Jim Jochim

While the summer heat is on in the Valley of the Sun, PARC (Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children) remains on “Active Duty” and is maintaining its watch over the proposed Loop 202 project, preparing for the release of the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) due later this year.

Just to recap, we filed a 318-page “Comments” document to the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) in July 2013. It is important to note that this “Comments” document was delivered to the Arizona Department of Transportation by hand in a binder that weighed 3 pounds. It was compiled by our attorney, Howard M. Shanker, and contained substantial data from our six subject-matter experts who come from all across the United States.

PARC was formed nearly eight years ago with the goal of educating all Ahwatukee Foothills residents on the permanent environmental damage that will impact our community if the proposed SMF (South Mountain Freeway) Loop 202 is constructed as planned. It will mean serious air and noise pollution in our “village”, as well as destroying a portion of South Mountain Park, which our fellow neighbors, the GRIC (Gila River Indian Community) hold sacred. Substantially more than 100 homes, a church and two current access links to Pecos Road (32nd Street and 27th Avenue) will be lost forever. Please visit our website at www.protectazchildren.org as it contains substantial data and numerous resource links on this ill-conceived project.

Moreover, this proposed project will only reduce traffic volumes on the Broadway Curve by 6 percent, and the worst fact of all is that it will not connect with Loop 101 at 99th Avenue. It will T-bone directly into Interstate 10 at 59th Avenue. Currently, this area rates an “F” in terms of daily congestion and you can just imagine what jamming another 80,000 vehicles a day will do to this wedge of freeway — all I can say is GRIDLOCK.

Here is how you can help: We need a sizeable “war chest” for the upcoming battle with ADOT and the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration). We have spent nearly $100,000 on our initial formal response to the DEIS and project we will need triple that amount once it goes to the federal courts after the FEIS and ROD (Record of Decision) are issued.

I have been involved with PARC since Day One, and I plan to stay the course. On a personal note, I live 2 miles north of Pecos Road, so my home is not in the “take zone,” however, all of the above-mentioned environmental issues will impact my life and they will impact yours, too.

Your support is truly needed — please join hundreds of your neighbors, HOAs and business owners who believe in this statement: “No 202 on Pecos Road”.

Your donation is tax deductible! It can be mailed to PARC, P.O. Box 50455, Phoenix, AZ 85076, or you can donate online at www.protectazchildren.org. Please join us because together we can make a difference!

• Jim Jochim has been an Ahwatukee Foothills resident since 1995. He is treasurer of PARC (Protecting Arizona Resources and Children), has an MBA from Arizona State, a real estate license and is retired from AT&T.

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