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Return to the ‘Old’ Neighborhood…

I lived in my current town from age 7 ’til age 29.  I saw it grow from a farming community coupled with a university to a party university town – complete with gridlock and liberal local gov’t policies.

I’ve written about the ‘free’ circular route shuttle train before.  TANSTAFFL!*

When I was growing up here, adjacent to farm land (mostly alfalfa and cotton fields) the Valley was combed with open irrigation canals.  These were marked with signs reading DANGER and NO TRESPASSING.  The utility company who owned the canals would have you arrested if you were found on their property.

The irrigation canals remain.  But, in our little (progressive) college town, apparently a deal was made to allow pedestrians, runners and bicyclists free run on the adjacent canal roads.  And, sometimes these folks encounter real street intersections they need to cross.

What to do?

In an ordinary town, looking both ways and taking your life in your hands while crossing might be appropriate.  But not here.


canalInstalled fully across the offending streets, coupled with vertical lights rivaling the best railroad crossing signals!  With instruction signs explaining IF the lights are ON, STOP, IF the are flashing, stop, look for pedestrians, then proceed!

How much did these cost?  Why not just a stop sign and a cross walk?

I’m all for rights of the minority, but how many pedestrians, bicyclists, runners, equestrians utilize these canal paths?  The canals traverse other cities in our Valley, but you don’t see these expensive signals there?  And they still remain (mostly) open, dangerous, and marked as no trespassing!

I’m guessing some mayor or city council member used them, hence the monstrous signals.

Our tax dollars at work.

*TANSTAAFL – There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  Stuff costs money.


About guffaw1952

I'm a child of the 50's. libertarian, now medically-retired. I've been a certified firearms trainer, a private investigator, and worked for a major credit card company for almost 22 years. I am a proud NRA Life Member. I am a limited-government, free-market capitalist, who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law.


14 thoughts on “Return to the ‘Old’ Neighborhood…

  1. Tempe does like spending don’t they?
    We used to water ski down the canals pulled by my friends firebird…ahh the bad old days!

    Posted by KM | January 8, 2014, 11:49 am
  2. Can’t speak for all the cities in the area, but here in Scottsdale, the area of downtown that surrounds the Arizona Canal has been redeveloped into the “Scottsdale Waterfront.” It’s a pedestrian-oriented area heavy with shopping, restaurants, and “loft-style” condos. There are several footbridges that cross the canal and pathways that border it.
    The development was mostly private money, but with much assistance and support (read: tax incentives, re-zoning, and condemnation of previous owners’ properties) from the city council and mayor’s office.

    The area of the Arizona Canal that runs through the Arcadia neighborhood as also been re-done, becoming one of the area’s most popular jogging/dog-walking routes. In fact, while the area was closed for refurbishment, there was great wailing and gnashing of teeth by the local residents over temporarily losing access, but now that it’s finished is considered one of the area’s jewels, complete with an energy-generating waterfall feature:

    The overall goal appears to be turning as much of the canal system as possible into multiple-use areas, rather than having them fenced off.
    Although, it should be noted that SRP posts numerous signs reminding the public that they use the areas at their own risk.

    Posted by Tomi | January 8, 2014, 12:53 pm
    • D’oh! Last word in the above post should be “risk.”

      Posted by Tomi | January 8, 2014, 12:54 pm
    • ‘condemnation of previous owners’ properties’. Eminent Domain is a whole ‘nother post!

      The point of this post was cost benefit to the public, vis-a-vis how many taxpaying users vs. cost of the crossing signals. If it was done with private funding – fine, however, personally, I think they are ridiculous overkill for the volume of users. And, as they don’t match any other kind of traffic signal, they are confusing if you don’t travel these areas a lot.
      ‘They use the areas at their own risk’. I’m certain that has about the same legal force as ‘no bailment is created’ on parking garage tickets, or ‘not responsible for…’ signs elsewhere.
      There is always a possible tort.

      Posted by guffaw1952 | January 8, 2014, 4:56 pm
      • Oh, don’t even get me started on the mis-use of eminent domain by the Scottsdale City Council. The whole council and the mayor’s office are merely the political extensions of the big developers that truly run Scottsdale.

        Sorry if I muddied the waters with my post. I was just chiming in with how the canal areas are used in the neighborhood where I live – and how different the uses seem to be from what you experienced growing up.
        The volume of users issue you mention I cannot comment on for your area and town, but the canal banks are hugely popular in Scottsdale and Arcadia. I’ve never seen crossings like what you picture in your post, though. I wonder if they are unique to Tempe? In the case of the Arizona canal as it winds through Arcadia, it’s about 15-20 feet above street level, so the streets don’t cross it, so such crossings are not needed.

        Posted by tomi | January 8, 2014, 5:15 pm
  3. There were a fair amount of crawdads in the irrigation ditch (now long gone) near my house. I showed them to my brother, who promptly brought a dozen home in a bucket and put them in Mom’s fish tank. The crawdads killed all of her fish that same day. We both got pounded by Dad for that one – my brother for doing such a durn-fool thing and me for showing my durn-fool brother where the crawdads were.

    Posted by tweell | January 8, 2014, 1:10 pm
  4. More to the point, WHO got the kickbacks…

    Posted by oldnfo | January 8, 2014, 4:55 pm
  5. On Pima Road there are two of these. Both have nothing but desert on the east side. In the time they have been there, I think we have seen them used twice. On the other hand, one was installed on Scottsdale Road allowing pedestrians to cross from Kierland center to Scottsdale Quarter. It is used frequently.


    Posted by kerry_s | January 9, 2014, 7:16 am
  6. Just so you know, they’re doing the same thing in Mesa. Is nowhere safe from nanny-spending?

    Posted by AZRon | January 9, 2014, 11:54 am

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