Plans For Three Phoenix Neighborhoods Unveiled

April 11, 2014

(Photo courtesy of Reinvent Phoenix)
The diagram from the Solano plans for the Park and Ride facility on Camelback Road and 19th Avenue.
(Photo courtesy of Reinvent Phoenix)
A before and after look at the proposed Solano Camelback transformation. Photos and illustrations by Reinvent Phoenix.

Reinvent PHX has unveiled design plans for three city neighborhoods, uptown, midtown and Solano. The project is the result of a nearly $3 million federal grant and aims to improve walkability, bikeability and general livability along Phoenix’s light rail line.

Katherine Coles is a village planner with the city. We met at the Park and Ride lot at 19th Avenue and Montebello, in the Solano neighborhood.

"There is so much under-utilized land along the light rail that it is really sometimes daunting, how much potential there is," said Galina Tachieva, an urban planner with the firm DPZ in Miami and the director of its team for the Reinvent PHX project.

She said the project isn’t about one big solution but rather multiple projects at multiple scales.

"These are the ways great cities have been built – one building at a time, one adaptive re-use at a time, one block at a time, one street at a time. So, this will be our approach to Reinvent PHX," Tachieva said.
 
Tachieva said the real “wow” effect will be not through one great gesture but the compounded effect of block after block of a great city.

Coles said each neighborhood’s plans are tailored. For example, in the uptown district, basically Indian School between 7th Street and 7th Avenue up to where the light rail turns at Camelback Road, planners are considering how to incorporate some of the city’s historic neighborhoods. In the midtown area, 7th Street to 7th Avenue, from McDowell to Indian School, they are trying to rejuvenate parts of Central. And in the Solano area, Coles said residents want to recognize the area’s ethnic diversity.

Coles said the plans that have been released are not set in stone and that there is always room for change. But, Tachieva believes there is an urgency to this project.

"There’s a lot of competition out there, there’s a lot of private investment going into public transportation corridors around the country. And, we believe that for Reinvent PHX to become a real project, we need to act fast," said Tachieva.

Tachieva said planners did not come up with the designs in a vacuum and she believes the demand for development along the light rail line will be there to take the plans from the drawing boards to the neighborhoods.

Coles agrees. She said the entire project is a vision for 2040 and that the market will in part determine the timeline for development.

The PDF for the proposed Solano development can be viewed as an attachment to this story. For more information on the rest of the plans, click here.