DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
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.
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
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
MEETINGS SET ON CITYWIDE TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES
Residents asked to share feedback on expanded transit service, street improvements
The list of potential improvements was developed by the Citizens Committee on the Future of Phoenix Transportation, a 34-member group appointed by the Phoenix City Council to study and provide recommendations on the development of transit service and street infrastructure.
Since August, the committee has been working to identify priorities based on input garnered at more than 80 events citywide and comments from over 3,000 participants in-person and online.
- New local bus service and extensions of light rail throughout the city
- Expansion of transit service operating hours into early morning and late night
- Funding for street improvements, better shade cover for pedestrians and transit users, and new bicycle infrastructure
In addition to service and infrastructure elements, the city is seeking input on replacing Phoenix’s current transit tax with a new transportation tax. Currently, the city’s transit system is funded by a 4/10ths of a cent sales tax, originally passed by Phoenix voters in 2000, which is set to expire in 2020. A replacement tax could support both transit and street transportation needs.
Based on public comments gathered on plan elements, a replacement tax could be higher than the current rate.
Open House Schedule
- 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, Sunnyslope Community Center, 802 E. Vogel Ave.
- 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, Steele Indian School Park Memorial Hall, 300 E. Indian School Rd.
- 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, Desert Sage Library, 7602 W. Encanto Blvd.
- 2-3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, Devonshire Senior Center, 2802 E. Devonshire Ave.
- 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, Goelet Beuf Community Center, 3435 W Pinnacle Peak Rd.
- 6-7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, Paradise Valley Community Center Multi-purpose Room, 17402 N. 40th St.
- 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, Washington Activity Center, 2240 W. Cit
- 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, Pecos Community Center, 17010 S. 48th St
- 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, Emmet McLoughlin Community Training and Education Center, 1150 S. Seventh Ave.
Individuals can get more information or share their priorities by calling 602-262-7242, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting www.talktransportation.org. No RSVP is required to attend.
Images courtesy of the City of Phoenix.
Human beings rely on all kinds of tools to survive in our complex world and a good map is one of our most basic tools for understanding where we are and where we want to go. Maps help us get our bearings, step confidently into unfamiliar territory, and discover hidden byways and shortcuts through the larger landscape.
In an urban environment, a good map is a welcome mat inviting us into the unique neighborhoods that make up the specific landscape of that city. Public transportation and easy-to-use destination maps make perfect partners for pedestrians who want to experience the true spirit of a city.
Recognizing this, Valley Metro developed new destination maps, which were installed at light rail stations in late spring. Hillary Foose, Valley Metro’s Director of Marketing & Communication, spearheaded the initiative by partnering with the City of Phoenix, Artlink, Inc. and Local First Arizona to provide a unique level of local neighborhood-specific detail that would communicate the rich destination options just steps beyond each station.
She was looking for what urbanists refer to as the “fine grain” elements of the city to provide a richer sense of place for residents and visitors alike.
“We wanted destinations to be very local,” said Foose. “That’s what makes our system interesting; we can point people to the local gems that they can walk to from each station.”
The new maps are easy to read, and each station features a “you are here” circle showing the destinations within a five-minute walk of that station. And the plan is to update the maps twice a year. Very cool.
In addition to these station maps, Valley Metro has gone the extra mile to link residents and visitors to the many arts and culture destinations accessible from the system.
The Valley Metro Arts & Culture Destination Guide was published in March and features fifty destinations between Phoenix and Mesa.
Each page of the guide features a simple map highlighting each station stop and the major cultural attractions within easy walking distance. There are photos, venue descriptions and contact info that make it easy to use and more valuable than a compass for those who want to explore all of their arts and culture options.
Savvy visitors from around the Valley and beyond can use the station maps in combination with the Arts & Culture Destination Guide to explore, shop, eat, and experience what makes our corner of the world so special.
Next time you use the light rail, take a minute to download an Arts & Culture Destination Guide and scope out the station destination maps before you step off the platform and venture out into the hood. You’ll be amazed at the urban treasures you’ll discover in your own backyard.
Images courtesy of Valley Metro
At last! Today was the day we got official word on the mysterious goings-on at the old Beef Eaters building at 3rd Ave. and Camelback Road.
Rumors have abounded and well over 100 people, including families from the neighborhood, business people, bankers, builders and just plain folks, gathered at 10 a.m. this morning to celebrate the plans to revitalize the site. The excitement was palpable on everyone’s smiling faces.
From 1961 through 2006, Beef Eaters was a central gathering place for Phoenicians to share meals, celebrate special events, and craft the business deals that shaped our Valley. When owner Jay Newton died in 2006, the restaurant shut its doors and the building sat empty. Now adaptive reuse developers Venue Projects have stepped up with a remarkable vision to bring the site back to life.
Central Phoenix-based Venue Projects principle Lorenzo Perez told the crowd of Venue’s dedication to finding and adapting buildings with history, a story to tell, and a strong sense of place. Jon Kitchell, another principle with Venue added, “We’re salvage hounds and love finding materials worthy of putting back into place, like black leather booths and the Queen Creek adobe bricks of this place.”
Working with John Douglas Architects, they’ll be uncovering the bones of the building and incorporating the treasures they discover back into the new uses for the site.
“Jay Newton’s Beef Eaters legacy will continue with a new interpretation of his iconic gathering place,” said Kitchell. To honor the past, the new complex will be called The Newton.
The Newton is co-owned by Venue Projects and two of the three businesses that will comprise the site. Co-owners include the nationally renowned, independent, community-based bookstore, Changing Hands, which will open its second Valley location at the site; and Justin and Michelle Beckett, current owners of Beckett’s Table, who will open a new neighborhood restaurant concept at The Newton. The third occupant will be The Lively Hood, a co-working space for creative professionals. Construction has begun and the goal is to reopen on November 1.
These three businesses will continue Jay Newton’s Beef Eaters legacy. Located just across the street from the light rail station, the bookstore, restaurant and co-working space will be active community gathering spaces that energize the neighborhood and encourage people to work together.
Shannon Scutari of Sustainable Communities Collaborative summed up the thrill experienced by everyone gathered when she referenced an old African proverb. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others. This place,” said Scutari, “is going to be about going it with others.”