This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Phoenix, Arizona, successfully stopping freeway construction since the 1960s



If you've ever sat in a gridlocked traffic jam in Phoenix, you may be wondering why Phoenix didn't build more freeways? For example, why isn't there an east-west freeway that would take you from the west side of Phoenix all the way to Scottsdale, say at about Camelback Road? And why isn't there a loop around Phoenix that would allow traffic from Los Angeles to Tucson to bypass the downtown area? I'm sure that you can think of more, especially if you're in bumper-to-bumper traffic, either on a freeway in Phoenix, or on one of the surface streets.

If you're an old-timer, or a Phoenix history buff, you know that stopping freeway construction is something that the people of Phoenix have successfully been doing for over 50 years.

I've been living in Phoenix for a long time now, and the most common thing I've heard about freeways is that it would make Phoenix like Los Angeles. That is, if freeways were built, it would make a lot more people move there, and it would get crowded, like Los Angeles. And the solution that I've hears from old-timers is to just somehow stop new subdivisions from being built.

Of course, people have been moving into Phoenix at a rapid rate since 1870, and there really is no way to stop them, or to stop new subdivisions from being built. And so Phoenix has been struggling with its transportation infrastructure for a very long time!

Image above: 1960s recommended freeway map for Phoenix.


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