San Pedro River valley, near Cascabel
TUCSON -- The AZ Dept. of Transportation is holding a meeting today on plans for a 'bypass' highway that would slash near the Tortolita Mountains then cut down the San Pedro River valley, a fragile and remote area. Similiar huge roads are planned for other sensitive areas, including the Ironwood Forest National Monument.
Many Arizonans will be there to suggest sustainable alternatives and protest this bad idea, and I agree.
These mega-road ideas are a developers dream, with a true, but politically downplayed aim at opening up huge areas of private, state and BLM lands for privitization and urban sprawl.
The Napolitano administration should drop the Tucson/Pima 'bypass' plan now, and instead focus even more on growing state efforts for rail, bikes and real alternatives to 'one person-one car' shlepping across town daily. She's made some good moves, but ADoT Director Victor Mendez is still planning a spider-web of new freeways, especially across Maricopa and Pinal Counties.
Pima County rep to the state transportation board Si Schorr is a main guy pushing this at the state level. He has long been quite close to big developers. Nothing personal against Si, but the County may want to install a rep with a more balanced transportation and land use background.
Tucson has I-10 and I-19 and we're going to have to live with it. We already have a lot of big roads that can bring down quality of life, and we cannot build our way out of congestion. Traffic is here to stay, although we are glad in summer for a little less of it.
AZ needs other ways to get around, and more vibrant walkable/bikeable communities, especially with fuel prices at record highs, global warming pollution and health benefits.
I, for one, and many others will agree, don't want new freeways and the blight, sprawl and extra pollution freeways bring.