Deer Valley Park to Get New Dog Park

Aug 2, 2017

One of the larger neighborhood parks in North Phoenix is Deer Valley Park, located at 19th Ave and Wahalla Ln., just south of the Loop 101 Agua Fria Freeway. The 38-acre park offers amenities including a Community Center, public pool, tennis courts, and playground equipment. But recently, a new project has begun at the park.

New Dog Park under construction within Deer Valley Park
An unused section of Deer Valley Park has been fenced off and construction crews are hard at work building a new Dog Park! The funding was approved in a 2008 measure called the Phoenix Parks and Preserves Initiative.

When completed, the new dog park will have 3 one-acre pens with grass, shade trees, and benches. There will also be a new ramada with drinking fountains and lighting installed. Construction is expected to be completed in Fall 2017.

Based on other dog parks, I presume that the three pens will be designated for small, medium, and large size dogs. Below is an artist's rendering of what the completed dog park pens will look like.

Dog Park Artist Rendering
This is another great feature that will make Deer Valley Park a valued asset to the community and to the North Phoenix area.

ADOT Proposes New Freeway Interchange at I-17 and Happy Valley Road

Jul 28, 2017

If you work in North Phoenix near I-17 and Happy Valley Road or Pinnacle Peak road, you are probably aware of the long waits to get on and off the freeway every weekday between 3pm and 6pm. The long wait times and backups are frustrating to many drivers, but a new plan recently unveiled by the Arizona Department of Transportation may resolve the daily congestion in a unique way.

Recently, ADOT announced a proposal to replace the Happy Valley interchange with a new type of system called a diverging diamond. A cost estimate has not yet been provided. If approved, the new interchange could begin construction as soon as 2018.

Aerial Photo of the current I-17/Happy Valley Roundabouts.
Photo by: North Phoenix Blog
Currently, the Happy Valley Road exit has two roundabouts which were completed in 2001 at a cost of $2.2 million. At the time, these were touted as a safer and more economical to a traditional interchange, which would have cost between $8 and $12 million.

While the roundabouts are safer, they are not an ideal solution for the volume of cars in the area. New home construction, job opportunities at USAA, Cigna, and W.L. Gore, and two major retail shopping centers have added tremendous growth to the Norterra/Happy Valley area since 2001. ADOT has acknowledged that "a diverging diamond interchange would be better able to manage the growing volume of traffic at Happy Valley Road and reduce the amount of time drivers spend waiting at traffic signals."

Relatively few of these diverging diamond interchanges have been built in the U.S. so far, with approximately 80 diverging diamonds completed in 26 states since 2009, according to the ADOT article. They work by diverting the flow of local traffic to the opposite side, allowing for direct entrances to freeway ramps without waiting for an additional signal.

Example of a diverging diamond interchange.
Photo by: NCDOT

The advantages of the proposed interchange include less time waiting, less fuel wasted, and dramatic safety improvements due to fewer potential points of conflict. The design is supposed to be even more efficient than a roundabout, which was originally built as a superior design to a traditional 4-way intersection.

The proposal also calls for replacing the interchange at I-17 and Pinnacle Peak Road, which is a narrow two-lane bridge constructed in 1964.

ADOT is also considering divided diamond interchanges at two other locations, both along the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway.

Read the original ADOT News Release.

Exploring the Ruins of Phoenix's Cloud Nine Restaurant

Jan 10, 2017

Dinner With a View
There are several restaurants in Phoenix that provide a stunning view in addition to a meal. The Compass Grill, Orange Sky at Talking Stick, and A Different Pointe of View all offer panoramic vistas in addition to gourmet entrees. But back in the 1960s, there was just one choice for scenic dining: Cloud Nine.

Located on the southwest slope of Shaw Butte in the Phoenix Mountains, Cloud Nine was a small, family owned restaurant that operated from January 21, 1961 through November 8, 1964. Though it was in business for only a short while, the restaurant and its legacy endure to this day.

History of Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Nov 30, 2016

New Orleans has the Superdome, Boston has Fenway Park, and Los Angeles has the Rose Bowl. Each of these stadiums is an icon within its respective city. In Phoenix, no stadium is more famous than the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, or simply "The Coliseum."

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in 2009
Photo by: Michael Lundgren
A Phoenix Icon
The Coliseum is an important building in Phoenix's history for its historical significance and its unique architecture. The Arizona State Fair Commission recognized the need for an indoor, multi-purpose building as early as 1962. The intent was to use the enclosed stadium during the State Fair and for concerts and other events throughout the year.

Design and Construction
In 1964, the Commission approved a design from Phoenix architects Lescher and Mahoney. They were the most prominent firm in Arizona and built nearly every significant building in Phoenix today, during their heydey of 1910 to 1975.

Lescher and Mahoney's design for the Coliseum featured a very unique shaped roof. The actual geometric shape is a hyperbolic paraboloid, but to the layperson, it resembles a horse saddle or a Pringles potato chip. The roof is made up of more than 1,000 pre-cast concrete panels, which are supported by high tension steel cables. Each panel weighs over 3,000 pounds!

Remembering the El Cid Castle in Sunnyslope

Oct 25, 2015

El Cid Castle before its demolition.
Photo by: Tony the Marine
There is something about castles that captures the imagination. Castles are symbols of strength, able to withstand attacks from intruders and protect the occupants from harm.

Most of the world's historic castles were built in Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries, which means that Americans are not accustomed to seeing them in person.

Perhaps because of their rarity or perhaps because of their association with fairy tales and fantasy, many Americans are fascinated by castles. This led to a number of European-inspired castles being built in America in the 1800s and 1900s. One of the most well-known castles in Phoenix was the El Cid Castle in Sunnyslope.


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