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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         

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The Glendale city council workshop meeting of June 17, 2014 had only 2 items. One was the issue of restricted access to and from Northern Parkway at some intersections. The upshot of the subject was that there are no solutions on the horizon for fixing the problem. I bet that was not such good news for commercial activities adjacent to Northern Parkway like the World Wildlife Zoo. Its funny how Glendale can be so accommodating to some businesses and to others, it’s the “back of the hand.”

The second item was senior staff’s recommendation to amend Glendale’s Noise Ordinance, Chapter 25, Article V.  Currently special events and large events (attendance over 500 persons) are subject to this ordinance which has 3 provisions: a) noise should not be heard more than 125 feet from perimeter of event; b) noise should not be heard off premises between 10 PM and 7 AM; and c) every 2 1/2 hours there must be an intermission of 30 minutes. Simple, common sense provisions designed to protect adjacent neighborhoods, No?

There were 3 options given to council: 1. Exempt permitted events during the entire year; 2. Exempt permitted events between December 26, 2014 and February 2, 2015; and 3. Do not change anything. Staff’s recommendation was Option 1 for in the name of all that is holy, it would fulfill their quest for greater city “competitiveness and marketability.” More likely this code amendment is pandering to the big boys, Super Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, etc., chafing under Glendale’s current noise restrictions. I see Assistant City Manager Frisoni’s hand in this effort to accommodate them.

To bolster staff’s contention that Glendale must still be in the “horse and buggy” days, a chart was used showing the cities of Chandler, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe as permitting noise exemptions for city issued permitted events and special events.

Not one, not one bloody councilmember asked a single question. The first one should have been related to the cities chart that showed which permitted noise and that should have been, “How exactly does each city address the noise issue?” Yes, these cities may have granted noise exemptions but exactly what are they?

Senior staff went on to say that an applicant for an event would have to abide by the provisions of the city’s issuance of a special event permit. If you go online to the city’s website and enter “special event application” it will eventually direct you to Ordinance 2951, Article V, Large Special Events.  In that Article, the City protects its butt pretty well with indemnification, insurance and surety bonds. It also seemed pretty concerned about public safety and sanitation/garbage needs but not one single word about noise…not one. Again, not one single councilmember had the presence of mind to ask, “What noise requirements are included in the city permit process?” They would have been surprised to find there are none even though staff represented that there were noise requirements within the permit process that would have to be followed.

So council sat there like lumps on logs, never questioning anything and certainly not one displayed any sensitivity for the noise concerns of adjacent neighborhoods. They should have asked for the noise restrictions in other cities’ special event permit processes. But they didn’t. They should have asked for the noise restrictions in Glendale’s special event permit process. But they didn’t.

Instead we heard blather from the twins, Councilmembers Chavira and Sherwood who seem to vote in tandem these days. Chavira (representing west Glendale neighborhoods near Westgate) said the only option for Glendale was Option #1 without really saying why. Sherwood, in an attempt to be amusing, likened Glendale’s noise ordinance to an old, existent law that forbids putting “ice cream in one’s pocket.” Really?

This council threw adjacent Glendale neighborhoods under the “Glendale Bus”(someday when I am so inclined I will tell you more about the “Glendale Bus Club”) especially over 2,000 homes adjacent to Westgate, epicenter of special events in Glendale. I live a mile to the east of Westgate and there were times when even I heard the noise erupting from the Westgate area. My thought was always, OMG, what about those who live directly across the street from Westgate and the football stadium? If I could hear it, how badly were they affected by the noise? Sometimes, as councilmember, my question was answered as residents called me directly to complain. I had a direct phone number to the police officer in charge of the event and would call to let him know that the noise was getting out of hand. Thankfully, the officer was always able to get the event promoter to abate the noise.

At least I had the noise ordinance to back me up…now there will be nothing that residents can do when the noise is too loud or goes on too long. But that’s OK…those residents will hear the roar of the “Glendale Bus” as it runs over them.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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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