Category Archives: Noise

Train whistles to blow less often in downtown Phoenix

[Source: 3TV] — Those who live near the railroad tracks in downtown Phoenix will finally get some peace and quiet by the end of the month.  Engineers will blow train whistles less often between Third Avenue and Fourth Street.

Developers and homeowners raised a quarter million dollars to help establish the “quiet zones.”  The trains will no longer blast their horns every time they approach a railroad crossing, but to keep everyone safe engineers will honk if they see someone on the tracks.

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Will trains be silenced in downtown Phoenix?

The City of Phoenix is proposing a “quiet zone” for downtown Phoenix’s Warehouse District. They need federal approval to do so.  Retail businesses and condo owners complain about the noise, but others worry about safety.  Click here for KPHO Television’s video report.

Crowded streets beget innovation (take note Phoenix)

[Source: CEOs For Cities] — Why do cities continue to grow?  And why, even in the electronic age, do they endure as wellsprings of intellectual life?  The Boston Globe believes it has found the answer.

“Recent research by scientists at the Santa Fe Institute used a set of complex mathematical algorithms to demonstrate that the very same urban features that trigger lapses in attention and memory — the crowded streets, the crushing density of people — also correlate with measures of innovation, as strangers interact with one another in unpredictable ways.  It is the ‘concentration of social interactions’ that is largely responsible for urban creativity, according to the scientists.  The density of 18th-century London may have triggered outbreaks of disease, but it also led to intellectual breakthroughs, just as the density of Cambridge — one of the densest cities in America — contributes to its success as a creative center.  One corollary of this research is that less dense urban areas, like Phoenix, may, over time, generate less innovation.”

Would-be innovators, take note.

Taller project too damaging, north Phoenix neighbors say

The North Central Phoenix Neighborhood Association seeks support from interested Phoenix residents in opposing zoning application, #Z-33-08, that would allow the erection of three 400-foot towers near the southwest corner of Central Ave. and Camelback Rd.  The group is not against development and, in fact, supported the original height of 250 feet approved by the Phoenix City Council in 2006.

According to association members, the new plan is ill-considered and neighborhood-damaging.  Infrastructure, sewer, water, and street would be severely strained by these immense structures.  The additional traffic generated would overrun area neighborhoods that are already impacted by cut-through traffic.  Such out-scale zoning might be cited as precedent for additional mid/hi-rise intrusion.  To review, download, sign, and mail the group’s petition, click here.

Mapping out downtown Phoenix’s First Fridays artwalk

First Fridays

Taking in Phoenix's First Friday. Photo source: Arizona Republic.

[Source: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic] — First Fridays has been a tradition for more than 14 years in downtown Phoenix, growing into an event that sprawls across miles of downtown Phoenix and draws more than 10,000 people each month.   It can seem daunting for newcomers or those who haven’t been in a while.  It would be impossible to see every gallery or browse every booth in one night, especially those isolated in outlying areas.  For those, it’s probably best to check ahead of time to see if they are holding a show that might draw your interest, or whether they’re even open that night.

A lot of the action is centered around three main areas.  And a free city shuttle can get you to the outlying galleries.  It’s best to figure out what type of experience you’re looking for, then head to the spot that can give it to you.  [Click here for interactive map.]

Roosevelt Row.  The epicenter of First Fridays, the Roosevelt area has high-end galleries.  But it might be marked more for the row of vendors set up on Garfield Street between Fourth and Sixth streets, and along Fifth Street between Garfield and McKinley streets.  There, you can buy $5 sunglasses, $2 strings of beads, handmade necklaces, and small paintings.  “In the beginning (of the night), it’s families, high-school and college kids,” said Celia Chavarin, 34, who was selling homemade handbags at a recent First Fridays evening.

As the night goes on, the people become a little bit more colorful, a little more artistic.  “That’s a good way to put it,” Chavarin said.  She gestured toward her mother, Lupe, who makes the handbags.  “It was her first time, so it was a big of a shock.”  This is an area where families can wander with strollers.  They can catch a bit of art, browse affordable vendors and feel that they’ve been out to First Fridays.

Grand Avenue.  Fewer people, no vendors, and a little more space between galleries, Grand Avenue allows more time to concentrate on the art hanging on the walls, not the people walking up and down the street.  Gallery owners on the diagonal street call themselves the true artistic home of First Fridays.  “Here, people are looking at the art,” said Steve Gomph, owner of gallery Deus Ex Machina.  “There (Roosevelt Row), people are mainly there for the street experience.”

There is street parking along Grand Avenue.  And although there are a lot of galleries, they are a bit spread out. Expect to walk a block or two between stops.

Melrose.  This is the least concentrated of the First Fridays “areas” and the one with the fewest galleries.  But the night provides an opportunity to explore the funky shops and antique stores of this burgeoning corner of the city around Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road.  “I drive through it all the time, but I’m always headed somewhere else,” said Beth Brezinsci, 37, of Scottsdale, sitting at Copper Star Coffee, at Seventh Avenue and Heatherbrae Drive.  “This is a good opportunity to explore.”  

A dog-washing shop has animals out for adoption.  Vendors are set up in a parking lot outside the coffee shop and Revolver Records, at Seventh Avenue north of Indian School Road.  Some antique furniture stores stay open late.

Phoenix Council Member Nowakowski holds public chat, Oct. 8

Phoenix City Council Member Michael Nowakowski invites residents to meet with him to discuss neighborhood crime prevention and parking as District 7 prepares to host the Arizona State Fair, which opens on Friday, October 10.  The meeting will start at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Encanto Club House, 2605 N. 15th Ave.  Representatives from the Phoenix Police Department will attend to answer questions.  For more information, call 602-262-7492.

Arizona Corporation Commission candidate debate set for Sept. 15

The primary election for Arizona Corporation Commission is over, and congratulations to the following candidates — Sam George (D), Sandra Kennedy (D), Marian McClure (R), Paul Newman (D), Bob Stump (R), and Barry Wong (R) — who move onto the general election in November.  A candidate debate has been set for September 15, 2008 at Rio Salado College in Tempe.  Registration Noon to 1 p.m.; debate 1-3 p.m.; and reception 3-4 p.m.  The debates will cover issues important to you and Arizona’s future:

  • Water quality and the cost of electric and natural gas
  • High speed Internet to rural communities
  • Solar, nuclear, and other alternative energy sources
  • Arizona’s investment in utility infrastructure

Logon to our webcasts, tune in to your local Cable TV, or engage in person at Rio Salado College in Tempe to learn more about the powerful ACC (often described as a Fourth Branch of Government) and to see the candidates debate these and other issues that will have an enormous impact on you, Arizona’s future, and the finances, safety and quality of life of all citizens, businesses, and organizations in Arizona.  You can propose questions and discuss issues online by clicking here.

These nonpartisan debates, sponsored by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, are presented by the Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council and moderated by Mark Goldstein of International Research Center in cooperation with other business and community organizations.  For more information, contact Steve Peters, ATIC ACC Debate Coordinator at 520-321-1309 or e-mail.

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.

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.

Growing Western cities at crossroads, report says

[Source: Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times] — As outlying sagebrush was quickly devoured by starter homes and chain stores, Las Vegas began grappling with the kinds of problems that long have vexed California: Crowded classrooms.  Packed freeways.  Not enough water.  Immigrants who struggle to learn English.  Rising poverty.  Similar issues have bedeviled the areas around Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Albuquerque.  By 2040, Las Vegas and its four brethren will grow by nearly 12.7 million people.

While a booming population is turning the Intermountain West into an economic force and political battleground, a Brookings Institution report released today suggests that without help from the federal government, its major cities are headed for trouble.  “These places are going to be overwhelmed if they’re left to go it alone,” said Mark Muro, policy director of the nonpartisan think tank’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah — a region the study dubbed the “new American Heartland” — was the least developed part of the U.S. in 1950.  There isn’t even an interstate linking Las Vegas and Phoenix because they were mere blips when the nation’s highway system was mapped out.  But from 2000 to 2007, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah boasted the nation’s top three population growth rates; the Las Vegas area alone jumped 31%, to more than 2 million people. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]