Results from Smart City Citizen Innovator Workshop

October 31, 2018 at 5:43 pm

The City of Mesa held a Smart City Citizen Innovator Workshop Oct. 25 attended by 156 people at the Mesa Arts Center. After a presentation about design thinking and smart cities, attendees voted on subject matters that they viewed as important to discuss as a component of smart city in Mesa. The top three subjects selected were Transportation & Mobility, Downtown Vibrancy and Health & Community Development & Homelessness. The attendees participated in a live, interactive design thinking workshop to discuss challenges and ideas to address those challenges.

Citizen Explorer: Challenges
Transportation & Mobility (includes how to make sure everyone (inclusivity) can make it downtown)
Challenges/ how do you feel about it:
I wish I had better public transportation, including access (light rail is not nearby)
More awareness of transportation options
Coordination of bike - bus - light rail (i.e. schedules are in sync so I do not have to wait)
Most people are not within convenient distance/ proximity to light rail or public transit (i.e. "last mile problem")
Limited routes (not convenient for when I need to travel); limited availability
Scooters & bikes are being left in middle of sidewalk (handicapped/ wheelchairs cannot get by) - ADA Awareness; keep pedestrian walkways open
Finding parking (particularly for handicapped)
Cannot bike or walk to work/ school safely (limited bike lanes, traffic-related hazards)
Sun blinding my eyes when driving
Infrastructure and congestion
Time inefficiency (bus lines may not follow popular grid structure)
Need for Shaded parking
Enforcement of bike-related laws/ regulations
Provide transportation options for those who cannot drive (vision impaired, young, elderly)
Distracted drivers
Need for shaded sidewalks
Traffic signal engineering/ synchronization
Biking to work (showers needed at work)

Downtown Vibrancy
Lively discussion on what exactly is the downtown area? (It should be more than Main street).
Homelessness in parks
Lack of night life (lack of space, limited hours)
Safe parks
Restaurants with bathrooms
Active spaces (movie theatres, escape rooms)
We need to find ways to keep people downtown (more than just coming to a restaurant; people need to live downtown
What is downtown? Need for more awareness, communications
Why don't you live in downtown Mesa?
Need more density and access to university/ knowledge (I currently live in Tempe near ASU; I would move to Mesa if there was density and access to knowledge center/ SMEs)
Downtown Mesa has an image problem
Need to make Mesa more unique (more destination restaurants, cultural experiences)
Address perception downtown is a "scary" place
Provide a pedestrian mall
Who is the vibrancy for? (Need to make sure that as we develop, we do not displace people who cannot afford rents; displacement due to gentrification)
Lack of residents to bring in and enable restaurants to survive
Socio-economic status of current downtown residents cannot support businesses (limited discretionary income)
Affordable housing downtown; need good housing options
Need jobs in downtown Mesa (job-centric area in downtown Mesa)
Need more after-school programs for kids
Aging infrastructure downtown
Cost prohibitive for businesses to open (change uses - it is expensive; we will always have antique businesses; example it costs $25,000 to $60,000 for land use change, permits)
Takes too long to get a permit
MesaNow - more intuitive (i.e. go to Activities vs. Calendar)
The City has tried economic development for the downtown in the past; however, there have been restrictive policies that stifle businesses (i.e. no alcohol at one point downtown)
Community calendar that is free; I was not allowed to put my Women's Club activities on the City calendar; everything is siloed

Health and community development (including Homelessness)
Air quality
Lack of subject matter experts
Awareness and access to health-related/ community resources (Not one place you can go to get resources)
Access to social services (including transportation/ mobility)
Outreach services and case management (front loaded)
Wrap around and coordination of services (coordinate government services in a more centralized and efficient way). Go from one department to another...getting the right resources and expertise.
Temp of street in summer (urban heat islands)
Peer ownership of issues

Citizen Design Ideas
Transportation & Mobility
Provide WiFi on buses (can enhance productivity/ time spent on buses, used to be on some buses - reinstate)
More shade when waiting for a bus
Increase benches as you are waiting for a bus
Solar powered air conditioning for the shade structures
Software app that is built to let workers know to avoid driving during this period of time (so you are not blinded by the sun when driving home)
Financial incentive for returning bikes and scooters ("bird incentive" - i.e. get a $1.00 back)
Subscription service for using LYFT, UBER, bike service (all access multi-mobile transportation). I would get rid of my car if I could pay $___ per month for this all access subscription
Plant more native plants to both create a barrier on sidewalks to make bike lanes safer while providing an environmental enhancing solution
Encourage education, awareness and incentive for using autonomous cars
Real time monitoring of transit/ bus/ light rail location
Integrated payments across public transit, UBER/ LYFT and other transportation options
Provide incentives for carpooling
Provide more barriers to cut down on noise pollution from vehicles (trees, different asphalt, etc.)
Being prepared to readapt streets (adaptive use mentality) when doing community, economic development planning

Downtown Vibrancy
Better marketing of downtown businesses, activities, event
Obtain more support for businesses and communicate
Increase mixed-use development
Improve infrastructure downtown (including connectivity, water, sewer)
Grant incentive support
Improve permitting/ change in land use (address turnaround time, cost, etc.)
Kudos to MesaNow; make it more intuitive (for instance, when I go to look for events or activities, I do not think to look at "calendar" in Mesa)
Support revitalization with policies that support vibrancy and enable businesses
Who are we trying to attract to downtown Mesa? The City of Mesa needs to do brand identity. (This was feedback from an ASU student.)

Health and community development (including Homelessness)
Navigator programs for homeless (drive people to appointments)
GIS Mapping of community and government services; use data (open source add)
Regional partnerships to address homelessness
Collect data on cause of homelessness (data-driven decision-making)
Add more parks, community gardens, bike lanes to get people outdoors and walking