Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tim B. Lee, Honorary Tucsonist

Judging from his observations concerning the effects of freeway construction on St. Louis, Tim B. Lee would probably get along well in Tucson.

There used to be plans here, from 1958 into the 1970s, to to build an "I-710" freeway following the route of Campbell Avenue. Earlier versions of this scheme followed this by construction of a freeway over the bed of the Rillito.

Nowadays putting concrete and exhaust fumes over our greenbelts seems ridiculous, the stuff of self-discrediting old curmudgeons who've lost the part of their brain that makes it clear why such things are valuable. Tucsonans know in their gut that our resistance to building superhighways is what made and makes our city coherent, bikeable, walkable, and keeps our air free of smog despite our being caught between four mountain ranges. It may frustrate the newcomers, but we have no inclination to destroy neighborhoods for suburbanites' convenience in the way New Orleans, St. Louis, or Philadelphia did. If they wanted that, on their way in from Orange County they should have gotten off the I-10 about 120 miles earlier!

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