[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic, July 2, 2008] — Today, Phoenix is expected to take an important step toward bringing more shade, better-looking buildings and pedestrian-friendly spots to downtown. The City Council will likely approve today a key part of that sweeping effort, which is called the Urban Form project. The final part could go before city leaders at the end of the year. Downtown Phoenix relies on tourism and foot traffic, even during the steamy summer months, so the changes are also an economic issue, city leaders have said. “I think it really is a sea change,” said the city’s planner, Dean Brennan.
“What this… whole process has done is focus a lot of attention on downtown and the important role that the downtown plays in helping to create a sustainable community, helping to create a great community and a great city.”
Phoenix previously agreed to pay $855,000 to a team of consultants who worked on the plan with city planners. Downtown Phoenix Partnership, a business group, contributed $45,000.
Council members will vote today on the first part of the project, the Downtown Plan, which is a vision for future parking, growth and neighborhoods. It includes the Connected Oasis, a blueprint for increasing downtown shade, parks and foot traffic. The second part, an overhaul of downtown zoning rules, will go to the council this winter. If approved, it will simplify the city’s complex zoning code and will help city leaders implement the Downtown Plan’s goals, city officials say.
The proposals impact properties that cover 1,500 acres. The area roughly is bound by Seventh Avenue, Buckeye Road, Seventh Street and McDowell Road.