Phoenix VS Denver

I just spent 5 days in and around the the fellow Metblog city of Denver. What an awesome place! I have my opinions on light rail and what it won’t do for Phoenix (which I won’t share right now) but one thing that Downtown Phoenix REALLY needs is something comparable to Denver’s 16th Street Mall. A car free pedestrian friendly strip several miles long served by free hybrid shuttle busses. Combine this with free wi-fi along the entire stretch, and in my opinion you’ve got a recipe for revitalization. Another problem is that’s is so cheap to park in Downtown Phoenix that there’s no desire for a real mass transit system or any incentive to use existing mass transit. It’s been discussed over and over, with a myriad of solutions proposed, and it’s no secret that Downtown Phoenix needs help. What I wonder is how much research Phoenix has done in other cities to see what works and what doesn’t, and why has Phoenix had such a hard time with revitalization. Whatever it is, it’s not for lack of monetary investment. Public projects such as ASU’s campus expansion, light rail, and Phoenix Convention Center’s expansion are said to total $1 billion, but these don’t address public facing issues like blight, massive expanses of concrete and parking structures, lack of affordable and desirable housing and more importantly a lack of green, public friendly gathering places and shade in the downtown area. Phoenix really needs to begin investing in smaller street level projects that make the downtown area friendly for pedestrians (not cars and corporations). Get with the schtick Phoenix!, with Southwest flying to Denver for not much more than $100 round trip, I’ll skip out for now and chill in Downtown Denver.

1 Comment so far

  1. gempix (unregistered) on July 24th, 2006 @ 9:29 am

    I agree with the Phoenix vx. Denver commentary. I have lived in the Phoenix area for 35 years, but I grew up in Denver and lived there for many years (yeah, I’m a geezer). The 16th Street mall in Denver is awesome. No traffic is allowed on the street except for the free buses, which come along every three minutes. It is the most convenient downtown area I’ve ever been in. It would be nice if Phoenix would make our downtown more attractive to small shops. I don’t have much hope for that, though. I just don’t think it is going to happen.

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