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


  1. No outlying area of Tucson will agree to be annexed by them, partly because the City are not going to fix potholes anyway. So it is what it is, bad roads both in and out.

  2. Happily I live in Gilbert and even in residential areas the Street sweeper comes by they pick up bulky trash every six weeks and I’ve yet to hit a pothole

  3. I live in Picture Rocks, unincorporated Pima County. Most of our roads are dirt and technically easements so the county takes no responsibility for them — except a few for unexplained reasons. But when a paved road like Rudasill gets messed up by a storm, they feel free to use the dirt roads as staging areas for their equipment, tearing them up even more. So all the recent commotion about fixing roads means little to us — we’re left out. Seems to be going around, leaving working class people out — from Pima County to Washington, DC. Another reason to support Warren!

    • The leftist government officials in Tucson/Pima that can’t keep the roads maintained are a good reason to choose a leftist president? I throw cans of gas to extinguish fires for the same reason.

  4. You have a choice. Tucson is not going to change, quite proud to be the 5th poorest in the country. Even the outgoing mayor crowed about it. As long as your living above the valley floor and don’t have to travel into the Capital of Resistance and Hate you might be able to imagine what it could be without being subjected to the poverty, crumbling infrastructure, illegals and meth heads. But don’t dare wear a MAGA hat downtown, it’s open season.

      • In Tucson, Pima County? Your vote means nothing. Raul Grijalva and Dan Eckstrom run this valley, and don’t forget it.

        • Exactly! As an example, who do you think appointed Elias and Valadez? Three guesses and the first two don’t count.

        • If only voters would exercise their knowledge and realize that: Yes, they can make a difference. One vote at a time. The only trouble is that I have talked to so many that just plain do not vote, then turn around and bitch about conditions. My advice; Try it, you’ll like it!

        • Said Agnew while speaking to the California Republican state convention on September 11, 1970: “In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club — the ‘hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.’”

          Work for changing things instead of not trying… or worse. In other words, we know what the problem is now we need a solution.

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