[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — A business group is in the midst of a $1 million plan to overhaul many of the signs in downtown Phoenix. Many of the signs pointing to downtown Phoenix attractions are hard to read, outdated, or in disrepair, said Terry Madeksza, director of operations for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “You had this mishmash of signs,” Madeksza said. “Our intention is to have vibrant signs that pop and that catch people’s attention.”
The business group also wants a comprehensive approach. It plans to install easy-to-read signs to help drivers find neighborhood attractions, signs that direct motorists to parking, and signs that point out landmarks to pedestrians. There are plans for “gateway signs” that will let visitors know they have arrived in downtown Phoenix. The program is funded by bond money approved in 2006. The partnership added $50,000 of its money to cover some costs, Madeksza said. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[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: Kristena Hansen, Arizona Republic] — The Downtown Wayfinding System, costing just under $1 million, aims to make downtown Phoenix more hospitable and welcoming to visitors and Valley residents. The new signage system hopes to make it easier for people to find their way around and will also tie into public transportation, including the new light-rail line that will begin operating Dec. 27. “They not only service those who are driving to downtown but also help provide ease of travel for those who are on foot,” said Terry Madeksza, spokesperson for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.
The signs will promote new and existing venues, enhance parking identification, add pedestrian mapping and guides and point to historical markers, Madeksza said. Along with directing vehicles and pedestrians to and from major destinations, the partnership hopes it will market opportunities for people to extend their stays. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Every city has a few crown jewels, but in 2008, Phoenix plans to pile on the razzle-dazzle. Several downtown projects, which are expected to wrap up this year, could have huge influence on the heart of the city, insiders say. The list includes light rail, Arizona State University’s journalism school, the expanded Phoenix Convention Center, the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, and 44 Monroe, the tallest residential building in the state. “I see 2008 as the first wave of the perfect storm,” said Terry Madeksza, director of operations for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, a group of downtown merchants and landowners. That’s because each project will help lure thousands of visitors and full-time residents, she said. The 2008 projects also represent a staggering public investment. The light-rail line, the Sheraton hotel and the convention center expansion represent more than $2 billion in public financing.
Next year will also bring huge milestones for downtown development. For instance, the first phase of CityScape — a $900 million cluster of shops, offices, high-rise dwelling and hotels — is scheduled to open in 2009 and another high-rise condo tower, Omega, would be in the midst of construction. “At the end of 2008, we won’t be finished,” said John Chan, the city’s downtown-development director. This year’s projects “will carry that momentum beyond.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]