Phoenix Transect Project

PROJECT: Paved Paradise


"Big Yellow Taxi” or “They Paved Paradise and Put in a Parking Lot”

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot …
Joni Mitchell (1970)

Joni Mitchell arrived in Hawaii for the first time at night so the next morning she runs to the window throws back the curtains to see green, lush hills, the Sugarloaf mountains with white birds flying low and Myna birds all over the place and right in the middle of all of this was a huge parking lot. She found such irony in what she saw that she wrote a song about it. As I captured the images in this series I was struck by the lyrics of this song and how it echoes the enormous change that is occurring in my neighborhood, the Ahwatukee foothills.

"They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum."

Not only will the desert preserve be critically impacted but the desert flora that is not destroyed by the construction will be tagged and relocated elsewhere.

The foothills are separated geographically from other areas north of the city by South Mountain and the South Mountain Preserve. The foothills, is a fairly quiet residential community nestled at the base of the South Mountain surrounded by the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Because it has few access points available it is also known as the world’s “largest cul-du-sac”. The foothills community has already been significantly impacted by the construction of the Loop 202 (South Mountain Freeway). It will be a main thoroughfare for semis, tractor trailers, and heavy freeway traffic seeking to bypass downtown Phoenix. It is expected to run along South Mountain on Pecos Road. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has been working on a master freeway plan that was approved by voters thirty-one years ago in 1985 and the South Mountain Freeway is the last portion of the entire Loop 202 freeway system to be constructed.

In the last year ADOT acquired properties and began to demolish an entire subdivision of homes. It is expected that ADOT will soon begin its demolition of additional homes and a large community church that is located near Pecos Road as they prepare for the next phase of the freeway construction. There has been a number of organizations protesting the construction of the freeway and voicing their concerns in a renewed effort to stop the construction. These organizations are emphasizing the adverse effects of the 202 Loopway with regard to the destruction of wildlife, increased air pollution, and increased crime that the 202 Loopway will bring to the foothills community.

My photographs capture the dramatic changes occurring to the foothills community and highlight some of changes that have happened and the impact to the community.

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Pecos Road
Description: Pecos Road looking west and facing the Estrella mountains.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Nature Versus Man
Description: A wildflower grows next to Pecos Road.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Future Freeway
Description: A sign at 32nd street and Pecos Road.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Encroachment of Concrete
Description: The intersection of I-10 and E. Pecos Road and the Estrella mountains in the distance.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: A Sippy Cup and Two Plastic Balls
Description: Remnants of children are a reminder that a community existed at a demolished site.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: God cannot stop progress
Description: A twelve-foot cross sits on top of a hillside and at the bottom of the hillside is the Mountain Park Community Church that is set for demolition in the next several months.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Four-lane Highway
Description: Pecos Road, a four-lane highway will be replaced by the 202 Loopway, an eight-lane freeway.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: No Trespassing
Description: ADOT has placed fences and "no trespass" signs along portions of Pecos Road.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title:
Description: New construction of homes by Lennar Homes continues. The 202 Loopway will sit right next to these houses that are being built on 17th Avenue and Pecos Road.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Biker memorial
Description: A biker's memorial stands in the direct pathway of the 202 Loopway.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Looking through Concrete
Description: An ADOT sign looms in the background of what was once a large development of houses.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title:
Description: A pamphlet from one of the numerous organizations that describes the implications of the 202 freeway to the Ahwatukee community.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Ferocactus
Description: the Ferocactus, meaning "fierce or wild cactus," is tagged as ADOT prepares to relocate numerous plants that are in the direct pathway of the 202 freeway.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Springtime blooms
Description: Bougainvillea sit undisturbed in what was called the Goldman Ranch community where over 100 homes were demolished in August 2015 in preparation of the 202 Loopway freeway.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Metal Machinery
Description: Construction has begun in various areas of Ahwatukee.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Carnegiea gigantea
Description: A Saguaro stands tall against the South Mountain Park and Preserve as people make their way on the numerous trails throughout the park.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Keep Out!
Description: Several locks on a gate at the end of Pecos Road.
Date: 2/2106
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Sphaeralcea ambigua
Description: Orange Globe Mallow and the Estrella mountains in the background.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Protect our Preserve
Description: The 202 Loopway freeway will cut through three ridges of the South Mountain Park and Preserve that is home to numerous types of wildlife that live in the Sonoran Desert.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Metal Fence
Description: ADOT has purchased and demolished homes that are in the direct pathway of the future 202 Loopway freeway.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Freeway Toxic Zone
Description: Various organizations such as ProtectAZChildren.org are continuing their fight to stop the construction of the freeway.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Soccer Ball Left Behind
Description: A red soccer ball rests in the direct pathway of the future 202 Loopway freeway. The Kyrene De Los Lagos elementary school will sit right next to the freeway.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Wildflowers
Description: Wildflowers growing next to Pecos Road.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Let Nature Run Its Course
Description:
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: A Million Dollar Home No More
Description: Several million dollar homes that are in the pathway of the future 202 Loopway freeway were demolished by ADOT in August 2015.
Date: 2/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Hey Birdy, Where Are You?
Description: A large bird's nest built near Pecos Road and is in the direct pathway of the future 202 Loopway freeway.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: New Beginning
Description: Nine months after the demolition of 100 homes, new growth emerges in the middle of this cul-du-sac.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

ContributorPhoto

Contributor: Renee Dennison
Title: Foothills Club West
Description: Looking down into a valley of homes in what is known as Ahwatukee Foothills West.
Date: 4/2016
Location: Ahwatukee
Keywords: Construction, Development, Landscape, People, Roads, Urban, Wildlife, All Images

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