"Giselle Walker pointed toward a desolate parking lot with rows of empty spaces that once were filled with Wal-Mart shoppers. Ever since the store closed, that part of the Mesa strip mall near Main Street and Longmore looks like it could do with some 'life,' said Walker, a longtime Mesa resident, as she piled up her black Chevy Tahoe with groceries from a Fry's east of the lot.
'Life' is what's being planned for that and other parts of west Mesa close to the light rail, which opens for service Dec. 27. City officials are weaving a legal framework to help create an urban environment in this older side of Mesa.
Urban as in shops on the first floor, homes on the second, third and more. Less parking sprawl, more walkable spaces close to Main Street. A community where people can walk to a coffee shop or the dry cleaners from their home, buy groceries, or pick up some flowers and hop on the light rail to get to Tempe or Phoenix and back.
At least that's the hope."