[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Like Scottsdale, Phoenix hopes a trolley is the ticket to downtown fun. Surveys went out this week to gauge Phoenix business owners’ support for a late-night trolley that would take visitors to parking garages and to downtown nightspots. It would be similar to the 22-seat, four-wheeled trolley that drives visitors around downtown Scottsdale. Under the proposal, the trolley would makes stops at several businesses and two city parking garages, which would offer discounted evening fees. The Downtown Phoenix Partnership plans to discuss the questionnaire’s results in a few weeks.
Shop owners hope that the trolley, which could cost $40 a week per business, could make downtown Phoenix more enticing for people who worry about parking or walking long distances, some say. “We think that it could be a great selling tool for downtown Phoenix,” said Bill Smith, who owns several downtown restaurants. While people could theoretically walk from a Dodge Theater show to Majerle’s Sports Grill, “the Phoenix market isn’t accustomed to that,” Smith added. The buildings are roughly seven blocks apart. The trolley would be bankrolled by several businesses and many details, including the final cost and the route, depend on how many shops participate, Smith said.
The talks come as the City Council voted to cut bus service after 10 p.m. and before 5 a.m. to save money. The city must slash an estimated $250 million from its budget. The free city-operated Downtown Area Shuttle, also known as DASH, stops running at 8 p.m. The proposed downtown trolley could run as late as 2 a.m., when many bars close. “If we stick with DASH it’s limited what we can do,” said Terry Madeksza, operations director for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “The ball is in our court.” The goal is to have the trolley in place by Jan. 1, around the time that light-rail service begins, Madeksza said. Metro officially begins service Dec. 27.
[Source: Smart Growth Around America] — The CEO’s for Cities study from a few months ago, “Driven to the Brink,” has gained some traction, this time in video form (see above). YouTube’s editors picked it up to highlight on the main page, and as a result, it has gotten over 120,000 plays and nearly 800 comments. From the C4C website: “A new analysis shows that high gas prices are not only implicated in the bursting of the housing bubble, but that the higher cost of commuting has already re-shaped the landscape of real estate value between cities and suburbs. Housing values are falling fastest in distant suburban and exurban neighborhoods where affordability depended directly on cheap gas.”
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.
[Source: The Associated Press] — Bus ridership in metro Phoenix increased during January, February, and March from the same time a year ago as more and more commuters left their cars at home, Valley Metro officials said. In March, Valley Metro recorded an average of 6,861 bus boardings daily, an increase of 15.9 percent from March 2007’s numbers. January and February posted increases of 8.5 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, Valley Metro officials said. “Gas prices have an impact on the demand of our services,” said Susan Tierney, Valley Metro spokeswoman.
Gas prices last week according to AAA hit a state average of $3.40. A less strenuous commute, continued promotion, employer subsidies, and air-quality concerns were other factors cited by riders and officials as reasons for getting more people on the bus. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
To find the least expensive gas price in your neighborhood, click here for the MapQuest Gas Price Calculator.