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February 18, 2010

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While I agree with the majority of critical points made about the Phoenix sprawl machine, I still contend that this freeway is different. Given the growth of the Valley since some of those other foolishly abandoned in-town freeway plans, the South Mountain loop is more like a modern equivalent of those than it is the same growth enabler that the far eastern portion of the 202 or the far northern segment of the 101 (not to mention ongoing improvements to the US-60, I-17, and Loop 303).

Instead of singling out the freeways that continue to build tentacles out into raw desert land far away from commercial centers, I don't understand picking the one that encircles the very heart of town, never extending more than 11 miles from the core (as determined as 0 blocks N,S,E,W).

By better connecting the "All-White-Tukee" area with West Phoenix, the Loop 202 can help reinvigorate the aging I-10 corridors nearest both its intersections with that other freeway, while also punishing the fools who convinced themselves that they owned the world's largest cul de sac or those who chose to move way out into the suburbs and have always gotten what they want for infrastructure.

Ten years ago, I might have agreed with you about the lack of utility of the Loop-202. But now I view it in light of growth trends that continue to occur and feel that it will bring a great deal of improvement to some of the Valley's oldest and often overlooked communities. The only area for substantial in-town development that borders this freeway is in Laveen, which is all slated for some sort of development anyhow. As a Laveen resident, I trust that our Village planning leaders maintain a great track record for sticking with the well-conceived and hard fought SW Regional Growth Study that was commissioned in the 1990s.

So viva la urban heart, but let's also keep in mind all the other multigenerational AZ families who have watched their in-town neighborhoods abandoned in favor of sprawl. We are the ones who stand to benefit most from this.

And on another note, I can't help but laugh from my hard-learned cynical perspective that Sal DiCiccio claims he doesn't stand to gain by favoring the realignment of the freeway onto GRIC land (which is the stance he recently adopted).

In his response to concerns over potential conflicts of interest, DiCiccio pointed out that his land was closer to the initial Pecos alignment, and thus would have benefited from it. What he somehow omitted is that he will also profit by serving as the fee developer for GRIC's commercial land that sits near the newly proposed alignment. So with nearby freeway access to land that he owns (but not too close), AND the opportunity to take fees for even greater swaths of land to be developed, this guy really comes out on top!

Not to mention, he's the political hero of the upper-middle-class imbeciles who failed to read their builders reports before moving in.

I heartily agree that the 202 completion will be a final nail. That the crook DiCiccio is involved is certainly a bellweather. This guy is the epitome of "please God, just one more boom" and so is Patrick evidently. The loop will only increase our tax burden, won't lure any new companies to Phoenix, will enrich the GRIC even more at taxpayer expense (building that last stretch will make for lucrative rents for the tribe), won't even provide many jobs, and only enrich those fools that did buy in the largest cul-de-sac in the country.

Correction: DiCiccio has never actively omitted the fact that he controls land near the proposed route for the Loop 202. In fact he's been quite honest about it. But I disagree that there is no conflict of interest on his part. By using his political sway to please Ahwatukee residents and move the freeway plans forward, he is also ensuring the future profitability of his development prospects. More info: http://bit.ly/d1siHr

@eclecticdog, I'm not for the "one more boom" mindset at all. In fact, I'd prefer to see the entire Phoenix area focus on building a sustainable economy and discourage the sprawling suburbs that have enabled the real estate industrial complex to thrive at others' expense. If Arizona's state and local governments started using projects like this one to demonstrate an economic focus on infill growth, it would bode well for shaping responsible development. I also believe that the skytrain should be completed, along with commensurate efforts to reinvigorate the entire Washington/Van Buren corridor that connects Phoenix and Tempe. This area should be a gold mine for developers, despite the huge pock mark of a superfund site that interrupts it (thanks to Motorolla et al). Meanwhile, why not support the revitalization of our old boulevards, including South Central Avenue between the tracks and Baseline Road.

It seems to me that the economic development and continued interconnectedness of places like Laveen and Ahwatukee provide for significant opportunities in-between, like in South Phoenix and Guadalupe. If we don't make some concessions to the real estate industry, our default setting somehow seems to favor even more building on the outskirts. This freeway does little if any to encourage more out-bound growth.

The death pall that enshrouds Phoenix might not seem so bad if there was a real conversation about our future. But apart from Talton and some ASU faculty, the discussion is muted and weak. Every bad choice we made in the past is underwriting future bad choices. We can no more imagine stopping this madness than admit how much it corrupted us in the first place.

At some point, the choices we think we're making will simply vanish. The string we compulsively pull will become string we vainly try to push. What will tell ourselves then? That Mexicans ruined everything?

Know nothingism is the ideological core of conservatism's current iteration. It dismisses environmental science, ordinary limits, and long-view planning. This ideology is self-contradictory. It imagines a free lunch but in a context Social Darwinists understand. We can drive ourselves to hell but the taxes that maintain the road are already delinquent.

Jon, you're mssing the point.

This is the best example of how forward-thinking the Kooks are. They're deliberatly drawing business out of the core so that, in 20 years, they can rebuild a newly-reborn Phoenix from the ashes on the vacant land in the center. They're just making room in the center now to make re-locations later un-necessary.
(end sarcasm)
This may be the actual result, if Phoenix survives to be re-born, but its obvious that no one is actually planning it that way...

(resume sarcasm)
Oh and the land they're developing now? That will be re-deployed as agriculture in the next incarnation. We're covering it with concrete to let it 'rest' as farmers have done for centuries.
(end sarcasm)

OT, but breaking. Just got an email titled "Stop The Food Tax" from Phoenix. So, they're trying to put the classic example of regressive taxation in play now. Brilliant.

Progressive theology tends to debunk much of the Biblical folklore and focuses on being open to the realities of today.
It provides an interesting parallel to the above paragraph that talks about "know nothingism as the ideological core of conservatism's current iteration, dismissing environmental science, ordinary limits, and long-view planning."

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