Posts Tagged ‘parklet’

Save a Tree, Plant a Tree, Make a Better Downtown

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

treesnewpicTrees often fall victim to the path of progress. But in the second public-private partnership of its kind, trees uprooted during the course of a big Downtown development project found new homes, thanks in part to the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

After breaking ground Oct. 16 on the Biosciences Partnership Building - a new addition to the University of Arizona College of Medicine near Seventh and Fillmore streets – crews began digging up, boxing and preserving 42 Desert Museum Palo Verdes, Native Mesquites and Sweet Acacias.

These types of trees typically cost between $500 to $1000 each, depending on the size.

“We need to be very mindful that we’re not just ripping trees out of the ground – it’s a sustainability issue,” said Ray Cabrera, streetscape manager at the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “These are public assets and we need to make sure that we’re protecting them.”

In an effort to preserve these mature desert trees, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership worked with the University of Arizona, City of Phoenix, DPR and Sundt Construction and is currently in the process of relocating them to the Space Between “parklet” activation project on First Street between Taylor Place and Valley Youth Theater, where they will provide shade, beauty and interest.

construcworkerAccording to Djuro (Judo) Rosic, LEED AP for DPR Construction, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

“We had the opportunity to save some and get rid of some and it worked out perfectly that we saved them all,” said Rosic.

In a similar situation with Arizona State University’s law school, which went under construction in July, the partnership salvaged 43 Dalbergia sissoo trees, commonly known as Indian Rosewoods, which are known for the quality of their shade canopy.

Those survivors are now taking root along Adams Street between Second Avenue and Second Street, where they will replace a number of immature Palo Breas, which are not conducive to small urban tree wells and topple easily during monsoon storms.

“It’s become apparent over the last several years that the life span of these desert trees, here in this urban environment, is much shorter and makes them a hazard,” said Cabrera. “It’s in our best interest to phase out the desert tress that we have in these tiny tree wells and put in something that’s going to thrive.”

Because of this, the newest batch of salvaged desert trees from the U of A site will stay in boxes until larger tree wells or more suitable habitats can be determined.

In all, 85 trees were rescued from the wood chipper since July. But the long-term goal, according to Cabrera, is creating a comfortable, beautiful and safe urban shade canopy that will stand the test of time.

First Street Improvement Project in Pictures

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

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.