Independent Facilitator: More Conversations Needed About Phoenix Light Rail Expansion

Published: Monday, September 24, 2018 - 2:09pm
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2018 - 2:44pm
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On Wednesday, the Phoenix City Council will hold a special meeting on the South Central light rail extension — and council members are expected to vote on whether to keep the current two-lane design or whether to switch to a four-lane concept as some business owners along Central Avenue have demanded.

The timeline for the 5.5-mile project has been pushed back over community concerns about the effects it will have on businesses and the neighborhood.

Last week on The Show, Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith defended the project.

"You can get stories anecdotally. But we found that if they'll work with us with our business assistance we can get through construction and we can set them up to where they can succeed," he said.

And that’s the message Valley Metro hoped to convey to people attending a series of community meetings the city held over the last few months. After all of the controversy, they even brought in an independent facilitator to guide those meetings: Bailey Strategic Innovation Group, which put together a report on their observations.

Hundreds of people came out to the meetings — including a few protesters — and, in the end, the report found the community is hungry for information, but many also feel that their voices have not been heard in major municipal decisions.

The Show Spoke with Eric Bailey, president of Bailey Strategic, to talk about what he heard at those meetings, and how to walk into such a contentious situation.

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