Making the commute appealing - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Making the commute appealing

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Posted: Friday, November 17, 2006 5:16 am | Updated: 2:34 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

I haven’t ridden the Scotts- dale trolleys yet, and I don’t have a good reason for not doing so.

The Neighborhood Connector route is in my neighborhood, a short walk away from my house. I could take it downtown, get on another and get dropped off across the street from my office. It runs from early in the morning to late in the evening.

And it’s free.

I only think that driving my car is free, too, but it isn’t.

I followed a trolley picking up and dropping off people while downtown on Thursday. Its little bell and its shape, reminiscent of a San Francisco cable car, makes you think of the old Rice-A-Roni ads.

Now, that observation will likely get me in trouble with some people who don’t want anything in Scottsdale to remind them of anywhere else.

When a new design for the trolleys’ logo was unveiled recently, I was copied on some emails to city officials from a few residents who find its lacking a bucking bronco or something reminiscent of the Old West something to be upset about. The design incorporates a sun instead.

The trolleys do have emblazoned on their rear a bucking bronco of a style similar to that on the city seal and the words “City of Scottsdale” with it.

Having grown up here, I’ve had a soft spot for much of Scottsdale’s Old West image, despite the fact that it came from part of a late 1940s campaign to make Scottsdale resemble the backdrops for popular Western films of that time.

Scottsdale’s slogan, “The West’s Most Western Town” — invoked in public as recently as Tuesday’s City Council meeting as part of criticism of proposed building heights — was created in 1947.

This week, several residents gathered under the auspices of the Arizona Town Hall to talk about the future of downtown Scottsdale, and as the Tribune’s Ari Cohn reported Thursday, among several worthy issues is one about how to balance that slogan with Scottsdale’s recent emergence as a more hip venue for today’s jet-setters.

It won’t be that difficult to do. Great places have more than singular appeals. That Scottsdale had one dominant appeal — based on the Hollywood-style Western — for so long is what’s making the process more difficult for some. Scottsdale need not abandon its latter-day Old West image, but should include it in an honored place with other more contemporary ones.

Neither New York, Los Angeles or Las Vegas, for example, have monolithic images. Each has more levels of art, culture and commerce than can be counted. What appeals to one may not appeal to all. When you’re not only a tourist town but also a magnet for people who want to live here, the idea is to not limit that appeal.

Thus Scottsdale will not only appeal to others, but what others bring here in terms of art, culture and commerce, will appeal to Scottsdale.

See you on that trolley.

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