David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
A week ago, Kimber Lanning, Downtown Phoenix Inc. board member and Local First Arizona executive director, shared with me some interesting observations from attendees of the national BALLE Conference on Localism held in Phoenix in June. Hundreds of Localist leaders from across the U.S. visited Downtown Phoenix to talk about the best practices for building strong local economies. Here are some of the comments received from conference-goers about their stay:
- “I didn’t know much about Phoenix before this conference. I feel like I got a privileged view of so many amazing people and initiatives working to address their challenges in creative and collaborative ways. I now love this city and would love to come back.”
- “I had no idea Phoenix had such a vibrant arts district!”
- “I am an Arizona resident but don’t live in the Phoenix area. I was very impressed with how many committed, thoughtful organizations and activists are doing great work in city… The city was far more walkable than I anticipated and the [welcome] guide was very helpful.”
- “Phoenix has so much life, energy, pulse that I didn’t know about.”
- “I’ve always thought of Phoenix as a pretty rough place. I was impressed not only by the downtown but, significantly, by the passion of the folks working on local issues.”
- “I live in the East Valley of Phoenix and never come downtown. After my time at the BALLE Conference I realized I have been missing a big part of my town. Downtown Phoenix is really coming into its own. I will return.”
- “[Phoenix] is much greener than I expected!”
With those kind and positive words, I could stop right now, but there’s a lot more news and information to share about downtown:
IN THE PINK
- ASU ends on-campus psychiatric-care program
- ASU provides hope for an iconic downtown building and its residents
- UA & St. Joe’s Cancer Center comes to Downtown Phoenix
- How the UA Dignity Health cancer center almost wasn’t
- Will South Phoenix Light Rail affect your health?
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
- How transit spurred downtown growth, and could shape the whole city
- Banner to Midtown Phoenix neighbors: 3 years of construction
- Chicanos Por La Causa Pickle House incubator wins $50K SBA grant
- Condo project to take shape near Park Central Mall
- Downtown Phoenix’s growing residential boom shown in new study
- Hotel Monroe construction causes closure of Central Avenue
- New “one-stop shop” for homeless vets opens in Phoenix
- Phoenix asks for new bids for 100-year-old “Psycho” building
- Westward Ho owners get fed-backed loan for upgrades
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
- Be Coffee opens on Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix
- Breweries craft expansions after drafting state law to boost production
- Cibo is a tasty, charming gem in Downtown Phoenix
- Downtown Phoenix storefronts in detail
- 15 places to eat near ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus
- Phoenix food truck looks to spice up Food Network show
- Summer dining deals around downtown, metro Phoenix
- Ten Best Kids’ Menus in downtown, metro Phoenix
- The Bosque plant boutique opens on Roosevelt Row
- Two restaurants to open in shared space in Downtown Phoenix
- WebPT ranks on Inc. 5000 list of nation’s fastest growing companies
- Burton Barr Central Library looking for artists to feature in 2016 gallery
- Emerging designers present at downtown preview of Phoenix Fashion Week
- First Fridays August music guide for Downtown Phoenix
- Mural in Downtown Phoenix highlights plight of migrants
- Nic Wiesinger founds Rhetorical Galleries in Downtown Phoenix
- Theater in Downtown Phoenix keeps its ear to the ground
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
- A prudent college path
- ASU boasts diverse achievers in freshman class
- ASU student move-in is a welcome sight for Downtown Phoenix
- Phoenix banks on Peter Pan theory of Millennials
- Young African leaders complete civic leadership training at ASU
- Coyotes’ biggest question: Is there a future in Glendale?
- Phoenix 10K and Half Marathon celebrates 40 years
- The one guy who can keep four pro sports in the Valley
SAVE THE DATE (UPCOMING EVENTS)
- AIA Placemaking Series Panel Discussion on “Work,” Aug. 20
- Space Between Grand Opening, Aug. 21
- Get Your PHX Vote On with Vice Mayor Daniel Valenzuela, Aug. 22
- Roosevelt Row Artist Meet & Greet, Aug. 25
- Artist Grants Information Session & Grantwriting Workshop, Aug. 26
- Marine Week Events, Sept. 10-13
- Urban Ale Trail, Sept. 12
- Phoenix Public Market launch of Downtown Sundown, Sept. 24
Congratulations to Lindsay Kinkade who provided DPI staff with excellent strategic communication and design support in creating our new #dtphx brand. Lindsay was just appointed Design Director of ASU’s Enterprise Marketing Hub. Her job will be to lead design in the Hub to collaborate across campus in building tools to tell the story of ASU far and wide. She will also continue to teach in The Design School and advocate for all good things downtown.
In 2000, Phoenicians voted on a four-tenths of a penny increase in taxes to pay for expanded bus service and the first 20-mile segment of light rail. At the same time the Citizens Transit Commission (CTC) was created to “assure public input and accountability on all transit and traffic improvements.” Next month, on August 25, Phoenix voters have the opportunity to approve an additional three-tenths of a penny increase to make city-wide street improvements, expand bus service throughout the city, and triple the number of miles covered by light rail.
Dubbed an “all of the above solution” MovePHX, aka Prop 104, is designed to offer an array of transportation options that will help accommodate the expected growth in our city over the next 35 years and enable everyone to travel more freely throughout our city. The detailed MovePHX plan grew out of direct input from more than forty public meetings throughout the city held by the CTC. The input was clear – people wanted more transportation options; improved streets; more landscaping; safer bike lanes; city-wide bus service; and increased connectivity to light rail and the central corridor.
Not everyone has a car or wants one. Even those who regularly drive can benefit from the increased opportunities to leave their car at home that rapid bus service, safer bike lanes, and light rail provide. As District 8 Councilwoman and chair of the MovePHX committee, Kate Gallego knows from personal experience no one is immune from the vagaries of fate that may impact our ability to drive. When she experienced a seizure at City Hall, Gallego learned that if you have a seizure in Arizona, you temporarily lose your license.
She found herself relying on bus and light rail to get to her follow up doctor’s appointments and various meetings, and came to appreciate in a very personal way how much having reliable public transportation options meant to her ability to do her job and take care of herself. “I was lucky that I worked at City Hall and was being treated at St. Joseph’s,” said Gallego, “A lot of people don’t have that option. That’s why we need to build out the entire city and give everyone public transportation options.”
One key element to the MovePHX plan will be the increased connectivity to educational institutions throughout the city. Access to efficient public transportation means that wherever students may live in Phoenix, they will have an easier time getting to and from their school of choice, making it possible for more young people to take advantage of higher education opportunities. Phoenix Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner talks about the necessity for the Phoenix community to support students who are increasingly mobile.
“Every day, students get to their classrooms via bus and light rail,” said Dr. Scribner. “In fact, 1 in 3 transit riders are on their way to or from high school, college, vocational or job training classes. A yes vote on Prop 104 supports our schools and the students working hard to transform their lives.”
ASU student Peter Northfelt speaks to his own experience. “Most of my English classes are in Tempe and my Public Policy degree is located on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. I use the light rail to get from Tempe to Phoenix at least three times a week. It’s a big part of being able to get the education I want and need.”
The current light-rail system has been a tremendous boon to our central corridor. Every day students, executives, families, older citizens, tourists, and fans headed to Suns and Diamondback games, or patrons headed to museums, the ballet or theater use the system to get to work, class, meetings and to attend events. The success of the light rail has brought increased pedestrian traffic, spurred economic development, and created new energy and a distinct sense of place in our central core. Also, increased rapid bus service has given downtown workers who want to live in more suburban parts of the city an efficient and less nerve-wracking way to get to work.
Downtown has gone from nearly deserted streets to something approaching a truly bustling city center, which is great for business and takes us closer to creating a sustainable city for the future. According to Gallego, the MovePHX investment in our transportation infrastructure will be transformational.
“We’ll look back in 30 years and recognize that this plan will have changed the face of Phoenix. It will solidify our core, and help us accommodate the estimated growth expected during the time, which will be an increase of about 1 million people, equivalent to the population of Denver.”
A sustainable city is one where people of all ages and abilities can readily access what they need and want, both in services and amenities. What “access” means can shift and change at every stage of life. An “all of the above solution” takes into account all manner of students, workers, families, and daytrippers at every stage of life who will use transit for both work and play.
Both millennials and boomers are flocking to denser, more urban, walkable neighborhoods in cities throughout the country, helping to underscore the perspective that a sustainable 21st century city is one where people of all ages and every walk of life can get where they need to go to be productive and take care of themselves and their families.
We’re still in the midst of the lazy days of summer, but we mustn’t be lazy about this coming election. Everyone who cares about the future of our city needs to take responsibility to cast your vote. Early ballots are going out this week, or you can go to your local polling place on Tuesday, August 25.
Photos courtesy of Valley Metro
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From restaurants to residential development, more than $8.2 billion in private and public capital investment has been built near the initial 20-miles of light rail that extends from Phoenix and Tempe into Mesa. Another $346 million in commercial and residential building is being planned, most of that from private developers.
“Big things are happening in Phoenix because of light rail, and big things are going to continue to happen,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “Light rail has been transformative for our downtown and our economy. With it we’ve linked jobs, education, arts and culture in a way that would not have been possible otherwise.”
Phoenix and Tempe mayors made announcements on Tuesday at Phoenix’s DeSoto Central Market, an adaptive re-use bar, market and food court that intentionally chose their site due to proximity near the Roosevelt/Central Avenue light rail station.
“Investment in transit does more than improve neighborhoods; it improves lives,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “More than $3.4 billion has been invested in Tempe around light rail since construction began in 2005. Everyone benefits from public transportation.”
Economic Development along 20-Mile Light Rail
Number of Projects: 204
Capital Investment – Private: $ 5,989,639,864.00
Capital Investment – Public: $ 2,241,737,632.00
Total Investment: $ 8,231,377,496.00
SF Commercial/Office: 10,327,168
SF Public: 938,737
SF Education: 4,698,902
SF Residential: 5,666,863
# Residential Units: 15,328
# Affordable Units: 1,300
# Hotel Rooms: 2,948
Economic development within one-half mile of the system has been stimulated by ridership that has exceeded original projections. Valley Metro began compiling development activity since construction started in 2005 as part of an economic development database. The original $7 billion investment had included projects that were proposed. The updated $8.2 billion includes projects completed or under construction. With the 3.1-mile Central Mesa Extension set to open in less than four weeks, there is an added $90 million in private and public development that occurred since construction began in June 2012.
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Now A Little About You . . .
David Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix, Inc., offers his take on MovePHX – Prop 104, the ballot initiative that proposes a comprehensive transportation plan for Phoenix.
Traveling from Tempe into Downtown Phoenix last week I counted nine large construction cranes. A number of factors are contributing to this urban building boom. One of the most important is that more people—across the nation and around the globe—want to live, work, go to school and play near public transportation. This makes passage of Proposition 104 in Phoenix critical to our future as a vibrant urban city.
While suburban Phoenix is dependent on the vast public investment in freeways, urban Phoenix is thriving because of the multitude of transportation options. Many residents in urban Phoenix can go to work, attend a major sporting event or festival and fly anywhere in the world without opening the door to their car. How cool is that!
More and more people are referring to Downtown Phoenix as having a great emerging “vibe.” I tend to view it more in the context of building an increasingly connected community where business leaders, artists, students and people of multiple generations and ethnic backgrounds live and work side by side. Committing to a well-balanced transportation system by supporting Proposition 104 is good for everyone who cares about having a vibrant city. It maintains our streets, creates bike lanes, and supports our bus and light rail systems. Please consider supporting it in next month’s election.
How does MovePHX propose to improve Phoenix’s transportation infrastructure? Here are a few of the included items:
- Up to $240 million to fund new roads and upgraded bridges
- 2,000 new street lights will be added throughout Phoenix
- Paving for 135 miles of new sidewalks
- Improved connections between major commercial and employment destinations in downtown Phoenix
- 1,080 miles of new bike lanes throughout Phoenix
- Improved bike infrastructure and deliberate planning to improve the bikability of Phoenix
- MovePHX will triple the number of miles covered by light rail
- The light rail has generated more than $7 billion in economic development activities along the light rail and MovePHX is expected to spur an additional $40 million in economic development along the light rail lines
- Local bus service with extended hours on weekdays, weekends and holidays
- Upgraded facilities and technology, included shaded bus stops, customer service technology upgrades and accessibility upgrades