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.
Something’s in the air, and it’s not just the newly-arrived 100+ degree heat. USA Today recently noted that, “While downtown Phoenix still lacks the foot traffic of other major U.S. cities, the city center is more cosmopolitan than ever.” Fast Company wrote that we’re pulling off an “urban miracle” due to initiatives like Reinvent PHX. And Kiplinger ranked Phoenix #8 on its list of the ten best cities for new college graduates.
Yes, we’re rolling up our sleeves and making strides, but everyone agrees we have more work to be done. Representative of the younger generation who care deeply about a resurgent downtown and are working to effect positive change are Leslie Lindo, sharing the Project Rising Phoenix story at the 2014 Social Venture Partners Pitch Forum; Ryan Tempest of This Could Be Phoenix explaining why Phoenix is his home now to his Phoenix Phabulous Experience audience; and Richard Ross, a recent Valley Leadership graduate, highlighting the benefits of urban infill for downtown Phoenix to a packed house at Ignite Phoenix #16.
Bidding for Success
The business improvement district planning process for the Roosevelt Row Arts District and Evans Churchill neighborhood north of the downtown core is about to ramp up. Meetings are scheduled in June and July for two community-based working and advisory groups to oversee and help guide the process.
RoRo Road Work
The City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department and Office of Arts and Culture have contracted with TALIS Corp. for construction of the Roosevelt Street Improvement project from Central Avenue to 4th Street. Construction began on Monday, June 9 and is estimated to take nine months to complete.
The work includes narrowing and lowering the grade of the existing street; adding ADA pedestrian ramps at the intersections; adding bike lanes on both sides of the street; widening existing sidewalks and adding drought tolerant shade trees on the north side of the street; improving existing sidewalks and adding decorative planted pots on the south side of the street; providing new LED street and pedestrian lighting; improving the existing City-owned right-of-way triangle between 3rd and 4th streets; and adding artistic shade structures designed by noted public artist Meejin Yoon. For complete details, click here.
Dialogue inside and outside of City Hall continues on revamping downtown’s metered parking policy to extend enforcement hours to seven days a week, including holidays. The goals are to see higher turnover of existing meters to attract more customers, increase usage of public transit and parking garages, and increase parking revenue for the City. According to Ray Dovalina, Acting Street Transportation Director, “We want to see turnover on a lot of these parking meters because right now, what happens is after 5 (p.m.), anybody can come in and park in the parking meter and stay until the following day, and we don’t have any turnover.”
Infill in Vogue
KJZZ interviewed Deb Sydenham of Urban Land Institute about the growing popularity of urban infill in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. Sharing their stories were Tim Sprague of the proposed Portland on the Park and David Wetta of Old School at 7th Street and Osborn.
Put Out the Welcome Mat
Let’s welcome to downtown Phoenix these business establishments: Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour in the Luhrs Building, Mucho Macho Taco in a yet to be disclosed downtown location, Palabra Collective in Evans Churchill, Super Bowl Host Committee in Renaissance Square, and V’s Barbershop in CityScape.
Congratulations are in Order
An international research team led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in downtown Phoenix recently found the cause of a rare type of ovarian cancer that most often strikes girls and young women. According to Dr. Jeffrey Trent, president and research director of TGen, and the study’s senior author, “This is exactly the type of scientific discovery that TGen was designed to accomplish. It also is a prime example of the type of collaborative work that draws scientific expertise, and investment, to Arizona.”
Congratulations to the 200-plus graduates of the Arizona Summit Law School at 1 N. Central Avenue, bringing the total of the school’s alumni to 1,082. Dean Shirley Mays is a member of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership board of directors. Her law school is just one of a growing number of colleges and universities calling downtown Phoenix home.
Three historic preservation efforts in central Phoenix are receiving Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards at the 2014 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference: the Arizona State University Student Center at the historic U.S. Post Office, Chase Bank Historic Banks Brochure, and Garfield Commons. Another Phoenix project is receiving a Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission Award at the same conference: the City of Phoenix Aviation Department’s “Seeds of Growth: Neighborhoods on the Salt River Floodplain.”
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we’re happy to see our friends in Mesa pick up on two downtown Phoenix staples, pop-up parks and Parking Day, as ways to bring more vibrancy to their downtown. Likewise, civic and business leaders in Milwaukee want to buy and redevelop a downtown mall into a mixed-use complex with a major education focus, similar to Arizona State University’s satellite campus in downtown Phoenix.