Appalachia In Pima County

Pima County road
Pima County road [Photo courtesy Craig Cantoni]

Is this a road in Appalachia? A city street in Spruce Knob, W. Virginia? A ranch road in Cow Lick, Arizona?

Actually, I kid you not, this is a suburban street in the middle of a metropolis of over one million people.  No, it’s not the metropolis of Yakutsk in Eastern Siberia, where blizzards and deep freezes followed by thaws destroy the roads. It’s the metropolis of Tucson, and specifically, unincorporated Pima County, just about a mile from the city limit of Tucson and several blocks northwest of the busy intersection of Swan and River roads.

It’s bizarre for a major metropolis to have streets like this.

The photo accompanied a complaint filed with the county by a concerned and “woke” resident, via the website SeeClickFix.  The complainant wrote this:

Recent rains/drainage from elevated building site and topography has deteriorated road conditions again. Last request was mid August. Road gravel and sand has washed down to bottom and it is soft with ruts making it difficult to travel without an SUV. One lane travel only and large rocks are present. Road needs a fix vs a bandaid but grading is needed again so damage doesn’t occur to vehicles especially when traveling at night. If someone where to drive on shoulder if car was coming, their car tire would fall into rut. Please fix soon.

I’ll say to him what others have said to me when I’ve accurately described the conditions (and government) here:  Love it or leave it, you A-hole.

It’s telling that no one ever said that to me when I was an activist in New Jersey and spotlighted bad conditions and took on the bad government by forming a powerful group funded with considerable donations and my own money.  In fact, not to brag but to make a point, a major NJ newspaper honored me on its Sunday front page as “Community Volunteer of the Year.”  The point is that conditions and government here are not going to change appreciably until more citizens say they’ve had enough, are willing to spend some money to effect political change, and don’t give a hoot if they are called an A-hole by those in denial.

Now retired, I don’t have the fire in my belly to do this again and don’t want to spend the tens of thousands of dollars it would take.  On the other hand, if the 6700-block of Kolb near my house keeps deteriorating after being repaved just a few years ago, I might change my mind.  Incidentally, as a result of the recent rains, the gullies on the side of the road have deepened, the potholes have proliferated, and more debris has flowed across the road.  This is due to the fact that the road wasn’t designed properly from the start and has not been maintained properly.  Not only that, but the a county street sweeper sweeps the road only two or three times a year.  By comparison, a road with this much traffic in Gilbert and other well-run communities would be swept twice a month.

Craig “A-hole” Cantoni

About Craig J. Cantoni 15 Articles
Community Activist Craig Cantoni strategizes on ways to make Tucson a better to live, work and play.