First Street Improvement Project in Pictures

First Street is undergoing a makeover this month, placing more emphasis on pedestrian and bike-friendly uses with temporary and permanent improvements installed by the City of Phoenix. The project is a demonstration of lower cost alternatives that can be put in place quickly to transform a street to be more amenable to pedestrians and cyclists. Through permanent and temporarily planted trees – which will provide more shade for those walking in our Urban Core – as well as expanded walkable space created with paint, First Street will have a different look and feel by the end of October.

Construction started earlier this month between Moreland and Washington streets and significant progress is already visible. We took a walk down First Street and captured some of the changes, which we showcase here along with renderings of the design:

first street trees

Trees between Adams and Monroe streets

Visible from the windows of the Hyatt Regency, the block between Adams and Monroe streets will become a shady escape with 15 new Chinese Pistache trees. With no shade, wide concrete sidewalks and the block construction of the Hyatt, this stretch of First Street was measured to be the hottest in Downtown Phoenix during the Downtown Phoenix Urban Form Project in 2008.  The permanent tree wells were not originally a part of the First Street Project – with the trees slated for temporary planters – however staff from the Downtown Phoenix Partnership was able to find a solution and give them a permanent home in the sidewalk. The dormant street-level irrigation system was fixed, and the trees will be maintained by the Partnership. With these new trees, the street should cool down making it more comfortable for pedestrians.

first street construction

Construction Progress

Construction is well underway between Roosevelt and Portland streets – with angled parking and space where planters with trees will be installed.

1st Street Rendering

First Street Rendering courtesy of the City of Phoenix

The angled parking and expanded pedestrian space seen in the rendering above will span the length of First Street. The street’s use will be modified with purple street paint and green planters.

first street sign

Painted Street Names

The design for First Street includes these painted-on street names and many intersections have already been completed.

2013-05-03 17.49.14

The Space Between

Piggybacking on the Water Writes mural painted earlier this year, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership will continue to transform The Space Between, which complements the First Street improvements. The activated space will highlight pedestrian-friendly amenities and transform the vacant lot into an urban retreat. Look for big news about the plans to transform The Space Between next week.

first street matts


Finally, waiting your turn to eat at Matt’s Big Breakfast just got a whole lot easier thanks to a soon-to-be built parklet. It may not look like much now, but the rendering below – courtesy of the City of Phoenix – is a great visual of what’s to come.

Parklet Rendering SE corner of 1st and Garfield

What do you think of the changes for First Street? Leave your comments below.

*This post was written by Anna Consie and Brandi Porter with significant help from Ray Cabrera. Additional information and design renderings were provided by the City of Phoenix.

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  1. Greg says:

    I love the thought and effort going into making these hot, dead spaces useful. Keep it up and thank you!

  2. Janie Orem says:

    Good job! Keep the improvements coming.
    I would like to see more bike lanes and more
    pedestrian friendly streets. I walk a lot and am
    Often screamed off the sidewalk by fast moving bike
    Riders. My service dog (hearing impaired) is needing
    Additional training because of the unfriendly bikers. Their
    Aggressive behavior is very upsetting to him, he feels the need
    To enforce a personal space area around me. Because of the
    Aggressive bike riders and my ‘Buddy’s’ perception
    That I must be protected from bikes, walking is becoming stressful,

  3. Michael P. Bedore says:

    First Street will be so fun and a happy place to be, especially how it’s making this downtown resident (me) feel like i need to keep the car parked and walk more – and how it’s connecting Roosevelt Row to DOWNTOWN, Washington street etc.

  4. desertdtb says:

    As a worker that has to drive First Street north past the dorms, I would ask that you add a stop light at the corner where the school dorms/Starbucks are. It can be very difficult for drivers to maneuver this area because of all the students walking across. Some are consider, some are not. A light would make it safer for everyone.

  5. SuppaGreen says:

    I am so pleased to see the effort and improvements that are taking place in Downtown Phoenix!! Keep up the great work!! It is greatly appreciated.

  6. Tracey says:

    Great job and the changes make perfect sense! Happy to hear about these improvements. Downtown is really looking great.

  7. Pam says:

    A pedestrian bridge on first Street near the dorm would be nice as it would solve drivers, bikers and walkers issues.

  8. Michael P. Bedore says:

    The improvements are wonderful, especially with adding handicapped parking at the beginning and ends of the blocks, Thank you City of Phoenix!!!

  9. [...] Architects and Phoenix’s Jones Studio). Discussion covered the project’s compatibility with the foot- and bike-friendly improvements made to First Street last October, which included tree plantings, parklets, and revised [...]

  10. [...] It is nice that the City is starting to think creatively about what to do with downtown streets.  The redesign of 1st Street from Washington to Hance Park is certainly eye-opening and also includes Phoenix’s first parklet (miniature park) near Garfield [...]