Report “Resistance to the Extension of the Loop 202” Released

RESISTANCE TO THE EXTENSION OF THE LOOP 202 BY JEZZ PUTNAM

A report on the valleys fight against the expansion of the Loop 202 is now public. Written nearly a year ago the report titled: “Resistance to Loop 202″by anti-freeway organizer Jezz Putnam. With the help of other numerous anti-freeway organizers Putnam has presented on the subject of the 202 to a wide variety of valley audiences from landowners in Laveen and Ahwatukee, to students at the Chandlar-Gilbert Community College and radicals at the Indigenous established Taala Hooghan Infoshop in Flagstaff Arizona.

The report covers resistance in Gila River since the 80’s. The Ahwatukee based group PARC (Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children) and of course the urban based group No South Mountain Freeway. After sharing the concerns of the O’odham tribes and and valley residents the report dives into health issues with the freeway. The report also mentions conflicts with the CANAMEX highway in correlation to the 202.

In all the report highlights numerous concerns that have been raised throughout the freeway proposals existence in 1982.  Please give it a read when you have the chance and may it help you contribute to the Public comment period for the freeway.

There are several ways for the public to comment on the Draft EIS. Comments can be submitted by email to projects@azdot.gov, via phone at (602) 712-7006 or by mail to the South Mountain Study Team, 1655 W. Jackson St. MD 126F, Phoenix, AZ 85007. ADOT is also planning a day-long public hearing on May 21 at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. 3rd St.

Public comments must be submitted by July 24.

For a Downloadable copy of the report please Click here: Resistance to the Loop 202

On the subject of pollution and Health related to the freeways extension Putnam cites studies that have reported on the effects of freeways to ones healthFrom the report:

Oppermann cites Vliet, P. (1997) a study by the Health Effects Institute that “reviewed more than 700 worldwide studies of vehicle emissions and found that areas most affected by traffic-related pollution are within 500 meters of the pollution’s source” Opperman (2010).  According to Kim et al. (2004) “truck traffic has been more strongly associated with these adverse outcomes than total vehicular traffic”. Which again raises the question so many freeway opponents have asked, would the expansion become a by-pass for large diesel trucks.

And the report brings up preexisting problems with asthma at valley schools that the freeways extension would surely exhaust to even unhealthier levels.

Vliet, P. (1997), was also referenced by the New York Times. Wald (2010) noted “Vibration and noise rather than air pollution could also cause some health damage, the report said.” Wald (2010) also reported “A relationship was found between pollution from vehicles and impaired lung function and accelerated hardening of the arteries.”  Bringing the point back locally, Opperman (2010) also said that “A 2008 study of Maricopa County by… Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Arizona State University found a correlation between elevated amounts of particle pollution and asthma-related absences at nearby schools.”

One of the less talked about points of tension with the freeway is the legality of blasting into the sacred South Mountain:

The subject of Land Preserve Protection was also highlighted in the Article, Questions remain on blasting into South Mountain, Doug, B., (2009, November 11). The article quoted the wording from a 1985 vote by Phoenix residents “…In no event shall any real property within any City Mountain Preserve be sold, traded or otherwise alienated, designated or deleted from the Mountain Preserve except by approval of a majority of the electors voting.” The article continues to further point out that, “a state law passed in 1990, House Bill 2218, also says cities can’t transfer preserve land for freeways with a vote.”

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HIKE PLANNED FOR AREA OF SOUTH MOUNTAIN THREATENED BY LOOP 202

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17th April 2013
Email: nosouthmountainfreeway@gmail.com
Phone 520-271-1735
www.nouthmountainfreeway.wordpress.com

HIKE PLANNED FOR AREA OF SOUTH MOUNTAIN THREATENED BY LOOP 202-No South Mountain Freeway Group and members of Gila River to lead prayer and hike on mountain.

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PHOENIX, AZ—Sunday April 21st, 4pm at the base of South Mountain on the east side of Estrella drive and 51st/4 ave. Join other freeway resistors as we come together to see parts of the South Mountain Range at risk to the expansion of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has proposed three, 20-stories-high, 200 yard-wide cuts into this Mountain Range, which is sacred to all O’odham Tribes. The off-reservation route (north of the “on reservation alignment”) would also destroy nearly 100 Homes, and an Ahwatukee church that sits at the base of the mountain.

We will be meeting at the trailhead off of 51st ave. (more immediately beside 43rd ave.) and Estrella Drive near the base of South Mountain. Before the Hike O’odham Elder Mike Tashquinth will speak to attendees about the significance of the mountain to his tribe. And why it is both crucial and urgent that we stop the Loop 202 from expanding.

The area we are planning to hike is located North of the Gila River Indian community. It is part of ADOT’s off reservation proposed route of the Loop 202 extension. We will be hiking to a vantage point from which both the areas of the Gila River Indian Community, Laveen and Phoenix can be seen at the same time.

The No South Mountain Freeway group supports the Gila River Indian Communities continued “No Build” stance. Both proposals are within miles of each other and both would negatively impose on not only the immediate communities in which they are proposed for yet they would infringe on the quality of living for the entire valley.

Coming eye-to-eye with this threatened area is essential to understanding what exactly is at stake with the current freeway proposals. Gila River and the Critical Wildlife Corridor that exists between the Estrella and South Mountain ranges is home to numerous species whose habitat would be significantly compromised if the freeway were to be expanded:

-The Spikedace and Loach Minnow, federally threatened species.
-The Gila Topminnow and the Desert Pupfish, two federally endangered species

-36 fish species historically native to Arizona, 21 of which are listed as threatened or endangered. One species has already gone extinct.

-The riverine areas are also home to Mountain Lions, the threatened Mexican Spotted Owl and the common Chuckwalla, which has been determined “threatened” and its existence is considered sensitive.

While recalling her recent trip to this point on South Mountain Erika Machuca had this to share, “Being at the most western point on the South Mountain range, the view of many of the valley’s peaks are clearly visible. It is an incredibly serene place and I want others to share this tranquil place and experience.”

For photos and a report about the area, you can view this recent post from our blog:
https://nosouthmountainfreeway.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/photos-from-south-mountain-near-proposed-route/

Please consider joining us as we bear witness to this threatened sacred place and discuss the necessary steps to help protect it!
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Support Akimel O’odham Youth! Protest ADOT’s 5-year Transportation Plan!

Contact: Akimel O’odham Youth Collective
Email: akimeloodhamyc@gmail.com
Phone: 520-350-0603

Come voice your opposition to the proposed South Mountain Loop 202 freeway extension during the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) Tentative Five-Year Construction program public comment period.

Due to dramatic funding challenges, ADOT is hosting public hearings across the state to address budgeting shortfalls. ADOT has determined that $350 million must be cut due to stagnant revenue from the gas and vehicle license.

As a result, ADOT has been forced to scale back its Five-Year Construction Plan for all existing highways and proposed highway projects like the proposed South Mountain Loop 202 freeway. ADOT has asked the public for their feedback regarding the course of action they should take regarding the future of transportation projects in Arizona. Over the next five years, there will be less money available for the preservation and expansion of the system statewide. This is the first Five-Year Program reflecting such a dramatic funding shift.

There are three scenarios that are being considered for implementation, and all three scenarios are available for public comment:

Scenario A- Focus on Preservation: This scenario focuses the most investment on keeping the existing highway system in good repair with the least investment in programmed major projects in greater Arizona. There would be 81 preservation projects from 2014 to 2016, 39 bridge projects, one major project and 690 miles of pavement projects. An average of $184 million per year in preservation from 2014 through 2018 would be allocated. Arizona’s interstate system is projected to fall below current standards for pavement quality in 2031 with this scenario.

Scenario B- Focus on Programmed Major Projects: This scenario focuses the most investment on major projects that are programmed in greater Arizona with the lowest investment in keeping existing highways in good repair through preservation. There would be nine major projects from 2014 to 2017. From 2014 to 2016, there would be 25 bridge projects and 458 miles of pavement projects. An average of $142 million per year in preservation from 2014 to 2018 would be allocated. Arizona’s interstate system is projected to fall below current standardsfor pavement quality in 2017 with this scenario.

Scenario C- Combination of Preservation and Major Projects: This scenario focuses on some investment in major projects that are programmed in greater Arizona with less investment in keeping existing highways in good repair. There would be four major projects from 2014 to 2017, 39 bridge projects from 2014 to 2018 and 524 miles of pavement projects. An average of $149 million per year inpreservation from 2014 to 2018 would be allocated. Arizona’s interstate system is projected to fall below current standards for pavement quality in 2021 with this scenario.

We are calling for all who oppose this freeway to stand with us in solidarity outside the locations of all public hearings and demand that all proposed highway projects be stopped, like the South Mountain Loop 202 extension.

We are calling for supporters to leave public comment against the proposed South Mountain Loop 202 freeway by voicing to ADOT they should implement Scenario A, which mandates ADOT to not allocate state fundingon new road highway projects like the South Mountain Loop 202 extension.

We are calling for supporters to demand that the NO BUILD option regarding the Loop 202 be chosen due to the level of desecration andnegative environmental and health impacts it would bring to the Gila River Indian Community.

We are calling for supporters to demand that ADOT begin to respect and address all concerns voiced by Gila River Indian Community, and by all O’odham, who are negatively affected by proposed South Mountain Loop 202 freeway project.

Please stand with us to save South Mountain and to protect the health and environment of the Gila River Indian Community!Dates and times of ADOT public hearings:

April 12, 2013
9AM– RALLY STARTS AT 8AM
Pascua Yaqui Justice Center-Albert V. Garcia Auditorium
7777 South Camino Huivism
Building C
Tucson, AZ 85757

May 10, 2013
9AM– RALLY STARTS AT 8AM
City of Flagstaff Council Chambers
211 West Aspen Avenue
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

The State Transportation Board is expected to adopt the 2014-2018 Five-Year Program at its June 14 meeting in Pinetop-Lakeside.
Location To Be Announce

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CALL-IN STATE OFFICES. Build Statewide Solidarity: SAY NO to Expanding the South Mountain Freeway!

Please help support the efforts of O’odham youth traveling to Tucson to protest the Arizona Department of Transportation’s 5-year plan. We are calling for a state-wide Cal-in to help tell ADOT just how much we oppose the current 5-year plan and demanding all plans for the loop 202 to be stopped immediately! Help us out by calling and also through sharing this message via your own social media.

(Read below for call-in talking points. Voice-in the comments you feel are the most relevant. Don’t hesitate to vary script or insert your own commentary.

Hello, my name is _____________ and I am a resident of ____________. I am calling (Insert Office Name) to state my opposition and demand that South Mountain Freeway planning be brought to an end, once and for all. While Scenario A is the closest to a desirable plan, extreme shifts in the state’s focus on public transit and bike lanes must be stepped up beyond this proposal’s current state.

ADOT’s development of the Tentative Five-Year Transportation Plan due to budget restraints makes it apparent that not only is South Mountain Freeway an economic detriment, but a cultural and environmental disaster waiting to happen.

The participation of (insert office name) in the destruction of South Mountain is a clear indication that it does not uphold the best interests of the O’odham tribes and local communities of Awhatukee and Laveen.
• This mountain is held sacred by all O’odham tribes. This type of damage is irreversible and no amount of monetary compensation would ever replace this sacred natural treasure.
• After 30 years of this freeway’s planning, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has still not been presented.
• The freeway would impose on a critical wildlife corridor for various threatened desert animals and fragile ecosystems unique to both the Estrella and South Mountain ranges.
• It is well-known that Phoenix city’s and surrounding areas’ air quality is becoming increasingly harmful to residents. Building this freeway would further spread poor air quality in part of the Phoenix valley.
• Allocating funds to forms of transportation that lead to further environmental degradation will only take Arizona residents down a road to increased health risks that will eventually drive more individuals to leave the state.
Statewide communities oppose your further involvement in the environmental, cultural, and sacred destruction of South Mountain.

State offices’ contact info:

ADOT Five Year Program
1655 West Jackson, MD 126F
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(855) 712-8530

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Arizona Division
4000 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1500
Phoenix, Arizona 85012-3500
(602) 379-3646

HDR Engineering Inc.
101 N. 1st Ave., Suite 1950
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 385-1610

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Photos from South Mountain Near Proposed Route

Today two of us had the chance to photograph a few of the many beautiful images of South Mountain. These photos were taken from near ADOT’s proposed off reservation alignment near 51st avenue and the boundary of the Gila River Indian Community. We were in the are to the north of it taking photos toward where the route where ADOT would like to pave through for their 8-lane freeway. Cuts the size of football fields in length would made to the mountain if the state has it’s way. As you can see in the area the Estrella mountain range is directly behind this area s well. Many freeway opponents have mentioned the crucial necessity to keep his area as natural and untouched as possible for it better serve as a wildlife corridor for all of the mountains animal inhabitants.

This mountainous region is also sacred to O’odham people. The following videos taken from protests of ADOT meetings explain that in further detail.

To get a rough idea of where the photos were taken you can view this map from ADOT.
South Mountain Transportation Corridor Study, Map 9 Main Ridge NAnd finally these are our photos of the area: All photos with * indicate photos courtesy of Erica Muchuca

approaching the mountain

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now entering

 

e looking toward proposed route area

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purple flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bugs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brittlebush

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near proposed cuts to mountainwritting memories

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comment period for ADOT’s five year plan open till May 17th

ADOT has come out with a 5 year transportation plan that only includes freeway expansion! Tell them what you think about that!

The public comment period is now underway. ADOT has provided the following options to submit your comments and feedback:

 
The State Transportation Board will consider all public comments received by May 17. Public hearings will be conducted on March 8 in Phoenix, April 12 in Tucson and May 10 in Flagstaff to allow for additional community input. The State Transportation Board is expected to adopt the 2014-2018 Five-Year Program at its June 14 meeting in Pinetop-Lakeside.
sunset lines2 


Here is a copy of the letter Eleanor Rigby wrote, feel free to use this or write one of your own!

 

“I am quite disgusted that the 5 year transportation plan does not include ANY form of alternative transportation. This shows me quite clearly who it is ADOT and that State of Arizona are serving, and it is clearly not the people who live here.

As a life long resident of Arizona, I have literally watched with my own eyes as our skies have gone from clear, crisp blue, to a dirty, hazy brown more often then not. The fact that ADOT continues to push for more highways, shows their extreme lack of regard for the safety of our air and thus the safety of the people who live here.

Further, the Loop 202 SouthMountain Freeway Extension is just one example of the continued desire to push the transportation problems of Phoenix onto other communities, such as the Gila River Indian Community and those in Laveen and Awatukee. Phoenix traffic problems could be solved with new and improved bike lanes and with new and improved public transit. The fact that ADOT continues to push freeway expansion tells us that the people currently running ADOT have little to no imagination when it comes to city planning. A fact that shows they should probably all be fired.

I demand that this 5 year plan be repealed in it’s entirety and replaced with one that bans the proposed Loop 202 expansion and privileges bike baths and mass public transit. The people, all people, of Arizona deserve better.”

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Protest the ADOT 5 Year Plan!

IMAG0227
Tell ADOT No Loop 202 Expansion, Demand alternatives to freeways and corridor routes!
No new trade routes on Stolen land!

Please tell ADOT that the current 5 year plan they have is unacceptable. Go a step further and demand what you see as better alternatives to the currently expanding flood of freeways and
smog stretching across the state. 100_1902

*****WAYS YOU CAN HELP*****
-Help organize resistance to the ADOT meetings
in your area

– Utilize the public comment period that ends
on may 17th
http://www.azdot.gov/index_docs/headlines/pdf/13-104_5yr_Plan_Comment_card.pdf

-Participate in other solidarity events coming up the next few months.

-Research trade corridors in your area of the state and spread the word to help organize
resistance to them!

panorama church

 

 

 

 

 
END THE NEEDLESS EXPANSION OF FREEWAYS! FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES, TO RESPECT SACRED SITES, TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT….. Protest the the State Transportation Boards 5 year plan!
We will use this facebook event page as a way to spread the word about the events that occur across AZ. Be sure to check often for more updates and relevant information.

If you are on Facebook please “like” our page and check in frequently for more updates. No South Mountain Freeway on Facebook

 

ADOT’s Tentative Five-Year Construction Program
Public comment March 8 to May 17
It is the perfect storm that’s been brewing for the last few years as the effects of the economic downturn hit us all. The Arizona Department of Transportation has been forecasting dramatic funding challenges since 2009 that will affect projects across our state. Those economic predictions have now become a reality as ADOT begins to map out its next Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program.
The Five-Year Program is updated each year and serves as a blueprint that details where, when and how regional, state and federal funding will be spent for projects over the next five years to improve our state’s transportation infrastructure. For the 2014-2018 Five-Year Program (which is still tentative right now), ADOT has determined that $350 million must be cut due to stagnant revenue from the gas and vehicle license taxes and from decreased federal funding.
 
As a result, the next Five-Year Program reflects a major focus on preserving our existing state highway system while moving some programmed projects forward. Other programmed projects in the Five-Year Program will need to be delayed to future years due to significantly less funding. Preserving our system means protecting our investment of $18.4 billion; this is the value of the state highway system through monies spent on expansion, modernization and preservation projects.
 
The Tentative Five-Year Program is online and available for public comment. There are three scenarios that are being considered for implementation, and all three scenarios are available for public comment:
 
Scenario A – Focus on Preservation: This scenario focuses the most investment on keeping the existing highway system in good repair with the least investment in programmed major projects in greater Arizona. There would be 81 preservation projects from 2014 to 2016, 39 bridge projects, one major project and 690 miles of pavement projects. An average of $184 million per year in preservation from 2014 through 2018 would be allocated. Arizona’s interstate system is projected to fall below current standards for pavement quality in 2031 with this scenario.
 
Scenario B – Focus on Programmed Major Projects: This scenario focuses the most investment on major projects that are programmed in greater Arizona with the lowest investment in keeping existing highways in good repair through preservation. There would be nine major projects from 2014 to 2017. From 2014 to 2016, there would be 25 bridge projects and 458 miles of pavement projects. An average of $142 million per year in preservation from 2014 to 2018 would be allocated. Arizona’s interstate system is projected to fall below current standards for pavement quality in 2017 with this scenario.
 
Scenario C – Combination of Preservation and Major Projects: This scenario focuses on some investment in major projects that are programmed in greater Arizona with less investment in keeping existing highways in good repair. There would be four major projects from 2014 to 2017, 39 bridge projects from 2014 to 2018 and 524 miles of pavement projects. An average of $149 million per year in preservation from 2014 to 2018 would be allocated. Arizona’s interstate system is projected to fall below current standards for pavement quality in 2021 with this scenario.
 
The public comment period is now underway. ADOT has provided the following options to submit your comments and feedback:
 
 
The State Transportation Board will consider all public comments received by May 17. Public hearings will be conducted on March 8 in Phoenix, April 12 in Tucson and May 10 in Flagstaff to allow for additional community input. The State Transportation Board is expected to adopt the 2014-2018 Five-Year Program at its June 14 meeting in Pinetop-Lakeside. 
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