Please Attend! City Plans for REZONING properties near the Light Rail

January 23, 2015 By Craig Steblay Subject: City Plans for REZONING properties near the Light Rail. Twice last year, I rallied the business and property owners along Washington Street to attend City meetings regarding the re-zoning of our properties to a new “Walkable Urban” code. As you may recall, this new code would only apply to a narrow area along the Light Rail and would make it more expensive to expand our business. Also, leasing our properties would be restricted under the new code. But worse, almost all of our property would have been flagged as “Non-Conforming” by the City of Phoenix which can seriously lower our property values. Needless to say this was horrible news for owners and we loudly voiced our concerns and objections to the City Planning Staff at the two meetings. Many people believe we can’t “fight City Hall” and that may be true if you’re all alone, but strength is in numbers. Thanks to the large turnout of owners that attended both of the meetings, the City made a sincere effort listening to us. As a result of our combined voices and efforts, the City Planning Department has revised the Plans and the new Walkable Urban Code to incorporate the needs of industrial properties within the new Gateway Zoning District. The City has asked me if the Property / Business Owners would be able to meet again to review and comment on the “revised plans”. I have only had a glimpse of the new versions of the code and plans because they are not completely done yet. What I did see looked favorable to...

Gas station near light rail called a bad fit

[By Gary Nelson | The Republic | azcentral.com | Tue Aug 6, 2013] Gas station near light rail called a bad fit Six years ago, after numerous public meetings and untold hours of work, Mesa adopted an award-winning plan to guide development along the west end of its light-rail corridor. Accepted by the City Council by December 2007, the West Main Street Plan aims to ensure that construction will be compatible with urban mass transit. The prescription included a long list of uses to be prohibited near future rail stations, including auto-centric businesses, such as gas stations. Now, however, a gas station is being built near the corner of Alma SchoolRoad and Main Street, within shouting distance of a future light-rail station. Mesa resident David Crummey has been peppering City Hall with protests — to no avail, since last September’s approval by the Planning and Zoning Board for the station’s site plan and use permit was all the permission needed. A subsequent meeting of the Design Review Board evoked promises of extra architectural flourishes, but that board couldn’t veto the overall idea. Crummey prepared a slide show outlining his objections to the gas station, which is tied to a Fry’s supermarket. He e-mailed the presentation to members of the City Council and met this month with members of Mesa’s planning staff to plead his case. “Recently, I noticed new construction at the corner of Alma School and Main,” Crummy said in his presentation. “Thinking it was light-rail-related, I investigated. I found that the new construction was a gas station — a land use that I knew was prohibited near light-rail...

Scottsdale express bus link to Tempe light rail proposed

[By Beth Duckett | The Republic | azcentral.com | Mon Aug 19, 2013] Scottsdale express bus link to Tempe light rail proposed By late 2014, bus riders in north Scottsdale could hop on a sleek new bus with limited stops to quickly reach a light-rail station in Tempe. The Link transit system along Scottsdale/Rural Road would be the third such bus rapid-transit route in the Valley, speeding up commuter times and providing an alternative to light rail along the heavily traveled corridor. But it comes at a price. A transit official, in a presentation to Scottsdale’s Transportation Commission this week, estimated costs of nearly $20 million for vehicles and capital improvements to make the route a reality. “It’s very sleek vehicles,” said Ben Limmer, corridor and facility development manager for Valley Metro, the local transportation organization in charge of, among other things, bus service. “It operates more quickly than the local bus route (and) usually has enhanced stops, longer, larger vehicles and a special brand to it.” The price tag would be covered by federal funding and a half-cent-per-dollar sales tax authorized by Proposition 400 for transit projects. The estimated yearly cost for operations and maintenance is $900,000. Limmer said the system would give riders real-time information on when the next bus would arrive. A study, due out in December,will identify an operating plan, capital improvements and final cost estimates. The weekdays-only route likely would operate between the University Drive/Rural Road light-rail station and Camelback Road, except during peak periods when buses would extend to north Scottsdale, Limmer said. The northernmost terminus would be north of a park-and-ride lot...

Next stop: Better light-rail station descriptions

[By Amy B Wang | The Republic | azcentral.com | Tue Aug 20, 2013] Next stop: Better light-rail station descriptions What’s in a name? If it’s a Valley light-rail station, not too much. Montebello and 19th Avenue. Indian School and Central. McClintock and Apache. Along the light rail’s 20-mile route, a monotone female voice announces each of the system’s 28 station names and little else. Sure, the announcements get the job done, said Edward Jensen, secretary of the Downtown Voices Coalition and a vocal advocate for Phoenix public transportation. But there’s no sense of place, no conjuring of neighborhood identity, he said. Jensen is proposing that the light rail’s onboard announcements include nearby points of interest to tie each station more closely with the Valley’s landmarks. And officials with Valley Metro, the light-rail system’s operator, said they’re considering it. Jensen’s proposal renews a conversation that has been ongoing since light rail’s inception. Some in Phoenix have always lamented the ho-hum, geographically based names of the Valley’s light-rail stations and wanted them changed to reflect nearby landmarks. According to its website, the Arizona Rail Passenger Association put out a similar list of suggested station name changes in 2010, but it’s unclear if the group is still active. Calls to the number listed for the group were not returned. In recent e-mail exchanges with Valley Metro officials, Jensen said he was not proposing drastic name changes, which would require a lengthy approval process, but to at least have landmarks included in the onboard announcements. “I’m more just thinking, let’s keep the station names as they are,” he said. “We’ve all seemed to learn them...
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