As this article from the Ahwatukee Foothills News notes at the end, we still do not have this proposed project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), which our community has been waiting on for over twenty years. Back when this project was much smaller and was called State Route 218, ADOT released an environmental assessment for the project in January 1987. The size of the project grew as the city of Phoenix grew, and we have been waiting since 1987 for ADOT to update their findings on the impacts of this proposed project.
While O’odham in Gila River are opposed to the proposed Loop 202 for reasons of protecting our culture and our health, many others oppose this freeway because it is a project that promotes more driving and dependence on oil. Sandy Bahr, director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club noted in a separate press release that, “This project was planned when gas was cheap – a dollar per gallon or less. With higher gasoline prices, it makes a lot more sense to invest in transit, biking and walking and rail – projects that will help us all save money at the pump, keep our air cleaner, and reduce carbon pollution that contributes to climate change – rather than costly freeway projects.”
Perhaps one reason why ADOT has stalled on the EIS for over twenty years is that ADOT officials know this is a project whose time has come and gone.
Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012 4:54 pm
Sierra Club lists Loop 202 as one of worst transportation projects in U.S.
By Allison Hurtado,
Ahwatukee Foothills News
The Sierra Club has listed the Loop 202 Freeway extension as one of the worst transportation projects in the U.S. in 2012.
The South Mountain Freeway Project is listed in the Sierra Club’s new national report, “Smart Choices, Less Traffic: 50 Best and Worst Transportation Projects in the United States.” The report assigns a Best and Worst project to each state.
“The South Mountain Freeway project is a proposed 22-mile, eight-lane freeway in Arizona that will cost $2 billion to build,” the report states. “The project has been under consideration in the Phoenix area for over 25 years, but due to a lack of funding and support, it is still in the planning phase.”
Projects included in the report were chosen through a nominations process and were reviewed and selected by report authors and a review committee. Projects were reviewed based on oil use impact, environmental impact, health impact, economic impact and land use impact.
“The best projects provide transportation choices that allow Americans to reduce oil use and meet their mobility needs without driving, while the worst projects reinforce an expensive and polluting dependence on oil,” the report said.
The South Mountain Freeway, as currently proposed, was condemned for cutting through South Mountain Park, sacred sites, and critical wildlife corridors. The report also said the Loop 202 extension would encourage long commutes and exacerbate urban sprawl.
The best project listed for Arizona is the Sunlink, a 4-mile electric streetcar system that will link the University Medical Center, the University of Arizona, Downtown, Rio Nuevo and Congress Street in Tucson.
“Ten percent of Tucson residents live, work, or attend school within walking distance of the electric streetcar line,” the report said. “The project will allow greater access for students and residents to trek downtown without using a car, and provide commuting options for people who work downtown or at the university.”
The Sierra Club released a similar report in 2002. Of the 20 best projects listed in 2002, 80 percent have either been completed or are currently under construction. Of the 26 worst projects listed, five have been completed and seven are currently under construction.
The Arizona Department of Transportation has not yet released a Draft Environmental Impact Study for the South Mountain Freeway.
For more information on the project, visit http://www.southmountainfreeway.com.
Also check the Sierra Club’s news release at this link: http://arizona.sierraclub.org/pr_and_alerts/pr_and_alerts_2012/alert_12-11-12.asp