Our friends at Radiate Phoenix got together at the super cool SideBar off of 7th Avenue this past week. If you haven’t been to a Radiate Phoenix group, meeting, get together, you really are missing out! Basically, you have a group of people that are excited about downtown and “are creative, entrepreneurial, care about how Phoenix develops, appreciate good design, have a social conscience, and enjoy converging with eclectic people.” Please make sure and join us for the next one!
While at Radiate, I had the pleasure of talking to Josh Parry with SideBar about his business and some of his ideas for the future. Without a doubt, I was impressed. I was impressed with how much he cares for the neighborhood and for his community. When we discussed light rail, we talked about the fact that many of the businesses along the line have seen a large increase in traffic since the grand opening. I didn’t get the feeling he had a huge jump in business but I do believe his location is within a “reasonable” distance from the McDowell and Central Ave light rail stop. In fact, I am taking the light rail to try it out again in the very near future. 🙂
Josh and I also spoke with Dave and Jacqui from CenPho.tv about “walkable” areas and neighborhoods. So far, in Phoenix walkable is quite different than walkable in San Francisco, New York and other large cities. Last time I was in San Francisco, I didn’t think twice about walking to places that I would probably drive to (distance wise) here in Arizona. We all believe people utilizing the light rail system will begin to realize it is OK to walk more than 100 yards in Arizona. Obviously, the couple of months in the summer time will effect some decisions but we are fortunate in Arizona to have ideal weather many months out of the year.
So, is it too far to walk from Central to 7th Avenue? What is your opinion on “walkable neighborhoods?” We have had discussions about this at RailLife for quite a long time. We want to list the businesses and attractions “near” the light rail. We want to involve the communities, we want to have fun. I think a few of us need to try it out… I am going to start by visiting Josh again within the week. If anyone wants to come along, just let me know in the comments or @ me on Twitter…
If you go to SideBar without me, please tell Josh that “Rail Life” says “Hi!”
Oh, pick me, pick me – I want to go! 🙂
Glad you posted this, because after we talked about this I google mapped me, and turns out I am EXACTLY one mile from Sidebar, walking. Already since I’ve started riding the light rail I’ve walked more than I normally would, and it’s actually been great.
I’d definitely be up for another visit, and I’ll even walk this time! Let us know!
Sweet… Calie and Jacqui, I’ll be in touch soon. Looking forward to going back there.
David SB says
This is a question I’ve wrestled with on my own blog when deciding which restaurants are really close enough to rail stations to be considered within walking distance. For a while, I was really generous and might go up to .75 miles. I then received some reader feedback indicating that was too far and have since been maintaining the following criteria:
— distance of no more than half a mile
— sidewalks the entire way
— signalled crosswalks every time crossing an arterial street is necessary
From my point of view, these criteria eliminate most businesses along the 7s. There are some very nice indie businesses on those streets. Unfortunately, most are a tough walk from light rail because the signalled crosswalks on the 7s are not always where the businesses are, often requiring a walk a few blocks out of the way in order to cross safetly. Of course, there’s also the issue of weather. Many people who will glady walk up to a mile in winter will hesitate to walk more than a quarter mile in summer. That’s something Phoenix can and should address by incorporating more shade into buildings and streetscapes.
David that’s a REALLY good point about what the walk itself will be like. Lack of sidewalks, lighting, and traffic lights would probably shorten how far I’d be willing to walk.
David… Thanks! I truly value your opinion as http://www.PhxRailFood.com is absolutely one of my faves…