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Stop Sprawl
Fall 2000 Sprawl Report

States at a Glance: Arizona

West Fifth Street
Trees, Wide Sidewalks Encourage Pedestrians
Del Webb Develops the Desert

West Fifth Street
Trees, Wide Sidewalks Encourage Pedestrians

Sometimes simple things make all the difference. By making sidewalks wider and planting trees, planners in Tempe are making walking in the city safer and more enjoyable. The West Fifth Street Pedestrian Improvements will combine the redevelopment of a park and community center with smart-growth improvements to a key connector road.

Jaycee Park and the West Side Community Center had become run-down and needed repair. But instead of just rebuilding, planners decided to also make West Fifth Street -- which links the two projects with the surrounding community -- more walkable. To do this, sidewalks are being widened and bike lanes are being added to the street. A row of trees will be planted to create shade and provide a buffer between cars and people. Meanwhile, measures meant to make drivers more aware of pedestrians -- like extending curbs at crosswalks and replacing a traffic light with stop signs -- are being used to make the area safer for those on foot.

Del Webb Develops the Desert

Arizona has one of the nation's worst cases of suburban sprawl. Poorly planned development has eaten up fragile desert open space at a dizzying rate. Does Arizona need better tools to deal with sprawl and promote smart growth? You bet. The Anthem housing development demonstrates why.

Anthem, AZAnthem is a classic example of leapfrog development: A developer jumps over open space to build far from existing communities. Del Webb, the developer, has thrown up 1,300 houses in the middle of the desert and has plans to expand the development to house up to 50,000 people. Unfortunately, Anthem's closest neighbor, New River, is a small, rural town that has few jobs or shops and is located over 30 miles from downtown Phoenix. In fact, before a new grocery store opened, residents had to drive almost 20 miles to reach a supermarket.

Not only is Anthem quite far from everything its residents need, the development is totally auto-dependent: There is no public transportation whatsoever between Anthem and Phoenix. Current traffic has created serious air-quality problems for the area -- more traffic will make it worse.

Del Webb plans to develop the overwhelming majority of the 5,800 acres they have purchased at this site. Less than 20 percent will be protected from development, and most of this open space will be used for a planned golf course and an artificial lake.

Photo by: Scott Mittelsteadt

States at a Glance | Introduction | Resources | Acknowledgments

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