Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Diary - Some days my life is like a dark comedy...

Dear Diary,

This happened to me today:

I went to see a client and came upon a semi truck in idle at a stop sign. The driver was in the street, totally NAKED, screaming, cussing and shaking his fist at a building. He kind of lunged at my car - totally naked.


Me: Hi there. I'd like to make a report of a semi truck driver who is completely naked in the middle of the street at 2nd St. & Garfield.

911: Which corner is he on?

Me: The one with the idling semi truck and naked guy in the street. I don't think you can miss it.

911: What ethnicity is he? Mexican? Black?

Me: White. And naked.

911: Does he have a weapon?

Me: Just his penis (said while slightly chuckling).

Roughly 10 minutes later a meter maid cop pulls up in her golf cart thingie which makes me burst out laughing.

Five minutes later, real cops - and naked semi driver is arrested.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Between Here and There - There Is a Chair

Chair in between Downtown and "Downtown" Downtown - Photo: Stacey Champion
For those of you not familiar with Downtown Phoenix, there's downtown and then there's "downtown" downtown (downtown2).  Living in the Coronado Historic District, compared to other cities where I've lived, I would consider where I live to be midtown, as it's north of the 10 freeway, but for suburb dwellers, I just say downtown so I don't confuse them.

So why is downtown so split off from downtown2?  Well, that's a good question...  Though the main answer in my eyes is what you see above.  Vacant lots.  Lots of them.  Lots of lots.  Dirt lots.  Many of them city owned.  Many of the others being land-banked by people who don't live in downtown OR downtown2.

Was there stuff on these lots before they were dirt lots?  Yep.  But now they're just big, glaring disconnects between downtown and downtown2.

Read Kevin Beechinor + Mike McDearmon's fabulous "Aiding and Abetting" for great detail, plus solutions.

The Valley of the Sunflowers project is a good start for these gaping holes that cut our city in two, and will hopefully wake up our city leaders to the fact that not only do these projects make the residents happy and beautify the neighborhoods, but they also generate fantastic press, which is a welcome thing for our political doom and gloom State.  The folks at Roosevelt Row are forging ahead along with many engaged and committed community members, and our little downtown has been getting some recent good press, like the Nick Blumberg KJZZ story.

We all would like to eventually see things built on these lots - albeit if it's good design, and not a cookie cut-out of the suburban stucco gated community ick that downtowners or anyone else with good taste and a love of real architecture can't stand.

But until then, "temporary" has become many years for most of these lots.  I hope the City of Phoenix, along with the new incoming Mayor, will open their eyes just a little wider and do a better job at thinking just a little further outside of the box.  This would be my dream project for one of the lots, and is something I'd like to try to make happen within the next two years.  

What are YOUR ideas???