Daily Archives: December 13, 2008

Calculate your optimal Phoenix home location; minimize your commute!

[Source: Lifehacker] Optimal Home Location is a Google Maps/Zillow mashup tool that helps you calculate the central location between all your commuting destinations.  After plugging in the six most frequent places you and your family commute to: work, school, other family members, etc., Optimal Home Location will crunch the numbers.  The map it returns will show you the best place for you to live in order to minimize your commute times.  

The service is really handy, although not without its quirks.  It cannot take into account anything beyond physical distances for instance, leaving you decide if the area is a safe neighborhood and whether or not it’s cost effective to live there… On top of showing you the optimal location, it also allows you to compare commute times from various addresses you are already have in mind and show the location of local features like schools and libraries to help you pick an ideal locale.

Applications for PHX:fringe 2009 now available

The Phoenix Fringe Festival (PHX:fringe) presents innovative, experimental and provocative theatre by local, national, and international artists.  PHX:fringe seeks to develop a cutting-edge, urban audience by offering an edgy assortment of performance choices in non-traditional downtown spaces.  The PHX:fringe promotes artistic exploration by supporting the risky, adventurous work of established and emerging artists while also providing accessible, affordable performances to the community.

PHX:fringe is inspired by the groundbreaking work of similar Festivals throughout the world.  Fringe artists regularly challenge traditional theatrical forms and conventions, and often incorporate music, dance, performance art, and digital media into their work.  In May 2008 the Phoenix Fringe Festival Pilot Project introduced itself to Valley audiences with thirteen original pieces featuring at least twenty-five different artists over the course of one extraordinary weekend.  Several participating productions have since been selected to perform around the country most notably at Philly Fringe and the New York International Fringe Festival.

PHX:fringe 2009 is scheduled to launch in the downtown area just as the weather starts to heat up for the Spring.  Spanning dates from March 27 – April 5, the expanded PHX:fringe 2009 plans to include several new venues, multiple performance opportunities, and international artist participation.  For more information and online applications for PHX:fringe 2009, click here.  Or call 602-478-1066 or send an e-mail.

How a Salt Lake Tribune reporter sees downtown Phoenix

Political figure Mary Rose Wilcox will soon open another outlet of her family's restaurant on ASU's downtown Phoenix campus (photo: Brian Maffly, Salt Lake Tribune)

In a lengthy Salt Lake Tribune article on proposed commercial development around Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus, reporter Brian Maffly reports on similar urban revitalization efforts by Arizona State University in downtown Phoenix, Ohio State University, and the University of Pennsylvania.  The full article can be read here, but one thing that stands out is the reporter’s description of the area surrounding downtown Phoenix:

…Still, downtown Phoenix remains an island surrounded by urban decay.  The once-glamorous Westward Ho is now a senior center with a transmission tower clinging to its top floors.  Blocks of abandoned real estate sprawl north of the new campus, filled with shuttered businesses and dilapidated apartments, fenced-off cinder-block compounds with names like The Edgewater.  In the midst of this wasteland is a tiny bustling cafe, Matt’s Big Breakfast, where the sight of diners waiting on the sidewalk offers a glimpse of what could be in the downtown.

ASU downtown Phoenix campus graduates 730 students, Dec. 18

null[Source: Arizona State University] — About 5,000 ASU students will receive a holiday present next week, as they take home their degrees from ASU’s commencement Dec. 18.  The ceremony will take place beginning at 10 a.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.  On hand to receive their degrees will be about 730 graduates from the downtown Phoenix campus — including 267 nurses — and about 965 from the West campus, plus another 520 from the Polytechnic campus and 3,000 from Tempe.

Individual colleges and schools also will have their own smaller convocation ceremonies, including the following colleges and schools located in downtown Phoenix:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

  • 2 PM ~ College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, Phoenix Convention Center

Thursday, December 18, 2008

  • 4:30 PM ~ Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Phoenix Convention Center
  • 5 PM ~ College of Public Programs, Orpheum Theatre

Idea of the Day: Improved streets help older adults to get up and go

From time to time, we’ll throw out an “Idea of the Day” culled from sources here in Arizona and elsewhere.  And this one comes from Barbara McCann of the National Complete Streets Coalition.

A new poll out from AARP documents how incomplete streets are making it tough for older Americans to avoid paying the high price of gasoline.  Almost 40% of those polled say they don’t have adequate sidewalks in their neighborhood, 55% say that they don’t have bike lanes or paths, and 48% say there is not a comfortable place to wait for the bus.  Most sobering, almost half (47%) of poll responders say they cannot cross the main roads safely.  AARP’s Senior Vice President for Livable Communities Elinor Ginzler put it succinctly: “More Americans age 50+ are trying to leave their cars behind but face obstacles as soon as they walk out the door, climb on their bikes, or head for the bus,” said Ginzler.

Yet despite these barriers, about 40% of respondents reported they have given up their car for some trips and are walking (29%), taking transit (16%), or riding a bicycle (15%) to beat high gas prices.  And of those who reported an inhospitable environment outside their homes, more than half, 54%, said they would walk, bicycle, and take transit more if their streets were improved.  This shows the tremendous unmet potential of our street network to provide more ways to get around.  A majority of those polled also expressed support for complete streets policies, which ensure that roads are planned, designed, and built for all users.  AARP is a solid supporter of federal complete streets legislation and is working on a research paper and resource guide on accommodating older drivers and pedestrians as part of complete streets initiatives.

ASU downtown Phoenix campus supports Westward Ho neighbors

Photo of the outside of the Westward Ho building[Source: Arizona State University] — The ASU community is getting into the holiday spirit through the gift of giving back to downtown Phoenix residents on fixed incomes.  The Downtown Phoenix campus recently kicked off its Third Annual In The Spirit of Giving Campaign, a yearly drive intended to help residents of the Westward Ho enjoy a joy-filled holiday season.   “As the holiday season commences and we begin our shopping, we have an opportunity to share our good fortune and support the folks living at the Westward Ho,” said Ronald Briggs, coordinator for residential community education in Student Engagement.  “During these difficult economic times, we all know that those with little seem to have even less.  Residents often find themselves running short on items by the end of the month.”

The Westward Ho, located at 618 N. Central Ave., was one of the city’s premier luxury hotels until it closed in 1979.  Two years later the 16-story building was converted to housing for senior citizens.

The Department of Student and Campus Community Development and ASU Downtown Phoenix campus police with support from Theta Nu Xi Grad chapter are collecting household items to support more than 300 people residing in the facility, all of whom are on a fixed-income.  Items needed include toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, cleaning wipes, men and women’s deodorant, razors, fabric softener sheets, body soap, crossword puzzle books, shampoo and conditioner, handkerchiefs, Kleenex, blankets, shaving cream, laundry soap, men’s socks, sheets, dry dog food, cans of cat food ,and kitty litter.  ASU will deliver all donated items to Westward Ho residents on Dec. 19.

Drop off locations are located at the following sites:

  • University Center, 411 N. Central Ave., security booth, first floor
  • University Center, 411 N. Central Ave., Suite 300
  • Downtown Phoenix Post Office, 522 N. Central Ave., Suite 104
  • ASU Wells Fargo Student Center, 455 N. Third Street, Suite 265
  • College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, 500 N. Third St., fourth floor
  • ASU Mercado, 502 E. Monroe St., Suite C-100
  • Taylor Place, 120 E. Taylor Street, Suite G036

For more information on the Third Annual In The Spirit of Giving Campaign, contact Kimberly Novak at 602-496-4111 or e-mail.

Despite new D.C. job, Napolitano to keep midtown Phoenix condo

[Source: Daniel Scarpinato, blog entry, Arizona Daily Star] — When Janet Napolitano moves to D.C., probably next month, to start her gig as Barack Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, expect to see her back in Arizona.  Napolitano says she plans to keep her [midtown] Phoenix condo and maintain her Arizona voter registration.

So, that begs the question of whether she sees herself running for elected office again, particularly in 2010 since she was often mentioned as a potential challenger to Sen. John McCain.  Dodging the first part of the question, Napolitano answered, “I don’t intend to run in 2010.”  And the plot thickens.

Phoenix Other Worlds

Plainly Phoenix (Doors) by cobalt123.Local photographer Cobalt123 offers up some vantage points of Phoenix that many people may not be familar with.  She calls it POW (Phoenix Other Worlds) to represent how she thinks of this area bounded by McDowell, Buckeye, 24th Street, and 35th Avenue.  Click here to peek at Cobalt123’s other interesting, out-of-the-way spots.   Can you guess where they’re at?