Foes of 19th Avenue bridge oppose cost, not design

by Betty Reid
The Arizona Republic

Moon Valley resident Margery Simchak describes the proposed construction of a bridge in north Phoenix as an expensive “bridge to nowhere.”

Simchak, 66, lives east of the planned 19th Avenue Bikeway-Pedestrian Bridge and Multiuse Path crossing and would be able to see the bridge from her home.

The retired nurse and her family have lived in the Moon Mountain area east of 19th Avenue between Thunderbird Road and Greenway Parkway for 35 years.

Simchak said she admires Phoenix Councilman Bill Gates for giving bridge advocates and foes what they wanted.

Bicyclists wanted a trail connection, and the neighbors who opposed the bridge believed a $5.4 million price tag was excessive.

Gates and the city’s transportation, infrastructure and sustainability subcommittee this month recommended Phoenix put out a $2.5 million construction bid and save $2.4 million in highway-user revenues set aside for the bridge for other projects.

“I think he was King Solomon,” Simchak said. “I think he made everybody feel like a winner. I still feel like I won the battle. . . . I thought that was a fair way to handle things.”

Neighbors were not against the design of the bridge, Simchak said.

“Everyone has to start in their backyard and say ‘no frivolous government spending.’ ”

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Bill Gates serves as the District 3 Supervisor for Maricopa County. His Maricopa County District 3 reaches from the far southern boundary of McDowell Road, north to the border of Yavapai County, from the eastern boundary of Scottsdale Road in places, to the western boundary of 43rd Avenue and includes the areas of Anthem, New River, and Desert Hills.

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