Create a smartphone app, similar to "SmartPHX" to help people discover downtown Mesa
Digital media students at ASU recently created "SmartPHX," which is a smartphone app that helps people find things to do in Downtown Phoenix.
It uses geolocation to help people navigate, lets people know what businesses are open or closed, and even helps people find parking.
With all of the worry about how light rail is going to affect downtown, can we really afford not to have this? Some of the biggest concerns I've seen are:
1) People won't know about parking in back of the shops.
2) Restricting traffic means people won't get to see as many store fronts, and thus won't discover new stores.
We can take care of both of these issues, and a host of others, with a smartphone app.
Funding is, of course, an issue. We can mitigate this in several ways:
1) Work with the ASU team that did the app for Phoenix and see what part of the code base we might be able to reuse.
2) The businesses downtown are the ones with the most to gain, so work with them and the DMA to see what kind of funding they would be willing to provide.
3) There are many CS students at ASU that want smartphone app development experience. Meet with the CS department at ASU and turn this into one or more student projects.
If we get creative, we can minimize the financial damage to downtown businesses during light rail construction, and hopefully continue to support them afterwards WITHOUT pouring millions of dollars into downtown as in the past.