'The Bones Are Already There': Could '15-Minute Cities' Catch On In Metro Phoenix?

By Mark Brodie
Published: Thursday, July 8, 2021 - 11:31am
Updated: Saturday, July 10, 2021 - 12:46pm

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biker in protected bike lane
City of Phoenix
A biker rides down the 15th Avenue in Phoenix protected bike lane as a car passes.

Many metro Phoenix residents spend time driving to work, to school, to the store or to somewhere else they need or want to go.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated in 2019 that the average commute time in Phoenix was almost 28 minutes, roughly the national average.

At the same time, some planners are touting the idea of the "15-minute city" — an idea popularized in Paris in which residents are able to do most, if not all, of what they need and want to do within 15 minutes of their homes. And ideally, much of that can be done without getting behind the wheel.

Could that idea work in the Phoenix area, which in many ways is known for being spread out?

To find out, The Show spoke with Hannah Bleam and Trevor Barger. Bleam is a land use planner at the land use law firm Withey Morris; she has also worked as a long-range planner for the city of Phoenix and at the Sonoran Institute. Barger is head of the land planning and entitlement firm Espiritu Loci and principal at the land use strategy firm Arizona Strategies.

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