Promoting a Walkable Downtown
One of GARP's goals is to enhance walkability in downtown Phoenix.
Today, few people would regard Phoenix as particularly "walkable." The city has been engineered since the 1950s primarily for automobiles. This has left city streets that are hostile to pedestrians. The buildings and developments that grew with the transportation grid likewise accommodated autos by providing them with highly visible and plentiful parking areas, also anti-pedestrian.
Walkable cities put pedestrians first -- providing them with safe, protected routes of travel; shade; open, inviting facades; and transportation options that conveniently get them where they need to go without having to drive.
To move Phoenix toward walkability, we need to develop areas of the city have these characteristics, and we need to link them together with pedestrian-oriented transportation such as streetcars. A streetcar system can be considered a "pedestrian accelerator" - not intended to move large volumes of people long distances, as commuter rail does, but making it possible for people to get to a number of destinations that are a little too far to walk conveniently.
The Grand Avenue Rail Project will initially serve lower Grand Avenue but in its eventual form will serve all of downtown Phoenix, making a giant leap toward walkability.
The Grand Avenue Rail Project - Phoenix, Arizona
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