Phoenix takes steps toward a more pedestrian friendly downtown

Mouse Guard - Available Now @ DriveThruComics.com
Springs Hosting
Huge Discounts on your Favorite RPGs @ DriveThruRPG.com
Guild Adept PDFs - Available exclusively @ Dungeon Masters Guild
Current D&D Campaign Adventures - Mythic Odysseys of Theros
Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis eBooks - Available Now @ DriveThruFiction.com
Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
The walk-up window at Foxy Fruit is meant to entice customers along a revamped First Street in downtown Phoenix. The city is trying to make the area more pedestrian friendly, with  wider sidewalks, benches and shade trees. (Photo by Anya Magnuson/Cronkite News)
The walk-up window at Foxy Fruit is meant to entice customers along a revamped First Street in downtown Phoenix. The city is trying to make the area more pedestrian friendly, with wider sidewalks, benches and shade trees. (Photo by Anya Magnuson/Cronkite News)

By KARISMA SANDOVAL

Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The city is making strides toward a more pedestrian-friendly downtown in a move to build community and boost business.

Phoenix this summer opened a “more walkable” area along First Street just south of Roosevelt Street, where workers widened sidewalks, planted 125 shade trees and narrowed First Street from two lanes each way to one lane lane each way from McKinley to Moreland streets.

Vermon Pierre, president of Roosevelt Row Community Development Corp., said the improvements are essential to creating community.

“We have sidewalks and benches and other places that we can participate in and invest in, and I just encourage us to continue to tell that story, to continue to build a downtown community that we love so much,” he said.

City officials and business owners said they hope wider sidewalks will make storefronts more accessible to foot traffic.

A 2016 George Washington University study found that places with high levels of walkability also experience increases in consumer spending and revenue.

Cameo Wilson, owner of Foxy Fruit Bowls and Smoothies, said the enhanced accessibility contributed to her decision to pick First Street as the location for her first walk-up service window.

“It’s really convenient for people to just be walking down the street on this nice new sidewalk with tons of new parking,” she said, adding that the shade trees and new angled parking are a bonus.

“Everything just looks very clean and updated and nice, and it definitely brings a more fresh feel to downtown,” she said.

Such renovations have attracted new businesses and a more constant flow of customers, said Jim McPherson, a member of Evans Churchill Community Association. He works with businesses, residents and city officials to come up with ideas like the First Street improvements.

“You now have spaces that are now filling in. There’s an increased interest, like this building here, of coming to the community,” he said, pointing to the Churchill building housing restaurants on First.

Pierre said he sees the project connecting neighbors in the historic Evans Churchill neighborhood, which includes Roosevelt Row.

“Wider sidewalks and benches and shade trees allow us to see one another more, to be connected with one another more, to have the kind of relationships that build community,” he said. “This is a community that is creative, that’s inclusive and that’s connected.”

Phoenix is not the only city creating more space for their pedestrians. According to the George Washington University study, Detroit and Los Angeles officials said improvements enhanced pedestrian life and boosted business.

For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Subscribe for free updates!

Newsletters

View previous campaigns.

Powered by MailChimp

Nerdvana Media will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at news@nerdvanamedia.com. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

About the author

Cronkite News

Cronkite News

The news division of Arizona PBS, covering Arizona news you won't find anywhere else! Watch weeknights at 5. Operated by The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Add Comment

Post a comment...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Samurai Comics