The completion of the 101 Loop in Phoenix
Last year I went somewhere that I had never been before, I drove south on 51st Avenue all of the way south of South Mountain, to the I-10, along Pecos. And my first thought was that I hadn't realized that you could do this, and my second thought is that this seemed like the logical place for the freeway to be.
When I first moved to Phoenix, there was one freeway, the I-17. People just said *the freeway*. I had grown up in Minneapolis, whose freeway system was pretty much completed by the time I got my driver's license, so it was strange to live in such a big city that had no freeway system. But palm trees grew, and it didn't snow, so I figured it was worth the hassle of driving on city streets to get to most places. Besides, I really didn't drive around the valley much.
The idea of a *Loop* in a city allows traffic to bypass the most congested areas. In Arizona, unfortunately, if you are driving from Los Angeles to Tucson, you have to go right through the middle of everything. A loop, like the kinds I remember from when I learned to drive, allows traffic to bypass.
I lived in Los Angeles for a few years and I chuckle at people's comments about traffic congestion in Phoenix, but I guess it really has gotten worse in the past few years. And since Phoenix doesn't have a loop, to allow for a bypass to Tucson, it really doesn't surprise me.
I like history, I like Phoenix, and I like seeing how cities grow. I also like looking into the future, and imagining my current time as *back in the day* (if you follow me on that?). Future generations will wonder why it took Phoenix so long to finish up the loop. And if you're reading this now, you will be able to tell the young folks about the old days before the 101 freeway was completed.
Posted by Brad Hall