AZCentral: Phoenix starts ‘building blocks’ of new 32nd Street

Rebecca Golden owner of 32 Shea in Phoenix takes a coffee order in North Phoenix. The City is focusing on revitalization of 32nd street corridor in between Shea and Union Hills. (Photo: Cheryl Evans/The Republic)
Rebecca Golden owner of 32 Shea in Phoenix takes a coffee order in North Phoenix. The City is focusing on revitalization of 32nd street corridor in between Shea and Union Hills. (Photo: Cheryl Evans/The Republic)

PHOENIX — Less room for cars, more space for bikes and street-side public art are the city’s first investments along 32nd Street under a major revitalization plan for the north Phoenix corridor.

The plan — approved by the City Council in December — re-envisions the North 32nd Street Corridor, along 32nd Street from the Phoenix Mountain Preserve north to Loop 101, as a part of the city where neighborhood residents will spend more of their time and visitors will come to explore.

The area once operated as a major thoroughfare through the city but was bypassed by State Route 51 when the freeway was completed at the start of the century. Businesses were stifled as traffic along the street decreased, leaving a stretch of about eight miles flanked by vacant buildings.

Car traffic in the area dropped from 58,000 vehicle trips per day to 21,000 after SR 51 was completed, according to the city.

Councilmen Bill Gates and Jim Waring started a community working group in 2012 to brainstorm how to redevelop the area, using help from other organizations including Arizona State University.

The resulting plan outlines a vision for the corridor and areas of focus including branding and events, street improvements and land redevelopment. Each major intersection is mapped with ideas of what it could be.

Overall, the corridor could be refocused from just filling retail space to using local businesses, family activities and proximity to the mountains to draw people to the area, Gates said. This year, residents will see changes starting on the ground.

“This is really the beginning of it,” he said.

Last month, the city approved a contractor to start a “road diet” for about four miles on 32nd Street between Shea Boulevard and Hartford Avenue.

The project will replace one northbound vehicle lane with bike lanes on both sides of the street. The roughly 8-month project will cost nearly $800,000 using city and federal funds and is expected to start this summer.

Read the entire article on AZCentral.com

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About

Bill Gates serves as the District 3 Supervisor for Maricopa County. His Maricopa County District 3 reaches from the far southern boundary of McDowell Road, north to the border of Yavapai County, from the eastern boundary of Scottsdale Road in places, to the western boundary of 43rd Avenue and includes the areas of Anthem, New River, and Desert Hills.

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