I really appreciate your story about the Babbitt growth plan ("Babbitt's Secret Growth-Control Plan," Michael Kiefer, March 2). It is a very important topic, even though it must be a dry read for many.
After I read it, I could see that all three plans you presented could and should be passed. They are not mutually exclusive. No attempt should be made to pass a law that chooses only one plan. Some urban growth is out of control and should be controlled by growth boundaries, while smaller places may not want such boundaries because they wish to grow. We should draw a boundary around Phoenix for one reason: to tell developers to make Quartzsite into a new million-person city. Phoenix does not need to grow now.
You presented in clear terms what the Babbitt plan does when you said it is to change the checkerboard into a continuous expanse of reserved land. That is sensible, and I vote for the Babbitt plan for this reason. And the plan puts people where they should be along the Colorado River and the interstates.
One thing occurred to me that you did not mention. The developers are totally ignorant about the cost involved. In the future, they expect urban dwellers to supply utilities and streets. But we now know that in order for Phoenix to develop, we have to budget for transportation such as more freeways and trains. Where are we going to find the money to develop freeways and mass transit to all the areas the developers want to develop? Fife Symington even had to cut the Paradise Freeway to finish what we do have, but a freeway grid makes the only logical sense. Maybe gas will go to $4 a gallon and solve the growth problem.
N. Terebey Jr.
One Last KISS
A fellow Alice Cooper fan shared the Trashman article on the nonexistent interview with Gene Simmons ("Lick It Up," Bill Blake, March 9). Thank you for the biggest laugh I had when reading that! I thought I'd bust a gut. I have friends who are diehard KISS fans, but some of them finally woke up to "Mr. Moneybags" & Co.'s operations. It wasn't enough for these people to have one 50-pound limited-edition KISS coffee-table book for $200 (or around that). When KISS saw enough suckers to pony up for that, then they put out another "limited edition." I guess those KISS fans like to throw their money at them.
I have always held the position that they were ripping off Alice from day one and prayed for the day I wouldn't see their mugs on my Circus magazine subscription back in the late 70s. I've also seen Gene and Paul Stanley recently without makeup, and that is really scary! How much more can Paul's face get stretched back behind his ears? As far as them dumping Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer (those guys are great musicians -- I have seen them in their current band projects), those guys should be thankful to be away from Mr. Moneybags & Co.
Oh, I'd love to pass your article around at the concert in California this weekend! Alice is the real deal and a great guy!
As a member of the "50 Percent Club" (the 50 percent of Maricopa County residents who would move out of Arizona right now if they could), I probably shouldn't care one iota about any of this, since we are actually planning to move out of state within the next year or so. However, there are a few other things that people need to realize about our traffic situation ("Traffic Thicket," Laura Laughlin, March 9). First, people here are obligated to drive their vehicles because they have to spend an entire paycheck once a year to register it, which is outrageous. The same holds true for vehicle insurance.
Psychologically, it doesn't make sense not to use what you have to pay so much for having. For this plan to be truly successful, there needs to be an incentive to garage the auto regularly: lower vehicle registration to something remotely sensible and reasonable. Also, design smarter freeways. For example, the car-pool lanes would be a major conduit for expanded bus service, especially in the Ahwatukee area. That's great, but the people at the Arizona Department of Transportation who built the car-pool structure have forced car poolers (of which I am one) to fight to get to and from the car-pool lane. This means we are still an integral part of the normal, congested traffic pattern. Thanks, ADOT and MAG!
I read your very informative and comprehensive article. SkyTran wouldn't work only because people will get into the cars and trash them. There would be no one around to stop them, and that is how people are these days. At least in a train, there are others around most of the time, but even then, they vandalize. Look at the New York City subway cars. But it wouldn't be as bad as individual cars where they can do their worst in private.
Also, I am a huge supporter of rail, having lived in Boston and NYC and needing only one car there. Here in Phoenix, we had to buy a second car. (More expense.) However, I did not support the proposition because the light rail is totally ill-conceived. You don't need light rail in a corridor that already is well-served by the less expensive option of buses. Where Phoenix needs the rail is along the freeways, coming in from 10, 20 or more miles out of downtown. It is the freeways that are parking lots during rush hour. And to avoid the freeways, people crowd the surface streets, and they become parking lots. A few bus turnouts, an expanded downtown bus service, and rail duplicating the freeway paths would do the job well into this century and probably into the next. It is a no-brainer.
Kudos to Laura Laughlin for her article on the Transit 2000 proposal! I am a 10-year resident of the Valley, having grown up in north Texas, and have been addicted to my car since I began driving 15 years ago. I lived in downtown Chicago during the winter of 1998, and learned what it was like to live without a car. I sold my car before moving there, because of high parking costs and the fact that you just don't need a car there. I was nervous about using the "El" and the bus system at first. But you know what? I loved it! Even though it was noisy, even though there were "strange" people on almost every trip I made, I loved it! You could get anywhere, anytime, and not have to wait for more than 10 to 15 minutes. Those "longer" wait times usually existed because there were so many people taking the bus!
When I recently moved back to Phoenix without my car, I was disgusted. I couldn't go anywhere. The routes are miles apart, as opposed to Chicago, where you have bus stops on virtually every corner. In Chicago you may have up to five or six different routes stopping at the same bus stop and then venturing off in their own directions. It's like a huge mass-transit spider web. Here, like your article mentions, the available routes and times are horrible.
I am a graduate student in Environmental Science at ASU and I work in downtown Phoenix. I live in Gilbert. I get onto U.S. 60 at Mesa Drive. Every day my car and I crawl 25 miles each way, and I hate it. I have looked into Valley Ride Share and I've looked into the bus routes. I work crazy hours at times, and there's no way to get home at night when the buses stop running. So I'm left to my car.
Luckily, I drive an economical, air-friendly car. But it's about time people in this city wake up and smell the pollution. I don't know what Becky Fenger and Douglas Malewicki are thinking, but we can't rely on futuristic plans that aren't grounded in the reality of here and now. We need to get started now. We've got to do something soon, or a 20-year plan that takes 10 years to develop will be so outdated that we'll be stuck in the same situation with a bigger problem to contend with.
It appalls me that Phoenix has won the award for "Best Run City in the World" twice now, when it has the worst transit system of any major city in the world. And I was very disappointed in 1997 when the transit tax failed by the slimmest of margins (probably because at least 124 voters didn't have transportation to their polling place). Inadequate service is precisely the reason that more people don't utilize public transit. If the transit system is improved, more people will use it. This has been demonstrated in other cities, such as Dallas, as cited in your article.
In reference to Robrt L. Pela's review of the play The Wallace & Ladmo Show ("Loco Boys Make Good," March 9), I have to say I loved it. I went to school with Bill Thompson's stepson, David, and fought several Civil War battles with both. I was even on the show twice. Bill is truly a great guy and I miss the show dearly.
I only wish I was in town this weekend. Perhaps with luck the show will be held over or otherwise stay in the Valley.
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Concerning your column on John McCain and your assertion that he should make public his military record ("Naval Gazing," Amy Silverman, March 9): Great piece of journalism there, if it were written by some sort of primate. As far as being a product of a human being, I'm not convinced. Now I remember why I quit reading New Times.