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Neighbors deal with a busy six-lane road.

RURAL ROAD IN TEMPE used to be just that--a rural Arizona road. But progress has made this one of the busiest high-speed, six-lane arterials through town, threatening the tranquillity of some old neighborhoods.

The proposed widening of Rural in 1988 would have really hit the east side of the Daley Park neighborhood, which is adjacent to both Arizona State University and a revitalized downtown. A quickly formed neighborhood association began working with the city to find a design scheme to suit city traffic planners as well as residents.

Architect Ernie Nickels, a neighborhood resident, developed several possible schemes for the neighborhood association with input from the city. The final, mutually acceptable composite you see in the bottom aerial photo enhanced the neighborhood with far more than a sound wall.

The textured masonry barrier backs a planting strip for the neighborhood and a pedestrian-bike path. Behind the wall, streets that once intersected with the frontage road now loop only to each other, eliminating well-used shortcuts through the neighborhood. At the same time, the one automobile break in the wall created a grand new entrance.

Throughout construction, neighborhood representatives met weekly with the city; pride and sense of ownership are evident in the result.
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Author:Crosby, Bill
Date:May 1, 1993
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