Business and Growth

New developments and miles of freeways

The old made way for the new during the boom years of the 1970s. New city halls, civic plazas offices, shopping malls and banks, including the still-tallest building in Arizona, would become part of the landscape. Despite all the construction downtown, more and more people were moving to the newly developed suburbs on the edge and beyond the edge of town. Sun Lakes in Chandler, Dobson Ranch in Mesa, McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, and The Lakes in Tempe were the first to feature man-made lakes.

All this growth had some screaming for more freeways while others feared that Phoenix might become another Los Angeles. The Papago Freeway became the focus of the fight over growth in the '70s. Designed in the '60s, The Papago would be an extension of Interstate 10 cutting right through downtown. It was to be an elevated roadway standing 10 stories high and featuring two giant circular on and off ramps known as helicoils. By the early '70s, neighborhoods had already been purchased and demolished.

"When I saw what the freeway was doing to the beautiful homes in its path, and my home was six blocks to the north, equally beautiful, built in the '20s, we organized and we would go down to City Hall by the busloads and testify before the Phoenix City Council."
G.G. George, Neighborhood activist

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