Again, our proposed freeway is in the news. Two articles published today in the AZ Republic highlight the most recent plan proposed by MAG to get this freeway back on track:
The first article is geared toward the more general "Phoenix" audience, whereas the second one focuses more specifically on the Ahwatukee perspective. As such, I think you'll see that the first article is slightly more informative about the overall process that has taken place thus far, i.e. the city has made a recommendation to MAG, which will then vote to pass the plans on to ADOT for finalization; this is moving forward. The second article panders to its audience, as do the quotes included in it, so I thought it deserved my treatment.
First, DiCiccio and his political opponents are either misguided (and I don't think this is it), or they are misdirecting their constituents' attention by claiming that the city has had little or no say in these matters. To the contrary, I think our friends in District 7 and on city staff deserve a huge thank you for helping this dying plan rise again out of the ashes. As I reported last month, our city's transportation department moved forward with a street plan that was made to accommodate the north-south section of freeway through Laveen. Furthermore, the city resolved that it supported the Laveen alignment and passed along instructions to MAG and ADOT to "expedite" their plans (backtrack here). Yes, DiCiccio's council seat is up for grabs, thus making this a hot topic; but the primary reason that this is in the news again is thanks to Wylie Bearup in our Street Transportation Department, Ruben Gallego, and Councilman Nowakowski.
Second, Tim Tait of ADOT notes that the freeway is "not a done deal." It is not, this is true.... But it is now working it's way through the process and is perhaps one of ADOT's best candidates for future federal stimulus funds (remember all that talk about money for roads and bridges?). It is also a great cause for the city of Phoenix to rally in support of revenue potential from all the retail tax and professional business development that will assuredly follow the freeway. I can't help but compliment Mr. Tait for his carefully selected words, but let's prove him wrong about a current lack of certainty by helping to steamroll this directive through MAG and ADOT as fast as possible.
Third, Eric Anderson of MAG is hardly quoted or even acknowledged in these articles, but I must say that I have learned a great deal about the mechanics of our freeway plans from him and Tim Tait throughout this process. Remember, he's the staff guy who must work out all the details on behalf of our political representatives at MAG, so I will look to him for news of future progress on this topic, and then refocus my efforts on ADOT.
Many have inquired as to what we as a community can do right now to have our voices heard. Well, as noted, the ball is in the hands of MAG..... and let's not forget the minor impact of Sal Diciccio's campaign on the politics of this issue. While it appears that he has mostly stepped aside to let the freeway happen, he still cannot allow the city's MAG representation to emerge too strongly in favor of the Ahwatukee alignment, no matter where it lies. This is the reason, I think, that we have divided the Ahwatukee and Laveen portions of the freeway for most planning discussions. So we need to express strong unified support for at least the Laveen alignment prior to the October meeting.
I will post more details as soon as I can get them, but please help do the same. Contact your MAG representatives (see list here) and let them know that you want your voice heard by contacting the Director of Communications, Kelly Taft, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get a spot on the next meeting agenda to discuss the Loop 202 freeway, or choose from any of the following discussion topics:
- Necessary local route AND bypass.
- Necessary for Laveen's commercial growth.
- Laveen and Desert Ridge are Phoenix's two most promising growth areas.
- It's already taken almost 30 years........
- Residents of Ahwatukee and Laveen benefit from proposed hospital.
- Laveen general plan rivals Scottsdale; freeway further enhances quality of life.
- Improved South Mountain park access.
- Any other reasons I may have missed that are important to you.