Blog Archives

What are your favorite spots along Phoenix light rail?

picture-5A cadre of Phoenix light rail fans, led by Cheryl Colan and Will Bradley, are encouraging other local residents to add to their collaborative public (Google) map of destinations easily reachable via Valley Metro’s light rail system.  The goal of the map is to become a resource of the little, unknown, and wonderful places that are overlooked on “official” guides. Collaborators are urged to share their favorite businesses, restaurants, or even quiet scenic views.  For details and to add to the map, click here.   

Oh, there are other maps as well, including’s map of restaurants along the light rail route;’s interactive map of stations, park-and-ride lots, and traffic patterns; and Valley Metro’s maps of current lines and future transit corridors.  Any others?

Google Flu Trends tracks when flu will hit Arizona

Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity in any state up to two weeks faster than traditional systems.  Click here to view map and trends for U.S., Arizona, and other states.

Influenza (the flu) is a serious contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.  Millions of people in the United States get the flu each year.  Most people are sick for about a week.  Some people (especially young children, pregnant women, older people, and people with chronic health problems) can get very sick and may die from the flu.  For more information, click here.

Business Facilities magazine calls Phoenix “City of the Future”

[Source: Jenny Vickers, Business Facilities] — Strategically positioned in the Southwest, the Greater Phoenix area is one of 10 U.S. markets projected to experience 85% of the nation’s growth over the next 35 years.  Greater Phoenix, which consists of the City of Phoenix, much of the rest of Maricopa County, a large section of Pinal County, and small parts of southern Yavapai County, currently is the 13th largest area in the United States, with an estimated population of four million.  The City of Phoenix is the largest state capital in the U.S. in terms of population and is the only state capital with a population of more than one million.

With a labor force of over two million people, Greater Phoenix is known as a business and innovation hub with international access for aerospace, high-tech, bioscience, advanced business, and sustainable technologies companies.  Currently, over 20 major Fortune 500/1000 companies are located in Phoenix, such as Allied Waste, AT&T Inc., Bank of America, Boeing, Google, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo.  Honeywell’s Aerospace division is headquartered in Phoenix, and the valley hosts many of its avionics and mechanical facilities.  Intel has one of its largest sites in the city, employing about 10,000 employees.  Businesses are easily connected to the region, nation and the world with two major airports — Sky Harbor International Airport and Williams Gateway Airport — and a new light-rail system being launched in December 2008.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Google’s decision to leave metro Phoenix spotlights need for diversification

[Source: Chad Graham, Arizona Republic] — Google Inc. arrived on Arizona State University’s campus in 2006, creating a sensation and the promise of hundreds of high-quality jobs.  Tempe was one of 50 sites around the world with one of the search giant’s engineering offices.  One employee bragged to The Arizona Republic about the “culture of creativity.”  That culture disappeared on Friday when Google announced plans to close the office and allow the 50 employees to relocate to California or New York.  That relatively minor job loss won’t rock the economy.  But what if Google had stayed?

In a small way, the company might have helped to further more collaboration and innovation between the best and brightest at ASU.  That might have translated into new firms and products.  Because like begets like, more innovative companies (employing computer scientists, engineers, alternative energy entrepreneurs, and high-tech health-care professionals) might have been attracted to the innovation coming out of the Valley.  Those workers would create new products and new ideas that could be sold in the global marketplace.  That would create new, diverse streams of revenue flowing into Arizona’s economy from around the world.

OK, maybe Google’s tiny office wouldn’t have had such a major impact, but there’s nothing to lose in this awful economy by playing the “what-if” game.  In the past year, Phoenix has paid dearly for its decades-long addiction to housing and growth.  During the boom times, the region almost overdosed.  And it did little to diversity its economy and retrain workers for the jobs of the new century.  Home prices have fallen rapidly, foreclosures have skyrocketed and unemployment is up.  The credit crunch has dried up money for development.  Consumers have run out of money to shop and sales-tax revenue has plummeted.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Internet mapping services work to lay out Phoenix walking routes

As noted in an Associated Press article reprinted in Sunday’s Arizona Republic, Internet mapping services are working to lay out the best biking and walking routes. 

For example, if you visit Google Maps, click on “Get Directions,” and type in a Start Address and End Address, up pops two alternatives: By Car and Walking.  Click on Walking and the “most direct” route (distance and time) will be shown.  It’s also noted that “Walking directions are in beta.  Use caution when walking in unfamiliar areas.” 

Okay, that’s a start.  Now if Google Mappers could only show where shade trees, awnings, and overhead misters are located in hot, hot, hot cities like Phoenix, that may adjust your route!