Archive for the ‘Phoenix’ Category

Spoken Like a True San Franciscan

March 14, 2007

I’ve been reading Antenna for forever but this entry forces me to comment. “20% beautiful, 80% ugly?” Hah. “Capitalist geography at its most misanthropic?” Double hah! I haven’t travelled widely, but Phoenix is one of the cleanest, easily navigable cities I’ve been in. More than most cities, perhaps, its beauty takes some searching—something you assuredly can’t do in a week—but there’s a whole lot of there there.

As someone who has lived here his whole life, I’m especially puzzled by the term “misanthropic” applied to our city’s layout. It’s not readily amenable to non-vehicular transportation, but for much of the year I can’t imagine wanting to be outside walking places. The climate, if anything, is misanthropic. Not a year goes by when I don’t spend an afternoon in pensive fascination at the fact that people lived and worked here for well-nigh 80 years before air conditioning became widespread.

And “capitalist geography” is nothing if not a slam against sprawl. The huge mass that is metropolitan Phoenix offends the sensibilities of San Franciscans, New Yorkers, and Bostoners but sprawl is, to me, the most appropriate way a city can grow. Think about it: sprawl is an indication of organic growth, of a spreading out that all civilizations, peoples, and animals follow. No one dictated that Phoenix grow in the manner it did; the decentralization is proof positive of that. I like that idea as it flies in the face of the centralized planning that so many older cities went through.

Sprawl is also perhaps the most human-friendly pattern of growth because it allows for a constant pushing of housing along the periphery. Frontier housing is invariably inexpensive, so it affords people real opportunities to own their own homes as it gradually (sometimes violently) pushes out the edges. Contrast that with cities that are growth-restricted due to all manner of obstacles, natural and man-made. They are among the most expensive cities to live in and force denizens into apartments. And apartments equal density, a density which has both positive and negative aspects to it. Myself, I prefer low density and I’m pretty sure many people do as well since Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation.


Avoid a Ticket

December 12, 2006

Attention, fellow Scottsdale-portion-of-the-Loop-101 commuters: you must subscribe to this Google News alert. That is all.

Now That Ain’t Right

May 20, 2005

Weather forecast for Phoenix, AZ

Dam Shame

March 5, 2005

I had my own weeping Indian moment Friday afternoon on my lunch break.

I hiked down to the Salt River like I often do: down 48th Street, over the railroad tracks, and then over the Grand Canal. As usual, the place was abuzz with activity since it is the future location of the maintenance and storage yard of Valley Metro’s light rail line. Construction is progressing pretty rapidly.

So rapidly, in fact, that they’ve completely demolished the Joint Head Dam itself and removed the link between the control structure and the Grand Canal. That was very difficult to see since it’s one of my favorite places to visit. I scoured the remaining area, taking in every detail I could so that I would have my memories should they decide to tear down the rest.

It’s astounding to me that the Joint Head Dam should be destroyed. Looking at the map in the PDF above, it looked like there was a Historical Preservation Overlay District and I just assumed that the dam itself was part of that. I guess it wasn’t.

As a historian, this isn’t surprising to me. Phoenix, like its namesake, was built on the ashes of a previous civilization and the general attitude towards the past has reflected that. It’s gotten better in recent times, to be sure, but it’s still woefully lacking. The obliteration of the Joint Head Dam was just the first time I’ve really encountered this attitude on a personal level.

It’s Not Supposed to Be Like This

October 21, 2003

Thankfully, I haven’t had to be outside too much because it’s been over 100° F for several days now. It’s freakin’ October, Phoenix! Something must be done.

Good for Him

August 20, 2003

I’m sure his little cart won’t last much longer (unless he’s filled out all the necessary permits and licenses), but this guy’s got a great idea. I’m sure many would consider him a gouger, but I think he’s doing a great thing. As I said, I would gladly pay $4-5 per gallon if I could be assured of a quick supply. Unfortunately, the man’s in Scottsdale and I’m not too big on handling gas from a gas can—I always end up spilling some on me.

[UPDATE: In a somewhat related note, there’s a site that tracks Valley gas prices. Who cares about price (so long as it’s not $10 a gallon), I care about supply!]

We’ve Gone Piestewa Crazy!

May 2, 2003

This madness has got to stop. It was one thing to rename Squaw Peak, but to name the Squaw Peak Parkway the Lori M. Piestewa Freeway is wrong-headed. As I said before, it should be named the Triple-P—Piestewa Peak Parkway—because the highway is named for the mountain it wraps around.

Piestewa Peak is annoying, but I guess it’s got a lot of political currency. To honor a woman dead less than a month (maybe two) whose only accomplishment is being the first Indian woman killed in combat is ludicrous. The mountain and the freeway should have been renamed to honor Barry Goldwater, a true hero who accomplished so much for Arizona over his entire lifetime. Or even Jack Swilling, the Confederate entrepreneur whose Swilling Irrigation Company started the settlement of the Salt River Valley. You certainly don’t see much around Phoenix honoring him.

Of course, we shouldn’t expect much from a town that gives all city workers a paid day off to honor Cesar Chavez, but not for Columbus.