Daily Archives: September 4, 2008

Downtown Phoenix parking debate grows along with ASU

[Source: Associated Press] — Some downtown Phoenix residents living in the Roosevelt Neighborhood are expressing concern about parking for Arizona State University students both now and in the future.  Some condo and office building developers waiting for the soft real estate market to rebound are instead turning their downtown land into parking lots for ASU students and others.  That has some members of nearby neighborhood associations worried.  “Ideally, we don’t want a parking lot there,” said Steve Brueckner, president of the Roosevelt Action Association.

Neighbors said they fear that parking, even if it’s temporary, could lead to more permanent downtown lots.  Besides relying on light rail to get students downtown, ASU will also need thousands of parking spaces, according to university figures.  This fall, ASU expects to have 4,500 students and as many as 900 staffers on campus, said university planner Richard Stanley.  The school currently has 1,100 parking spaces and agreements to lease 3,400 other spaces some for daytime use only from the city of Phoenix, near Chase Field; the Mercado complex; and the Phoenix Convention Center.  By 2020, ASU estimates it will have 15,000 downtown students and may need up to 6,000 spaces by then.

Hoping to calm neighborhood fears, the City of Phoenix says some landowners must seek a zoning change or special permit to create a parking lot, said Debra Stark, the city’s planning director.  “The city also has specific lighting and landscaping requirements,” Stark said.  ASU officials said they are still working on a long-term parking fix downtown.  Planning for parking does not include disrupting residential neighborhoods surrounding ASU, Stanley said.

Phoenix Suns to use solar panels for part of its power at arena

[Source: Associated Press] — The NBA’s Phoenix Suns plan to use solar panels for part of its power at its home arena.  The new photovoltaic system will consist of more than 1,100 panels and be installed on the fifth level of the US Airways Center’s parking garage in downtown Phoenix.  At 194 kilowatts, it will produce enough energy to reduce the team’s power usage by the equivalent of 26 home games each season.  The system is expected to be operational next year and cost about $1.5 million.

The team estimates it will receive a yearly rebate of $60,000 to $85,000 from Arizona Public Service Company via the utility’s renewable-energy incentive program.  Suns general manager Steve Kerr says the project will not cost the Suns any up-front cash and will not lead to a ticket-price increase.

Architect selected for downtown Phoenix’s CityScape phase 2

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal] — Davis of Tempe [formerly DFD Cornoyer Hendrick] has been named by RED Development as the architect for Phase 2 of the massive CityScape project now under way in downtown Phoenix.  The mixed-use project encompasses three city blocks between Washington and Jefferson streets and First Avenue and Second Street.  Davis’ responsibilities will include design of the Palomar Hotel by Klimpton, a residential tower, and retail shops at street level.  Construction on Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in early 2009…  Phase 1 of the 2.5 million-square-foot development is started and includes construction of an underground parking garage, retail and office space, and public plazas.  Phase 1 should be completed sometime in 2010.

Midtown Phoenix neighbors meet to form association

[Source: Margaret Dietrich] — The Midtown Museum District Neighborhood Association (MMDNA) met on August 11 at Central United Methodist Church on Central Avenue (pictured at right).  Amy Bratt with Valley Metro gave a lively, interesting, and informative presentation about Light Rail and provided insight on what MMNDA residents might experience when the project opens on December 27, 2008.  MMDNA looks forward to working with Valley Metro to plan events around the three stations in the neighborhood.

There was also an opportunity for MMDNA residents to meet and to register their interests in different aspects of the association’s work.

The next MMDNA meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 24 at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, 2520 N. Central Ave., from 7 to 9 p.m.  This will be an opportunity for businesses and residents to work together and agree on priorities for the future, and to find out what is happening in the area.  Refreshments will be served and seating is limited, so please RSVP by e-mail.  For more details about the organization, click here.

LISC Phoenix pushes plan for creating sustainability

[Source: Arizona Republic] — Sustainable communities don’t just happen.  They take work, planning, and a web of collaborative relationships to build and grow.  That’s the message from members of the Growing Sustainable Communities in the Valley of the Sun coalition.  Teresa Brice, executive director of the Phoenix branch of the Local Initiatives Support Corp., a national non-profit agency specializing in neighborhood revitalization, said LISC is focusing on aspects of sustainable communities with examples in the Valley.

Brice, a volunteer presenting the information at village planning committees, groups, and organizations [to date 700 people at 25 venues], said the hope is that when Phoenix begins to prepare a new General Plan, its blueprint for development, some of these strategies for sustainable communities will be added.  Components include:

  • Mixed land uses
  • A variety of housing types with a variety of housing prices
  • A mix of independent and national businesses
  • Environmentally responsive design
  • A variety of transportation choices
  • Compact development
  • Making places safe
  • Promoting healthy living
  • Community engagement

For more information on the project and to view related materials, click here.  To request the presentation, call Lisa Dwyer, Project Assistant, ASU Stardust Center, at 602-496-1468. The next scheduled presentation is 6:30 p.m., October 14, Travis L. Williams Family Services Center, 4732 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ, 602-261-8727.

As local economy slides, Phoenix City Hall anticipates 30% budget cuts

[Source: City of Phoenix] — The City’s budget situation is not improving.  At the September 2, 2008 City Council Policy Session, this eight-slide PowerPoint was presented by the city’s Budget and Research Department.  Revenues continue to decline which will likely necessitate significant budget cuts again this year.  Staff stated that each department is being asked to propose 30% budget cuts.

As in previous budget cycles, city leaders will make every effort to protect core City services, but with cuts being made in six of the last seven years, they say that there is little or no fat left.  The last slide provides a timeline for the budget process which includes staff recommendations for cuts before the end of the year, community budget hearings in January, Council action in February, and cuts taking effect in early March for both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 budget years.