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-   -   Phoenix 101: What killed downtown (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=239762)

mhays Aug 4, 2019 5:29 AM

It's a tall order, and takes decades for any city. Over say four square miles, adding another 10,000 per square mile requires maybe 6,667 new units per square mile...figure 88 buildings of 200 units each.

plutonicpanda Aug 4, 2019 9:05 AM

Phoenix is an amazing city. I suspect their downtown takes off in a big way in the coming decade. Only problem is their light-rail is a joke. It runs in the street at grade. Seriously why not just have bus lanes!? Real transit should be fully grade operated on a viaduct or tunnel. in dense areas! Other than that it was around 110 and the downtown area of Phoenix was bustling with activity to a good extent.

Obadno Aug 4, 2019 8:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by badrunner (Post 8648856)
Actually, in terms of postwar development patterns, I would say that Riverside MSA is a better comparison. It's almost a perfect match.

Historical population - Phoenix MSA/Riverside MSA
  • 1950 - 374,961/451,688
  • 1960 - 726,183/809,782
  • 1970 - 1,039,807/1,143,146
  • 1980 - 1,599,970/1,558,182
  • 1990 - 2,238,480/2,588,793
  • 2000 - 3,251,876/3,254,821
  • 2010 - 4,192,887/4,224,851

But riverside is an outgrowth of LA and hardly functions as an independent metro at all, with even less of a core than Phoenix has.

Sun Belt Aug 5, 2019 12:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plutonicpanda (Post 8649135)
Phoenix is an amazing city. I suspect their downtown takes off in a big way in the coming decade. Only problem is their light-rail is a joke. It runs in the street at grade. Seriously why not just have bus lanes!? Real transit should be fully grade operated on a viaduct or tunnel. in dense areas! Other than that it was around 110 and the downtown area of Phoenix was bustling with activity to a good extent.

Because the bus sucks. Nobody wants to ride a bus. It reminds them of the 2nd grade.

The [very successful] Phoenix light rail, replaced what was once called the Red Line Bus. It follows the exact route, for the most part.

The problem I see with Phoenix's light rail system is that the train has to stop at stop lights. That is an easy fix that won't involve tunneling or flyovers, just make every intersection protected with gates.

Sun Belt Aug 5, 2019 12:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pj3000 (Post 8647975)
We know this. Which is exactly why you can't put Phoenix in the same league with LA and

Nobody is trying to put Phoenix in the same league with Los Angeles, except you.

pj3000 Aug 5, 2019 12:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8649434)
Nobody is trying to put Phoenix in the same league with Los Angeles, except you.

You're just a bit late to the conversation.

This claim was made (not by me):

"why did downtown never develop to begin with?"

"And the answer to that is the same for LA, Dallas, or any other large sunbelt city Sprawl was the order of the day."



Don't be a dick for no good reason.

Sun Belt Aug 5, 2019 12:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pj3000 (Post 8649439)
You're just a bit late to the conversation.

This claim was made (not by me):

"why did downtown never develop to begin with?"

"And the answer to that is the same for LA, Dallas, or any other large sunbelt city Sprawl was the order of the day."



Don't be a dick for no good reason.

Downtown Los Angeles absolutely sucked for decades. Whomever said that was correct.

Heck, most downtowns sucked. They were full of bankers, lawyers, jails and government centers of employment.

pj3000 Aug 5, 2019 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8649441)
Downtown Los Angeles absolutely sucked for decades. Whomever said that was correct.

Heck, most downtowns sucked. They were full of bankers, lawyers, jails and government centers of employment.

Yeah, no one's disagreeing with that. That wasn't the crux of the conversation.

It's been over and done for more than a day, and we all learned good stuff.

mhays Aug 5, 2019 1:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8649433)
Because the bus sucks. Nobody wants to ride a bus. It reminds them of the 2nd grade.

The [very successful] Phoenix light rail, replaced what was once called the Red Line Bus. It follows the exact route, for the most part.

The problem I see with Phoenix's light rail system is that the train has to stop at stop lights. That is an easy fix that won't involve tunneling or flyovers, just make every intersection protected with gates.

It's VERY different in urban cities.

plutonicpanda Aug 5, 2019 6:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8649433)
Because the bus sucks. Nobody wants to ride a bus. It reminds them of the 2nd grade.

The [very successful] Phoenix light rail, replaced what was once called the Red Line Bus. It follows the exact route, for the most part.

The problem I see with Phoenix's light rail system is that the train has to stop at stop lights. That is an easy fix that won't involve tunneling or flyovers, just make every intersection protected with gates.

The Phoenix light rail is successful!?!? By what measure? When I was there and rode very few others were on it and it took twice as long to travel as it did in my car.

As for placing gates at intersections... no thank you. That impedes car travel and for one is unnecessary when you can grade separate which will allow trains to run at higher speeds than a system even with gates and secondly will piss off a population overwhelmingly comprised of automobile drivers who already are gaining clout to shut the light-rail down with no future expansions. In that case tread carefully.

Buses don't have to be bad. Maybe people don't like them because in much of country especially in auto oriented cities like Phoenix they are ran half assed. Give nicer buses(more amenities), keep the homeless off from loitering, add real protected bus stops, and increase frequencies to a maximum of 12-15 minutes outside of rush hour with most non rush hour running at 10-12 minutes and I bet you find ridership would increase. At any rate I would think Phoenix should go crazy with a mass transit system. It seems to be doing nice with what it has. I very enjoyed much Phoenix and I'm considering a place there to get away from LA.

JManc Aug 5, 2019 6:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhays (Post 8649483)
It's VERY different in urban cities.

In that mass transit isn't an afterthought with minimal investment. Those cities also have the ridership to justify more elaborate systems.

LA21st Aug 5, 2019 2:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pj3000 (Post 8649439)
You're just a bit late to the conversation.

This claim was made (not by me):

"why did downtown never develop to begin with?"

"And the answer to that is the same for LA, Dallas, or any other large sunbelt city Sprawl was the order of the day."



Don't be a dick for no good reason.

Im glad someone else saw this. Even when Downtown LA sucked, it was still on a different level and built differently than other sunbelt cities. Again, it had 1.5 millon by 1940, just in the city.
LA isn't in the sunbelt tier. It's kind of it's own thing, since it's not with the older cities either.

Sun Belt Aug 5, 2019 2:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plutonicpanda (Post 8649588)
The Phoenix light rail is successful!?!? By what measure? When I was there and rode very few others were on it and it took twice as long to travel as it did in my car.

1] Total daily riders have greatly exceeded estimates.
2] Even though it's currently a single line of just 26 miles, Average Daily Boardings per Mile is greater than light rail systems in Denver, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Dallas, Sacramento, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore etc.

Quote:

As for placing gates at intersections... no thank you. That impedes car travel and for one is unnecessary when you can grade separate which will allow trains to run at higher speeds than a system even with gates and secondly will piss off a population overwhelmingly comprised of automobile drivers who already are gaining clout to shut the light-rail down with no future expansions. In that case tread carefully.
Gates aren't perfect, but it's a cheaper alternative than grade separated, fly-overs or tunnels. The only time you would be inconvenienced if you were on a surface street and crossed the tracks at the exact same time a train were approaching.

Quote:

Buses don't have to be bad. Maybe people don't like them because in much of country especially in auto oriented cities like Phoenix they are ran half assed. Give nicer buses(more amenities), keep the homeless off from loitering, add real protected bus stops, and increase frequencies to a maximum of 12-15 minutes outside of rush hour with most non rush hour running at 10-12 minutes and I bet you find ridership would increase. At any rate I would think Phoenix should go crazy with a mass transit system. It seems to be doing nice with what it has. I very enjoyed much Phoenix and I'm considering a place there to get away from LA.
Busses are awful. Nobody wants to ride the bus. They're loud and jerky. They're even worse in Mhays Urban Areas because not only are they jerky, they're packed full of people, you're constantly bumping into people and everybody is wearing a backpack and coats and you start sweating your ass off as you hold on for dear life.

I used to ride a Cool Urban Area bus back in the day. It sucked then and it sucks now.

PHX31 Aug 5, 2019 3:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plutonicpanda (Post 8649135)
Only problem is their light-rail is a joke. It runs in the street at grade. Seriously why not just have bus lanes!? Real transit should be fully grade operated on a viaduct or tunnel. in dense areas! Other than that it was around 110 and the downtown area of Phoenix was bustling with activity to a good extent.

Just FYI, the light rail at intersections in Phoenix has traffic signal priority, so the theory is it doesn't have to stop (or should have to stop fewer times and for less time than a car would). It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing when there is no grade separation (obviously that's not gonna happen, it's way more expensive).

Obadno Aug 5, 2019 3:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plutonicpanda (Post 8649588)
The Phoenix light rail is successful!?!? By what measure? When I was there and rode very few others were on it and it took twice as long to travel as it did in my car.

As for placing gates at intersections... no thank you. That impedes car travel and for one is unnecessary when you can grade separate which will allow trains to run at higher speeds than a system even with gates and secondly will piss off a population overwhelmingly comprised of automobile drivers who already are gaining clout to shut the light-rail down with no future expansions. In that case tread carefully.

Buses don't have to be bad. Maybe people don't like them because in much of country especially in auto oriented cities like Phoenix they are ran half assed. Give nicer buses(more amenities), keep the homeless off from loitering, add real protected bus stops, and increase frequencies to a maximum of 12-15 minutes outside of rush hour with most non rush hour running at 10-12 minutes and I bet you find ridership would increase. At any rate I would think Phoenix should go crazy with a mass transit system. It seems to be doing nice with what it has. I very enjoyed much Phoenix and I'm considering a place there to get away from LA.

The Phoenix light rail has been a massive success far exceeding their highest estimations when they built it and drawing hundreds of billions of private development dollars along its length

Obadno Aug 5, 2019 3:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LA21st (Post 8649677)
Im glad someone else saw this. Even when Downtown LA sucked, it was still on a different level and built differently than other sunbelt cities. Again, it had 1.5 millon by 1940, just in the city.
LA isn't in the sunbelt tier. It's kind of it's own thing, since it's not with the older cities either.

Even today considering it’s size LA has a weak downtown and that is due to the same economic and social pressures as Phoenix having a weak downtown.

La had a bigger downtown to start with before suburbanization but it has still be completely underutilized just as Phoenix was.

If everything were even LA should have an urban core nipping at the heels of New York and blowing away cities like Chicago, Toronto, Seattle and Vancouver

But it doesn’t because of the same reason Phoenix has a small downtown.

Nobody is trying to put them in the same league, but they are also not “entirely different” in fact they are very similar in development pattern

mhays Aug 5, 2019 3:46 PM

Buses have downsides, but they can and do handle huge numbers of riders in urban cities, whether you like them or not.

My city has more bus riders than most cities have total transit riders, by a large margin. Frequency and HOV lanes are two keys. Another advantage is that they spider web out into neighborhoods, so most in-city residents and many suburbanites are within an easy walk of a bus stop.

JAYNYC Aug 5, 2019 3:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8649774)
Even today considering it’s size LA has a weak downtown and that is due to the same economic and social pressures as Phoenix having a weak downtown.

La had a bigger downtown to start with before suburbanization but it has still be completely underutilized just as Phoenix was.

If everything were even LA should have an urban core nipping at the heels of New York and blowing away cities like Chicago, Toronto, Seattle and Vancouver

But it doesn’t because of the same reason Phoenix has a small downtown.

Nobody is trying to put them in the same league, but they are also not “entirely different” in fact they are very similar in development pattern

I don't know, man. While I agree DTLA has a long way to go, and should ideally blow away the smaller cities you mentioned, I think downtown Phoenix is much more comparable to downtown San Jose due to its suburban office park look and feel. As relatively small as DTLA is, I've never felt that same vibe there.

Obadno Aug 5, 2019 4:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JAYNYC (Post 8649782)
I don't know, man. While I agree DTLA has a long way to go, and should ideally blow away the smaller cities you mentioned, I think downtown Phoenix is much more comparable to downtown San Jose due to its suburban office park look and feel. As relatively small as DTLA is, I've never felt that same vibe there.

When I’m saying development patterns I mean the entire city/metro

Both la in a Phoenix spread out post war, hopscotching across their desperate basins, master planned communities car oriented suburbs and the development of multiple small cores spread out over a large geographic area, which eventually merged together.

La was filled out decades ago so they began to densify earlier.

San Jose to me is much like riverside (not in urban form in economic function) as it doesn’t operate or seem like it’s own independent place, it’s a second core in the orbit of San Francisco.

I also wouldn’t say downtown Phoenix feels like a suburban office park. There was a couple of megablocl projects built in the 1990’s that do have that feel on the east side of downtown near the convention center, however there is currently a bunch of redevelopment dollars going to the retcon of those terrible projects to make them less super blocky 1990 and more interactive with the rest downtown.

So I wouldn’t use the term suburban but I would say small, for a region of 5 million downtown feels like it belongs to a city of 500k

LA21st Aug 5, 2019 4:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8649774)
Even today considering it’s size LA has a weak downtown and that is due to the same economic and social pressures as Phoenix having a weak downtown.

La had a bigger downtown to start with before suburbanization but it has still be completely underutilized just as Phoenix was.

If everything were even LA should have an urban core nipping at the heels of New York and blowing away cities like Chicago, Toronto, Seattle and Vancouver

But it doesn’t because of the same reason Phoenix has a small downtown.

Nobody is trying to put them in the same league, but they are also not “entirely different” in fact they are very similar in development pattern

Agree to disagree. I was in Phoenix for the first time for Memorial Day and it's not the same. Is downtown LA small for it's metro? Yes, but LA's "core" is really Wilshire all the way towards Santa Monica . It's not just some pocket bounded by those freeways. If you want to look at like that, you have to remember things like the Fashion District, the historic core, Little Tokyo, the Arts District are in that pocket, all which are vibrant compared to sunbelt cities. Even when downtown "sucked", these places still had energy to them, mostly because of LA's huge population. There's just more going on and new development these days.

That said, I liked some things about Phoenix. I would visit once a year or so. Just not in the summer lol. It's def the largest/most urban southwest city and has it's own feel.


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