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May 06, 2013

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On a related note, I heard from a reliable source yesterday that two more acres of asphalt parking are about to be added just south of Roosevelt Row.

I've been following this for the past six years or so and even sat in on some of the citizen committees tasked with making an EIS recommendation. This freeway is a complete and utter waste of money. It is of benefit to no one but those who make money building freeways. At a minimum of $2 billion for 22 miles, its unfathomable to think the money couldn't be used in much better ways. Also, its amazing to me to hear ADOT claim the freeway will actually help air quality. During the citizens meetings they mentioned over and over again how it would help commuters in the west valley reach the east valley and vice versa. Talk about being an enabler!! This is like giving an alcoholic a bigger mug then claiming he is drinking less frequently.

You guys are being awfully tough on drunks here.

Side-note: three new comments in the previous Open Thread: one debunking the Arizona Republic's latest agit-prop about public pensions; another about the new NRA president; and a third about investor activity in the metro Phoenix housing market (this one will have to be pulled out of the Bermuda Triangle of Spam by Mr. Talton before it can be read).

A lot of the push for the freeway to go through the reservation comes from Phoenix councilman Sal DiCiccio. He claims his concern is for that of his constituents so that they and his district are spared the issues of construction.

coincidentally, Councilman DiCiccio has several land leases and business interests right smack in the path of the reservation route which he so passionately advocates.

I love Phoenix ....that being said, I'll have to agree with Jon...it's NOT another freeway we need ...it's more RAIL...N, S, E, W...I totally enjoy taking the rail from midtown Phoenix to Tempe..( why would I want to go to Mesa?).. The new "sky train " to sky harbor airport is now running to terminal 4 from 44th St and Washington..problem...it will not help those on "red eye" flights, for our rail is NOT a 24 hour line! WHY N O T???

"On a related note, I heard from a reliable source yesterday that two more acres of asphalt parking are about to be added just south of Roosevelt Row." -Diane

I have heard these same concerns from people in the Row. They believe that the SW corner of 1st Ave and Roosevelt was transformed for a parking lot. In reality, a multistory mixed-use project will be constructed there, starting later this year. Others believe that the land being bulldozed for the UofA Cancer Treatment Center will be another parking lot; of course, this is false as it is to be the lot upon which the new Cancer Treatment Center is to be built.

Skip, 24 hour rail transit lines are extremely rare...even in massively more dense cities. And if Phoenix were to do so, only Phoenix would be on the line to raise the taxes to pay for it.

Better things we could do with $2 billion: 1)complete an X shaped commuter rail system that, in 2009, was estimated to cost $1.5 for infrastructure upgrades, stations, and the trains.
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/12/03/20091203commuterrail1203.html

2)Renovate Union Station in order to anticipate the connection of L.A., Phoenix, and Vegas with high-spreed rail lines and a commuter train to Tucson. And for Union Station to serve as the terminus for the metro areas commuter rail lines.
http://www.azrail.org/trains/commuter/

3)Move the timetable up for construction of Phoenix's W and NW light rail lines...and buying some new buses for the city that match the RAPID lines' buses.

Skip, Boston's "T" subway/trolley system is not a 24-hr line. I'm not defending Valley Metro's narrow operating hours, but I do think it's worth pointing out that other big cities -- even those in the mass-transit-reliant Northeast -- deal with this same issue. Just sayin'.

That is interesting Chris...I looked up Boston's Red Line subway schedule and their latest trips are around 12:50-1am even on the weekends. http://www.mbta.com/riding_the_t/default.asp?id=26153

Phoenix light rail runs from 4:41 am (Tempe)/4:40am (Phoenix) until 12:49am Monday-Thursday.

From 4:14am to 3:49am (Sat. am) on Friday's.

4:39am Tempe/5am Phoenix to 3:49 (Sun. am) on Saturdays.

Sundays are the shortest with hours between 4:39am (Tempe)/5am (Phoenix) to 12:49am. Those are pretty good hours for a light rail line.
http://routes.valleymetro.org/timetables/785/transit_route

Here's an idea for our libertarian times: If this freeway wants building let the market do it. Taxpayers shouldn't be asked to pick winners and losers. Or subsidize the auto, road construction, or oil industry.

Let some billionaire finance this and charge tolls.

We need to get the government out of the way and let the market do its thing.


I strongly support rail and other public transit projects due to the hard to measure externalities of the sprawl nation. Having said that, the proposition that peak oil prices are here to stay and not cyclical like other markets is suspect.

This time is different to explain various frothy markets has always been a false prophesy. Examples include housing, technology stocks and apparently gold.

Refurbish Union Station! You're just teasing RC aren't you?

You'd think with the way state, county, and city finances are, REIC Keynesian economics would not fly (unless of course some dirty Fed money floated our way -- Flake? Flake? McCain? McCain? Sinema is the sure bet to propose a barrel for that pig).

Why a freeway is good capitalist spending and light rail is bad socialist spending is beyond me. Rogue readers already know which way the smog blows.

e-dog:

Why a freeway is good capitalist spending and light rail is bad socialist spending is beyond me.

Pithy bit of rhetoric, that.

In the context of austerity and the low-wage employment "recovery," who's fighting for the workers' dollars?

On the one hand, you have the vast industries of Krazy Kar Kulture, these include oil, auto & parts manufacture, auto insurance and associated maintenance and other auto-centric services. These covet the paychecks of working commuters, and are quite happy with encroaching on whatever "disposable" income these workers can accrue, and spend elsewhere.

Elsewhere? Without the costs associated with participation in the Krazy Kar Kulture - purchase, maintenance, insurance and the civil revenues generated by the statistically unavoidable traffic infractions - workers find they have more money to, well, shop. One could pause here and point out that a lot of big-box chain retail outlets might get in line for the public subsidizing of commuter transport - light rail, for example - but one could also retort that these mark-down chains - like Walmart - also benefit from a lower disposable income because - at least for consumer staples - shoppers are driven to their predatory discounting outlets.

Because it is the small businesses and local purveyors of goods who would benefit most from more disposable income, and because these businesses are considerably more atomized - politically speaking - than big oil, big auto and big retail, then one can see that the pressure for infrastructure decisions would be more favorable to freeways over rail.

So, one possible answer to e-dog's rhetoric is that we are seeing yet another "externality" from the shift of political influence away from actual people, and towards the organizational behemoths of corporations.

ah when SOLERI is missing the ever quotable PETRO rises to the occasion.

ADOT Approved freeway means 10 percent for SALT LAKE.

Impressive writing by Petro lately. That said, allow me to question a couple of points:

(1) A significant portion of the nation's economic growth right now is dependent on auto manufacturing and sales. A number of jobs there, too. Also, people tend to make more trips when they have a private auto. So, I'm not convinced that replacing the auto with mass transit would increase disposable income. (I'm not sure it wouldn't, either, but this is where doing the math might be helpful.)

(2) I'm not sure that small businesses would benefit most from more disposable income. Is there an argument behind this? Also, the usual definition of small business (less than 500 employees) is unsatisfactory. I wouldn't call that small.

(3) I think that the pressures for private autos over rail come more from individual preferences. Surely it is nicer to have your own car than to ride the bus?

Out of time tonight.

Petro: when you comment about Wal*Mart as a "markdown chain and predatory discount outlet", you're laying on a little thick. Wally does most of its business at regular price and I'm hard pressed to understand them being cast as a predator. That would mean that their competition (Costco, Target and the Dollar stores) are also predators. What am I missing here?

There are a few differences between Costco and Target when compared to Walmart. The most important distinction is that both Costco and Target pay their employees better. Costco and Target are also nowhere near the size of Walmart; therefore, a larger segment of the workforce is impacted by Walmart's poor labor practices.

We should note that Target and Walmart are fairly similar in their pay scales for grunt labor: http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2011/05/02/target-vs-walmart-which-one-is-a-better-place-to-work/

Walmart clearly swings the bigger bat here. In its race to the bottom, it pioneered the the idea that its employees health care and food stamps should be externalized onto taxpayers. The so-called free market is freest at the higher end where the Walmart heirs are among the very richest of Americans.

A single-payer health care system and higher minimum wage levels would end this reliance on taxpayer largesse. But the American right will oppose that precisely because they oppose a competitive free market. Crony capitalism not only underwrites Movement Conservatism, it also pays for the lobbyists and media specialists who make it their job to keep John Q Public ignorant and passive.

I live near the Chris-Town Walmart, so I notice how many shoppers who can't afford cars rely on taxis to get them there. Mass transit also pays a role but if you buy perishables, they might not make it back to home in time.

Walmart has revolutionized shopping and they may revolutionize health care. Low-cost, in-store clinics may be the wave of the future. If it seems dystopian, that's the cost of surviving in a globalized marketplace. The rent-seekers in the health-care industrial complex will squawk but I suspect it won't impede the retail behemoth. Nostalgia won't take us back to a strong middle class (it should be obvious to note) but political pressure might soften the worst of modernity's sharp edges.


thank u Soleri.

dont forget TALTON at URBAN BEAN now TERITOS the 15th at 6 pm

Thanks, Emil. I can't disagree with your concerns about my generalization.

I'll say right up front that it's your attention to detail, and the measured observations of others in these threads, that liberate (a critic might say "enable") me to make these broadly brushed characterizations.

I am more than content to be able to contribute to a whole that is much better than its parts, or the sum of its parts.

I really enjoyed (if that's the right word for it) this article:

Why Your 'Green Lifestyle' Choices Don't Really Matter

Having been involved in retail for many years, it now appears that the strip centers are one of the casualties of the boomburb sprawl. Many of them were ill-conceived and poorly located from the beginning. Since '08 they've taken a huge hit, with many vacancies showing up like a series of missing teeth. Phoenix still has more retail square footage per capita than any other major metro, thus the marginal retail productivity. It is possible that transit will pump more life into the little guys along the route.

Freeway to Hell: Don't be a hater.
What do you have against that working Mom from Maricopa who just wants an easier drive to her job in Surprise? After all, she had a longer job in California.

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Only in gub'mint would a small business be 500 employees. In the real world the cutoff would be around 50.

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Only in gub'mint would 60 be a majority in the Senate. In the real world, it would be 51.

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I've boycotted Walmart for five years. I don't think they've noticed.

Off topic, the new Mapstone is, as always, great. Cal Lash, are you the "Cla" with the bit role toward the beginning of the book?

i am out of commission so have not read book

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