I'm in Phoenix this week for my new novel, The Night Detectives (you can find a schedule of signings on my author Web site). One remarkable thing is how the conversations I have with friends never really change much when it comes to the topic of Phoenix and Arizona. Searching for something new...an effort is under way to produce a "new master plan" for Margaret Hance Park.
The site irritates me at the outset by claiming Hance Park is located "in the heart of down downtown Phoenix," whatever that means. It is in Midtown, a deck sitting atop the Papago Freeway from Third Street to Third Avenue. All together now: Downtown runs from the railroad tracks to Fillmore and from Seventh Avenue to Seventh Street. One could be very liberal and extend it to Roosevelt — no farther. You outlanders would be offended if I said the Loop in Chicago extended to Winnetka; you don't get to rewrite the geography of my hometown.
In any event, the deck park was the compromise when Interstate 10 was rammed through the heart of Phoenix, resulting in the demolition of 3,000 houses, many of them irreplaceable historic homes, as well as the shady Moreland Parkway. Originally, the Wilbur Smith plan called for the freeway to soar 100 feet over Central Avenue and traffic to exit by "helicoils" winding down to Third Avenue and Third Street. So things could have been much worse