Monday, October 29, 2007

More Light Rail Stuff

This past Saturday, I attended another "public" meeting in Tempe with City officials, APAC members and members of the Community Design & Architecture group that is working with the City of Tempe by doing light rail impact studies along Apache Blvd.
The public interest hasn't quite peaked. You see, there were at least a dozen people there to handle the questions of maybe 6-8 citizens. The main discussions centered around making the light rail line easy for people to live, work and play near by. A lot of effort seems to be in place to get input from people as to the types of development needed along Apache. If you ask me, there are some less than desirable areas that need a ton of help as well as some really great areas that will be even more enhanced by the coming of this project.
Access from near by neighborhoods will need to be improved to make it convenient for people to walk to a station. Some of their studies focused on areas within an 800' walking distance to each "platform" (rail stop.)
Some things of interest to me were looking at many of the very small parcels along Apache which do not seem exactly perfect for developing large, quality projects. We saw slides and projections of "potential" ways to develop the area but it is still pretty early to see how the development community is going to react. From what I have heard from some of my friends in the commercial real estate business, the light rail line has a lot of interest.
This is going to be fun for us to watch.. Stay tuned. :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tempe Light Rail Meeting

There will be an "open house" at the Tempe Police Substation ( 1855 E Apache) this Wednesday at 6PM to discuss the light rail stations on Apache Blvd. Currently, there are four stations on Apache ranging from Dorsey to McClintock to Smith-Martin and down to Price Road. These stations look to be fairly significant as 3 of the 4 also will have Park-and-Ride Stations. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be to share ideas for the area, discuss future light rail stations and to provide an overview of existing conditions near these areas. The area in discussion is considered Line Section 5 and has some pretty interesting "dynamics" that will come in to play. ie: Great access to the 101, a lot of commercial potential and some housing areas that will undoubtedly go through some changes in the near future.
Other public meetings are held monthly to provide section updates and for people to voice their opinion on construction etc. I have been to several of these meetings and try to drink a Red Bull before in case something of real interest is discussed. This Wednesday's meeting sounds like it will be pretty interesting though. Maybe I'll see ya there.. Feel free to check the Rail Life blog for info on more Light Rail meetings..

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

AZ Light Rail - Fast Track to Good Grub

Arizona's Light Rail line will be a great way to check out some very good and some very "interesting" restaurants. A few month's ago, I found this blog that's got all kinds of restaurants on it along the rail line. Pretty cool stuff, even if I didn't see two of my favorites; They would be.. Monti's La Casa Vieja and Pizzeria Bianco.
Monti's is located at 100 S. Mill Ave near the future stop at Third /Mill. Michael Monti also has a blog with some great info..
Pizzeria Bianco is located at 623 E Adams St. near the future stop at Third / Washington.
Ever tried to get in, or to park, near Pizzeria Bianco? The place is ALWAYS packed. I remember going in there after a D-backs game one night and we sat next to Jerry Colangelo. What a nice guy he was!
Once the line opens, it will be fun to check out a bunch of new spots to try.. Stay tuned..

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sports Fans and Light Rail!

As we drove down Washington on our way to see the Diamondbacks win game one of their playoff series against the Cubs Wednesday night, the traffic was horrible. I was glad to see it though as we were driving right next to the future light rail line. Soon, there will be stops near many of our major sporting arenas. ( Like this at 3rd St / Jefferson ) Getting to Suns, D-Back and ASU games will be made easier for many people. The fans at the game this week showed that AZ is finally becoming a really great sports town. With the Devils un-defeated and the D-Backs looking to go deep in to the playoffs, people can find a lot of excuses to be in down town Tempe and Phoenix.
My 3 year old son loves trains and I can't wait to take him and his little brothers on a light rail ride. I think it will be a blast to go to a game downtown AND get to ride the "train."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

AZ Light Rail - Not all "Urban Luxury"

Most of the articles I have seen about Light Rail in the paper talk about the many "large" projects being built along the light rail line. Places like "Edgewater," in Tempe and "Chateaux on Central," in Phoenix have been mentioned several times. (among many others)

While these projects and many of the commercial projects are interesting, I think there is another demographic that hasn't been mentioned nearly as much. At both ends of the line and in places in-between, we see some neighborhoods that don't (yet) get much press. Neighborhoods that might house some of the people that will actually use the rail to get to work. I had lunch with a valley firefighter last week and we discussed some of these areas. Believe me folks, not everyone along the line will be spending a million bucks on a condo.

We have been researching many of the single family neighborhoods and look forward to watching the progression of these areas.