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Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 10:00 PM
austlar1 austlar1 is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Austin
Posts: 2,925
Phoenix 1950 population was 106,000. That is about .063% of the present population of 1,660,000 in a metro of around 5 million. There is no reason to speculate too much about why downtown Phoenix failed to keep up with growth in population. Urban renewal played little or no role. Most of the lost buildings downtown (and it was a small downtown) were replaced with parking lots in the 50s. The car was king. People did not move to Phoenix to live in high rises and ride streetcars. Plus most of the metro development outside of Phoenix clustered around several other local cities such as Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Chandler. Downtown did expand a bit to the north along North Central in the 1950s and 60s, but that was pretty much a done deal by the late 70s or early 80s. It is worth noting that Phoenix did this rapid suburban expansion largely without a comprehensive network of freeways. Interstate 10 and 17 were built in the mid to late 60s, and that was pretty much it for freeways until the early 1990s when massive freeway building funded by a special local sales tax got underway. Before that time the Phoenix area was known to have most traffic moving on major arterial roads on the regular street grid, kind of like an LA or Chicago pre-war expansion without freeways. I don't think that happened anywhere else in the country in the post WW2 era. By way of comparison, major Texas cities and other cities like Atlanta engaged in a lot of freeway building as early as the mid 1950s prior to the advent of the interstate highway system.

Last edited by austlar1; Jul 18, 2019 at 10:28 PM.
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