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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Too often we read in the media about all the things that are wrong with Glendale (or any other city, for that matter) because community wrongs, weaknesses and failures – in other words, any form of sensationalism, sells. I can’t remember the last time the media reported good news about Glendale.

Most of us are not even aware of the improvements made in our city or may take them for granted. There is much to be proud of in Glendale. This city council has made many good policy decisions that have positively affected your quality of life. Over the next couple of blogs I want to share just some of the improvements that have become part of the fabric of life in Glendale.

The three years of my city council term, from January of 2017 to January of 2020,  have proven to be amazing for Glendale. Here are just some of the often unnoticed improvements affecting all residents. In this edition of my blog I have chosen transportation first because traveling through our community you will have likely encountered one or more of them.

HAWK at 65th Ave. and Bethany Home Rd.

A HAWK is an acronym for a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk. It is a pedestrian activated traffic light that stops traffic at pedestrian critical crossing locations proven to be very dangerous for those attempting to cross a major street. Historically they are at locations that account for many pedestrian fatalities. To date four of them have been installed throughout the city at:
                    *  60th Avenue and Bethany Home Road
                    *  65th Avenue and Glendale Avenues
                    *  63rd Avenue and Beardsley Avenues
                    *  65th Avenue and Bethany Home Road

Flashing Yellow

Flashing Yellow Arrows have become more and more commonplace throughout our city. These blinking yellow traffic signal lights allow motorists to make a left turn during a green light period as long as there is no oncoming traffic. Their purpose is to relieve traffic congestion at major intersections. They have been installed at 16 different intersections throughout the city and more are to come:

  • 59th Avenue & Glendale Avenue
  • 59th Avenue & Olive Avenue (during nighttime and weekends)
  • 51st Avenue & Peoria Avenue
  • 59th Avenue & Union Hills Drive
  • 51st Avenue & Glendale Avenue
  • 67th Avenue & Deer Valley Road
  • Dysart Road & Glendale Avenue
  • 75th Avenue & Deer Valley Road
  • 99th Avenue & Cardinals Way
  • El Mirage Road & Glendale Avenue
  • 83rd Avenue & Bethany Home Road
  • 91st Avenue & Montebello Avenue
  • 95th Avenue & Camelback Road
  • 67thAvenue & Pinnacle Peak Road
  • 67th Avenue & Bell Road
  • 59th Avenue & Thunderbird Road

The city continues its pavement management program to rehab all 748 miles of city streets. Council directed that $5 million dollars a year for each of five years be used to rehab residential streets. Streets that have not been done yet can expect some treatment in the next two years. Unfortunately one of the contractors was found to have performed sub standard work and those streets will be remediated. In tandem with improving residential streets throughout our city there are major arterial streets over 20 and 30 years old that require reconstruction. These will be done as funding becomes available. In addition to these two strategies there are some instances where a new street needs to be constructed to spur further economic development. One such case is Ballpark Boulevard.

Ballpark Boulevard will connect the Camelback Ranch training facility with the Westgate area and is scheduled to open in February of 2020 to coincide with the start of the Spring Training season. This roadway extension closes a significant gap in the city’s transportation system and provides traffic options for getting between the two venues. The effect of constructing this road along the Maryland Avenue alignment is that it opens up a great deal of land for economic development. Knowing that this road is almost completed has caused the property owners along this new street to master plan their land concentrating on more job opportunities with commercial, retail and office space. There will be some residential but very little as the primary goal is to provide Glendale residents with more jobs.

The same objectives are being realized along 95th now that it is open and connects Glendale Avenue to Bethany Home Road. Many land parcels along this corridor are about to come forward for approval. The plans include a mix of apartments, office spaces, retail and entertainment venues.

The last piece of the immediate connectivity puzzle is the construction of Bethany Home Road (it will be called Cardinals Way) between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue. The construction of this road is the responsibility of the developers of the Stonehaven residential subdivision, Pulte Homes and the John F. Long Trust. Even though Stonehaven was approved in June of 2018 it is just now that the developers have finally begun any work on the road. At their current pace do not expect to see it completed until sometime in 2021.

Camelback Rd. looking west from 43rd Ave.

Major street reconstruction projects have begun with the reconstruction of Camelback Road starting on its east side from 43rd Avenue to 51st Avenue. I have lived in Glendale since 1968. That’s 51 years and in that time Camelback Road has never been reconstructed. Major arterial streets last usually have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. This type of work carries a large price tag of anywhere from $2 million to $5 million dollars per mile dependent upon the condition of the street. In this case, the city is also replacing the waterline that runs under this street.

Northern Parkway

The city in conjunction with its partners, Maricopa County, Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), El Mirage and Peoria, continue its relentless move of the Northern Parkway Project starting from its western side, the Loop 303, to its eastern termination at Grand Avenue (US 60). Currently work is being done in the El Mirage Road area. The next segment will extend to the western side of the Loop 101.

There are bus routes and street lighting that have changed for the better. The bus route on 83rd Avenue used to run from Camelback Road to Northern Avenue. In conjunction with Peoria, this route has been expanded and now goes beyond Northern to P83 and Bell Road. In this budget cycle I will be asking for funding to improve many of the bus stops that have a sign planted in the dirt identified as a bus stop.

All street lights in Glendale have now been converted to LED lighting. This initiative was my “ask” in the budget cycle of 2017. As a result of the completion of this initiative Glendale saves about half a million dollars a year in the cost of operating and maintenance. In addition it has received an annual rebate from APS of about another half million dollars resulting in one million dollars of reduced street light costs.

There is certainly more to call out and to brag about with regard to the progress Glendale has made in transportation. It would take far too much space to share it all. I have tried to highlight some of them. The point is that this city council  has made major investments in transportation to improve everyone’s quality of life, to catch up on long overdue roadway maintenance, to provide greater interconnectivity that will spur new economic development, and to adopt new cost saving initiatives that save taxpayer dollars.

My next blog will concentrate on economic development within the city. As a preview I continue to say that Glendale is hot! Glendale is the preferred location in the West Valley for some extraordinary development projects. Stay tuned…

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

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Fireworks: We are two days away from Independence Day, July 4th. It’s a time to celebrate the greatness of America. This is the only country in the world that people will lie, cheat, steal and fight to enter so we must be doing something right.  Fireworks are a tradition but abuse of their use is becoming more and more prevalent. Did you know that shooting any fireworks into the air is illegal in Glendale? Here’s another interesting piece of trivia. Consumer Reports states that 31% of all July 4th emergency room visits are injuries to a hand or finger. If you are not worried about losing these appendages shoot off those fireworks, by all means…but not in the air.

I will be at Westgate representing Glendale and leading the countdown to the kick-off of the fireworks. Please join me in our nation’s day of celebration.

Do you have pets that you generally keep outside? You had better bring them in or risk them taking off in a panic and ending up lost or at the pound as those fireworks go off all around your house. Our German Shepard, 10 years old, absolutely goes nuts and is scared to death when those fireworks go off. We are now well trained and automatically put her in the house from about 6 pm until the next morning.

Our Pond: I haven’t written about our pond in awhile. It’s hard to believe but it is over 8 years old and certainly is a ‘mature’ pond. I’ve included some photos of our filter systems and what the pond looks like today.

Looking down into the filter box you can see the rigid hosing that leads to the two major filter pumps…one for the large waterfall and one for the small waterfall. Another photo shows the filter media. The green pad is a major component. It can be fine to very coarse. We use a medium value. These pads also serve the filters at the top of each waterfall. The net goes in front of the green filter media and collects very coarse material such as decaying lily pads. The white grate is something we started to do a very long time ago as it prevented small fish and the tiny Gambusia (mosquito fish) from being pulled into the filter system which has a strong pull.

This photo shows the pond as it looks today. The vegetation in and around the pond is mature and generally only requires pruning. The photo of the fish shows one of my favorite Koi. The Koi with the red spot on its forehead is called a Tancho by the Japanese. The rounder the red spot the better.

The blue barrel contraption is of our own making. After a year or two, we realized the two main filters were not adequate, especially in dealing with algae in the summer so we devised our own system. Each blue barrel has a different filter media in it. The water travels from one barrel to another, past a UV light and then into the pond. Using this in conjunction with our main filters has solved the problem and algae are kept to a minimum.

It’s finally officially hot but no monsoon yet. According to weather forecasters, the high pressure ridge sitting over us has to move farther north, around the four corners area. That has not occurred yet because the jet stream is too far south and is blocking the heat ridge from moving north. We can still expect the monsoon but perhaps a little later than normal. I remember previous July 4ths as not only hot but humid as well…not this year.

Look for the grand opening of the Aloft Hotel this month. It becomes the latest addition to Glendale’s inventory of hotel rooms in the Westgate area. There are four more hotels either already under construction or in the planning stages. Before the next Super Bowl in Glendale the city will have a minimum of 2,000 rooms to accommodate visitors. Also look for the development of more office space in the Yucca district. Glendale currently has no inventory of office space so the city has prioritized more development of that kind of space as a goal. Ballpark Boulevard, designed to connect Camelback Ranch to Westgate is now under construction and will be completed next year. This will open the undeveloped land between 99th Avenue  and Camelback Ranch for development. The property owners of the land along the new extension of Ballpark Boulevard are currently designing a master plan for that area.

When will Bethany Home Road be extended between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue? That is up to the developers, Pulte Homes and the John F. Long Trust. Apparently, they not happy that the city, after seven or so years, has raised its Development Impact Fee rates. They want the city to mitigate the increase in fees. I don’t think that’s going to happen so it might be awhile before we see Bethany Home Road punch through. That’s OK with me and many of the Yucca district residents. The minute that stretch of Bethany is completed the traffic along 83rd Avenue will explode.

Do you have a subject or topic about Glendale and want more information? Is there a topic you would like to see a blog about? Just make a comment on this blog or send me an email at: clarkjv@aol.com .

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

The Tuesday, November 19, 2013 Glendale city council workshop is jam packed and includes a Development Impact Fee update, the Fire Department Budget deficit, special project recommendations and the Ballpark Boulevard extension.

Since the Arizona Legislature changed the way all cities in the state can impose, collect and spend Development Impact Fees Glendale, like many other cities, has developed a new Impact Fee structure. Impact Fees are charged to new developments and the developers typically add these fees into the price of a home, apartment, office, commercial or industrial building. Tischler Bise is the consultant hired to prepare the study on Impact Fees. I would like to know the cost of the study for I assure you, as thorough as it is, it was not cheap.

The consultants divide Glendale into three zones. The East Zone runs the entire length of Glendale, north to south and from 43rd Avenue to 75th Avenue. It is a very large zone and is approximately 42 square miles.  The Loop 101 zone is the smallest running from Northern Avenue to Camelback Road, 75th Avenue to 115 Avenue. It is a very small zone and is approximately 13 square miles. The West Zone is all land within Glendale’s annexation boundaries and is approximately 36 square miles. Although very thorough the consultants provide no rationale for the establishment of the Zones that are essential to the study.

There is concern with the disparity of size of the zones for they comprise a “nexus.” By that is meant that development impact fees are collected and spent within each zone. With the Loop 101 Zone being the smallest there will be less opportunity to collect/spend fees to provide the same quantity and quality of infrastructure as enjoyed by the East Zone. As an equitable issue all land south of Northern Avenue from 43rd Avenue to 115th Avenue should form the Loop 101 Zone. That would remove approx. 12 square miles from the East Zone making it approx. 30 square miles and increasing the Loop 101 Zone to 25 square miles. The West Zone would remain static at 36 square miles.

The balance of the study is impressive. Their facts and figures are well grounded and formulas are used to determine what the new fee structure for state mandated infrastructure should be. Although the Development Impact Fee structure is no longer what Glendale and every other city used previously there is no choice but to work within the new state-mandated regulations. We will not see the kind of Impact Fees that helped to make Glendale what it is today but it is important that we make the best use of them possible. With the exception of the determination of the zone configuration this is exactly what this study does.

The second item of discussion is the fire department’s deficit. There is but one question to ask. Is the fire department being managed effectively by current Fire Chief Burdick? In juxtaposition the Police Department led by Chief Deborah Black is not facing this kind of deficit. What kind of deficit? How about $1,674,887 minus one-time savings netting a deficit of $1,328,070? In addition the on-going, annual deficit of over $800,000  goes to pay for overtime due to the department’s philosophy of “constant staffing.” It’s time for a study to demonstrate which brings more value to citizens – constant staffing which entails an enormous amount of overtime at time and a half pay or the hiring of more personnel eliminating the need for the constant staffing regimen and its requisite overtime pay.

That item will be followed by a presentation and discussion of recommendations that resulted from the half million dollar external audit.  The City Auditor’s and City Attorney’s roles will be part of that discussion as well as the Trust Fund Citizen Boards and departmental internal premiums for risk management.

The last item of discussion will be what to do about Ballpark Boulevard. The city in an agreement with the two baseball teams agreed to extend Ballpark Boulevard north to 99th Avenue and Maryland Avenue. The current, approved concept will cost the city $18 million to acquire land for right-of-way and construction. Mayor Weiers asked that two alternatives be considered that would come in between $6 and $8 million. Both of these alternatives would run adjacent to the city’s airport on either its west or east side. The only problem with the alternatives is that they will not replace the contractually mandated concept of connecting to 99th and Maryland. That will still have to be done. So the question is…does the city construct a stop gap measure costing $6 to $8 million now knowing that down the road it still must spend $18 million per its contract with the City of Phoenix and both baseball teams? The city has no money right now and without any demonstrated urgency it is something that can wait. Neither Phoenix nor the teams are demanding immediate action.

This is not going to be one of the council’s typical one hour or less meetings. The issues are complex and I would hope that council “has done its homework” and is prepared to ask meaningful and relevant questions on all of these complex issues…but then again, it could be wishful thinking.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to :http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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