Commuting in Phoenix

Commuting in Phoenix

I am a resident of Goodyear Arizona and live in the Estrella Mountain Ranch area. I run a web design business in Phoenix. For many years my office was in Tempe. I don’t know how familiar you are with the area but sometimes commuting in Phoenix can be tricky.

For most of those years I was forced to drive through Goodyear north all the way up to the I-10. Then head east for however long it took to arrive at exit 153, our offices were near the Arizona State University campus. If you are familiar with the I-10 eastbound morning traffic you may already know that it is no joke. From Goodyear to Phoenix all the way down to usually around 67th avenue was smooth sailing. After that comes a wall of traffic. 5 lanes of gridlocked cars moving at a speed of about 5 miles per hour was the daily norm. My commute this way typically averaged around 1 hour and fifteen minutes. It was about the same on the westbound I-10 on the way home around 5pm.

After years of this commute I became tired of the same old drive and decided to start experimenting with new routes. Alas’ I found a back way that shaved off some time! I was ecstatic! Instead of taking the I-10 through Phoenix, I would take the southern most route, Baseline Rd. There is a network of country roads from Estrella Mountain Ranch to Baseline. One of which involves a rather fun drive past Phoenix International Raceway. This route is great except for the 2 times a year when Nascar is in town, that place is packed! I was able to shave my commute down to about 50 minutes each way. I was actually kind of mad that I waited so long to start experimenting with these new routes of travel.

One of my other experimental drives that got me to Tempe a little faster than the I-10 involved taking MC-85, which becomes Buckeye Rd, east all the way to I-17. From there I could take the 17 south of downtown Phoenix to Tempe. That route was about 1 hour but still faster than the I-10.

Some of you may recall the conversations that have been going on for the last 30 years in regards to the South Mountain Freeway. This new freeway has been in the works by the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Freeway Program since Maricopa County voters first approved it in 1985. The freeway is also part of the Regional Transportation Plan funding passed by Maricopa County voters in 2004 through Proposition 400. This conversation involved connecting Pecos road that goes south of South Mountain through the Gila River Indian Community, to somewhere between 55th Avenue and 63rd Avenue. It would then turn north and connect to the I-10. This would be amazing! Here is an update on that.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, ADOT is currently conducting intensive engineering activities along the future freeway’s path. This includes soil and rock testing and field investigations. They are being extremely careful to fulfill the environmental commitments that were made during the initial approved plans of the freeway.

They will also be removing structures on ADOT owned properties. They are putting a heavy emphasis on safety and traffic control. Neighborhood access areas will remain open during construction. There will also be a high level of security involved at all job sites to ensure there is no criminal activity during construction.


When the South Mountain Freeway is finally finished, someday, this will greatly increase the traffic flow around Phoenix. It will have a huge relief on the bottleneck that occurs every day in downtown Phoenix during rush hour. Truckers passing through Phoenix that are headed toward Tucson will be able to bypass downtown completely. My assumption is that with this new freeway, my once one hour and fifteen minute commute would be closer to 35 or 40 minutes.

Until that day has arrived, here are a few things that you can do to avoid traffic. Stay home and work, many of us now have virtual jobs that allow us to work online and via phone. No need to drive if you don’t have to. I have a job like this with our web design company here in Phoenix. We have an office but don’t need to be there all the time. Carpool, you can use our HOV lane, which is usually fast any time of day.

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