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Phoenix Mayor and Council urge shoppers to spend at home

[Source: Colton Shone, KTAR] — Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has declared next week “Buy Local Week” in an effort to jump-start the economy.  Kimber Lanning, founder of Local First Arizona, hopes the mayor’s action will get people to shop at mom and pop stores to help them get through the current recession.  “For every $100 you spend in a local business, roughly $42 recirculates in that community,” Lanning said.  “For the same $100 spent in a national chain, only $13 stays.”

[The mayor’s declaration was made at a press conference this morning at the Central and Washington Light Rail Stop in downtown Phoenix.  Joining the Mayor were Members of Council Michael Johnson, Michael Nowakowski, Tom Simplot, and Greg Stanton (all of whom purchased something from a locally-owned business before attending the event).  Nearly 100 local business owners and interested citizens also were in attendance.]

Lanning said local shops often spend for local services.  “The local businesses tend to have local accountants, local attorneys, local sign makers.  All those things are outsourced by national chains.”  She added, “There was a new study done two weeks ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that showed that, for every 10% of consumer spending they shifted toward local, they created over 1,000 jobs.  And, conversely, for every 10% they shifted toward national, they eliminated 1,000 jobs.”

The city, already facing a projected $250 million budget deficit, will be in worse shape if people don’t shop local, Lanning said.  “Our pools, our libraries, our parks, our fire department will no longer have any money because all the money will be in the pockets of the shareholders in distant states.”

The city is not trying to boot out the big national retailers, but just keep the mom’s and pop’s competitive, she said.  “We’re trying to level the playing field.  Every great city has a good balance of big and small.  Even if just one in five times when you set out, you deliberately go to a local retailer, a local restaurant, then you’re actually doing something positive for your local community,” she said.


Noted Arizonans explain why they “shop local”

The 1,500-plus members of Local First Arizona are the locally-owned, independent businesses that are the backbone of Arizona’s economy.  You have a choice of where to spend your hard-earned dollars, and Local First encourages you to “put your money where your house is.”  When you shop at a locally owned business, 45 cents of every dollar stays in-state — versus only 13 cents of every dollar spent at a national chain.  To locate a product or service from a locally-owned business, click here.

Reversible lanes divide Phoenix Council Members

In a previous blog entry, it was noted that Phoenix Council Member Tom Simplot wants Phoenix’s reversible lanes on 7th Avenue and 7th Street to be removed (Council Member Michael Nowakowski also supports this view).  Two other Council Members have taken the opposite position, and their rationale is highlighted below.

The Arizona Republic ran the following article written by Council Members Greg Stanton and Maria Baier.  The Phoenix City Council will be discussing and possibly voting on the reverse lanes issue at the October 7 Work Study Session at 2 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 200 W. Jefferson St.  You are encouraged to attend the work study session and express your views on this issue.

The truth about reverse lanes

We recently learned from the editorial pages of The Arizona Republic that one of the three real fears Phoenicians have of “becoming LA” is increased traffic congestion.  We are concerned that eliminating the reverse lanes on Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street could lead us closer to that fate.  We offer the following with the hope that, as a community, we will base our decisions about the destiny of reverse lanes on the factual information obtained through intensive studies conducted by ASU and the City of Phoenix.

First, the studies found that the roads with reverse lanes are not more dangerous than most other roads in the City of Phoenix.  It turns out that traffic crash rates on Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street are similar to other arterial streets.  This is true for all kinds of crashes, including head-ons, pedestrians, and rearend collisions.

Second, there would be a substantial increase in peak hour commute times if the reverse lanes were to be eliminated.  This only makes sense. We would see the same amount of cars traveling on two fewer lanes each day.  This equates to a loss of road capacity of 33 percent in the morning, and 25 percent in the afternoon.

What this means time wise is that, for those traveling during peak rush hour on Seventh Street from Dunlap Avenue to McDowell Road, the commute time would be increased from an average of 25 minutes to 44 minutes in the morning, and from 20 minutes to 30 minutes in the afternoon.  Likewise, for those who use Seventh Avenue during rush hour, the increase in morning drive time would rise from 15 minutes to 29 minutes, and in the afternoon from 11 minutes to 19 minutes.  The result is a tremendous “time tax” on those living and working in our city.

Finally, it’s important to be truthful about how the elimination of reverse lanes would affect cut-through traffic.  Some residents along the reverse lane portions of Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street have complained that cars that cannot turn left at the arterial intersections instead turn left into nearby neighborhoods.

The analysis of the city’s professional traffic engineers is that if the reverse lanes are eliminated, much more cut through traffic will be generated in our neighborhoods –- the likely result of greater congestion.  Importantly, it may involve increased left and right turn maneuvers into neighborhoods as drivers look for faster routes through signals.

First, we must take steps to make the reverse lanes more user friendly.  Second, we must continue to explore ways to “calm” traffic for area residents and businesses in ways that do not impede the normal flow of an arterial street at rush hours.  Third, we must continue to monitor the need for reverse lanes.

If and when there is some actual evidence that the Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street reversible lanes are no longer needed, we can take steps to eliminate them at that time.  But not now.  Right now, we need them.

National Trust officials tour Valley for possible 2012 conference

Kathy Adams and Lori Feinman of the National Trust for Historic Preservation flew into town last week to view Phoenix’s convention facilities; tour selected historic sites and neighborhoods in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe; and visit with area preservation advocates to determine Phoenix’s ability to host the 2012 National Preservation Conference.  Meeting them at Sky Harbor was Sally Forrest, National Accounts Director for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski welcomes National Trust representatives Lori Feinman and Kathy Adams. (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

The three lunched at the Hotel Valley Ho, one of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America, and then drove to downtown Phoenix to tour the Phoenix Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency and Wyndham hotels (two of the host hotels), and Orpheum Theatre. Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Officer, and Jim McPherson, Arizona Advisor to the National Trust, joined them for dinner at the Rose & Crown Pub in Heritage Square Park (a large outdoor venue that could serve as the opening reception for the 2,500-plus attendees of the 2012 conference).

Phoenix's historic Ellis Shackelford House was decked out in the colors of Arizona's state flag. (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

On Tuesday, Adams and Feinman started off the day by visiting the historic San Carlos Hotel and breakfast at Palette in the Roosevelt Historic District.  Then it was a “timed-to-the minute” whirlwind van tour of First Presbyterian Church, Security Building (and ASU’s PURL overlooking the city), Monroe School (Children’s Museum of Phoenix), Phoenix Union High School Buildings (University of Arizona College of Medicine), Steele Indian School Park, Heard Museum, and several midtown residential historic districts.

State Historic Preservation Officer Jim Garrison and Modern Phoenix Founder Alison King joined the group for lunch and tour of the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.  Then it was off to drive by the Wrigley Mansion, and visit the Desert Botanical Garden, Gammage Auditorium, Pueblo Grande National Historic Landmark, and St. Mary’s Basilica.  Special guests “popped in” throughout the day to say hello, provide their perspective on preservation, and tout Phoenix as a conference site: Attorney General Terry Goddard (Palette), State Senator Debbie McCune Davis (UA College of Medicine), City of Phoenix Council Member Greg Stanton (Children’s Museum), attorney Grady Gammage (Gammage Auditorium), former Phoenix mayor John Driggs, and Arizona 2012 Centennial director Karen Churchard.

Dan Klocke (Downtown Phoenix Partnership), Charles Fortenberry (Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers), John Jacquemart (Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee), and G.G. George (Encanto Citizens Association). (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

Topping off the visit was a reception at the Ellis Shackelford House in downtown Phoenix.  Over 60 preservation advocates from all over the Valley (and Sierra Vista!), city officials, and downtown business group leaders attended.  A balloon arch, special signage, decorations, and flowers in the colors of Arizona’s state flag welcomed our guests from the National Trust.  City of Phoenix Council Member Michael Nowakowski, Garrison, Stocklin, Feinman, and McPherson said a few words, and the rest of the evening was spent enjoying each other’s company and dining on wonderful hors d’oeuvres from Catered by St. Joseph’s.  Gift bags courtesy of the State Historic Preservation Office and City of Phoenix were presented to Adams and Feinman, and each attendee received a small gift as well.

City of Phoenix updates its sustainability summary report

[Source: Cynthia Weaver, City of Phoenix] — The city of Phoenix has updated its Sustainability Summary increasing the total number of sustainability programs from 70 to more than 80.  The summary provides brief descriptions of all of the city of Phoenix’s environmental stewardship efforts, some of which have been in place for decades.  “To be successful, Phoenix must be an environmental leader.  This summary showcases Phoenix’s numerous environmental programs,” said Councilman Greg Stanton, chair of the Parks, Education, Bioscience, and Sustainability Subcommittee.  “The depth and variety of programs demonstrates that Phoenix is an environmental leader, both in the Valley and throughout the nation.”

The updated summary includes recent information on the city’s Climate Action efforts and participation in Earth Hour, in addition to new information about Phoenix Recycles, Bag Central Station, the Convention Center solar project and the city’s recently adopted renewable energy goal, the Brownfields Environmental Technician Job Training Program, and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program.  Enhancements have been reported in the areas of air quality and transportation, environmental leadership, green building and energy conservation, heat island, historic preservation, land use policies, pollution prevention, riparian area conservation, and water conservationTo view the complete summary online, click here.

Idea of the Day: Put Homeless in Homes

From time to time, we’ll throw out an “Idea of the Day” culled from sources here in Arizona and elsewhere.  The following idea was highlighted in a May 23, 2008 Arizona Republic article, “Phoenix may use Seattle program to battle homelessness,” by reporter Casey Newton.  Here’s what it’s all about.

Phoenix could overhaul its approach to reducing homelessness this year using an approach credited with dramatically improving conditions in Seattle.  Phoenix is considering adopting a model of treating homelessness known as Housing First, in which homeless families are given housing even if one or more members of the household is abusing substances.  Traditional homelessness programs require residents to be sober before they can move into housing.  But social workers have found it difficult to get their clients off drugs or alcohol if the clients do not have safe, stable housing.  Phoenix does not itself maintain any beds for homeless services.  But it does fund organizations that do.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]