[Source: J Seth Anderson, Boy Meets Blog]
A street-car system, dating back to the 19th century in Phoenix has been covered by asphalt for over 50 years, until parts of it were uncovered on March 30, 2011 in a tangled mess destined for a landfill. (Thank you to Sean at the skyscraper page for posting these pictures.) This particular line was known as the Kenilworth (5th Ave.) Line. It ran south from Encanto Blvd along 5th Ave past the Kenilworth School and terminated at the 2nd Ave station. It’s been buried under asphalt since the late 1940s.
Quick history lesson: Phoenix had an extensive streetcar system up until the 1940s! Look at these maps from Wikipedia (this doesn’t even show the Grand Avenue line)
This burns me up! The city had an effective, extensive public transportation system in the hub of the city that got people into town, to shopping, to restaurants, to work, to public spaces, to concert halls and theaters then back to their neighborhoods. Sound familiar? Since 2004 the city has poured billions of dollars into the light rail in order to create a public transportation system… a system that already existed and was better than what we have now!!!!
We wouldn’t even recognize Phoenix today if these lines were still in operation. City officials know as well as I do that the key component missing in every single redevelopment or “revitalization” of downtown was effective public transportation. The light rail debuted in 2008 and by all accounts has been a huge success. We need more of it, we need it now. And sadly, we already had it.
[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix plans to scale back evening hours for its free Downtown Area Shuttle, or DASH, as a business group gears up to launch an evening trolley service in the city’s core. Beginning Dec. 29, all DASH buses will operate from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays. Since late July, bright green and blue buses on the system’s Downtown Loop had run until 8 p.m.
Connecting Central Station, sports venues, educational facilities, and the Roosevelt corridor, the Downtown Loop aimed to make it easier for people to get around to restaurants, bars and sporting and entertainment events after dark. But a change in funding prompted the City Council last week to eliminate those evening hours.
The Downtown Phoenix Partnership, a group of downtown business and property owners who had been financing the extended hours, shifted that money to a downtown trolley service. The group hopes to have the free trolley, similar to one in Scottsdale, running by Jan. 1. [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.