But one of the things they forgot was that you would need roads. There was never any agreement with Maricopa County for any road maintenance. And since Whispering Ranch is not part of any Town or City, the only road maintenance is what work is done by the local residents. That's why the roads are decent near the entrances on either the east side (Patton Road) or the west side (Whispering Ranch Road). But the farther you get toward the middle, the worse the roads get. There are areas where the terrain is hilly or washed out and there are a lot of areas that are accessible only by foot.
The roads were originally bulldozed during the early to mid 1960's. It took over a year to get them done, and when they were finished, they were OK. Some of the roads have not seen any more maintenance since the original work, and others have moved from their original location since they washed out when it rained and were not passable after that. So the roadways are pretty rough and need some work. Most residents did what they could to maintain the roads to their property, but the farther you go the worse they get.
When everyone noticed that taxes were going up, we thought it a good idea to see what we could get in return for paying these higher taxes, and getting some maintenance (grading, drainage, etc.) seemed like a good place to start. So we went to Maricopa County Department of Transportation. As a part of the process, they said they needed to do a traffic study. That took a while, but now they indicate there is a decent volume of traffic on the east side and west side of Whispering Ranch, but no traffic across the middle of the ranch from one side to the other. (No big surprise here.) And it looks like they are not willing to do anything in the area about the roads. I think that they are afraid that if they do come out and start ANY work, it will put them on the hook for more roadway maintenance work, so they are trying to avoid the issue. It may be easier to wait for Wickenburg to annex the area, then they will have to face the issue, and the County will be off the hook.
Lets look at what kind of problems this causes. Without decent streets and roads, there is effectively no police protection, fire protection or ambulance service in most of the Whispering Ranch area. I have had residents tell me that if they see something drastic that needs attention, they call the Toyota Security phone number and see if they can make any calls for help.
If you need medical attention, you have to get yourself to one of the entrances to Whispering Ranch, either to the Patton Road and 299th Avenue area or to the Vulture Mine Road spot near the mailboxes . . . other than that you are out of luck. And if you house catches fire, you better get a lawn chair and a coke, cause if you can't put it out yourself, all you can do is watch it burn. If you have a law enforcement issue, the Sheriff's Deputy's normally get out there when they can, and even they have problems with the roads and getting around in the area.
All we want is to get something for the increased taxes we are paying. And roadways seem like a good place to start. We'll worry about a corner store later . . .
When the gates on Patton Road are closed, it is sometimes for a day, and sometimes it is for longer. Locals report that they have seen Patton Road closed for over a
week in the past. So there's no way in or out of Whispering Ranch unless you are willing to make the trek all the way over to the west side of Whispering Ranch and try to
get out to Vulture Mine Road. The difficulty is that you have to cross the Star Wash, Syndicate Wash, Daggs Wash and then the Box Wash just to get to Vulture Mine
Road. And if there has been enough rain to make the Hassayampa River run, you can bet these wash areas are active too! So you're stuck. Forget about going to work,
getting any groceries, picking up any prescriptions or making any doctor's appointments. Your only option is to wait it out until the County re-opens the Gates on Patton Road.
One of our property owners (Enrico) has been pressuring the Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to start the process of getting a bridge put in
so this wouldn't be a problem in the future. In the past, they were not too concerned about the issue, but now there are more people living in Whispering Ranch, and thus
more reason to start this process.
Recently, a letter was circulated, asking that people start writing, calling and sending letters to MCDOT making their wishes known. To see a copy of this letter, click
here. A petition is being prepared for signatures by residents, for delivery to MCDOT officials at a public meeting. Your support for
this action is requested. It is obvious that in the current deficit budget situation there is little possibility of a bridge being constructed soon, but it is important to get this issue
in front of them so planning for the future roadway improvements will include this item.
Or, if you want to support this idea by contacting Enrico by e-mail, click here. He should be able to provide you
with more information, contact addresses, phone numbers and e-mail information if you are so inclined.
Early in November, I contacted Maricopa County Department of Transportation. They verified the information I had been given and indicated that for the next month or two they were going through all of the requisite paperwork toward the final approval of the contracts by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. These contracts were to be approved at either the December or January meeting of the County Board of Supervisors. I couldn't wait any longer, so on January 5th I went to the MCDOT office and met with the Senior Planner for this project. I felt this information was important enough to pass along to you.
The Hidden Waters Parkway is planned to start in the southwest valley and run from the 801 (a reliever highway planned just parallel to and just south of I-10) north to I-10 following a path west of the Hassayampa River continuing north through the east part of Tonopah into Douglas Ranch, then Whispering Ranch. Plans are to have this Parkway intersect with the planned extension of Highway 74 about two miles north of Whispering Ranch. In Arizona, a Parkway will be a minimum of four lanes (maximum of eight lanes) with a center divider and traffic signals at significant intersections. The minimum right of way for parkway design is 200 feet. Normally, additional lanes are not added to a Parkway unless there is enough traffic demand.
The portion of the Hidden Waters Parkway projected to run through Whispering Ranch is a north-south alignment starting in the Jomax Road and 306th Avenue area and running north-north-east drifting to the east until it intersects with Dove Valley Road. At this point it runs due north approximately along the 301st or 302nd Avenue alignment. This alignment will run between two sets of hills at the north end of the Ranch and will continue north to connect with the western extension of Highway 74 which currently ends at Grand Avenue (Highway 60) in Morristown. This was the recommendation for the route, but as studies proceed it might make more sense to vary this route and run through Whispering Ranch in a different alignment. A lot of what will happen depends on whether the impacted lots of any selected alignment are occupied or vacant. The County does not want to have to move any residents if there is an alternative, thus the alignment may change slightly or, possibly, dramatically. In essence, there is no plan etched in stone at this point. Their goal is to provide the best route depending on engineering problems (crossing washes or arroyos) and minimizing disruption of current area residents.
Over the next few months, you will see some Maricopa County Department of Transportation vehicles in the area looking at the terrain and preparing information for this study. This study will need to be completed within one year, but it might be completed earlier. I have agreed to provide them with what insight I have on the area as they start their studies to determine what is the most effective and efficient roadway path through the Ranch. So if you see me with a group of folks in tow, please feel free to introduce yourself and give your input. Or should you see folks just wandering around and looking at the area, cooperate with them as well.
There will be meetings in the future with the folks from MCDOT to keep everyone informed of what's happening. From the preliminary schedules, we will probably start having meetings in June, after they have a chance to nose around and get their plans in place. They will be able to answer questions and provide timelines at these meetings. And as we get a little farther along into the process, there will be regular updates on their web site if you feel the need to check in. There is no established date to start any construction. Any construction activity will depend on how economic conditions change, demand for these improvements and area growth statistics.
In any event, once these planned roadways become public knowledge and the word starts to spread, there will be renewed interest in the area. There will be investors
and speculators who will probably be sending out letters trying to pick up parcels at "bargain basement" prices. These investors and speculators know that values will start
an upward run and will want to get in when prices are low. You need to be aware of this as well. If you are interested in selling your property, getting it on the market before
the rush starts will get you in on the ground floor. Lots of folks waited a little too long previously and their property didn't sell. Or it might be in your best interest to hold on
a while longer and let demand push parcel prices upward. Just don't wait too long, or you might miss out again. The upward market movement hasn't started yet, but it will
once the word gets out that the 'roadways are coming' ! !
To view the map of the proposed roadways, click here, or cut and paste this in your web browser.
Once the map is displayed find the Toyota Technical Center. Whispering Ranch is just to the north and east of Toyota.
More information will be provided as it comes available.
>I attended the Transportation Advisory Committee Meeting on Wednesday April 13, 2011 at the Maricopa County Department of Transportation offices. The meeting
was well attended by representatives of the area representatives for the various towns involved, the local developments (Douglas Ranch and Belmont) and the hands on workers
involved in the planning of the roadway. On Thursday, I met with Engineering firm representatives and the Senior Planner from the Department of Transportation and we drove
the area under study looking at terrain (washes, arroyo's, etc.) and current status of vacant and developed parcels along the path. This proposed path is approximately where
I had envisioned it, but we'll have to wait and see where the final alignment actually goes. Planning should take the rest of this year, and parcel assemblage may start in 2012.
>Earlier this month, I received an invitation to participate as a member of the "Transportation Advisory Committee" which will be having its first meeting to discuss the newly announced
"Dove Valley Parkway" study. This meeting - in late November - is where the process begins to define the preferred route for this planned roadway. The interesting thing about the
planning for this parkway is that the study area will start at Grand Avenue (Highway 60 between Phoenix and Wickenburg) on the east and run to the center of Whispering Ranch. A quick
glimpse of the map reveals that there is one obstacle which has not been addressed in the past - how to traverse the Hassayampa River. Will it be a bridge? Or could it be a "Wash Out"
roadway like some of those crossing through the Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale. Or maybe they will put in a ramp, and if you get up enough speed, you can jump the river . . . just kidding
on this one. I'll keep you updated on what's happening and how to see what the plans are for this roadway as time moves forward.
Copyright 2004-2017, J. D. Liberty