecos. Any of you who send your opinion to ADOT would be helping PARC stop ADOT and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) from building next to our neighborhood. If you also mention that you are affiliated with PARC, we can use your points in our future litigation against ADOT.

We will have to litigate! We know that already. We are also convinced that we will win!

One huge way to help us stop the freeway is to write a check payable to PARC; mail it to PARC at PO Box 50455, Phoenix, AZ 85076-0455. One-hundred percent of any amount you donate is tax deductible. PARC’s EIN number is 20-2763437. Whatever dollar amount you can afford to donate to us will be greatly appreciated.

In the Village of Ahwatukee, currently the “World’s Largest Cul-de-sac,” we estimate that 84,000-plus people live here. About half that number, 42,000, are adults. If only 3,000, or about 7 percent, of Ahwatukeeans were to donate $100 each, we would have the $300,000 we believe necessary to successfully litigate PARC’s position in federal court.

Have you seen their Draft of Environmental Impact Study (DEIS)? We have. We have read it, and we wonder how in the world ADOT can justify spending $21 million on such an inadequate document that contains so many discrepancies and misrepresentations of truth, and that leaves out altogether critical study results. And ADOT wants to spend another $2 billion wrecking our health and our community?

Hazardous Materials (hazmats) would be trucked along the South Mountain Truck By-Pass; one spill could contaminate the air we breathe and possibly be deadly for up to 4 miles from spillage, but no plan exists for mitigating this problem. Trucks using the by-pass, including many from Mexico, would be spewing their diesel exhaust into our air. The fuel from the Mexican trucks would have high sulphur contaminants, for they are not required to abide by U.S. emission standards. Air quality would worsen considerably.

South Mountain would be butchered — cut through in three places. Our friends on the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) do not want their sacred mountain disturbed. Neither do PARC supporters! Hiking trails would be contaminated and disfigured, wildlife would be disrupted, and the fate of water run-off is a big, unanswered question. As many as 23 water wells in the Lakewood area would be destroyed! Wherever you live in Ahwatukee, you can count on our arterial streets being traffic-clogged for the yea-many years ADOT spends bulldozing dirt and laying asphalt.

Then, if Pecos Road has been destroyed, our arterial streets will continue to be inadequate.

More than 100 homes and one church would be flattened. Ask yourselves, “Do we need all this destruction/construction?” Let’s not say, “Hello, Unnecessary Urban Sprawl,” and “Goodbye, Ahwatukee” as we know it.

Won’t you please help us? If you cannot spare any money right now, could you spend a few hours helping us to distribute brochures, to make fund-raising calls, or to respond to the DEIS now — not later. Help us now so PARC can help our Village convince ADOT to trash their faulty DEIS and their outdated, 30-year-old idea for a SMF.

Check out our website at PARCtheSMF.org and/or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/PARC.AZ.

You can find out how to access a copy of the DEIS (electronic or printed) and get information on how to comment on it at www.azdot.gov/SouthMountainFreeway.

• Connie Squires is secretary of Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children (PARC).

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