Category Archives: Light Rail

Catch-up on transportation plans in/around downtown

DVC supports Prop 104 Ballot Initiative

Prop 104

Friends of Transit 12th Annual Conference, Feb. 28

FOT2014_invite.indd

Phoenix debates land use near light-rail stations

Camelback/Central LR station public artThe City of Phoenix is holding a forum to get citizen input on land use planning near light rail stations. For the Camelback/Central Ave light rail station, the forum is being held at the Days Inn at 502 W Camelback Rd on Thursday at 6:30pm.

State law requires cities, towns, and counties to update their general plan every 10 years and this is the first revision of Phoenix’s general plan after the development of METRO light rail.

Phoenix is amending the city’s general plan for land-use planning near light-rail stations and is asking residents for input.

A public meeting to discuss the station at Central Avenue and Camelback Road is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Days Inn, 502 W. Camelback Road.

The general plan is a blueprint that outlines land-use and policy guidelines on how the city should grow and redevelop for decades into the future.

State law requires cities, towns and counties to update the plan every 10 years but legislation the state passed last year extended the deadline to 2015 to give budget-constricted local governments short on planning staff more time to update their general plans.

Attendees will discuss a general range of appropriate building heights for future real-estate redevelopment.

By having stakeholders identify what they want to preserve, promote and will accept in advance, the general plan can better guide future real-estate development.

The meetings are not about property ownership, existing zoning or uses, city officials have said.

Properties along the light-rail route are in a transit-overlay district, which means less space is dedicated for parking due to the proximity to the train.

Read more here.

If you go, the nearest light rail station is 7th Ave/Camelback Road (Melrose District). For more information, call 602.256.5648.

METRO light rail western extension open house set for tomorrow

[Clarification appended, see bottom of post]

METRO light rail is holding an open house on their I-10 West extension that would travel west along Washington and Jefferson Streets from Central Ave, toward the State Capitol, and through the St. Matthew neighborhood immediately west of the Capitol. The open house is set for tomorrow (Tuesday, July 19) starting at 6:00pm at Neighborhood Ministries, 1918 W. Van Buren Street.

From The Arizona Republic:

The proposal under consideration by Metro’s advisory board involves laying track on Jefferson Street beginning at Central Avenue, then past the Capitol and state buildings to the Black Canyon Freeway. It would proceed north to Interstate 10 and then run west to 79th Avenue.

St. Matthew Neighborhood is the largest residential area that would be affected by the proposal. The rest of the route would parallel freeways. But Metro is facing some difficulties communicating with the St. Matthew neighbors that it did not encounter when proposing the current line, which runs from Phoenix to Tempe and Mesa.

One neighbor, John Maurin, opposes the extension because he believes it will hurt the historic homes in the neighborhood. He collected 250 petition signatures to oppose Metro’s idea. Some businesses along the Black Canyon Freeway are on his side, as is the group, Downtown Voices Coalition.

The committee will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Neighborhood Ministries.

Gruver said Metro officials expect the proposal will go to a City Council vote sometime late in the fall or early next year.

Read more here. In addition, the Downtown Voices Coalition is drafting a statement regarding this proposed METRO extension.

Clarification: METRO light rail held two of its own open houses last week. The July 19 forum at Neighborhood Ministries is independent from the official METRO light rail forums.

Friends of Transit holds Transit Means Business on August 18

The Friends of Transit is holding Transit Means Business on Thursday, August 18, 2011, at the Wells Fargo Conference Center. Registration begins at 8:00am and the program is from 8:30am-10:30am.

Poster for Friends of Transit's Transit Means Business conference

DVC opposes light rail route through historic neighborhood

Other alternatives are better

The following letter was sent on behalf of the Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee to Peggy Neely, Phoenix City Council Member and chair of the Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.

 

The Downtown Voices Coalition is opposed to the proposed Metro West light rail alignment. We are very supportive of light rail, but cannot support a route that cuts through the St. Matthew neighborhood. The proposed east-west route along Jefferson will destroy a historic neighborhood, both physically and socially, and will not create transit-oriented development.

Example of Victorian architecture in Phoenix's St. Matthew neighborhood.

The St. Matthew neighborhood is one of the oldest in Phoenix. It has more 19th century Victorian buildings than any other location in the city. Many of these houses are located along Jefferson Street. Jefferson is a very narrow, two lane residential street in this location. The proposed light rail route will entail widening the street by removing the front easements and vegetation and will create a stretch of elevated track right in front of the residences near 19th Avenue. We are unaware of any other segment of the light rail that cuts right through a historic neighborhood.

It is even more problematic that transportation planners have been negligent in communicating with the neighborhood.  Even though 20,000 notices were sent out for the March 2 public meeting about the western alignment, residents of the St. Matthew neighborhood were not invited until yesterday, March 1, and only half of the neighborhood actually received fliers.

Running the line through a low-income historic neighborhood, one that cannot support transit-oriented development, will not fulfill light rail’s economic goals, but it will cause great hardship for a struggling low income community. Other proposed routes, such as Van Buren and 19th Avenue, have greater economic potential and do less harm.

The City Council should require that a proper assessment of the impact on the St. Matthew neighborhood be conducted and a thorough investigation regarding the economic potential of alternate routes be considered.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

 

 

 

Public meeting on west Phoenix light-rail extension

azcentral.com

Metro light rail is inviting the public to a meeting next Wednesday so residents can learn and comment on details of the agency’s plan for light rail’s west extension through west Phoenix.

The proposal under consideration by Metro’s advisory board involves laying track from Central Avenue along Jefferson Street, past the Capitol and state buildings to Interstate 17, then north to Interstate 10, where it would then head west to 79th Avenue.

Barring any serious funding issues, the 11-mile west extension could be up and running by 2021.

Some residents in the St. Matthews neighborhood near the state Capitol grounds oppose the proposal, fearing the extension could affect the historic homes in the area. But representatives from various neighborhoods, including Maryvale, have supported the proposal.

And some critics have argued Metro light rail should create a faster commuter line, instead of using the much slower light rail trains, to serve west Phoenix.

Metro has been studying the west Phoenix area for a possible extension since 2007.

The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at the Isaac Middle School cafeteria, 3402 W. McDowell Road.

For more information, contact Terry Gruver at (480) 664-2631or via e-mail,tgruver@metrolightrail.org.

– Emily Gersema, emily.gersema@arizonarepublic.com

Residences on the Rail in Downtown Phoenix

[Source: Scarlett Jane Heydt, State Press Magazine]

Residence on the Rail

Every student needs a place to live — and come spring, it’s on everyone’s mind. Incoming freshman shop around with anxious parents for the perfectly cool apartment complex, while commuter students finally decide to make the move out of Mom and Dad’s. Others tire of the on-campus experience after a year or two of shared living with roommates, suitemates, hallmates and floormates. Eventually, privacy and freedom beckon in the form of (often cheaper) off-campus apartments.

For most students, living near the Metro Light Rail has serious appeal. Driving to and parking on campus gets expensive, and many students commute between multiple campuses. Light rail-adjacent apartments market themselves as such, drawing more and more residents with each dollar rise on the gas pump.

But not every place suits every student. Some are for the quiet and studious, while others are designed for the social, college experience. Here’s a look at the culture of some popular apartments on the rail near the ASU Tempe and Downtown campuses.

Downtown Phoenix

Alta Phoenix Lofts

The Alta Phoenix Lofts located just off the Van Buren Street and Central Avenue light rail stop. Photo by Vivian Padilla.

Quick Stats:

Phone number: 602-374-7133
Light rail stop: Van Buren Street and Central Avenue
Amenities: fitness center, cyber cafe, clubhouse with billiard and poker tables, pool, art gallery, local business on property, acupuncturist, tattoo parlor, personal trainer
Furnished: No
Pet-friendly: Yes
Price range: $960 – $3,500

Sitting catty-corner from the College of Nursing and Health Innovation building, Alta Phoenix Lofts boasts an urban style. Residents find themselves walking through halls with exposed copper pipes and duct work. Property manager Chiara Elie says the light rail is another way to give residents an urban experience.

“We go for the whole downtown vibe, participating in First Fridays and reminding residents the light rail is nearby,” she says, sitting in her pool-facing office.

Elie says not many students live at the Lofts because they are higher-priced than other apartment complexes in the area. She says she tries to hold at least two or three events per month so residents get what they pay for. She says the active student would appreciate living at the Lofts.

Modern decor inside the Alta Phoenix Lofts. Photo by Vivian Padilla.

Modern decor inside the Alta Phoenix Lofts. Photo by Vivian Padilla.

“Our biggest appeal to students is we’re very close to the Downtown campus,” she says. “But we also have so much to offer in terms of amenities and activities.”

Nursing senior Barbie Frazier says she chose to live at Alta Phoenix Lofts after looking at The Met and Roosevelt Square. She says Alta won her over because she thought it was the best deal for what she paid for.

“The lofts were bigger than the other places I looked at and it has this really big balcony with a pretty view, which The Met and Roosevelt Square didn’t have,” Frazier says. “The balcony just makes it so much more open and I like having my own space outside.”

Frazier says one of the frustrating things about living at the Lofts is wasted space in the apartment, which makes cleaning difficult. She says she had to buy a stepstool to reach a lot of her cabinets and storage space.

Frazier says she thinks ASU students who are studious, but also social, would enjoy living at the Lofts.

“People here are pretty nice so I don’t think anyone would call the cops on you for having a party,” she says. “As a nursing student though, I have to be studious and I never hear anyone so it’s easy to study.”

The Met

Quick Stats:

Phone number: 602-258-6387
Light rail stop: Van Buren Street and Central Avenue
Amenities: pool, hot tub, fitness center, 800+ DVDs for free rental, Wi-Fi throughout the property
Furnished: No
Pet friendly: Cats and caged animals only
Price range: $779 –  $1,264

Rising only three stories high, The Met apartment complex is one people might miss, especially as it’s surrounded by buildings with 10-plus stories. The city has grown around it; journalism sophomore Liam Hausmann says he enjoys living there because it’s so close to the Downtown campus where he takes classes.

“I don’t live as close to the light rail as some other places, but it’s worth it to me to be able to walk back and forth to campus four times a day without it being a hassle,” Hausmann says.

The Met is often overlooked because of its smaller size. Photo by Diana Martinez.

Hausmann rents a two-bedroom two-bath with his roommate and says he gets the most use out of the Jacuzzi. However, he says he has a rocky relationship with management, though it doesn’t affect his enjoyment of his living experience.

“I got a message from [management] complaining to me about people parking in The Met guest parking spots and then leaving,” he says. “They blamed me and my roommate and my roommate had to go the office and basically say it’s not our job to watch the parking lot, regardless if the people doing it are people we know or not.”

The Met is often overlooked because of its smaller size. Photo by Diana Martinez.

Hausmann says while the facilities are very nice, management tends to treat students as if they aren’t full and responsible adults.

“If you take management not appreciating students out of the picture, the location, the amenities and stuff is all awesome,” he says. “It’s not really a hustle and bustle place, it’s really mellow and I think it’s good for students who work on campus.”

Assistant manager of The Met Kathy Kimminau says they don’t treat students any different than other residents but admits they do give them more noise complaints notifications if other residents are voicing complaints.

“The studious student would prefer to live here because we are strict about noise complaints,” she says. “We still want people to have fun and have people over and party, just not late at night. We’ve never evicted someone for too many noise complaints but we would if we had too.”

Kimminau says she thinks students would want to live at The Met because of the proximity to campus, as well as the availability of Wi-Fi.

“We’re also located right next to a lot of places to eat and entertainment, like the movie theater,” she says.

Roosevelt Square offers students and residents refined living within walking distance to the downtown campus and light rail station. Photo by Jessica Heigh.

Roosevelt Square

Roosevelt Square offers students and residents refined living within walking distance to the downtown campus and light rail station. Photo by Jessica Heigh.

Quick Stats:

Phone number: 602-258-7678
Light rail stop: Roosevelt Street and Central Avenue
Amenities: 24-hour gym, pool, on the bus line, dog-walking area, 24-hour sky terrace, local businesses on property, four restaurants, dry cleaner
Furnished: No
Pet friendly: Yes, except for larger, aggressive breeds of dog
Price range: $563 – $1,500

Three separate buildings make up Roosevelt Square, its own small community where assistant manager Wes Carmichael says many residents have referred each other.

“We have a mixture of young professionals and students,” he says. “A lot of students move here after their first year or two on campus because it’s cheaper to live here than on campus.”

One of the three apartment complexes that make up Roosevelt Square. Photo by Jessica Heigh.

One of the three apartment complexes that make up Roosevelt Square. Photo by Jessica Heigh.

He says some reasons students might enjoy living at Roosevelt Square is the proximity to First Fridays, a monthly art walk, as well as plenty of local shops and eateries to walk to. He says they are also extremely pet friendly.

“We have almost as many pets as residents I think,” he says.

Sustainability and journalism senior Lexie Runge lives at Roosevelt Square with her dog Maverick and says she loves living so close to the light rail.

“I almost never drive anymore because I can walk to my journalism classes on the Downtown campus and take the light rail to my other ones on the Tempe campus,” she says.

Runge says she feels the complex is for students who are respectful but like the urban life.

“Most residents here really do respect each other,” she says. “It’s a lot of young people and young couples and everyone has this understanding that this isn’t for cranky older people and there’s no underclassmen who want to party constantly. I think it’s a place for people who have their priorities straight.”

Carmichael says if students are looking to rent in the fall, they should begin the process about 75 days in advance. He says the Phoenix Mercury are already inquiring about renting apartments there again. Last year the team leased 14 units, he says.

Reach the reporter at sheydt@asu.edu

See the original article for residences along the rail in Tempe.

Phoenix Marathon will Detour Downtown Bus & Light Rail on Sunday

[Source: Valley Metro]

Service disruption, but connection between race start and finish remains

Bus

Bus routes and light rail service in Phoenix will be affected when the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon rolls into town on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011.  Several bus routes will be detoured to allow for the event.

Both full and half marathons will start at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, near Washington Street and 14th Avenue in Phoenix and will finish on Packard Drive between ASU’s Sun Devil and Sun Angel Stadiums in Tempe. All roadways surrounding the Arizona State Capitol area will be closed to traffic beginning at 4 a.m.

Over 30,000 runners are expected to run the race through the streets of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe. The race routes will be lined with live bands, volunteers, and spectators.

The event significantly impacts the area east of 7th Avenue and south of Camelback Road. Bus riders are strongly advised to call customer service at 602-253-5000 for any route detour updates or check schedules online. Also, it is highly recommended that bus and rail passengers give themselves extra time to reach their destinations. Bus service in Phoenix will be disrupted starting with race preparations at 4 a.m. and continuing during the race until approximately 1 p.m.

List of Phoenix bus routes severely affected by the detours:

  • Route 17-McDowell Rd.
  • Route 29-Thomas Rd.
  • Route 41-Indian School Rd.
  • Route 44-44th Street/Tatum will terminate at Shea Blvd until 44th Street is reopened.
  • Route 50-Camelback

List of other Phoenix bus routes affected by the detours:

  • Route 0-Central Ave.
  • Route 1-Washington/Jefferson
  • Route 3-Van Buren St.
  • Route 7-7th Street
  • Route 8-7th Avenue
  • Route 10-Roosevelt/Grant
  • Route 12-12th Street
  • Route 13-Buckeye
  • Route 15-15th Avenue
  • Route 16-16th Street
  • Route 19-19th Avenue
  • Route 39-40th Street
  • Route 60-Bethany Home
  • Route 70-Glendale/24th Street

Light Rail

METRO light rail will not provide morning service to stations north of McDowell Rd. The following stations will be without service until approximately 10 a.m., or until the race has cleared:

  • Encanto/Central Avenue
  • Thomas/Central Avenue
  • Osborn/ Central Avenue
  • Indian School/Central Avenue
  • Campbell/Central Avenue
  • Central Avenue/Camelback
  • 7th Avenue/ Camelback Road
  • 19th Avenue/Camelback Road
  • Montebello/19th Avenue

METRO will provide service to the rest of the line – McDowell/Central Avenue through Sycamore/Main Street – beginning at 5 a.m. METRO will offer 15 minute service before and during the race when traditional Sunday frequency is every 20 minutes.  Additional trains will be deployed based on the demand at the race finish area in Tempe.  The entire line will re-open once police have indicated the marathon has cleared and it is safe to proceed, approximately 10 a.m.

More Information

For more detailed information about the marathon detours, please visit http://www.ValleyMetro.org or call customer service at 602-253-5000, or follow @phoenixmetrobus and/or @MetroRail on Twitter.