Blog Archives

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

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Be a Part of the Third Urban Wine Walk in Downtown Phoenix on April 9th

[Source: downtownphoenix.com]

Saturday, April 9, 2011 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Explore the Downtown Phoenix, Camelback Corridor and Tempe dining scenes with the Urban Wine Walk. Spend an afternoon with friends at 17 restaurants, each one offering three wine samples and a snack at a special price, available only to the Urban Wine Walk participants.

Start early to avoid the 4 p.m. rush!

The Third Urban Wine Walk will be held Saturday, April 9th from 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Participants can enhance their urban experience by riding the light rail to participating restaurants for $3.50 (the cost of an all-day METRO light rail pass)

To participate, print out the wine list, and invite your friends to organize a route. Don’t forget to tell your server you are participating in the Urban Wine Walk to receive the special prices.

Must be 21 to participate.

Body MarketGo to the Phoenix Public Market during the Urban Wine Walk to pick up your FREE Urban Wine Walk Gift Bag. The Market is located on the corner of 14 E. Pierce St. and Central.

The bags are stuffed with Downtown Phoenix coupons and goodies. Be sure to show up early as there are only 600 bags!

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

Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot’s Monthly Meeting This Thursday

[Source: City of Phoenix]

Residents are invited to join Councilman Tom Simplot for his monthly meeting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at Park Central Deli, 3110 N. Central Ave. (located at the south end of Park Central Mall).

This month’s guest speakers are Cmdr. AB Smith of the Squaw Peak Precinct and Cmdr. Jeff Alexander, who oversees the Transit Bureau. Topics will include neighborhood crime issues and light rail transit safety. Residents also can discuss city issues with the Councilman.

To confirm your attendance, call the District 4 office at 602-262-7447, or respond by e-mail to council.district.4@phoenix.gov.

 

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.

Share Your “Best of Light Rail” Picks

Be sure to include your downtown Phoenix favs!

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal]

CityCircles, a Phoenix media start up, announced creation of a Best of Light Rail contest.

The company, which develops tools for hyperlocal communities, is seeking the public input in a variety of categories for businesses located within walking distance of the light rail line.

According to a news release distributed by CityCircles, the goal of the survey is to increase awareness of life around light rail and to make mass transit more attractive.

There are 36 topics in four main categories: food, drink, services/shopping and the light rail experience. Examples include best sushi restaurant, best example of historic preservation and best public restroom. The polling closes Fri., Oct. 1. The winners will be announced Oct. 15.

Click here to access an online ballot.

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Light Rail 101

Tony Arranaga (aka Light Rail Blogger), has developed the following tip sheet for incoming ASU students. The advice was so good that I wanted to share it with DVC readers.

[Source: Light Rail Blogger]

Tony Arranaga; Photograph Courtesy LightRailBlogger.com

Phoenix is gearing up for an influx of new residents as students arrive for the first week of school at the downtown campus of Arizona State University. In an effort to get more people using light rail, Barrett Honors College asked me to list some information for incoming freshman on how to use our public transportation system.

Specifically, the organizers of the Barrett Urban Experience are looking to show points of interest along the light rail, instead of how to use the light rail in this part of the Valley. Below is a list of some popular destinations north of the downtown campus. The information should be helpful to those who are new to our urban core.

1st Ave and Jefferson Station (Eastbound trains only) Use this stop for bothPhoenix City Hall (and the courts) in addition to the new CVS Pharmacyinside CityScape, which is across from the street from the station. CityScape is the new entertainment destination in the heart of the city, with several restaurants, a bowling alley and a comedy club expected to open soon.

Central Station Station ASU campusPhoenix Public Market and the Lincoln Family Y are popular destinations at this station. The market, located two blocks north of the station, offers a wide selection of locally grown produce and other grocery store items, in addition to local coffee bar favorite Royal at the Market(here). Many students usually grab a cup here before class.

McDowell and Central Station The restaurant My Florist Cafe (five blocks west of the station) is a good place for a date, Giant Coffee is a great place to read while enjoying a cup of coffee, and next door is Bunky Boutique (both are one block east of the station) where you can find stylish fashion for him and her . Also, with Hallooween around the corner, you’ll want to look for Easley’s Costumeswhich is directly across the street from My Florist. Easley’s has one of the largest selections of costumes and accessories in the city.

Thomas and Central Station St Joseph’s Hospital is three blocks west of the station on Thomas, in addition to Park Central Mall (north end of platform) which is home to popular breakfast joint The Good Egg (here).

Campbell and Central Station Central High School is located here, but you’ll be more interested in hot spots Lux Coffee BarPane Bianco for killer italian gourmet sandwhiches, and Slippery Pig Bikes.

Camelback and Central Station is directly across the street from popular record store Stinkweeds, the old school candy store Smeeks, in addition to Francesand Red Hot Robot, which are great locally owned stores where you can buy gifts for all ages.

In addition to these places, you might also want to check out a recent post by guest blogger Si Robins on how he lives car-lite in downtown Phoenix. I also have two short videos on popular destinations near the 3rd and Washington Station and the Central and Washington Station.

Keep in mind that some of these destinations are a bit of a walk from the light rail stations, which is why I use a bike whenever possible. If you’re carfree and need access to a rental, there are two Zipcars at the corner of 1st Street and Fillmore, which is the parking lot on the north side of the Cronkite School. In addition, there are also several taxicab services to help you get around. For more information on these and other transportation services, be sure to read my post on DowntownPhoenix.com. Information on how to ride the light rail can be found here.

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UPDATE: METRO bus strike averted; union contract extended to August 15

The Phoenix New Times is reporting that Phoenix bus riders have been spared a possible bus strike come Monday…

The Teamsters Local Union No. 104, which represents the employees who fuel and clean the buses, extended its contract until August 15.

The other two unions that represent Veolia Transportation employees had already agreed to extend talks. The bus mechanics union (International Union of Operating Engineers Local 428) agreed yesterday to extend its contract to August 15, and the bus operators union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, has extended its contract until Sept. 30.

“It’s a good sign that they’re still talking,” said Debra Stark, executive assistant to the City Manager, who oversees the city’s Public Transit Department.

ALERT! Potential transit strike could affect downtown Phoenix

[from the City of Phoenix website]

Veolia Transportation Services Transit Labor Union Strike

The City of Phoenix Public Transit Department provides local bus, RAPID, Express, Neighborhood Circulator, and Dial-A-Ride service to the public.  Each of these services is provided by the city through contracts with private companies, which are responsible for hiring employees, scheduling and staffing routes, and negotiating employee benefits and compensation as part of their agreements.

Currently one of the city’s contractors for local bus and circulator service, Veolia Transportation Services, is in negotiations with three unions representing its employees.  Contracts with each union ended in June, and negotiations are ongoing.  It is possible that if negotiations should reach an impasse, transit service in Phoenix could be disrupted as early as July 25.

In light of that possibility, Phoenix Public Transit is recommending passengers begin researching alternate transportation plans to get to work, or other regular destinations of travel.  Below are additional resources about possible service interruptions, and alternate methods of transportation.

Negotiations Update:
No update at this time.

Press Release on Possible Transit Strike
This press release provides information the possible strike, as well as travel alternatives for passengers.

Background Information
Background information about Phoenix Public Transit services and contractors.

Phoenix Public Transit and Its Contractors
An organizational chart that shows the relationship between The CIty of Phoenix and its transit contractors.

Media Contacts
News outlets with questions about ongoing labor negotiations or affected transit service can call these contacts.

Passenger Information

Use the Trip Planner on ValleyMetro.org for bus and METRO schedules.

Go to ValleyMetro.org to check the schedules of non-affected bus routes and for the METRO schedule – passengers may be able to use an alternative route.  Also check a map of unaffected bus routes below.

You can also call Valley Metro Customer Service at 602-253-5000, TTY 602-261-8208.

Carpools or vanpools

Register at Share the Ride for a carpool or vanpool match list or call (602) 262-RIDE (7433).  If you want to meet your carpool partners at a neutral site, check out the list of Phoenix owned and operated sites.

Taxis, limos, and shuttles Sky Harbor, operated by the Phoenix Aviation Department, has a list of transportation companies on their website.

Route Information:

Veolia Route List

Veolia Route Map

Veolia Service (by City)

Non-Veolia Route List

Non-Veolia Route Map

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Downtown Voices statement on proposed demolition of Sahara/Ramada Hotel for parking lot

To the Mayor, City Council, ASU Officials, City Staff, ASU Staff, and the Citizens of Phoenix:

It seems for every success that Phoenix can point to as ASU’s benefit to the downtown’s vitality, there also seem glaring and obvious deficiencies.  The decision to purchase and raze an existing historic structure, the Sahara/Ramada Hotel, and replace it with an overflow parking lot for a city-owned hotel, seems an obvious contradiction.

  • Though ASU and Phoenix both promote sustainable development, there is nothing in this direction that is sustainable, Earth-friendly, or revitalizing.
  • Phoenix already has land-banked large swaths of empty lots.
  • The campus was originally proposed to decentralize through downtown, rather than an aggregate of clustered buildings, in an effort to promote activity throughout the downtown.
  • For ASU to promote sustainability and the City to promote adaptive reuse, it seems disingenuous to then take down a historic and easily repaired structure and replace it with an asphalt lot.
  • Likewise, for Phoenix to promote light rail to discourage more cars on the road and the need for lots to park them, while investing in yet another parking lot to serve a city-owned and developed hotel, seems equally two-faced.

There are great opportunities to save, restore, and adapt the original Sahara/Ramada Hotel, with uses that fit well with the city-promoted need for hotel rooms and ASU’s existing colleges.  Within a one-hour Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee meeting on Saturday, March 13, ideas were discussed that would create revenue streams.  A true boutique hotel along the lines of The Clarendon, various care and health facilities (assisted living, long-term care, hospice, or transitional living), and even working art studios to bring fine art students to downtown are all more creative directions and tax revenue than another off-the-tax-rolls empty lot.

The Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee urges the City of Phoenix and ASU Downtown to abandon its harmful decision to demolish the Sahara/Ramada, and instead discuss more creative and forward-thinking goals for this property.  We look forward to a dialogue and request a planning session.  We also trust no decision will be made without further input.

Thank you.

Steve Weiss
Steering Committee Chair, Downtown Voices Coalition