Opinion

Fishman: 128th Street road designation not necessary

Posted 1/27/22

I have been reviewing information regarding the 128th Street road designation. Based on the information I have been able to acquire designating 128th is counter to Scottsdale’s interests for …

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Opinion

Fishman: 128th Street road designation not necessary

Posted

I have been reviewing information regarding the 128th Street road designation. Based on the information I have been able to acquire designating 128th is counter to Scottsdale’s interests for the following reasons.

First, if designated as a street by the city’s Transportation Department it would bisect the “Gooseneck” area of the Preserve, which serves as a wildlife corridor between Maricopa County’s McDowell Mountain Regional Park to the south, and the northern region of the Preserve and the Tonto National Forest to the north.

It is my understanding that when the Preserve was established this small area was not acquired. Scottsdale did not think it was a priority to use preserve tax dollars to acquire the easement from Transportation at the time. (General Fund). Priority was given to buy land owned by the state and private landowners.

Furthermore, in November 2015 the McDowell Preserve Commission recommended to the Transportation Commission and the City Council to redesignate 128th Street from Ranch Gate to Jomax as an emergency-only access and public path/trail.

I fully support this and believe that Preserve tax dollars be used to purchase the easement to protect the corridor in perpetuity.

In addition, since that time 118th Street was built, and Happy Valley Road is being widened. This sufficiently addresses public safety issues.

Second, it is my understanding that both the Scottsdale police and fire departments do not believe the building of 128th Street adds to their ability to be effective in the exercise of their duties.

In short, they support gating this dirt road as emergency access only.

Third, if 128th were to be designated it flies in the face of one of the key goals of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which is continuity of habitat and connectivity to the greatest possible extent. If developed, 128th Street would result in habitat fragmentation and animal mortality.

Fourth, if this road were required it would be at Scottsdale’s expense. This is challenging terrain, and its construction cost would be significant. In addition, it does not serve Scottsdale residents. If developed its use would be for the benefit of Rio Verde.

In conclusion, unless you favor killing animals, not providing wildlife corridors, and spending significant amounts of tax dollars for unsubstantiated reasons it is imperative to preserve the “Gooseneck” area.

Editor’s Note: Robert Fishman is a resident of Scottsdale.

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