Daily Archives: November 12, 2008

Metro Phoenix light-rail, bus fares may go up due to increased costs

[Source: Kerry Fehr-Snyder, Arizona Republic] — Before the Valley’s light-rail service ever begins, the cost to ride the train and city buses may be headed up.  The issue of raising the Valley’s regional fare policy has been brewing for several months as transit officials have struggled to cover rising gas prices and other increased operation costs, said Greg Jordan, Tempe’s transit administrator.  Transit and light-rail costs are covered by a half-cent sales tax, which has fallen over the past year.

Sales-tax revenue fell by about 8 percent in August compared with the same month a year ago, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments.  Proposals to raise fares are expected to come before Valley Metro’s board, which oversees bus and light-rail service and is comprised of Valley mayors and City Council members, in January and February. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Police, community leaders: First Fridays reduce downtown Phoenix crime

[Source: Channing Turner, ASU Web Devil] — In the cool November air, Community Action Officer Scott Melander leans against the side of a patrol car and surveys the line of First Fridays vendors stretching down East Garfield Street in downtown Phoenix.  Melander knows this neighborhood well.  Of the 20 years he has worked for the Phoenix Police Department, he spent 18 working downtown.

Over the past six years, Melander said he watched the neighborhood improve drastically, and the monthly art walk has become so popular that the city plans to expand it in January.  “[Before,] we had gang activities, shootings and drugs,” he said.  “People were walking around with open containers of alcohol, which is illegal.”

Melander said a combination of building renewal, committed homeowners, ASU’s downtown presence, and Phoenix’s First Fridays art walk have revitalized the area and significantly decreased crime.   “We started clearing [crime] out,” he said.  “We had more art galleries move in and had homes purchased by people invested in the neighborhood.  That really made a change.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]